Forward Living: Thank you, music, for the memories

Gertie messed up! She didn’t understand my request or got confused. Is she becoming hard of hearing? Although Gertie and I haven’t met, she tells me where to go and how to get there. (Ahem … I would like to tell her where to go at times.) She makes calls, changes radio stations and executes most tasks, within reason, of course. Gertie is at my beck and call but, alas, she doesn’t always get it right. Some of you may be wondering who Gertie is. Give up? She’s the voice in the speech-recognition system of my car. 

I’m a fan of satellite radio and enjoy listening to music while driving. Occasionally I’ll ask Gertie for a station that isn’t programmed into my “favorites.” Recently, Gertie and I didn’t see eye to eye — or, more accurately, didn’t hear voice to ear. I don’t recall what station I was seeking, but it sure wasn’t what Gertie had in mind. Next song I heard was Connie Francis singing “Where the Boys Are.” Gertie plugged me into ’60s on 6. It wasn’t only a “Throwback Thursday,” it was “Throwback Week.” I was catapulted back to another time.

On weekends, my then gal-pals would pile into my Chevy convertible. The car was weighted down with beach bags and other necessary paraphernalia. We thought we were hot stuff, with our ponytails catching the breeze, and maybe we were! Destination? Wildwood, N.J. — “where the boys are,” according to Connie Francis.

During Throwback Week, waves of nostalgia bounced off every song: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Dylan, The Stones and Led Zeppelin. I love The Kinks, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix. And who of us from that era doesn’t remember the Doors and my all-time favorite, CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival)?

One afternoon, as usual, I stopped at the beach after work. It was raining and I debated whether to walk the beach. (Yup, I’m an all-weather walker!) As I sat in the car, Creedence started belting out “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” I couldn’t sit still. I got out of my car and boogied along the beach singing: “Doo doo doo, lookin’ out my back door.”

I thought of Dad and Mom. I frequently freaked them out — especially when my “Elvis look-alike” boyfriend pulled up on his Harley and their “darlin’ daughter” jumped on the back! A little aside: I never outgrew my love of motorcycles and semi-bad boys.

Recently, a friend called and was all excited after hearing the Eddie Money song “Baby Hold On.” He said he was singing with the radio at the top of his lungs, feeling like a teenager. Yup, music can do that!

Music can make us want to sing or dance. It can be sad and bring on the blues — and we all get those blues every once in a while, according to Neil Diamond. He strikes the perfect chord in his “Song Sung Blue”: “Me and you are subject to the blues now and then, but when you take the blues and make a song you sing ’em out again.”

Whenever I hear anything by singer-songwriter Adele, I am reminded of a difficult period in my life. The betrayal, anger, confusion and ambivalence that I felt are played out in her lyrics. Years later, Adele’s song “Chasing Pavements” still causes me to choke up; “Rollin’ in the Deep” resurrects an old anger.

When we hear certain songs, they put us in another time or place. They remind us of who we are and from where we’ve come. Music can enrich the spirit, drive away our worries, bring joy, herald the blues and soothe tension.

The great Stevie Wonder said: “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.” Ain’t that the truth!

Hmm. Maybe I’ll try ’70s on 7. I could do with a little Jackson Browne.

Iannelli_CMs. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.