500 Words On the Power of Music

I used to have coffee with my Nonna and my father on a regular basis, but now that my grandmother is gone, I still go to my Dad’s house to have coffee with him. Driving over there the other night, I was surprised to see a Cars CD in the player that my wife was listening to.guitar_neck2-922x883

I’ve gotta tell you, listening to certain bands just gets me all fired up.

The Cars were one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager, and now that I’m in my forties, I’m still impressed with their sound. I’m even more impressed with the way the music makes me feel. That night, when I heard songs like Magic or Heartbeat City, I felt a surge of adrenaline and energy that made me feel like a teenager all over again.

Music has never been just music to me. I consider certain songs and artists to be the soundtrack of my life. Bruce Springsteen has been my background music for nearly thirty five years.  To me, there has not been another rock musician that plays with the passion and intensity that Bruce does. And I’ve loved every minute of listening to it.

Whenever I hear a song by Rush, I think of hanging with my childhood friend Mike. Any song by the Clash reminds me of my buddy Chris from military school, who turned me on to the punk and new wave scenes when they were starting to gain musical ground.

Say the name “Tom Petty” to me, and I think of outdoor concerts in scenic Saratoga Springs, with torrential rain always greeting the concert goers.

I could never listen to Bob Marley without thinking of my wife Suzanne, who opened my eyes to the sweet sounds of reggae.

At the other end of the spectrum, whenever I hear Jerry Vale or Al Martino or Frank Sinatra, I will always think of my grandmother, who loved music and used to turn the volume up on the little transistor radio in her kitchen as far as it would go whenever she heard a favorite song. More times than not those sounds were accompanied by the fragrant smells of freshly fried meatballs or soup cooking on the stove.

And she would sing too. Giving in to the power of her favorite sounds.

I’m just like her. Few things inspire or motivate me more than music. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing during the course of the day, it has to be accompanied by m-u-s-i-c. My teenage daughter is the same way. And thankfully she likes a lot of the stuff that Mom and Dad are fond of, like Coldplay and the Beatles. So we can listen too…

Only she listens on her iPod now, not stereos or tape decks like her parents used to. Music in an instant. Just like the instant it takes for all my great music to take me back in time, to when life was a little different, but no less sweet.

“Music takes you back. There are some songs I avoid, since they depress me or make me feel the unwanted tug of lifestyle choices I gratefully abandoned nearly 40 years ago. They want to take me back to places I never want to see again. But most of the playlist of my youth recreates all the positive feelings and joy I felt the first time I hear it.

A culture, an era, a whole world. It’s all reflected in the music.” – Bill Davis

OK, the post is a little longer than 500 words. So, what’s your story? Do you love a certain artist or style of music? Does it get you pumped? Or do you take it or leave it? When it comes to music, who do you love?

8 thoughts on “500 Words On the Power of Music

  1. Music is spectacular. I love music with all my heart. Nothing inspires me more then the sound of music, and the feelings it conjures up in my heart, soul and mind.

    I remember when I was younger, I would sit for hours listening to my mother practice the violin or play the piano. I wanted with everything – to be just like that. To play. To sing. To share a musical talent.

    To this day, I always have some type of music playing. Whether it’s something like Enya, Classical, Opera, Pop, Country – I love it all. Each genre of music brings us to a different place in time, different feelings and different people.

    I’m actually headed off in just a bit for vocal coaching, so hoping to have music in my veins long through the day!

    1. That’s an eclectic taste in music, there Christian…I like it!! My family likes to listen to a lot of different stuff as well: pop, rock, standards, folk, reggae. We haven’t cultivated a taste for country yet, but there’s always time, right?

      Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it!

  2. Hi Joe!

    This touched me because music does strange things to us, doesn’t it. We can be in one mood – and be completely changed the next, but simply “thinking” of a song.

    For a big span of my life the only constant I could depend on was music. Certain groups putting out their new work at the same time of each year. No matter how many times I had to move, or whatever variables shifted in my life, I had music to count on. And now, listening to music from that time brings up all the same emotions that I had back then..it’s crazy. I’s powerful!

    Very well written sir!
    Thank you

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jk. It’s true… Music is the model of consistency even when your life isn’t!

  3. Great post. It’s true that genre by genre, artist by artist and even song by song, the emotions evoked vary. Thanks for the quote! Keep on listening to music, keep on writing and eating meatballs et al!

    1. Thanks for reading Bill. I loved your take on the favorite music in your life, and I hope my faves will keep me inspired for more posts like this!

  4. First, Joe, let me just say this was magically written, I thought your best piece. Truly inspiring and I think I smiled the whole time man.

    As for me, when I was young, the entire family would get together on 4th of July weekend. On the morning of the 4th, we’d all March to the end of our dock to the sound of Neil Diamond’s “America”. Still, to this day, that song gives me chills.

    Oh, and love the new look to the blog Joe. Huge improvement bud.


    1. Thanks, Marcus. I’m getting better, one post at a time. I appreciate that you read and comment when possible, and yeah, the old theme was getting stale and I wanted to pump some new life into the site. Little changes, little tweaks, and I’m also very happy with the look.

      “America”. No doubt the best song from a guy that’s written a ton of them. We hear it now on the 4th, when we’re at the lake, during the fireworks display. It’s a perfect song for that celebration!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s