The soundtrack to my life begins with a song I vividly remember singing with my next door neighbour when we were both kids. The song is Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Middle of the Road and many years later, my next door neighbour and I (now middle aged and no longer residing in our adjoining houses) would sing it for old times sake, karaoke style, at my wedding. The song is very evocative of my childhood and a friendship that stands the test of time and is now intricately entwined with happy memories of my wedding day. In terms of actual musical value it is pretty dire but will remain forever in a position of great fondness for me.
As a teenager, I would regularly attend youth club discos. There was the moment in the evening when the tempo would slow down and the girls would wait with nervous anticipation to see if the boy she'd been making eyes at would ask her for a slow dance. Trainee lovers would be wrapped in each other embrace, swaying rhythmically, a bold hand descending down the body of a willing partner to rest gently on the curve of a firm young buttock... naively, beautifully sordid! Wishing on a Star by Rose Royce was the song that marked the transition. The opening bars of this song still gives me a little shiver as I am catapulted back to that glorious moment when you realise that the object of your desires is walking towards you....
Hey Paula by Paula and Paul deserves a place in the soundtrack of my life as it was from this song that my parents arrived at the inspiration for my name. It was the song I played at my first wedding for the first dance but as the reception was held in the small living room of our starter home, there was not a great deal of first dancing! Little did I know I was actually marrying the wrong Paul. The Paul who would many years later become my husband was a guest at my first wedding.
John Denver, for reasons I can't quite fathom, has long been a contributor to the soundtrack to my life. When I was trying to learn to play guitar, the John Denver songbook taught me chords and plucking and strumming styles. My favourite JD song was always Annie's Song because it reflected how I wanted to feel about the man in my life and to have those feeling reciprocated. I never even came close to having my senses filled like a night in a forest in my first marriage but now I smugly enjoy the fact that I got there in the end!
My final choice (although I could list SO many more!) is a much more recent song, Tiger in the Night by Katie Melua. I was driving down the motorway from my home in Shropshire to go and deliver the news personally to my nonagenarian nan that I was getting a divorce but it was all OK - I was in a new relationship and I was incredibly happy. I wanted her to hear it from me and it wasn't something I could do easily on the phone. It was a long drive and I was listening to some compilation car CDs that my girls had put together. Tiger in the Night came on. The lyrics struck such a chord with me that I put it on repeat and listened to it over and over again for the rest of the journey so that I could memorise every single word. In a moment of madness I recorded myself singing it to my daughter's piano accompaniment as a present for the man who was 'the dream I'd see come true" and we played the original version during my marriage ceremony (I did briefly toy with the idea of using my recording but didn't think it entirely fair to inflict that on my guests!)