Friday, June 24, 2005

Music Zaps You Right Back to a Moment in Time

My former high school classmates are reconnecting, gearing up for our reunion next year. They've been rummaging in the attics to find pictures from grade school, junior high and high school. They've started a discussion group on Yahoo for the Class of '66. One former classmate, Mike, posts a blog each day, stirring up memories with photos, personal anecdotes and song lyrics from those days.

This week, he posted the lyrics to "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys, Well, Brian Wilson still gets around. Rick and I went to see him at the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank last summer. It was the Smile tour, an album he created many years ago, but didn't release. Here in London, he had all kinds of backup singers and musicians to make the original Beach Boys sound. You know how, when you hear a song, suddenly you're back at that moment in time? You can remember where you were, what you were doing, even what the weather was like. It's hardwired into your brain. The audience was filled with young and old fans who were on their feet rocking to the music, reliving the past. It was very moving.

Brian has survived a rough journey: physical and emotional abuse from his father, years of drug addiction, obesity, depression, attempted suicide, the deaths of his brothers (Denis and Carl), a stroke, the break up of his family as well as the band and legal battles with his cousin over the band. But he's still a genius. My husband, also a musician, said it was the equivalent of going to see Mozart perform in his day.

The former Beach Boy had to be helped on to the stage; shuffling, a bit unsteady on his feet. He wore the usual big Hawaiian print shirt. When he speaks, his words are slurred and he clearly struggles to get the words out. It must take a lot of courage for him to step onto the stage after all he's been through. He's not the man he was, but he's still composing beautiful music. Remember these?

Wouldn't It Be Nice
God Only Knows
I Get Around
Don't Worry Baby
In My Room
Good Vibrations
Sloop John B
Heroes and Villains
Surf City
Help Me Rhonda
Sail On Sailor
Fun, Fun, Fun
California Girls
Be My Baby
Little Deuce Coup
Surfin' Safari

If your memory doesn't stretch back that far, check out the iTunes music store. You just can't be in any kind of bad mood after listening to his music.

1 comment:

Michelle West said...

Music is my great love and music is a universal language, as I found out in my travels. I do believe in synchronicity. I stood up in church last Sunday and talked about music as the strongest link to our memories. I also loved the Beach Boys songs. I am a baby boomer and graduated in 1972. I am a music and sound therapist and singer. I use vocal high frequency sounds to help balance the chakras and bring peace to heavy hearts. Singing is like breathing to me and I have a photographic memory, so I remember the words to all the old songs. Music can transport you to any place and time, a virtual time machine!!!