What song am I?
What is the song that is so much a part of me or so associated with me that the second anyone hears it, I’m the one they think of?
I pondered that question recently.
A friend of mine emailed me about how he had been at lunch and had heard the Gordon Lightfoot song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The mere mention of that song reminds us all of a friend and his big goofy grin. It immediately prompts a quick toast to our to-soon-to-be deceased and sorely missed brother, Rob.
I can imagine Rob getting a huge thrill and laugh over the fact that we think of him every time we hear that song. And now it seems we here it often. It must be Rob’s way of reminding us he’s there.
It really was just a joke to begin with. We were in a bar and a friend of ours was singing there. He broke into that Gordon Lightfoot song. We might have even requested it. As he began playing the opening chords, Rob looked at us and declared himself the lone survivor of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He beamed that big goofy grin, and we all laughed riotously. We can all recall that moment and see that grin as if it was yesterday.
He died a few years later but as the song says, his “legend lives on.” When we were recently in Florida, we conned a karaoke regular to sing the song for us. It isn’t an easy song to sing but he gave it a try and we all toasted our friend.
Now Rob is forever linked to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
So that made me wonder what song would I be forever linked to?
I’ve got a whole catalog of songs that remind me of others. I once joked that I should write a book about what songs remind me of which girls. I figured I’d make a lot of enemies that way. I just heard a song the other day that reminded me of a girl in college, but I realized that song and the story behind it might not make the book. That’s a story that likely will just stay with me.
But I’m not sure what song defines me.
There are songs I like of a rebellious nature that I like to feel as my own. There’s Motley Crue’s "Wild Side" but I’m really not THAT wild. I love the Levellers “One Way” or even better “A Life Less Ordinary.” I think that might define me better than most. U2 has some great anthems that I identify with but I’m not sure they’re my songs. When I think of some of my other favorite artists, the Beatles, George Harrison, the Smithereens, the BoDeans, REM, Peter Gabriel, and Richard Shindell , they all have songs I truly love dearly but I can’t really make any of them mine.
I do remember a friend saying once that when he heard a Smithereens song, he thought of me – only because I was the only die-hard Smithereens fan he knew. In fact, there are more Smithereens songs and BoDeans songs that remind me of other people than they do myself.
Maybe I should Facebook message Pat from the Smithereens or Kurt from the BoDeans and get them to write me an anthem. I’ve recently had the urge to write songs again myself. Maybe I’ll write my own.
But really a song that kind of serves as a lasting legacy to me isn’t one I create. It is a song that fits me or reminds people of me. In a way, Rob defined his song in an unintended manner. I might inspire it or help prompt someone linking a song to me but I don’t see me creating that link intentionally.
My song would have to be chosen by others, maybe with a little bit of inpiration from me. They would be the music and the words that make them think of me, hopefully in a good way.
So, it makes me curious. What song am I?