So, Matt and I have this ongoing argument in which I tell him that The Boys of Summer is awesome, and he tells me that we should probably break up. OK, not really. The thing is, I know it’s not a good song. And I know for damn sure that Don Henley is not awesome. It does, however, have an important association for me: Southern California. And because I like SoCal, I like that song.
This led me to ponder my many song/place associations. There are far too many for me to come up with at one time, but here are some of the big ones:
Nashville: Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy by Big and Rich
The first time I heard this song, we were at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville. I learned to line-dance there, too. I’m not proud.
Cayman Islands: Day-O by Harry Belafonte
We were riding on a bus after swimming with stingrays, and the driver sang the whole way back into town. When he broke into Day-O, the entire bus started singing along. So awesome.
Denver: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
This song has about a million associations for me, but the main one is that time we were in Denver to see the Dalai Lama, and ended up in a massive singalong with everyone at the Irish pub celebrating halfway-to-St-Patrick’s-Day.
San Diego: Hotel California by the Eagles
The story goes that the Eagles wrote Hotel California about the Hotel Del Coronado. It is indeed a lovely place. And kind of soulless and empty, though maybe that’s all the golf shops in the promenade. We did spend time on the beach there, though, and it was gorgeous.
I had the rudest service of my life at the Starbucks on Coronado Island. The bitchy barista-man gave me a lecture on how they can’t make a grande Americano half-caf, because it contains three shots of espresso. WORK IT OUT, ASSHOLE.
Anyway. This song is excellent at conjuring the color of the sun and the smell of the ocean in Southern California.
Puerto Vallarta: One More Time by Daft Punk
This is a very long story involving us staggering the mile back to the hotel one night, hearing it blasting from a bar, and me adopting a theory in which I would sing and dance to it to ward off would-be attackers. Yep.
New Mexico: Original King by Brother Ali
I have a very distinct memory of listening to this song while driving away from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. I was out of water after hiking in the desert and was pretty sure I’d never been so dehydrated in my life. I got water from the taps in the bathroom at a rest area on the interstate, and it was the worst thing I’d ever tasted.
Los Angeles: Stacked Actors by the Foo Fighters, and Beverly Hills by Weezer
The first time I was in LA, I was by myself. The first thing I discovered was that the highways there are as wide as they are long, and everyone drives approximately 400mph. I loved it. I also had the Foo Fighters’ ‘There is Nothing Left to Lose‘ in my CD player, and it stayed there the whole time. It’s loud and fast, perfect for driving in LA. Also, Stacked Actors is just appropriate for the insanity there.
The second time I was in LA, the car-rental place gave us the most horrifying vehicle ever: a Chrysler 300. We named the car Dick, and we hated rolling around in that thing. Anyway, the first time I ever heard Beverly Hills was when we were actually driving into Beverly Hills in Dick. I’m not really a fan of the song, but I can’t hate it for that particular reason. Thanks, KROQ!
Seattle: Superstar by Lupe Fiasco
While Matt associates Welcome to the Jungle with Seattle because we saw Fergie performing it at Bumbershoot, I remember this show instead. I hadn’t realized how much of Lupe’s music I knew, and this is a perfect summer song.
San Francisco: California Love by 2Pac
I seriously heard a car blasting this song in the Haight just a few years ago. I couldn’t believe it.
Chicago: Surrender by Cheap Trick
Because it’s Lauren’s song at karaoke. I’ve heard her sing it twice at Louie’s.
Somewhere in the middle of the ocean: The Cha-cha Slide by DJ Casper
You may know this as the song at every sporting event that goes ‘everybody clap your hands!’ and then you clap approximately 40,000 times. I know it as the song that Jersey and his brother danced to impress the ladies at Disco Selva on the Costa Mediterranea. A floating dance club is quite possibly the greatest invention of all time.
Every Señor Frogs on earth: SexyBack by Justin Timberlake
DUH. Oh, and Rompe by Daddy Yankee, specifically with the one in Puerto Vallarta where I became Mrs. Reggaeton.
Darwin, Minnesota (home of the twine ball): Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry
It was on the jukebox at Bob’s Country Bunker about 37 times while we were there for Twine Ball Days. We only played it 34 of those times. It was when I learned to love that stupid song.
Memphis: Purple Rain by Prince
Purple Rain is a song I’ve heard many, many times on multiple trips, very often at karoake. It always makes me misty from Minneapolis pride. But the time I remember best was this, which I will take word-for-word from my travel journal:
That night around 10pm, while waiting for our food at Isaac Hayes’ restaurant and watching old Prince videos on overhead monitors, Jay and Heather convinced me to go call Jeff Manager and ask him to find us a real bar in Memphis. So I did.
Jeff said he’d meet us after work at 1am at this place called Metro, across the street from an abandoned Sears building. So, fine. We went back to the hotel for a while, at which point Jay decided to stay while we went out. Heather and I found the bar easily, tried to park safely away from the homeless people peeing on the Sears building, and went inside. The moment I stepped in the door, a big shirtless guy grabbed me and yelled, “dance with me!!” And that moment, Heather and I found ourselves at gay karaoke in Memphis.
Milwaukee: Party Like a Rock Star by the Shop Boyz
The first time we heard this was at ear-bleeding volumes in the Sausage Haus outside Miller Park. The second time we heard it was later that night at the Safe House, when we were dancing on the stairs above the dance floor with Black Derek.
I just realized this would make the greatest playlist of all time. I’ve got to get on that! Maybe tomorrow, since I don’t want to screw up my awesome performance review today.
Feel free to contribute your own songs and stories!!