Tag Archives: The Music Challenge

The Music Challenge #14: The Wedding Weekend

Still celebrating the approach of 10 crazy years of marriage with the man I love. There was so much good music that weekend. Again, I went the cheap but smart route having little sis play DJ. As I mentioned before, some of these may be totally cliché, but it doesn’t make them less awesome or less appropriate for someone’s big day.

Adding to The Music Challenge …

Before every wedding there’s always a rehearsal dinner. For ours, we invited anyone that was in town back to the lodge for a lovely brai. People were mingling on every floor. I was with the younger adult crowd laughing and sharing on the lower level with the pool table and bar. THIS moment was one of the BEST moments of the entire weekend. My great friend, and wedding stylist extraordinaire, serenaded us with an acapella version of this little ditty. It was AMAZING.  Well, probably because HE is amazing. He blew everyone away. And I felt like it was this sweet little gift only he could give me for my wedding weekend.

90. Tim Curry, Sweet Transvestite (1975)

My brother made the wedding party announcements as we arrived back to the lodge. He introduced each bridesmaid and groomsman; then it was our turn. One of the few requests I gave my DJ. Clifford and I were going to walk into this one as a married couple so help me. Because, you know, it’s Billy Bloody Idol.

91. Billy Idol, White Wedding (1982)

My little sister had compiled a fantastic mix of genres. My sisters, Chelle, my Stylist Extraordinaire and myself sang and danced all night long. We were on the top floor literally shaking the house at times, but there was no stopping us. We crooned, we belted, we bopped and we boogied until the wee hours of the morning. Here are just a few that made my wedding reception the most incredible party it could have possibly been.

92. Fred Astaire, Just The Way You Look Tonight (1959)

93. Sister Sledge, We Are Family (1979)

94. The Cure, It’s Friday I’m In Love (1992)

95. The Temptations, My Girl (1965)

96.  Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

97. The Chiffons, One Fine Day (1963)

98. Blue Swede, Hooked On A Feeling (1974)

99. The Reflections, (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet (1964)

100. Billy Joel, Uptown Girl (1983)

101. The Tokens, The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1961)

102. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, You’re The One That I Want (1978)

103. Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World (1969)

104. Ben E. King, Stand By Me (1962)




The Music Challenge #13: A Love Story

As with any great love story, music helps share the narrative. Clifford and I are not a great love story, but we still have songs to tell our tale. As I mentioned last week, I’m taking this month to celebrate our upcoming 10th Anniversary, and that includes the music along with it. Which kinda maybe sorta helps me a bit with The Music Challenge (not like I’ve fallen behind schedule there at all or anything).

There are a lot of songs I could list while reminiscing our time together over the years. Many involving our 1500 break ups, but this month is all about the love.

So here we go, adding to the Music Challenge, and sharing our love story at the same time …

The beginning…

When I first met Clifford, I questioned his taste in music. He wasn’t that fresh off the boat, but he was still going through this European phase where he was totally loving Techno. If there are two kinds of music I really can’t handle, it’s Country and probably Techno. Maybe it’s not even called Techno anymore, I don’t know, but it’s that wholly unoriginal and insane electronic noise with a repetitiveness that persists to the point of grating on my every last nerve.  It seriously all sounds the same. And because it all sounds the same, I could basically pick any Techno song ever made and insert it here. But because he still has their CDs downstairs, I will give you the Chemical Brothers as a reminder that I probably shouldn’t have dated Clifford to begin with.

84. Chemical Brothers, Brothers Gonna Work It Out (1998)

Our first song…

We would drive out to Tybee Island at like 3 in the morning during our college years. First as friends, then as more than friends. I am the last person to say they overplay songs on the radio. To me, the ones people whine about being overplayed are the popular ones that I love. Why hear them less when you can hear them more? Shawn Mullins’s Lullaby played probably every 15 minutes back then. I can say, quite sincerely, it was overplayed. But it also played every time we were together.  Ipso facto it became our song — temporarily, of course. Now I hear it and I want to scratch out my eyes but with something very dull to make the pain lengthy and excruciating because that’s what I deserve for ever having picked this song as “our song” (though really it was Clifford who picked it – a story for another day).  Anyway, here it is, our first song …

85. Shawn Mullins, Lullaby (1998)

Our actual song? ….. Typical? Yeah. Expected? Of course. True? You betcha. And probably one of my favorite songs of all time. Reminds me of the man I adore every time I hear it.

86. Ozzie Nelson, Dream a Little Dream (1931)

Now, moving forward, please keep in mind, that deep down, for all my bravado, I am a total cheeseball at heart. I’m a tourist. I’m stereotypical. I like tacky, over-the-top and yet completely expected things. So some of these songs are going to be cliché. Probably most of them, and overly so. I’m okay with that because I basically consider myself one big walking talking cliché. Not a lot of nuance to my actions and overall approach to life, but again, I’m ok with that.

The ceremony…

I had promised myself from the moment I was introduced to this song on our good old Commodore 128 that I would walk down the aisle to it. And I did.

87. Pachelbel Canon in D (a wicked long time ago)

We had hired a violinist as our music maker for the wedding. I found out shortly before that the violinist had to cancel and was replaced with a flutist? Clifford didn’t notice. I didn’t really either. In fact, when I brought it up the other day because I’d forgotten the ordeal he said, ”Are you kidding me? We spent actual money on a *expletive* flutist for our wedding? SERIOUSLY???!” The only thing I cared about other than nailing Canon in D for my entrance, was playing this song as we made our exit as a newly married couple. Let’s just say it’s not the same being played on a flute (okay, maybe a violin wouldn’t have been much better, but a flute?) …

88. Natalie Cole, This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) (1975)

Let’s skip to the wedding reception now shall we? I essentially hired my little sister to be our DJ for our big to-do. Her fee was gratis. She had a ridiculous song library, and this was really back before iTunes was anything to note. It was more like the Nabster or Limewire days… you know, when music was free– in an illegal kind of way. Because Cliff and I are cheap and were totally broke, and she really does have good taste in music, and our rehearsal dinner and reception venues had a built-in sound system, girl basically burned a bunch of CDs and let them spin.  She did a pretty killer job and took the few requests I had and added them in. No Country or Techno music was allowed, of course.

Our first dance…

Could there be any other song for that moment? It should be law.

89. Etta James, At Last (1961)

That was the first and only time I have ever danced with my husband. He stepped on my feet every second of the song, but all I really remember is his big doofy grin. It was amazing.

More songs will be mentioned over the next few weeks as I share details of our special event, but  I’ll leave you with these for now. Enjoy them as much as I enjoy them (except the Chemical Brothers, of course).




The Music Challenge: Elementary School

So I haven’t added to The Music Challenge and if I don’t continue to do so, I’ll never reach 365 songs by December 31st. The first song for today popped into my head literally out of nowhere this last week and I can’t get it out of my mind.

It took me back to Elementary School. I had to have been in Kindergarten or 1st grade. There was a talent show, I believe. The details surrounding the event are a little hazy. It was definitely a variety show of some sort. I remember this blonde girl who was probably in 5th or 6th grade (she seemed SO much older than me at the time) was going to do a dance performance to this slow sad song. It was beautiful, though. I fell in love with the song at the time — so so 80’s, but that’s ok. The dancer had this gorgeous baby blue costume that was so sparkly and soft and fluid. I could have watched her dance forever. The song was Don’t Cry Out Loud by good old Melissa Manchester – remember her?

Thanks to this memory hitting me hard,  I am adding my top most memorable songs from Elementary School to The Music Challenge. Enjoy.

78. Melissa Machester, Don’t Cry Out Loud (1978)

These next songs were sung by my entire grade at one of those end-of-year concerts the music program has to put on. The theme was Disney and my class was given The Little Mermaid. I remember belting out these two particularly.

79. The Little Mermaid, Under The Sea (1989)

80. The Little Mermaid, Kiss The Girl (1989)

I don’t know what possessed me really, but I tried out for choir in the 5th grade and made it. In their defense, I think they did accept everyone who wanted to join. I somehow did make the elite Double Ten as an alternate, however. The Double Ten were the top twenty singers of the entire choir. They did special performances and competitions if I recall correctly like singing Christmas ditties at the Concord Mall. Granted, there were usually only 25 or so people in choir in all, so making the Double Ten as an alternate probably shouldn’t be as celebrated as the flattering success that it was in my mind. I think our choir director must have had a thing for Bette Midler because we were given Wind Beneath My Wings and this supposedly optimistic one as well …

81. Bette Midler, From A Distance(1990)

Another song stuck in my mind from those choir days is Take These Wings. Once it’s in there, you can’t get it out.

82. Take These Wings(19??)

And last but not least … Can they even play songs like this in school these days???

83. The Cat Came Back (wicked old folk song)



The Music Challenge #11- Concerts

I was never one to really spend money on music growing up. I enjoyed music and still do, but I was never a groupie or a follower of a particular singer, song writer or band (other than Aerosmith and The Beatles). My love of music stopped at purchasing a cassette single or eventually a CD here or there. I spent my money on movies and doing stupid stuff. Not necessarily money wiser spent, but that’s life.

I’m also a person who would attend a concert for entertainment. I want to see an incredible performance. I’m about showmanship. I want an experience. Say what you will about her, but Madonna is a performer not a singer in my book. A concert she produces would be worth my time and money. As much as I love a musician unplugging here or there, I do not want to pay well upwards of $75-$100 to watch someone sit on a stool for two hours knocking out acoustic versions of their top hits. I mean, I’m watching them sit on a stool for two hours… Not my cup of tea and a waste of money in my book.  And you can totally forget it if it’s a concert filled with nothing but new music. I paid to hear what I already know, not some experiment you’re running on an unsuspecting crowd to test your creative juices which in a lot of cases pale in comparison to your earlier career successes.

Over the years though, I have made it to a few concerts and when I hear one of the musicians’ songs on the radio, it takes me back to those moments.

Adding to The Music Challenge, songs from all of the concerts I ever attended:

My first concert ever was in the Grand Stands at the Elkhart County Fair. My grandparents listened to Ray Stevens. My mother listened to Ray Stevens. His music played often throughout my house and when he came to the county fair, we were all over that like white on rice. The man and his music are witty, funny, and totally entertaining.

70. Ray Stevens, The Streak (1974)

My first concert with friends was an Audio Adrenaline concert at Epworth Forest in Indiana. Remember them? Youth group teens everywhere flocked to this one. I remember I bought my first concert shirt there. It was orange.

71. Audio Adrenaline, Big House (1993)

Most people know by now that Dave Mathews was originally from South Africa. This is why I think my husband and sister-in-law were such big fans. They went to the Dave Mathews concert at the Lakewood Amphitheater  every year. When Clifford and I started dating, a ticket was bestowed upon me as well. Other than Ants Marching, I had no clue what the hell he was playing. It was all new music and it sounded terrible, not like the Dave Mathews music people had paid to hear played. It was my least favorite concert experience.

72. Dave Mathews Band, Ants Marching (1993)

I was SO psyched to see Art Garfunkel in concert! He played at the SCAD Theater in Savannah. He was wonderful and I am just so happy I can say I saw him live. It was beyond what I thought it would be.

73. Art Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Waters (1970)

SCAD started this free New Alumni concert in Forsyth Park in Savannah the year Clifford was graduating. They chose George Clinton as their inaugural musician. Of all of the concerts I have ever been to, this was the surprise. I LOVED it! I never considered myself a fan of funk, but boy can George Clinton and his peeps Turn. It. Out. I have a whole new appreciation for the genre. Now a funk song is always included  on my top ten jams list.

74. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Give Up the Funk (1977)

There is something about this man that draws me to him and his music. He’s been compared to Freddie Mercury, and maybe that’s the hook that always keeps me coming back for more. In 2007, my sister and I took one of our youth group girls to see him in concert at Center Stage (formerly Earthlink Live!) in Atlanta. You want to talk about showmanship? Performance? Yeah, and he’s sexy as hell? Everyone should take time to see Mika in concert at least once in their life.

75. Mika, Relax, Take It Easy (2006)

I’ve already posted about my Styx experience, I think, but essentially my dad had gotten Chelle and I track seats at the Elkhart County Fair to see them. It was fantastic! They were fun and light and just utterly sensational.  Their energy was off the charts! I’d wanted to see Styx in concert for years, and it was sort of neat to be able to see them playing back near my hometown actually.

76. Styx, Come Sail Away (1977)

This was the concert that I won tickets to through the Mark Arum radio show in Atlanta. It was at the Verizon Amphitheater. I took my younger sister and it was such a beautiful night. Loved every minute of it.

77. Boston, More Than A Feeling (1976)





The Music Challenge #9 – Road Trips

I have done a lot of road trips over the years. A. Lot. Most of them involve driving to or from America’s Heartland in some shape, form or other. The company you keep and the music you play make the trip. Music is particularly important on those lonelier treks where small talk and tall tales typically shared with cohorts can’t exactly be the order of the day.

I love road trips. Like with a capital L. They make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely moments when I’m ready to get out of the car and simply be done with the whole ordeal. Highways and byways can easily become monotonous solitary trails seemingly leading to nothing more than a great big abyss, but I like the time these trips give me to slow things down, take a step back and just think about things.

Driving from Atlanta to Northern Indiana recently, I was doing just that- thinking. Certain songs are more conducive to internal contemplation and deliberation. There are definitely times when you want to roll down the window, let the wind hit your hair, and put the pedal to the metal while blasting tunes that just totally pump you up. Road trips are not those times for me. Partly because rolling my window down while going 79mph on an interstate doesn’t do my hair any favors (you’ve seen my hair on a good day, right? forget after hazardously wind-swept conditions), but also because they are the times allocated to quiet consideration and meditation. It’s the time for me to put things back in perspective because inevitably something somewhere in my life is horribly out of whack. I realized on this last 1,340 odd mile journey, that Classic Rock is it for me.  It relaxes my mind. Again, it puts things in perspective. It speaks truths and allows me to reflect on what really matters. Continue reading


The Music Challenge #8 – Slow Dance Songs

To continue in the vein of Monday’s prom related post, and desperately needing to add to The Music Challenge, I’ve decided to insert these cheesy sweethearts that overwhelmed every girl’s gushing heart while opening doors of opportunity for their hormonal-driven dates at some random dance in the 1990s.

I begin with my Junior prom. The theme was Take My Breath Away. I still remember sitting in the Home-Economics room with the prom committee when one of my comrades threw it out there for consideration. All I’ll say, given that it was prom, it could have been SO much worse. I’d gladly accept a Top Gun inspired prom slow song over something inspired by the sinking of a gigantic ship. I’m just saying … Continue reading


The Music Challenge #7

When I was writing my pen pal post the other week, it reminded me a lot about my various travels over the years. There are certain cities or locations where music played quite a role in my experience, or at least in remembering my experience there.

Adding to The Music Challenge – songs from around the world. Or rather songs that remind me of being around the world. Continue reading


Throw-Back-Monday: School Dances

School dances had so much potential back in the day. If you eliminated the angsty teen melodramas, the pubertal hardships, the unrequited crushes, and the desperate need to be accepted by your peers at all costs, dances were the perfect events for letting loose and having a genuinely good time. A time made all the more merry by the music being played.

Unless you had a significant other that week, you typically went with a group of friends. You also typically cleared the dance floor the moment a slow song came on. You promptly exited the cafeteria floor (that’s where a lot of my school dances were) because it was time to claim your location on the wall. The slow songs were terrible and the country songs thrown in made my stomach turn. Even then, surrounded by farmers and Country-Western-loving-fiends, I hated Country music.

BUT, once the painfully depressing slow song segment would end, it was back to business. Shimmying and shaking to Billboard’s top hits. There were always those songs that got everyone going like YMCA and The Loco-Motion.  And then there were the everyday chart toppers with a few old school songs thrown in to boot. A little Madonna, a little Prince, a little NKOTB … school dances could easily be a fun, safe and pretty upright way to spend a Friday night with your friends. And yes, I am well aware things have changed – OR maybe they haven’t changed as much as we might think. Continue reading


The Music Challenge #5

Funerals are depressing things. I don’t do well with funerals. I think I may have mentioned that before. The thing is, when I die, I’d like it to not be so depressing. You’ve seen movies like Love Actually where Liam Neeson gives his wife a great send off to Bye Bye Baby. Or any film or TV show where an Irishman dies and they throw a big party at the local pub. Lots of Guinness to go around. Little bit of Danny Boy thrown in for good measure … That’s what I want.

My younger sister and I have discussed this topic at great length over the years. It’s almost like a game. When we go, what should our funeral song be? What would be a great funeral song for the people we know? (although that version of the game can get a little mean – funny as hell, but a little mean).

You can actually go several ways with the funeral song question. I’ve decided to add my go-tos to The Music Challenge list as the following songs always make me think of death and funerals when I hear them. Not that I’ve ever heard a one of them at an actual funeral. In fact, I’m used to hearing rather slow and melancholic hymns, but the bottom line is, when these songs flash across the radio, I have had the thought “THAT would be a GREAT funeral song for…” Continue reading


The Music Challenge #4

For your Friday merriment, and as a continuation of music that has created some awesome dance movements, I’d like to add one special song that reminds me of one of the most awesome dance moments  ever ….

Christopher Walken rocking out to the musical stylings of  Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice. In-freaking-credible. Everytime I hear ANYTHING by Fatboy Slim, the first five seconds bring me to Christopher Walken killing it in this music video.

Song number 15 of 365. Watch. Absorb. Enjoy. (and you’re welcome)

15. Fatboy Slim, Weapon of Choice (2003)