Music has always played a large role in my life. My mom jokes that before I could talk, I could spell thanks to the 70s hit “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers – “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y… NIGHT!”
I bonded with my babysitters over Beatles records. My wife is a musician, and her long blonde hair reminds me of my first memory of music. (Readers be warned: This will sound like I am ripping off Paul Simon lyrics. But this is actually my memory.)
I was in my crib. “It was late in the evening. There was a radio coming from the room next door” and I heard my mom laughing. “I couldn’t have been no more than 1 or 2…” as the song goes.
I remember wanting to be at the party in the other room and I must have tried to say so, because a lady with long, blonde hair came into my room and picked me up.
I have loved music and women with long, blonde hair ever since. I have a huge music collection and go to many shows where thousands like me line up to be part of the excitement.
From King David to the longhaired kids stocking the shelves at FYE, why do people find music so intoxicating?
In a phone interview May Pang, ex-girlfriend of John Lennon, said she thinks music’s appeal is that “it’s universal.” One listen to the Beatles as a kid, and Pang, too, was hooked.
After hearing the Beatles on the radio, “I wanted to be involved in music,” she said. She was such a fan that she took a job at Apple Corp. in Manhattan just because it was the Beatles’ company. As music buffs know, she became very close to Lennon in the early 70s.
During their time together Lennon wrote “Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)” and “#9 Dream” for Pang. She saw firsthand how much of a music fan Lennon was. She tells of the excitement in his face when song ideas came to him. He’d rush for a pad and pen to preserve the ideas, and he reacted the same way to songs on the radio. The way music touched her soul as a kid was the same way that it touched Lennon’s soul.
The effect of music on a soul seems like an intangible. But the results of music are easy to see. The vibrations emanating from instruments may be invisible, but watch the bystanders. Pitches in harmony with one another make a kid smile and sing, while discord is quick to bring a frown.
Even more than an intangible with a measurable effect, music is beauty, beauty that motivates people to rise to the occasion as they tap a foot or sing along to show that they can also be part of the magic.
A song’s rhythm has its own flow of time that, for its duration, allows people to forget about time – even the most aggressive multitasker doesn’t listen to songs on fast forward to get to the end quicker. That is because the point of music is to enjoy the passing of time for what it is. It is movement for its own sake.
Lastly, music makes life viewable from a distance and good songwriters let people know that they are not alone. Leading rock biographer Mark Bego notes that certain artists, like Joni Mitchell, excel at this.
As Mitchell’s “For Free,” a song about Mitchell watching a street musician, spins in my CD player, I can only imagine that music charms her in the same way.