Are there certain songs, that when you hear them, they magically transport you back to another time and place?
If your immediate response to that question is – ‘What? How did you know that about me? Are you some kind of a mind-reader or possibly an habitual Peeping-Tom? – then READ ON!
(NB: If your immediate response to that question is – ‘Huh? No way! What sort of a clown would even say such a thing? Are you on drugs?” – then ok, maybe this post isn’t for you.)
Well the thing is, there are quite a few songs that do that to me. I like to call them TARDIS SONGS after the time machine/space craft thingy in Doctor Who.
Now Tardis Songs don’t have to be your favourite tunes. In fact, you might be heartily sick of them. But still, every time you hear one, they temporarily remove you from where you are and transport you somewhere else, where the hearing of that tune is permanently embedded in your memory.
Sometimes it’s to a very specific place or incident. Sometimes it’s to a more general ‘time’ or period in you life.
Anyway, here are FIVE OF MY TOP TARDIS SONGS in no particular order. (Although I just know that I’ll think of heaps more, and better ones, the second after I hit POST on this blog!)
- ITCHYCOO PARK – Small Faces
Over bridge of sighs
To rest my eyes in shades of green
Under dreaming spires
To Itchycoo Park, that’s where I’ve been
(What did you do there?) I got high
(What did you feel there?) well, I cried
(But why the tears there?) tell you why
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
Time travel destination: This song just drips of the 60s for me and that’s exactly where it takes me. Back to a time when I was on the verge of becoming a teenager and it was all about peace and love, hope and change, flowers and psychedelic colours, flares and long hair. (Except for those unfortunate sods like me who attended a strict ‘short back and sides’ Catholic boys school! See photo below.)
Whenever I hear this song I’m back there, when the world seemed to be heading for a bright future … and it was ‘all too beautiful’.
Photo: Sadly no fashionably-long 60s hair for me in this shot taken in front of our famous Monstera deliciosa. Or for the next 8 long (except in terms of hair of course) years as it turned out. Had to wait till the 70s for that.
Don’t know what I’m smiling about in that shot! One day I might work up the courage and strength to blog about this traumatic hair-deprived period in my life. (Is my bitterness still showing?)
- HEY JUDE – The Beatles
Watch the Video here. (They finally get around to singing it at 0:56)
So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Time travel destination: This song takes me right back to when I first heard it. It was a time when music wasn’t instantly available like it is these days, a time when the only way you could hear a song is if you actually bought the record or knew someone who had a copy of it or it was played on the radio.
It’s a Saturday morning, I’m probably 12 or 13 and I’m hanging around our old radiogram excitedly waiting for the DJ to keep his promise and play the Beatles’ new record for the first time on Brisbane radio. The Beatles were like Gods to me. Still are.
Then finally it starts and Paul’s beautiful, clear voice kicks in and for the next seven minutes or so, my mind is officially blown. (I had a similar ‘mind blown’ experience when I first heard Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone come blasting out of those same speakers.)
Because the station was playing Hey Jude on high rotation every fifteen minutes or so, I hung around our radiogram all morning. Could not get enough of it.
I’m remain a Beatles’ tragic to this day. I still think that the world was a better, more exciting and more hopeful place when those four guys were together.
Photo: You can see the radiogram I’m talking about in this early photo of me with my mum Elsie (holding our vinyl copy of Oklahoma) and my two big sisters Cath and Helen. (Don’t know where big brother Rob got to.)
This is in the corner of the lounge room of our family home. That spot was later taken up by our very first TV and the radiogram was shuffled off to the dining room to the left. And that’s where it was the day Hey Jude first flowed from its speakers and implanted itself forever in my heart and brain.
And just to complete the Hey Jude circle, many years later in 2017 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane I finally achieved my dream of seeing at least one Beatle live and I got to sing along with Paul McCartney performing this …
- LONG AS I CAN SEE THE LIGHT – Creedence Clearwater Rival
Guess I’ve got that old travelin’ bone
‘Cause this feeling won’t leave alone
But I won’t, won’t
Be losin’ my way
Long as I can see the light.
Time travel destination: It’s the 70s now and I’m sitting opposite my cousin Steve who is also my best friend at the time and we’re downstairs in the rumpus room at his parents’ house playing our guitars and singing together.
Whenever we played guitars, either just by ourselves, or with family members as an audience, this Creedence song from their Cosmos Factory album, always gets an airing.
Photo: Sadly I don’t have any photos of Steve and me playing guitars when we were young but here’s a shot of us about to depart on a (very bizarre and eventful) road trip from Brisbane to Albury/Wodonga on the NSW/VIC border.
We would have gone further but that’s as far as we got before we ran short of money. Then when Steve started seriously considering hunting water-fowl with a sharpened stick for food, we figured it was probably time to quickly head home before we started recreating scenes from Lord of the Flies.
As you can see, after I left school I was finally able to grow my hair longer. I just wasn’t able to stop it! (Loved that Datsun 1000 with the column gear change with all my heart!)
(And just a little music-trivia about that trip. The car had no radio and all we had to play music on was a small portable cassette player which we balanced on the front seat. We only had two cassette tapes which we played constantly. One was a Blues tape the other was The Beatles White Album. The White Album was a double album but we only had the first cassette.
It was years later that I finally discovered that the famous Beatles White Album had a whole second half I wasn’t aware of!)
- DRIFT AWAY – Dobie Gray
Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
And rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You’ve helped me along, makin’ me strong
Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Time travel destination: I’m a student at the University of Queensland in the 70s. The watering hole of choice for me and my friends is the beautiful Regatta Hotel. And this is where this song transports me.
Usually we’re somewhere out on the street-level veranda, but sometimes we gather in the indoor lounge area where there’s a jukebox. I think it cost something like 40 cents to play a song. Being impoverished uni students, money is tight and must be invested wisely.
So what you want when it comes to choosing a tune from the jukebox, is not just a good song that everyone likes and can sing along to, but one that gives you value for money i.e. is reasonably long. At 4.15 minutes Drift Away covers both criteria and is a popular and regular choice.
- THE MOON’S A HARSH MISTRESS – Joe Cocker
See her how she flies
Golden sails across the sky
Close enough to touch
But careful if you try
Though she looks as warm as gold
The moon’s a harsh mistress
The moon can be so cold
Time travel destination: This always takes me back to being a young father when my daughter Meg and son Joe were little in the late 80s and early 90s.
At night when they were tucked into bed this was one of the songs my wife and I often sang to them as a lullaby. Another favourite was Joe Cocker’s You Are So Beautiful. I doubt either of us ever quite matched Joe Cocker’s standards, but Meg and Joe never complained so that’s something at least.
Of course I sometime wonder if Meg and Joe just pretended to go to sleep in order to stop us singing …
But seriously, what are the chances of that?
Got any Tardis tunes and destinations of your own you’d like to share with me?
Love to hear about them.
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