Special Thanks to @StevieNicks https://twitter.com/StevieNicks and to @DollyParton https://twitter.com/DollyParton . Also to @_KennyRogers https://twitter.com/_KennyRogers and to Elanore Madden, http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5209222_music-affect-memory_.html and http://www.emedexpert.com/tips/music.shtml
My first real boyfriend, Ben Marks, was beaten up repeatedly as a kid by multiple boyfriends of his drug addicted mom. There is one incident he recalls of his face pushed beneath a steam radiator. He could see just a hairy forearm, bent at its elbow. In the Eighties, he spent time at a behavorial health treatment center in Philadelphia called The Bridge. According to Ben, the center incessantly played the song Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon and Garfunkel. As an adult, Ben could not, would not, listen to anything S & G, not in a car, not at the bar. We would leave a restaraunt that had the track playing, or move to another beach if we could hear any tinkle of the two Seventies singers. Ben’s favorite song, though was Songbird, by Fleetwood Mac, released in 1977. When Ben and I broke up, I made my Rumours cassette tape warble from overplaying, and over-rewinding, just that last track on side 1, Songbird.
Last night I met a man with his wife at a Karaoke house party in Stowe, Vermont. As Fleetwood Mac, and subsequently Stevie Nicks fanatics, my sister and I suggested that we sing the rockin’ Stevie Classic, Edge of Seventeen. John spoke, “Oh God, no. I hate Stevie Nicks, I hate Fleetwood Mac.” A chorus of incredulity and what, what are you talking abouts responded.
“But, John, ‘Landslide!?’, ‘Stand Back’, ‘You Make Lovin’ Fun’?” Christie turned herself into our circle to face John, arms straight at her sides, hands stiffly bent at her wrists to be perpendicular with the floor.
“Songbird,” I added, arm at my side, bent at the elbow, my pointer finger pointed up.
“Wait, wait, there’s a story.” John protested. Carrie, standing next to me, laughed, insisting that we listen to John plead his case.
“When I was fourteen, I went to my first real party, like the parents weren’t going to be there party. There were 8 guys and 5 girls.”
“That’s good odds,” I interrupted. John arched his brow.
“8 guys to 5 girls,” he said again. I had misheard.
“Good odds for me, then…” I quipped.
John smiled and resumed. “So there I was in my dress shirt, and pants, and good shoes, because my mom thought it was a real party, and made me dress up. There I was sitting on the couch with two other guys wearing button down shirts, watching tv, while the guys wearing rock tee shirts were all making out with the girls in the other room. The whole time, we could hear Rumours album playing.” We all laughed. “They just kept flipping it over and over. Anytime, I hear anything remotely related to Fleetwood Mac I am right back there in that living room, an awkward fourteen year old boy, not making out with a girl.”
Carrie leaned in with a lengthy tongue kiss, a little uncomfortably… long. “But now you make out with women.” She said smiling, as they parted.
Christie and I instead decided to sing “Islands in the Stream,” released in 1983, and the second number one pop song for both Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. When it got to the part where Kenny and Dolly sing, “When we rely on each other, uh huh,” Christie and I swung our hips in unison with our arms, bent at the elbows, reaching up to clap in front of our faces. John and Carrie kept kissing. The kids were all dancing. We really had the crowd a’rockin’.