alt=a radio plays music while two people dance in the kitchen.

It's All In the Notes: Music That Brings Memories

The other day I was explaining to my partner why I am such a huge fan of Bob Seger. Slight pause for everyone to think about their own opinions here.

Now, I know that musical tastes can be a bit divisive but there are some things that one just cannot argue with. Among them are the songs that take you to a specific time and place with specific people in your life and for me, Bob Seger’s Stranger in Town album is one of them.

Bob Seger

When I hear any of the songs from this album, I’m a pre-teen, in the car on the way to visit my grandparents in the mountains. I can feel the heat of the sun, the wind through my fingers out the window, see the sloping Pennsylvania hills in the back seat of my mom's Dodge Durango.

And Old Time Rock and Roll, well that was Poppop’s jam. He rocked that song with his two-step shuffle action like he wrote it himself. Deep into his disease, he would still stop in his tracks to dance around the living room with his kids and grandkids to some Bob Seger.

Elvis Presley

There must have been an AM radio station (Am I being biased by saying it’s an AM radio station?) in that same mountainous region I reference before that would play hours of back-to-back Elvis songs on a weekend morning. Though my Poppop wasn’t the main audience for this music, he certainly grooved right along to it. It was my Gram who loved Elvis.

So, when we would spend the weekend, we’d know that we’d be waking up early to hear Elvis and smell breakfast wafting from the kitchen. Poppop was the one putting on the breakfast. He made homefries like no one else can (and believe me I have tried). He’d put it alongside or inside some scrambled eggs, top it with cheese and feed the house with one skillet. All while Elvis serenaded the room.

Marvin Gaye

I don’t actually know if my grandparents preferred Marvin Gaye, but when I hear this song, I can’t help but be harkened back to one of our last good times together as a whole family. It was my cousin Tommy’s wedding and the sweet melody of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough brought my Pop and his girls to the dance floor.

My sisters, my cousins, and I all held hands as we watched Pop twist his body so low you would have thought those knees belonged to a teenager! Screaming at the top of my lungs a song that rings with the sentiment that nothing could keep us apart from one another, I felt so blessed to have this memory to cherish. I worked extra hard to take note of how I felt and of as many of the sensations (sweaty as they may have been) so that I could to firmly implant this into my long-term memory.

Music for the win

Previous posts here have discussed the benefits of music to Alzheimer’s patients and how music memory works. I think it’s equally important to use it as a tool to quicken your own memories in your brain so that you may have those memories to hold for many many years to come.

These are several of the treasured memories I hold dear. What songs or artists accompany important memories for you?

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