I never expected we would have to agree to disagree about Elton John. His music wasn’t even among my memories and to boot, none of his albums were among my mother’s vinyl records. But Mom kept saying he should be on the playlist. Non negotiable for me, I couldn’t agree to it. Maybe the Elton records met up with a different fate and that’s why they never got played.
For Mother’s Day this year, I asked my Mom, “Can you make me a list of songs you remember playing a lot when I was very young?” I made the same list and was most interested to compare notes about the differences and similarities in our lists.
My family’s first record player. Really.
The songs I remember were all played on the first record player I remember, our family’s “spaceship turntable” where vinyl records spun (and got scratched because I was clumsy). There were a bunch of little one-song 45s too, with their A and B sides- just one song and a harbinger of the short media attention spans to evolve in later decades. You had to usee a 45rpm adapters to get them to fit over the turntable’s spindle in the middle.
Our Parents’ Music
In my earlier research about the connection we feel with the music of our parents’, I highlighted the brain science that has been done about music, memory, and young adult brain development. This playlist represents earlier years for me but the songs persisted into my young adulthood. Note the abundance of space and science fiction soundtracks and television theme songs!
Time Traveling in Sound
Music is a kind of Tardis that lets your mind travel backward in time so you can instantly relive memories of a time, a place, specific events, and deep emotions.
- Non-Dr. Who Fans: A Tardis is a time travel machine that was part of the Dr. Who, a popular British television series.
Pre-Natal & Post Partum Songs
As we compared notes and finalized the playlist, I made an impromptu recording of our phone conversation. I didn’t think to fire up my audio software until nearly the end of the conversation, after she was done singing me song snippets. And note, my Mom’s list of songs was divided into those I “heard while in utero,” and those played “after I was born.” Tells you something about my Mom!
Vinyl at Risk
Beyond the song discussion, our conversation wavered into an unexpected story that painted a picture of the world of vinyl ownership when I was very small; this is a true portrait of music ownership of yesteryear. New parents taking a date night and leaving a child…too young to actively defend the family record collection alone, with the babysitter. Listen:
What does Mother’s Day sound like to you?
Hands on vinyl! Image by Haley Lawrence.
Regardless of what type of relationship you have (or had) with your Mom, do something musical in honor of your Mom. If you’re moved to share a bit in the comments, I would love to read your memories.
Share this post with your music-loving Mom!
If you can’t view the Spotify list above, click here for the full publicly viewable list.
Your imagination will thank you.