Songs For A…

There's a bit of a discussion about music choices happening in the comments of my recent Beautiful South post so, in the spirit of that great work of music-list making, High Fidelity I thought I'd bring one idea out to the front page in handy-dandy ready-meme format:

Song that is “Your Song” for you and your sweetie:
Song for the obligatory Powerpoint slide show during your reception dinner:
Song for your wedding first-dance:
Song for your wedding last-dance:
Song for your funeral (not so serious):
Song for your funeral (serious):
Song for the birth of your first child:
Song for a road trip (day):
Song for a road trip (night):
Song for graduation (high school):
Song for graduation (undergrad):
Song for graduation (grad school):
Song for graduation (PhD program):
(that last one is for Chris Dixon and any other PhD'ers who may be reading)

I'm probably missing some major life events but that'll do for now (feel free to add suggestions if you comment and I'll update my list here).

I'll try to use actual examples where appropriate and possibilities otherwise.   Here are my answers:

Song that is “Your Song” for you and your sweetie: “Heavenly Angel” – Spirit of the West

Song for the obligatory Powerpoint slide show during your reception dinner: “Grow Old With Me” – Mary Chapin Carpenter's version of the John Lennon song

Song for your wedding first-dance: “Prettiest Eyes” – The Beautiful South

Song for your wedding last-dance:  “In Spite of Ourselves” – John Prine and Iris Dement

Song for your funeral (not so serious): “We're All Gonna Die Someday” – Kasey Chambers

Song for your funeral (serious):  “Find The River” – REM

(I'm still a bit shocked but happy to admit that my grandma's choir picked Dylan's “Blowing in the Wind” to sing at her funeral. After non-stop hymns, that was a very pleasant – and cool – surprise!)

Song for the birth of your first child: “Beautiful Boy” – John Lennon

Song for a road trip (day): “Roadhouse Blues” – The Doors

Song for a road trip (night): I've got to pick a whole album for this one – “Gone” by Greg Keelor.  If you're on an overnight Greyhound through the Rockies in the middle of winter, your head may actually explode with the perfection of this choice. 

Song for graduation (high school): “Show Me The Way” – Styx (that's bad but it could've been worse – there were a group of girls in my graduating class (who would've been UGG's had they attended UWO) who suggested “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler.  I believe I was part of the contingent voting for “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue at this point in my life which wasn't well-received for some reason.)

Song for graduation (undergrad):  I have no idea which song I associate with my undergrad convocation.  1996.  Hmmm, nope, still no idea.  Maybe something like “Whatever” by Oasis?

Song for graduation (grad school): “A Design for Life” – Manic Street Preachers (“Libraries gave us power/Then work came and made us free”)

Song for graduation (PhD program): I don't know what a real PhD may pick but I've always been partial to “White Trash” by Fred Eaglesmith, simply for the line “She tells all our friends that I've got my PhD/But it stands for post hole digger, it ain't exactly a degree.”

And then, just for the hell of it, off the top of my head,
Ten Songs I Can Listen To Over And Over And Over Again…
1. “Find The River” – REM
2. “There She Goes” – The La's
3. “America” – Simon & Garfunkel
4. “Dakota” – Stereophonics
5. “And Your Bird Can Sing” – Beatles
6. “Andrea” – Blue Rodeo
7. “White Rose” – Fred Eaglesmith
8. “You and the Candles” – Hawksley Workman
9.  “Be My Baby” – The Ronettes (edit: I originally listed “Don't Worry Baby” having just talked about it somewhere else as the best Beach Boys song – the Ronettes do cover it and Brian Wilson did writ
e it as a response to “Be My Baby”

10. “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues (year round!)

Okay, back to the essays otherwise I won't graduate and get to hear that Manic Street Preachers song!

Comments 15

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I will answer your song questions, but I will need to think.
    It's kind of creepy that REM's “Find the River” and S & G's “America” are on your top ten song list. They would also appear quite prominently on mine. Automatic for the People almost always makes my desert island CD list, and I firmly hold that Paul Simon is the greatest songwriter of all time.

    Posted 04 Nov 2006 at 4:15 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Song for your funeral (not so serious): “We’re here for a good time, not a long time” (Trooper)
    Song for your funeral (serious): first choice is “Keep me in your heart” (Warren Zevon) with “Can’t cry hard enough” (the Williams Brothers) as a close second.
    Song for graduation (high school): “These are the days” (Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs) …1994
    Song for graduation (undergrad): “Time of your life – good riddance” (Green Day) … 1998
    Song for graduation (grad school): I dunno … “I wish I could go back to college” from the musical Avenue Q? “Who needs sleep” by Barenaked Ladies? “My baby loves a bunch of authors” by Moxy Fruvous? Just kidding. This one’s hard. I look forward to other people’s suggestions.
    Road trip songs are way too hard to narrow down to just one or two. For me, it fully depends on where I’m going, who’ll be in the car with me, and what the purpose of the trip is. I do tend to get literal and include songs about cars and driving (your basic “Life is a Highway”, “Open Road”, the Beatles’ “Drive my Car,” “I drove all night”, and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”). Any girls’ night out or women’s weekend road trip includes “Girls just wanna have fun.” And road trip mixes must start with some kind of epic soundtrack score to get us feeling like we’re starting an adventure. It used to alternate between the theme from Superman and Indiana Jones, but lately has been Pirates of the Caribbean.
    Wedding Songs: not sure yet – music should reflect the couple and their personality, so until I’m part of a couple, it’s too hard to answer that. But for walking down the aisle, “Promenade” from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and for walking up the aisle, “Great Gate of Kiev” from the same piece. Now I just have to find someone who'll agree to that!

    Posted 04 Nov 2006 at 6:02 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I love this sort of list making (Ask me about my top 5 album titles, sometime.) But I'll keep it brief.
    Song that is “Your Song” for you and your sweetie: Fairytale of New York (It's a long story).
    Song for the obligatory Powerpoint slide show during your reception dinner: Whole Lotta Love.
    Song for your wedding first-dance: Ice Cream — Sarah McLaughlan
    Song for your wedding last-dance:
    Song for your funeral (not so serious): Christmastime is here – Vince Guaraldi Trio (instrumental version) — that's the song from Charlie Brown's Christmas. Maybe I am serious about that one.
    Song for your funeral (serious): Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Sort of obvious, so maybe I should switch my serious and non-serious choices.
    Song for the birth of your first child: Lily — Bob Bossen. Or perhaps Under African Skies by Paul Simon: “This is the story of how we begin to remember…”
    Song for a road trip (day): Anything by Van Morrison will do, but I'm particularly fond of A Town Called Paradise.
    Song for a road trip (night): 9th and Hennepin — Tom Waits
    Song for graduation (high school): Jeez, I managed to spend 7 years in highschool and missed all three graduations that I could have legitimately gone to. (They would always have the party before the final marks were released!). I would imagine that it was something dreadful like Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone by Glass Tiger (1986); I've Had the Time of My Life by Bill Medley(1987); and Forever Young by Rod Stewart (1988).
    Yeesh. I think I need to exfoliate now.

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 1:58 am
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    If pressed, I often say that “Find The River” is my single favourite song of all-time. “Automatic for the People” is right up there with my favourite albums of all-time but like a few others (Abbey Road with “Maxwell's Silver Hammer” comes to mind), it's an otherwise perfect album ruined by a track that's not bad but just doesn't fit the mood (in this case, “Ignoreland”.)
    Paul Simon gets slagged off sometimes but I'm right there with you about him being one of the best songwriters of all-time. Few can combine lyrics and music the way that he can.

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 9:19 am
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Okay, I'm asking…what are your five favourite album titles of all-time?

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 9:21 am
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Good picks on the road trip songs and you're right, as I think I said somewhere else (in the other thread?), the problem is that there are so many songs for every one of these occasions that would be great. It's a bit morbid but I've actually thought out the perfect “soundtrack” to my funeral for instance. I also had a cousin who used to try to have entire conversations with a friend using only lyrics from currently popular songs. If you ever move to Saskatchewan, I'll introduce you to my friend Paul. He's into classical music (he's a classically trained pianist) and single as well.

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 9:26 am
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Hee. Awesome. And I've done the same “soundtrack-for-a-funeral” deal, which is why it was easy to answer your questions. (Incidentally, the instrumental parts would be “Father Kolbe's Preaching” from the Truman Show, the part where he rams his boat into the side of the studio, “Jupiter” from Holst's Planets, and bagpipes playing something or other, most likely Amazing Grace just because it's well-known). I've had people tell me that thinking about the details of my funeral is morbid, but I disagree. It's actually an exercise that is often done in goal-setting. Essentially, what you're doing is thinking about how you want people to remember you. What do you want them to say about you, and feel about you? When they look back on your life, how will they say it's been lived? Few people will want to be remembered for their posessions, or their salary. Rather, what we say is usually about how they treated people, what connections and relationships were made. Thinking about your funeral in detail helps to clarify your priorities, values and goals in the here and now. All very positive things.
    Of course, I think it works better when you think about your eulogy than picking out the flowers and the music. 🙂 But, in the end, not so morbid. Don't worry.

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 2:01 pm
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    Song that is “Your Song” for you and your sweetie: James – Like Fred Astaire
    Song for the obligatory Powerpoint slide show during your reception dinner: we didn’t have one
    Song for your wedding first-dance: Kermit the Frog – Rainbow Connection
    Song for your wedding last-dance: Scissor Sisters – Tits on the Radio
    Song for your funeral (not so serious): Sid Vicious – My way
    Song for your funeral (serious): Song 8 from Sigur Ros – ()
    Song for the birth of your first child/puppy: Louis Armstrong – What a wonderful world
    Song for a road trip (day): Manu Chao – Radio Bemba sound system
    Song for a road trip (night): Josh Rouse – Nashville
    Song for graduation (high school): Theme from Dead Poet’s Society
    Song for graduation (undergrad): The Rainmaker – from Power of One soundtrack
    Song for graduation (grad school): Nothing stands out
    Song for graduation (PhD program): While in the program, “Trying to get through” – Hothouse Flowers
    Maybe Let’s go crazy – Prince for the end of the program

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 10:07 pm
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    I will do one better. If you click on the link, you will find a list that I created a couple of days ago – the top 100 (according to my ears)

    Posted 05 Nov 2006 at 10:10 pm
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    We have a lot of overlap in our Top 100 picks (not that I have a list like that anywhere…yet!)
    I also like that you've picked something other than the “consensus best album” for a number of them:
    “The Bends” over “OK Computer”
    “Life's Rich Pageant” over “Murmur”
    “Achtung Baby” over “The Joshua Tree”
    Maybe that's a function of our music snobbery that we consciously try to go against the majority for “best album” picks? (I'm with you on two of those three but would put “Automatic for the People” in as my top REM pick though “Life's Rich Pageant” is my second favourite. I'd also go with “Abbey Road” over “Revolver” which does tend to be the pick for best Beatles album. But with them, it depends what you want. Somedays “Please Please Me” is my favourite Beatles album and somedays it's “Let It Be”)

    Posted 06 Nov 2006 at 6:37 am
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    Nice call on the Louis Armstrong (makes note to self for June 6, 2007)…

    Posted 06 Nov 2006 at 6:39 am
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    There's even a book to go with it…a picture book of course!
    What a Wonderful World Song lyrics by George David Weiss & Bob Thiele; illus. Ashley Bryan (Atheneum, 1995)
    Perfect for the babe! Filled with beautiful vibrant colors and children from all over the world…

    Posted 06 Nov 2006 at 1:40 pm
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    It's a versatile song (as any all-around great song tends to be). I've seen it used as a non-denominational grace – perfect for a wedding or anniversary or ceremony where you want to give thanks and a blessing, but don't want specific religious overtones.

    Posted 06 Nov 2006 at 3:11 pm
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    My top 5 Album Titles:
    1. Beggars Banquet (this stands in for all of the great Stone's album titles).
    2. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash — The Pogues
    3. 668: the Neighbor of the Beast — My Dog Pongo.
    4. Frankenchrist — Dead Kennedies
    5. Rattle and Hum (again, stands in for a number of equally good choices)
    Contentious list, I'm sure and it is too heavy on the punk, but I'm only limiting myself to five choices.

    Posted 07 Nov 2006 at 9:33 pm
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    I wish I had the funeral mix tape I made here – I'd post the track listing. I made it after my grandma passed away – it wasn't specifically my own “funeral sountrack.”
    It's weird how some people think anything to do with death is morbid – just another one of those taboo topics in our society like sex, money and uhm, library school marks?

    Posted 10 Nov 2006 at 7:59 am

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