Take Me Home, Country Roads


 

Late summer / early fall of 1978.  A mixed bag of events in my life.
A mixed tape masterpiece of music to tag along.

 
The blockbuster Grease was in the theatres.  I saw it three times.  Once with friends and a parent chaperone just in case it was too risqué for our young, naive, impressionable minds.  And once with each of my two sisters, the poor things.  Stuck babysitting me and I probably didn’t let up about how much I wanted to see it again.  32 years later my son starred as Kenickie in his high school play of it.  One of my proudest mama moments to date.  Today I own two Grease DVDs, one the original movie and one of my son’s school production.  And I don’t know how many vinyl, cassettes, and CDs I have worn out listening to the soundtrack.

The wedding of one of my sisters and I was a junior bridesmaid in the ceremony.  Next month she will celebrate being married to her high school sweetheart for 37 years.  Beautiful.  I remember dancing to Bad Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce and Thank God I’m A Country Boy by John Denver at the reception.  And with a cute boy no less.  Today, I own both of the albums those tracks are from.  Well, several actually.  I have an affinity for the Colorado Poet Laureate and own about a dozen of his albums.  My kids say I’m corny.  I say I have excellent taste.

And the summer and fall of 1978 were the seasons that Marvin Lee Aday and James Richard Steinman changed my life.  They helped save it too as a matter of fact.


Bat Out Of Hell was in its prime, lighting up the Billboard charts with its massive hits.  The record held some pretty mature content for a then 8-yr old girl who didn’t know that baseball had anything to do with sex, a topic she really wasn’t all that keen on learning anything about in the first place.  And its very title was somewhat controversial for my, at the time, quite religion-oriented life.  But despite those two limitations that my mom certainly wasn’t happy about, that album got played in my house over and over and over again.  That album helped to save, nurture, and protect an essential part of me:  my brain.

Two days after my sister’s wedding, I nearly died.  I had just left a friend’s house on my bike and was hit from behind by a car whose driver took off and left me for dead in the street.  I was found unconscious in a near-comatose state, with a massive brain injury and severe internal hemorrhaging caused by the rupture of my spleen which had to be removed.   I stayed in the hospital for a few weeks and then was nursed the rest of my journey back to health by my mom and other loved ones for a couple of months.

What I recall the most vividly from my time at home was the seemingly ridiculous amount of pills and vitamins I had to take to protect my now compromised immune system, and how awful some of them tasted.  But second to that I remember listening to a lot of music and I remember writing a lot of stories, many of which were inspired by my imagination conjuring up the images and backstories to the lyrics of the songs.  It’s been known by scientists, doctors, musicians and the like for quite some time now that music can bolster brain functioning.  You can go research that topic yourself more in-depth if you’re so inclined, but here are five reasons why it does:

  1. Music evokes emotions that bring memories.
  2. Musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients.
  3. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness.
  4. Singing is engaging.
  5. Music can shift mood, manage stress, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.

Source:  5 Reasons Why Music Boosts Brain Activity, July 21 2014, Alzheimers.net

 
And that is why a whole lotta Meatloaf got played in my house during the late summer and early autumn of 1978, among other music from albums, cassettes, and the radio.  I’m pretty confident I know every single word to every single track on Bat Out Of Hell.  And I know a bunch of other lyrics to songs written by both Meatloaf and his on-again-off-again partner in crime, Jim Steinman.  Surprisingly, to me at least, none of the Bat hits took top billing on the charts, and none even broke through Billboard’s top 10.  Years later, the duo were able to celebrate a #1 hit with I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) in 1993.  I’m looking forward to hearing some more of their brain boosting music after the release of Braver Than We Are this fall, the newest collaboration of two of the best storytellers I know.  Maybe it will be released on my birthday.  Wouldn’t that be splendid.  Another gift to me from Marv & Jim to help celebrate the life I have today, in no small part thanks to them.

So in response to today’s Daily Prompt, this post highlights some of the music that can transport me back to three different places and times in my life, yet all within just one season of it.  And all to songs that still have very special places in my mind, heart, and soul and even in my living room on my $2 yard sale bargain brass 3-tiered vinyl holder.

While I’m obviously a big Meatloaf fan, I have to admit I totally disagree with him on one account.  Yeah Meat, two out of three might not be bad, but three out of three is a heck of a lot better.  And while I’ve got your attention – thanks for putting the words back into my mouth and my brain so that 37 years later I am able to reflect back on our time together and see that indeed, objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are.  A bat out of hell eh?  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Thanks for making sure today I can honestly state that it’s all coming back to me now.  For crying out loud, for that I hope you know I love you.
 

“Heaven can wait, and all of the gods come down here just to sing for me,
And the melody’s gonna make me fly, without pain, without fear.”

Heaven Can Wait, track 3 from Bat Out Of Hell
Composed by Jim Steinman & performed by Meatloaf

 

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24 thoughts on “Take Me Home, Country Roads

  1. Lovely thoughts about music. Good or bad memories, it’s amazing how well we can remember the music that was playing in the back round. John Denver is a particular favorite. We played “Annie’s Song” during the ceremony.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey thanks Marianne. Yes, it is a connection. Not Meat Loaf but music and memory. Music is responsible for a lot of tears, one way or another – took years and years to get over lost love and, would you believe, Nat King Cole? (Before your time?) At the care home, a number of people have surprised us by suddenly playing the piano or bursting out with song — even after they’ve all but forgotten everybody and everything else. It’s Magic. (Remember that one?
    t’s Magic Lyrics
    “It’s Magic” was written by Cahn, Sammy/styne, Jule.
    Send “It’s Magic” Ringtone to your Mobile

    You sigh, the song begins, you speak and I hear violins
    It’s magic
    The stars desert the skies and rush to nestle in your eyes
    It’s magic

    Without a golden wand or mystic charms
    Fantastic things begin when I am in your arms

    When we walk hand-in-hand, the world becomes a wonderland
    It’s magic
    How else can I explain those rainbows, when there is no rain?
    It’s magic

    Why do I tell myself these things that happen are all really true
    When in my heart I know the magic is my love for you?

    It’s magic
    It’s magic

    Why do I tell me myself these things that happen are all really true
    When in my heart I know the magic is my love for you?

    Songwriters
    CAHN, SAMMY/STYNE, JULE

    Published by
    Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

    Read more: Doris Day – It’s Magic Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

    AHH! The magically beautiful woman (oh, and singer) Doris Day. (sigh)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, music has prompted a waterfall of tears over lost loves in my life. And sadly yes Nat was before my time but I grew up on his music and one of his albums hangs in a record frame in my living room right now. Wasn’t familiar with Magic but just YouTube’d it and watched the scene from her film debut in Romance on the High Seas (1949). Magical it sure was and beautiful too of course (the song and Doris). Thank you for sharing about the spontaneous music playing at the home – that gave me a wonderful image in my mind and truly made me smile at the thought of it. 🙂 Marianne

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        • I rotate the 3 frames every now and then, right now it’s some of my fave swooners, him, Dean Martin, and Elvis. 🙂 It’s his L-O-V-E album from 1965, the year he died. And thanks for the kudos! Yes, the list is growing slowly but surely, I think in large part from being in Blogging 101. Speaking of which – back to my homework! Have a happy day, Marianne

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Marianne, I know that you pinged me on this post because of my blog post on brain health and you are right your post has relevance for me because of what you had to say about music and brain injury and dementia. (Delighted that you have made such a wonderful recovery by the way) But what you can’t have known is that that Meatloaf album was a HUGE part of my teenage years. I’m pretty sure that it was Number 1 for months in the album charts here.Everyone knew the words of every song of that Bat our of Hell album and I could probably sing every single one of them right now – Myself and my friends used to go wild at the Saturday night disco singing along – wonderful stuff – but then on quieter nights if a sing song started as they often did back then at the end of a night in the pub or at a party – and I would sing on my own, and people would listen….

    Baby we can talk all night
    But that ain’t getting us nowhere
    I told you everything I possibly can
    There’s nothing left inside of here
    And maybe you can cry all night
    But that’ll never change the way I feel..

    thanks for the memories, Marianne, boy doesn’t time fly

    Sabina x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well you’re certainly right, I didn’t know but so very happy you told me about your history with that album! Kinda cool eh? You’re 1000s of miles away from me and yet we share a connection to a single album that largely impacted our lives. Maybe it’s my Irish roots or something. My great-, great-aunt was born in Dublin then immigrated to Canada and became one of our country’s first recognized female poets. 🙂 Thanks for the note, made my day to read it … Marianne

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      • I thought perhaps that was true. I used to do the same when I always posted early. Now I go back and scan for interesting titles, then if I have time go back again and try to read as many as possible. So often the most interesting stories are those that have taken the time to make up their own title and not just use the given one! Also, those who post later often do so because they’ve taken longer to write their pieces, and to reread and polish and edit. So during the day I look at ones that have been written the latest. Easier since they now put the last one published first. I really like this system!

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  4. Hi enjoyed your post, and the bitter sweet association of music, I too remember Meat Loaf and all the memories associated with that era God help me lol. I agree music is a strong connector in our lives and I found your article articulated it beautifully, keep it up. I am trying to focus on this assignment today, trying to catch up on a bit of a back..blog…sorry painful pun intended.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How funny that we posted the same song, and that I was right after you! I hope you enjoyed your wander around our site, and that it was the adventure you were hoping for. Now I’m off for a little peruse of my own 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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