Writing 101 challenge: three significant songs

Three significant songs! Where do I start? I thought I might struggle with this, because there aren’t just three. I can name two, and then the third is more of an era than a specific song.

So number 1: Golden Brown by the Stranglers. Whenever I hear this it takes me back to 1989. My first beau. It was a hot summer (rare thing these days, but the summers of 1989 and 1990 I recall were very hot). Summer days meeting up and walking around, sitting under trees in the shade, getting to know each other. His favourite song was Golden Brown, and he taught me all the words to it. I still know them. Yes, whenever I hear that song it takes me back. But I don’t necessarily want to remember. That summer was one of the happiest of my life, but it was only a few short months of joy. It ended in total disaster. I mean most first relationships end in a break-up, but this was a cataclysmic disaster relationship-wise. It was followed by a terrible illness and a strange termination, both strange and abrupt. Violent I would say. So misplaced happiness followed by terrible tragedy is what Golden Brown does for me.

Song number 2: Greensleeves. I can’t remember who this version is by, but it is a beautiful instrumental, full of grace. I walked down the isle to it. I was so nervous, my heart in my throat. I was 15 minutes late for my own wedding ceremony because the taxi didn’t turn up when I was finished at the hairdressers. So the final bits of getting ready were done in a great hurry. I was all nerves heading for the room in which I was to be married. I was walking forward really fast, and my bridesmaid told me I shouldn’t seem in such a hurry. My good friend John, who later became my brother-in-law, was our official wedding photographer. He was kneeling before me with his camera to get a good shot as I headed towards the wedding room. (We married with a civil ceremony in a hotel, and the reception was in another room of the same hotel.) As I entered the room to the strains of Greensleaves, the congregation all stood up and turned towards me. They all looked happy for me, and kind of as if they were honoring me as I entered. I wasn’t expecting that, and felt very moved. My darling husband-to-be was waiting at the front. He looked a bit nervous, which isn’t like him at all. Afterwards he admitted to a few nerves as the 15 minutes all ticked by one by one without me appearing!

Song number three is more of an era, as I said above. The 80s. I was a teen in the 80s. Who doesn’t remember the music of their teenage years? That was the decade for music. We had actual tunes! The 90s was awful, at least the early 90s. That was Garage! I just didn’t get it. I like a tune with good words. OK, we had the Stock, Aitken and Waterman brand, but who cares? We had Heaven 17, the Stranglers, all sorts of great bands and singers. I like sometimes to listen to the radio channel Absolute 80s. It always takes me back. Back to angst, when I know I wasn’t really happy. I wanted things I couldn’t have. Had crushes that could never be, but I tortured myself with them nonetheless. Teenage years are utter torture, but somehow decades later the music fills me with a kind of nostalgia.

So song number 1 actually makes me sad. Song number 2 makes me happy. Song (or era) number 3? A bit of both, I guess. Heaven 17’s Temptation with its rythm and insistent beat. Disco memories of Tainted Love. And who can forget Wham!? Even my little kids love to sing along to Freedom! I smile as I write this. So many memories and such nostalgia. So I guess Number 3 makes happy thoughts overall. Funny that, as I definitely wasn’t happy at the time. Bazaare!

I’m glad I’m out of my teenage years. After I’ve published this I’ll no doubt think of a whole different set of songs to talk about, because with me there isn’t just the three. But I know Golden Brown would be there at number 1. Maybe I wish it wasn’t, but it has to be. I think my whole life pivoted on that fateful first relationship.


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