A Life Story In 6 Songs — Part 2
Sifting through the hundreds and hundreds of replies to NPR's request — Tell Us The 6 Songs Of Your Life — we rediscover just how meaningful music can be in our lives, and the supermagical powers that some songs possess.
I Want To Hold Your Hand, for example ...
The melodious Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, Fire and Rain by James Taylor, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and Hallelujah — sung by writer Leonard Cohen and others — are recurring favorites. Multiple songs by Adele, Beyonce, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Sam Cooke, Elvis, Pink Floyd and Queen pop up often.
Here are a couple of more playlists from people who share with us, in lightly edited notes, why certain songs are so special. And for accompaniment: Montages of those songs crafted by NPR Digital News Producer April Fehling.
Laura Thompson, 28, is a middle school choir director in Fall City, Wash. She listens to member station KPLU in Tacoma.
1) Do, Re, Mi — The Sound of Music
I watched this movie hundreds of times as a young kid, and this period of my life — preschool and kindergarten — marks the beginning of my obsession with music. I would watch it with a pair of tights on my head to serve as long hair, a blanket wrapped around me as a dress, and a rocking chair in the middle of the room which was the tree I would dance around like Julie Andrews does in the opening scene. I wanted to be in that family, like, so bad. To have a puppet show, fall out of a canoe, live in a huge house, wear pretty dresses, have a hot boyfriend, sing in harmony every day with my awesome siblings whom I got along with, escape the bad guys and disappear into the mountains with my happy, musical family. This song is now the basis of what I do Monday through Friday as a choir teacher.
2) I Wonder — Joy Williams
This was one of the Christian songs I listened to during my search for religion during high school. I spent a couple of years trying to make church work for me, but in the end I realized that the whole reason I was there was to try to fill the hole that my actual family wasn't filling. I wanted an outlet to express my feelings, a place where I felt like I belonged and was accepted and loved. In the end I realized I didn't believe in God at all, I was just really, really lonely.
3) The Sun King — The Beatles
This song sounds like peace and freedom to me. That's what college felt like, and that's when I first started listening to The Beatles. I was getting away from home and my old life, concentrating on what I love — music, learning about myself, gaining a lot of self-confidence and life experience, and looking forward to the future.
4) When It Hurts So Bad — Lauryn Hill
If we're talking about chronological order, it helps if you play this song at exactly the same time as the next one. You get a true picture of my relationship that way. This song speaks to the feelings and worries about my relationship with the guy I was ready to marry — until things exploded into a zillion pieces.
5) Everybody Knows — Dustin Tavella
And this song speaks to the feelings that some of my friends and family had about my relationship with the Song #4 guy when I was still with him, and the lyrics are approximately 100 percent accurate as far as what was happening at the time — while I was trying really hard to make things work.
6) Independent Women Part 1 — Destiny's Child
A couple of years and several thousand dollars' worth of therapy later, I feel like a new woman. Happy to be independent, feeling empowered and strong, and ready to take on life's challenges with or without someone beside me.
Teddy Ray Bullard, 37, works at a military shipping terminal near Southport, N.C. He listens to member station WHQR in Wilmington.
The most memorable song --perhaps due to the emotional bent — in a pivotal moment in my life, the night before I was to leave civilian life and enter basic training in Fort Benning, Ga.
My grandaddy and grandma divorced late in life. One day i walked up to Grandaddy's house — we all, the entire family, lived on the same large area of farmland — and there Grandaddy was, all alone, drinking George Dickel, crying and singing this. It was a country song come to life.
This song was the first time I heard the voice of JD Sumner and it made me want to sing bass for a living. The funny thing is ... I ended up doing just that, taking JD's place in the Stamps Quartet when he passed. What a voice that man had.
This song was a very memorable part of the background noise during my senior year in high school. No, I wasn't a senior when it was released, I was a child.
As a lifelong Carolinian, in my first Army assignment after basic and infantry school, this song brought me comfort when I was homesick — or made me homesick, depending.
This song made a very dark period of my young adult life — a period dominated by substances, family problems and uncertainty about who I was and what I wanted from life — bearable.
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