Earlier this month I had the opportunity to see Elton John in his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road farewell tour in Syracuse. This came about suddenly and was a gift, so off I went with my sister, my nephew, and our dear friend we first met when I was in college a few decades (gasp!) ago.
I became quite reflective during the event as video screens highlighted Elton’s career. It seemed many of his songs were ones where I had a memory from my own life. For example, as little girls, my sister and I had generic Barbie dolls and of course, they had to be part of a band. When we played there was a concert, and the only music we had was a cassette tape. One tape. I don’t even know how we got it, we were very young, and I know it wasn’t anything my parents would have listened to.
It was Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
Our dolls rocked out and our signature song was “Crocodile Rock”. Every time I heard that song, no matter my age, I thought back to those young years and our dolls. It was surreal to see him play it live.
Another song that I recalled was “I’m Still Standing”. I had remarked to friends over the years that as a praying person, an intercessor, my theme song was “I Won’t Back Down”. There are several versions, but the one that seems to just get who I am as God’s praying girl is the Sam Elliott version from the animated movie Barnyard. However, when I summed up everything about me and my life, it was
“I’m Still Standing” that seemed to be my life theme. Family addiction. Infertility. Miscarriage. Near loss of child. Special needs situations. Marriage trials. Financial adversity. Writing discouragement. Church splits. Whatever the event, Jesus walked me through that fire and yes, I’m Still Standing.
That concert was enjoyable for those reasons, and to know Elton John is a historical icon. I might not share his choices in life, but he’s a gifted musician who has met all kinds of people in his 75 years. It’s neat to say I saw him in concert because concerts are typically not things I attend.
There are other songs that strike a chord when I hear them. “Rattle” by Elevation gave me hope during the pandemic and my mom’s illness and death. I couldn’t wallow in my grave clothes with those lyrics. Anytime I hear “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis, that was a song I attribute to my mom. She enjoyed his music. Dad? I thought he was a Johnny Cash fan, so any of his songs make me think of my dad. Funny thing was my mom looked at my sister and I like we were crazy. She announced Johnny Cash wasn’t his favorite!
I’d be remiss not to mention the song Tom and I danced to at our wedding, the one we felt summed up us as a couple that to this day if we’re apart and hear it, we text a screenshot of the song to each other: “When You Say Nothing at All”, Alison Krauss and Union Station. We aren’t a loud couple, we aren’t a chatty family unless you really know us and get us talking about a passion. We’re so quiet when people visit they think we fought and aren’t speaking. Not at all. We just are exactly as the song says. And I love that.
Are there songs that stick out to you as personal memories?