Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Songs Will We Remember After We Forget Our Names?

Just got home from seeing Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory [link to preview] with Laura and Marz--a documentary about a man who works to get iPods to people with memory loss.
Each iPod carries a playlist of songs from the person's life. (If the person can't choose the songs, their families help).

I loved this movie--I've experienced the truth of how music runs deeper than other memories:
I've written before about singing "Daisy, Daisy" at a dinner table of three women otherwise barely able to communicate.

Afterward I got talking to Laura about what songs we would want on our personal iPods, if we end up with Alzheimers or something. 

Laura right away named Shenandoah, which I said I didn't know. When I looked it up, of course I did---it's also known as "Across the Wide Missouri." (Links to Arlo Guthrie's version.)

Here are 10 off the top of my head... not necessarily my favorite songs, but  songs I bet I could mumble along with,  even if/when I ever forget my name:

"Thunder Road", Bruce Springsteen
"I Want to Hold Your Hand", Beatles
"Oklahoma", Rodgers and Hammerstein
"Shall We Dance", from the King and I
"Look for the Silver Lining"
"Jackson," Johnny Cash
"Edelweiss", from Sound of Music
"Sweet and Low" (Wind of the Western Sea)
(You Make Me Feel Like) "A Natural Woman," by Carole King
"Be My Baby", The Ronettes

Marz chooses "Bye Bye Bye" by 'N Sync


What song(s) would you choose?

13 comments:

Zhoen said...

I think I have a load of old hymns there, and I'll thank whomever for not including most of those. Although the Sacred Harp ones will bring me to profound tears.

Fresca said...

Oh, yeah.
Along those lines, for me...
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
I'll Fly Away

Michael Leddy said...

What a great question. I wrote down ten:

“God Only Knows”
“Orange Crate Art”
“Too Marvelous for Words”
“You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me”
“The Song Is You”
“Lightly Row” (years of kids’ music recitals)
“Blackbird”
“I Remember”
“Our Love Is Here to Stay”
“Pennies from Heaven”

The only one here that’s almost certainly not well known is “I Remember,” by Molly Drake.

The word verification is my area code. Creepy!

bink said...

If my memory was failing me I could probably still remember the Beatles' song "I'm down." And I would be too.

Anonymous said...

Since I saw My Fair Lady last week at the Guthrie, those songs are running through my head. Right now it’s "With a Little Bit of Luck."
--Marcia

Anonymous said...

I am not planning for a memory loss, and as such have no list to offer. Since everyone's list is different, what does the exercise prove?

Fresca said...

My 83-y.o. father e-mailed me:
"I can still sing 'Come on Baby Light My Fire' so I'll choose that!"

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: Great list! It pushed me to actually listen to "Orange Crate Art" finally --what a neat little song--sounds much older than it is.
"Blackbird"...yes for me too.
Will look up Molly Drake.

BINK: We can sit next to each other and hold hands, OK?

ANON (MARCIA): Oh, yes, all those old musicals--my mother used to sing show tunes with us in the car--I could do whole bunches of them---"Some Enchanted Evening" and the like.
Wonderful.

ANONYMOUS: Well, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. :)
The exercise proves nothing.

Elaine Fine said...

I listened daily to my father playing the Sonatas and Partitas and Cello Suites by Bach, so I would imagine they are etched into the deep recesses of my brain.

I wouldn't ever not want to respond deeply to Beethoven's String Quartets. All of them. And the Mozart "Haydn" Quartets, the Brahms Piano Quartets, and a bunch of Haydn Quartets and piano sonatas.

Likewise with the Mozart Requiem, the Bach B minor Mass, the Bach Cantata 78, Wachet Auf, and the keyboard Partitas.

I think I have gone over quota.

Fresca said...

ELAINE: Actually, your quota is whatever an iPod shuffle will hold, so I think you have several hundred titles still to choose!

Thanks for selections. They remind me that my brain would have to be very far gone not to respond to the classical music my pianist mother used to play when I was little.

I used to lie under her grand piano while she played--I liked the sound of the wood.

I would push the pedal that ...actually, to this day I do not know what it does. Mutes?
I couldn't hear the difference, anyway, so I would be surprised (every time) that she could tell I was doing it.

I especially remember her playing Chopin.
But she also played swoopy modern music for us with a dramatic flair, like "Deep Purple." ("When the deep purple falls, over sleepy garden walls...")

Fresca said...

P.S. Also my parents listened to records of Glenn Gould playing Bach all the time.

When I went to see the movie, "Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould" (1993), it felt like a home movie! I went with my sister and we sat and cried in the theater afterward, remembering early happy days.

Zhoen said...

I do love "I'll Fly Away."

Heard it first from the tv show of the same name.

Michael Leddy said...

Fresca, in case you haven’t seen it — take a look at the 1981 film of Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. It’s on YouTube, and it’s incredible.