Why do certain songs remain embedded in your brain for the rest of your life? Maybe it is because when you hear a song from your past, it captures a memory from that time.
Some are good memories, such as it was "our song," and others are bad, triggering "the break-up" song. Then there are the happy recollections of a given song causing remembrances of a special time, event or place.
These occurrences are not to be confused with the song that gets stuck in your head all day. That isn't a memory, but an annoyance.
A classic break-up song that my friend used to get rid of a boyfriend is "Please Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck. I can't believe she did this.
Her then-boyfriend came over and she put that record on the stereo. She proceeded to tell him to listen carefully to the words of the song and then left the room. Before the song was over, she heard the door slam and tires squealing. It all sounds a bit harsh to me. Every time I hear that song, I think of my friend and that poor guy.
Some of my favorite memories are not from songs that make me weak-kneed over an old flame, but those that were playing in the background during a simple act of everyday life.
A smile appears on my face whenever I hear the song, "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band. Don't ask me why I can remember the name of the one-hit wonder that sang that song.
One day I was in the car with my father and that song started playing on the radio. I had recently gotten married, and told my father that I liked the song. He proceeded to ask me what it was about. I was trying to find the words to tell my father -- without embarrassing either one of us -- that it was basically about sex in the afternoon when he told me he thought it was a song about ice cream! I cannot hear that song without thinking about how my father and I laughed that day.
I also have a special fondness for "Volare." It brings back a very favorite memory of when I was a little girl. That song was playing on the radio when I encountered an innocent act of affection between my parents.
It left an impression on me that is so clear in my mind that I can describe every detail to this day, and I was only 5 years old at the time.
My mother was basting a roast in the oven. I can even remember what she was wearing that day in 1960. She had on red-plaid Bermuda shorts, a white golf shirt, wool ankle socks, penny loafers and an apron.
She was bent over the oven, basting the roast, when my father came up behind her. He took the spoon from her hand and danced with her around the kitchen to "Volare." I was watching them from around the corner. They danced until the end of the song, hugged and then my mom went back to basting the roast. Dad picked up the paper on the table and left the kitchen.
Why would that song stay in my head for 46 years? I think it was because that incident with my parents was so simple, so innocent and so genuine that it left a lasting impression.
Thank you, "Volare," for always allowing me to remember that moment in my life. And thank you, song writers of the world, for creating the triggers for those happy memories.