Dedicated to my Mom with love and gratitude ❤
My Picks for Mom
Sly and the Family Stone: “Thank You”
John Mellencamp: “Ain’t Even Done with the Night”
“Ain’t Even Done with the Night” off of John Cougar’s Nothin’ Matters And What If It Did (1980), is probably my favorite Mellencamp song.
Billy Joel: “My Life”
I grew up listening to Billy Joel and watching reruns of the television show Bosom Buddies, starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, with my family. After their apartment building is demolished, admen Kip (Hanks) and Henry (Scolari) — unable to find a cheap apartment — decide to dress in drag in order to rent a room in the affordable, women’s-only Susan B. Anthony Hotel. Hijinks ensue. Billy Joel’s “My Life” played during the show’s opening credits. Even as a child, the song’s lyrics spoke very strongly to me; I distinctly remember contemplating them while gazing out the car window, although I do not know where the car was taking me. As I got older, I didn’t live up to the song, conforming to others’ expectations, whether real or imagined. Recently, I seem to hear this song everywhere. I’ve come to view it as a timely, personal anthem, reminding me that “this is my life,” no one else’s, and I’m going to live it my way.
Starship: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”
As a kid, one of my favorite movies was Mannequin (1987), starring Andrew McCarthy as Jonathan Switcher, an artist-turned-department-store-widow-designer, who falls in love with a mannequin, played by Kim Cattrall. Odd, I know. The film’s soundtrack featured “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” one of my favorite Starship tunes.
Gloria Estefan: “Anything for You” and “1–2–3”
My mom’s copy of 1987’s Let It Loose provided the soundtrack to countless drives to swimming lessons at YMCAs across the Capital District.
Men at Work: “Overkill”
Robert Palmer: “Simply Irresistible”
Sly and the Family Stone: “Dance to the Music”
The first concert I ever attended was Sly and the Family Stone. They arrived over an hour late and were obviously stoned when they arrived. Because they were late, the concert started late which meant I did not arrive home when my parents thought I should. They were calling the State Police to find out where I was. The State Police assured them that the concert had run late and that there was a major traffic jam leaving the venue.
John Mellencamp: “Jack and Diane”
This was the number one song on the charts the day that you were born!! One of the most important days in my life.
Starship: “We Built This City”
This was the number one song on the charts the day that [your brother] Craig was born!! Another important day in my life. I can remember you and your neighborhood friend Erica dancing around the living room screaming to this song while Craig sat in his little seat watching you.
Billy Joel: “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
This song reminds me of countless trips to Craig’s soccer games and tournaments with boys in the back seat trying to get through all the lyrics to this song without missing a beat. They did a pretty amazing job.
My Picks for Mom
Fleetwood Mac: “Tusk” and “Seven Wonders”
We owned a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night (1987) on cassette, which we often listened to in the car. Lately, I’ve been listening to “Seven Wonders,” featured on that album. “Tusk” is one of my mom’s favorite Fleetwood Mac songs.
Bette Midler: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
I used to listen to my mom’s copy of The Divine Miss M (1972) on my parents’ record player. I’m pretty sure my love of Midler’s “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” primed me for my later love of 1940s music.
Willie Nelson: “Ain’t Misbehavin’”
One of my mom’s favorite artists covering one of my favorite Fats Waller songs.
Cat Stevens: “Miles from Nowhere” and “Can’t Keep It In”
When I went to college, I inherited my mom’s record collection and discovered Cat Stevens. “Miles from Nowhere” and “Can’t Keep It In” took on a spiritual significance for me, shaping my personal worldview.
James Taylor: “Sweet Baby James”
These lyrics — “Now the first of December was covered with snow / and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston. / Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting, / with ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go.” — are always a favorite when our family goes to see JT at Tanglewood, since this is a place that is near and dear to our hearts.