I took a ride to my hometown, this past weekend, to re-deliver my mother to The Homestead where I grew up after she’d been out of state for several weeks, visiting one of my older sisters.
I took my husband’s vehicle, which has a year’s worth of satellite radio available, and since my iPod wasn’t working, I started to play with the dial and found one of my bittersweet loves: 1940’s music.
This is probably another area where I’m a bit strange, since I wasn’t even alive yet in the 1940’s (and wouldn’t be for two more decades). But music from that era never fails to make me nostalgic, almost instantly. Sometimes it even makes me cry. The song in this video, for example, does that to me, without fail, whether it’s sung or just instrumental, slower-paced like this one, or faster paced in how it’s performed. I have to really work at it to keep the tears back.
As mentioned above, I have no idea why I’m so moved and affected by ’40’s music; I wasn’t born until the later half of the 1960’s. My parents (who were admittedly teens during the ’40s) did have all kinds of music going on the old record player all the time when I was growing up, but I don’t consciously remember any ’40’s music being played (more so classical, other instrumental, and even some folk and “popular” singers like Mary Hopkins, The Carpenters, and John Denver…but I’ll post more about them another time).
I suppose that doesn’t mean ’40’s music wasn’t ever played, especially when I was really little. I just have no conscious memory of it.
By the time I knew what was going on, some of my older teenage sisters were often using the record player to spin their favorite ’70s tunes (like Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”).
Anyway, during the almost two hour ride home from dropping my mother off at the Homestead I listened to all sorts of ’40s music. I have to be careful because music messes with my emotions more than pretty much any other sensory medium. But it also inspires me. Sometimes full scenes or characters pop into my head when I’m listening, and like many writers I have a “playlist” of songs for each book I write.
But 1940’s era music is different. I’ve only ever used one song from that era while writing. It was the song that was actually playing in the background when my father passed away several years ago, and in Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven it gets a mention at a pivotal scene. Technically, the song was written in the 1930’s, but it was featured in the 1942 film Casablanca, so it’s often associated with that era.
Here it is:
Beautiful stuff, made for me more poignant by the context I will forever associate with it.
To wrap this up, here’s a link to another ’40’s song I really like, “Deep Purple”, featuring big band director Artie Shaw, singer Helen Forrest, with a corny but sweet little vignette included about remembering a lost loved one.
Do you have a favorite 40’s era song – or music from any era – that really affects you or that you love?