Memories can haunt us, no matter how much we want to escape them. There are false memories, conflicting memories of the same event and memories that clash with the reality of the present. Thanks to mass media, memory isn’t something that only belongs to us as individuals. When we see scenes at the cinema or television or on DVDs over and over again, they become part of our collective memory. Even if you’ve never seen the film King Kong you know that there’s a scene where a big gorilla climbs up the Empire State Building with a human girl in his hand. And whenever a comedy show or film features a scene where someone is killed or threatened in a shower most people understand it’s a parody of Psycho. So mass media, film and television in particular, have contributed hugely to a memory that we share with millions of other people.
Unfortunately, we remember melancholy and pleasure in equal measure. The concept of looking back in hindsight is also a bit complicated. It’s easy to write off youthful idealism as simply being naïve as Stevie Wonder did in our opening number YESTERME, YESTERYOU, YESTERDAY. According to Stevie it was all “a cruel and foolish game we used to play”. Well that’s how he remembers it anyway.
And talking of cruel, I can’t imagine anything worse than getting Alzheimer’s disease and Elvis Costello’s song VERONICA is all about that. It tells the story of an old lady who lives in a nursing home and is gradually losing her memory. It was inspired by Costello’s grandmother.
The Ramones want to know DO YOU REMEMBER ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO? Has it ever gone away?
Collecting objects that remind us of old times should bring back good memories, but that’s not always the case as Soft Cell tell it in MEMORABILIA. Sarah Vaughan would rather experience something that didn’t work out than never do anything at all in I’D RATHER HAVE A MEMORY THAN A DREAM. The real classic of this triple play, however, was the Shangri-Las with their ode to a lost love affair: REMEMBER (WALKIN IN THE SAND). Here’s a great clip from the excellent “Songmakers Collection” DVD, with interviews with Mary Weiss and writer producer George ‘Shadow’ Morton about this track and their other hit, LEADER OF THE PACK.
Jurassic 5 dug deep into their memory banks for REMEMBER HIS NAME. As did Fall Out Boy for THNKS FR TH MMRS . The Zutons, REMEMBER ME is about those kind of friends who seem to forget you once they are entrenched in a romantic relationship. Don’t you just hate that!
THOSE WERE THE DAYS is from Cream’s 1968 album Wheels of Fire. The album cover was designed by Australian artist Martin Sharpe and it won the the New York Art Directors Prize for best album cover in 1969. The sound on the album was characterised by a hybrid of blues, hard rock and psychdelic rock, combined with Eric Clapton’s blues guitar, Ginger Baker’s jazz-influenced drumming and the basslines and voice of Jack Bruce.
One of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard belongs to Sarah McLachlan. And one of my favourite songs of hers is one that I first heard on the soundtrack to the film The Brothers McMullen. It’s called I WILL REMEMBER YOU.
Otis Redding’s name is synonymous with the term ‘soul’ and we had to include his classic with I’VE GOT DREAMS TO REMEMBER. Redding died at the very early age of 26 but his memory is kept alive with the Youth Educational Dream Foundation and a very good website. Go to: http://www.otisredding.com/
British group Bloc Party look back regretfully on an opportunity for love that wasn’t realised in I STILL REMEMBER:
The Kinks wonder what ever happened to their childhood friend in DO YOU REMEMBER WALTER? It’s from their album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.
The Supremes reflected on the good and bad memories of a love that used to be in REFLECTIONS while Jimi Hendrix had only good memories of a past love, (he even wants her back!), in REMEMBER.
Relationships that survive depend partly on shared memories, but those memories need constant topping up. Indie rockers, Yo La Tengo document this well in OUR WAY TO FALL.
There was a fair bit of nostalgia in this week’s show, (well what did you expect?) and one of my faves was The Platters with REMEMBER WHEN. Also fitting the bill was Elvis Presley who seems somewhat confused in I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET.
Memories, daydreams, disconnected thoughts – they fill our minds in a never-ending rush. Our next song, THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND, evoked this beautifully, conveying the incredible weirdness of our thought processes. If you’re after nostalgia then what about Noel Harrison with the original version of the song that served the film The Thomas Crown Affair so well.
Ok back to recent memories. Jack Johnson wonders DO YOU REMEMBER? and P.M. Dawn are SET ADRIFT ON A MEMORY. Thanks to Lynden for suggesting that one and several others on our list today.
One of my favourite films deals with amnesia. Memento, starring Guy Pearce, and directed by Christopher Nolan, is a fascinating story about someone who can’t store new memories. A song about about the subject is I DON’T REMEMBER by Peter Gabriel.
Bob Dylan’s memory song is a love ballad from the Empire Burlesque album: I’LL REMEMBER YOU. And if its nostalgia that you’re after, consider MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS from Dean Martin. An oldie but a goodie, as they say.
I’ll never forget Michael Jackson with REMEMBER THE TIME from the Dangerous album. Another sad memory for me is Freddy Mercury singing THOSE WERE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES which many think was the song he dedicated to his fellow Queen members when he knew that he was dying.
Back to the 70’s and some Aussie based punk rock: remember The Saints and MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS?
We closed the show with a cover of a song that I swore I wouldn’t play this week, but this version is so sweet it had to make the cut: The Waifs with a little help from Clare Bowditch. They’re singing Frank Ifields I REMEMBER YOU.
This week’s theme on MEMORY segues nicely into next week’s topic. My computer crashed last week and I had to invest in a drive with a lot more memory to cope with all the songs that I collect for these shows. So next week its MACHINES, ROBOTS AND COMPUTERS. No Television or Radio songs please because you know they are a whole theme to themselves. and no modes of transport, for the same reason. But any other gadget or gizmo is up for grabs.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist. All songs available on iTunes.
Yesterme Yesteryou Yesterday – Stevie Wonder
Veronica – Elvis Costello
Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio – The Ramones
Memorabilia – Soft Cell
I’d Rather Have a Memory Than a Dream – Sarah Vaughan
Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand) – The Shangri-Las
Remember his name – Jurassic 5
Thnks fr th Mmrs – Fall Out Boy
Remember Me – The Zutons
Those Were The Days – Cream
I Will Remember You – Sarah Mclachlan
I’ve Got Dreams To Remember – Otis Redding
I Still Remember – Bloc Party
Do You Remember Walter – The Kinks
Reﬂections – Diana Ross & the Supremes
Remember – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Our Way to Fall – Yo La Tengo
Remember When – The Platters
I Forgot to Remember to Forget – Elvis Presley
Do You Remember – Jack Johnson
The Windmills Of Your Mind – Noel Harrison
Set Adrift On Memory Bliss – P.M. Dawn
I Don’t Remember – Peter Gabriel
I’ll Remember You – Bob Dylan
Memories Are Made Of This – Dean Martin
Remember The Time – Michael Jackson
Memories Are Made of This – The Saints
Those Were The Days Of Our Lives – Queen
Remember You (feat. Clare Bowditch) – The Waifs