RV Electricity – Road Signs: Music Therapy

20

By Mike Sokol

What were you listening to the year you graduated from high school? This is more important than you realize…

A number of years ago I remember hearing an NPR interview about a scientist who was studying how memory works. And one of the areas of this discussion that interested me most was how many songs we know, and why we seem to remember “the good old days” with songs from our teenage years (whatever that was for each of you) being the songs that we remembered the best as well as having the most emotional impact.

His theory was that songs that we heard during our musical formative years have the deepest connection to our emotional memories. Turns out these formative years cluster right around high school and college. Yup, what you listen to when you’re, say, 14 to 24 years old, sticks with you for the rest of your life.

So I thought about this a bit and tried it out on friends and family. When was the best music for me? Well, I graduated from high school in 1972, so that suggests late ’60s thru the mid ’70s are my musical touchstones. And I do admit to loving Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Santana, Deep Purple, the Zombies, and Led Zeppelin (and I could go on with dozens more from that era). However, my child-bride Linda is 5 years younger than me and didn’t have the same musical experiences in high school that I did. Her dad was a trombone player in the Rohrersville Band, and Linda played flute and piccolo, often in concerts and marches.

So when I hear Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, I’m in heaven, but Linda just cringes and tells me it sounds like stripper music. (Hey, it’s a love song…) On the other hand, if we go to see an orchestra or marching band play Stars and Stripes, I’m complaining about that shrill little piccolo, while she’s in total rapture reliving her teenage years of playing with her dad in a marching band.

If you want to get a big conversation going just mention anything about music to Gary Bunzer (the RV Doctor) and he’ll wax poetic about his guitars and the songs he loves to play, many of them from his high school years.

Why do I mention this? Well, right now we all need some happy things. And unfortunately many of our happy things have been cut off from us. We can’t go camping, we can’t eat out in a restaurant, we can’t go shopping in a store without dressing up in a hazmat suit.

So what can we do? Well, I would suggest it’s time to queue up the greatest hits of your youth, find a good pair of headphones if you don’t want to make your significant other cringe at your music choices, and lay back for a deep listen. For example, when I first listed to Hendrix I thought he was darn good. But as a teenager I was listening to an LP on a cheap record player with a little 3″x5″ speaker. However, now I have full-tilt studio monitors and know how to tune my room so it sounds like his original recording sessions must have sounded like. And at times I literally have tears streaming down my face from the sheer beauty of the playing and production.

So what’s your favorite musical years and artists? Could be Django Reinhardt, or Blondie, or the Beatles, or Black Sabbath, or Tchaikovsky or Paul Simon, or whatever. Listen on Spotify or YouTube or whatever music streaming service you’ve got. Relive the moment you first heard Pink Floyd’s Meddle (I do, and there were recreational “enhancers” involved) or whatever floated your boat at the time. Then please tell us in the comments below about the music you love, when you learned to love it, and why you love it.

The times they are a-changin’, and we can change with them if we just keep our heads and hearts together. I look forward to reading about your favorite music in the comments below.

Let’s listen safe out there….

 

 

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.

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Bob Weinfurt
5 months ago

I’m 3 years younger than you so we grew up with a lot of the same songs. I’ve collected records since I was a pre-teen and have over 4,000 of them. Listening to them, or the oldies station, always brings back memories from my youth.

Dave Hacker
5 months ago

Just what you said Mike. The music brings you right back to where you were & what you were doing when you listened to it. Turn off all the lights, put on the headphones (which back in the day were Koss Pro 4AA with liquid filled ear pads) & crank Dark Side of the Moon. Almost heaven!

ROBERT NIEBELING
5 months ago

I’ll never forget the time I visited a college campus, and the guy I was bunking with played STEELY DAN “Can’t buy a Thrill”, PINK FLOYD “Dark Side of the Moon”, and THE DOOBIE BROTHERS “The Captain and Me.” I was hooked for life!

Gene Bjerke
5 months ago

We still listen to the same music today as we listened to in the 40’s and 50’s. I have an iPod filled with the CDs we both collected. My contributions are jazz (from New Orleans style to the 50’s mostly), classics, and music from the Caribbean. My wife spent much of her life teaching folk dance, so we have dance music from various times and places. We keep the iPod plugged into the dash stereo on the RV so we don’t depend on radio stations as we drive (I refuse to listen to Sirius). For the most part we like each other’s music and it makes the miles slide by more easily.
PS, I’m listening to Cape Verde music as I type this at home.

Susan
5 months ago

I am a child of the same era as you Mike. Over the years my musical taste has expanded to include everything from opera to rock. The experience of some concerts have strong ties like the frenzy Depeche Mode created at Merriweather Post Pavilion, the Beach Boys on the Mall with a million people in DC on 4th of July, having the opportunity to hear Tony Bennett at Wolf Trap, Emerson Lake & Palmer at Saratoga, anyone at Red Rocks. The list goes on….

Bill
5 months ago

I was in high school during the folk music era – Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, and we looked for old records by Ledbelly, Pete Seegar, etc. I thought the Beetles ruined music. Had a collection of 78s with classical, jazz, and big band music. Later got into Black Sabbath and some other stuff, and then country when a guy at work I didn’t like pointed out that country music told a story. Most rock was adolescent angst. Now I like just about everything except opera and hip-hop/rap, but even that is getting more musical.

Dick
5 months ago

Keep up the good work Mike and stay well.

Alan Day
5 months ago

Funny how a song takes you right back to a place in your life (thanks, Kenny Chesney!). For me, it’s “Take It Easy” by Eagles, listening while cruising down PCH in Newport Beach at sunset, with my arm on the open drivers window, and a gorgeous blue-eyed blonde next to me…(Thanks for 37 great years, babe! Miss you!)

Del
5 months ago

I guess I’m the oddball here. My music goes from rock(Moody Blues, Three Dog, Led,Black Sabbath) to classical(Bach, Beethoven,Mozart) to Jazz(Coltrane,Rollins,Waller) to Blues(King, Vaughn, Hendrix). They all make me happy. Throw in Disney and Show tunes and I’m all set. Lucky for me the wife is good for most, except for some of the really long hair classical, she leaves the room or makes me use headphones for those.

Joe Allen
5 months ago

Mike, I guess I’m the old guy here, as I grew up with 50’s -60’s music and Ray Charles, The Righteous Brothers, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and I could go on and on. Those were the days the music could be understood as to what they were actually singing. lol So now, while going down the road, I listen to Country and Oldies but Goodies music on the Sirius!
“I can’t stop loving you” by Ray Charles was our theme song at the prom in ’62. Love that song!

impavid
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Agreed with your choice of artists but must add, for me, Webb Pierce, Sonny James, Faron Young, Johnny Tillotson, Connie Smith, and that type.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
5 months ago
Reply to  impavid

Ever heard of country music singer Joe Diffie, impavid? He died today of coronavirus. 🙁 —Diane at RVtravel.com

John
5 months ago

CCR, Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple, Beatles, Rolling Stones. Somehow I managed to skip ahead to the arena rock bands of the early 80’s. Journey, Boston, Kansas.

Will
5 months ago

Mike we’re the same age. I grew up in SoCal. Yep, Led Zep, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, CCR, Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Cream. Just watched and recorded a documentary the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. OH LORDY! What a gem!

My wife is a little younger and grew up in North Dakota. Disco was formative for her. She completely missed my era of music by just a few years.

Sandy Perley
5 months ago

I find my music memories stretch out over a longer stretch of years since I had two older siblings and their music choices are also ingrained in my brain!

Montgomery Bonner
5 months ago

SiriusXM 60 on Six or the Frank Sinatra Channel. Go boys sing it to me.