Blogging, Childhood, Favorite Things, Life, Music

Song = Experience

With the help of my phone, I’ve begun maintaining a running list of the memories that come to mind when specific songs are played. Music has always been a love of mine. I can’t recall a certain point in time when that love began. I just know that music has always been a part of my life, since since I first became aware of my existence.

Why Do the Songs from Your Past Evoke Such Vivid Memories?

I can’t believe I only recently started writing down the memories that particular song would elicit. I’ve had this feeling for as long as I can remember. When I hear a song, I immediately associate it with a particular experience.

Song = Experience

Music, memory and emotion are interwoven. Here’s why a song can spark a vivid recollection

I began writing those memories down so that I could have them to reflect back on when I was feeling a little sad or when I would ultimately lose those recollections.

I’m sharing these with all of you because I enjoy connecting with people through music. It’s something I’ve done for most of my life, owing in part to my parents’ love of music.

Here are some songs and the memories they evoke.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears

It’s 1985, I’m 15 years old, and I’m in my driveway with my father, where we are playing basketball. It’s springtime, there’s a gentle breeze, and the sky is clear and sunny.

I Remember You by Skid Row

I’m 19, it’s October 1989, and I’m taking my 16-year-old brother to the mall with one of his best friends to get his ear pierced.

Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift

On a lovely late summer day in the fall of 2015, Anna and I are traveling in the vehicle together, singing the song. One of her classmates had recently died, and for some reason, this song reminds me of her, although I’m not sure why. She says the same thing to me as we approach an intersection near our house. With our mouths open, we look at each other. Kismet.

Courtesy Scary Mommy

Shame On the Moon by Bob Seger

It’s 1982, I’m in seventh grade, and I’m head over over heels in love with the new kid in my class. My mother and I are traveling in the front seat of our family’s station wagon on our way home from Neff’s Supermarket. I just found out where the new kid lives and ask if we could drive by his house on the way home. As we drive up his street, this song comes on the radio. I’m excited because I got a Bop magazine, a new diary, and a caramel apple at the supermarket.

Photo by Thijs van der Weide on

Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police

It’s the winter of 1983, there’s snow on the ground, and the sky is dismal. I’m in 8th grade wood shop (not by choice), but I enjoy the scent of burning wood from machinery I have no idea how to use. I’m dressed in a gray sweater and musk perfume that I received for Christmas.

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on

Blinding Lights by The Weekend

Ella and her best friend are in the backseat of our car in the summer of 2020. We’re driving home from a Milwaukee park on our way to grab ice cream, and they’re laughing, singing loudly, and dancing to this song.

Here are some links I found in relation to music and memory as we age:

Boost Memory and Learning With Music |… | PBS KIDS for Parents

Music can boost memory and mood – Harvard Health

Music and Memory

Can you recall any specific memories that come to mind when you listen to a certain song or album?

30 thoughts on “Song = Experience”

  1. I love the idea of writing down memories that songs stir. That would have been a nice things to do on our drive back from Mexico yesterday. We listened to music the entire time. It seemed like they were playing all our favorite songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s also a memory! A few weeks ago, we had a similar thing happen to us. My husband and I were driving back from somewhere, and amazing 80s new wave songs kept playing. It was such a fun thing to remember. 🖤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great idea! Music can instantly transport me to a different time and place no doubt about it. Shame on the Moon! High school senior, head on my boyfriend’s shoulder, cruising in his oh so cool Cutlass Sierra.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I swear to Buddha! I was thinking this same thing just last week; there are so many songs that evoke ONE particular memory.
    I have so many that I might just share them in a post later. One that I thought of yesterday was Sweet Child Of Mine by Guns and Roses. Coach and I (not married) had a trip to Myrtle Beach, NC. We rented a little hotel room and realized the area was a tourist trap with spring breakers all over the place; cars were going up and down the street in front of our hotel, and I remember that song specifically as it had just come out.
    Now, everytime I hear it, I think of that specific day. Probably 1987or 88?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, 1988! That was popular the summer after I graduated from high school, and I remember it making me think of that time of year! I love that memory of you two!

      I’m also stealing the phrase “I swear to Buddha.” Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear classical music and think of high school when I played in the orchestra. I hear rock and think of college, living in the noisy dorms. I hear the blues and think of my husband who likes that genre. My point is, I don’t remember specific songs as much as genres. That’s what sends me into memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, sending me down a rabbit hole of memories. What’s weird to me is that so many of them are really random, small moments. “Every breath you take” takes me to the June day in 1983 that I was picking up a yearbook for the last time. I remember standing in line outside the cafeteria, in front of a table where the books were stacked. I remember I was wearing white shorts and a teal-colored shirt. I remember sitting at long tables and trading books with others so we could write banal messages to each other, as we’d been doing since 7th grade. I remember longing to leave and longing to stay, both in equal measure.

    I love your memories and the details. Somehow, the musk perfume really got me. I remember when everyone wore musk perfume.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike said, “It’s about time you wrote a post like this!” after he read this. I am known for remembering very specific random details about songs. My brain should be studied.:)

      I love your song brain. It is like mine.:)

      Do you remember Impulse, the spray perfume? It was in a can with a yellow label. I’d buy some of that in Musk again in a heartbeat.


  6. Oh gosh, SO many. So many! But I’m going to give you a recent one. In summer of 2020, I watched Hamilton on Disney Plus and became obsessed with the soundtrack. I listened to it on long walks, every day for months. Months! I haven’t thought of it forever, and then the other day I randomly thought about My Shot – I listened to a couple of songs and it brought back such strong memories of the early pandemic, when all I did was go on super long walks.

    Anyway, I associate so many songs with so many parts of my life, and that was just a recent one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that! When I’m walking or driving, I always need music to get me going.

      Ella used to love the Hamilton soundtrack for a very long time. She would sing the songs in the car or while doing things around the house.


  7. Oh, ABSOLUTELY! I love your idea of writing the memories down. I have so many, but my favorite is Prince’s When Doves Cry. I had the Purple Rain cassette and would hit play when I got a letter from my college boyfriend who had a cooperative education job at the World Trade Center while I was back in Ohio at our university. This was before cell phones and long distance calls were expensive. He is now my husband.

    I might have to steal this idea for a post some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, I love that story! The soundtrack from Purple Rain takes me back to my freshman year of high school, when we took a marching band bus all over the Ohio countryside on the way to competitions and football games.

      Go right ahead! I would love to read a post written by you. I don’t think I have your blog address. Would you mind sharing it with me?


  8. Isn’t it amazing what memories songs can evoke? Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts – I’m 10 years old and in the backseat of my grandparent’s car with my sister, our aunt in the front passenger seat, going to my grandparent’s house to spend the weekend. My aunt is only 3-1/2 years older than me and very hip to this 10-year old.

    Carole King’s Tapestry album – I’m 17 and in the recreation room of my grandparent’s house, listening to my aunt’s album over and over on their ginormous stereo console and belting out the songs at the top of my lungs.

    All Out of Love, Even the Nights are Better, Every Woman in the World – all by Air Supply. It’s the summer of 1982 or ’83, Brian and I are dating and singing along to sappy songs at the Air Supply concert and feeling very much in love.

    This was just off the top of my head. I’m going to try to think of more and journal about it. Great subject to write about – thank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Summer Breeze… I also love that song. It makes me think of riding in my parents’ car as a kid. Why does that song make both of us think of driving?

      Melanie, I love all of your memories! It’s such a great topic for writing. Since I wrote this post a few months ago, I’ve been taking more notes on my phone, so I may write more posts like this in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

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