I won the lottery today. My morning walk and swim started as usual. I put on my mint green Apple Airpods Max headphones and set to Spotify. And it was there: my 2021 Spotify playlist “Your best 2021 songs” with all my most played songs of the year. Notably, none of the music was released in 2021.
For me it was a nostalgic throwback to my youth with Evergreen (Love theme from the original A Star Is Born movie with Barbara Streisand), favorite classics from John Barry’s Out of Africa track Flying Over Africa, remember the scene where Robert Redford flies Meryl Streep in a light plane across the vast savannah, and Pachelbel: Canon & Gigue in D major as well as Spiegel im Spiegel from Arvo Part.
My playlist also included a heavy dose of soulful songs from If by Bread, Annie’s Song by John Denver and They Long To Be Closer To You by The Carpenters for those times when I was clearly wallowing in a Covid funk. Fortunately, I interwoven that with more upbeat music from I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin to Staying Alive by the Bee Gees and God Only Knows by the Beach Boys. Finally, there are almost all the tracks from my two musical discoveries of the year – the soundtracks from the movie Green Book and About Time. Green Book for his jazz and piano playing and About Time for Ben Folds’ masterpiece The Luckiest, The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, Nick Cave and The Bad Seed’s About Time as well as Il Mondo by Jimmy Fontana with which to play the sound dial at the top.
Every now and then I still play Spotify playlists from 2020 and miraculously it can bring me back to what I was feeling back then in a flash. I may not remember what I was doing on that date, but I play a song that I listened to then and it all comes back to me in an instant. How I felt, what I thought.
I may have forgotten the name of the person I met last week, but my musical memory is incredibly vivid and emotionally charged.
As I immersed myself in the music enjoyed throughout the year, it made me wonder about my music playlist from decades past. It inspired me to compile the music of my generation, the playlist of my life so to speak – and I encourage everyone to set their own playlist because well it’s fun.
Music of my generation: the 60s
Baby love, my baby love
I need you, oh how I need you!
But all you do is treat me bad
Break my heart and leave me sad
Tell me, what did I do wrong?
To make you stay away so long
Fun fact: the day I was born one of the hit songs was Baby Love by the Supremes. Check out Birthday Jams for songs played on the day you were born. My song is here.
But the year belonged to the Beatles who had six number one singles in 1964 and on my birthday (November 15th) their song “I want to hold your handTopped the charts and also became the number one single of the year.
Music of my generation: the 70s
You can dance
You can laugh
Have the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch this scene
Dig the dance queen
Dressed in my bell-bottom jeans and a canary yellow top, I joined my school friends and danced like no tomorrow to Dancing Queen, which I still consider to be one of my favorite songs from Abba. There were also family dancing moments on Sister Sledge We Are Family and my mom was pulling out Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night and we all embarrassed ourselves on the living room fireplace. Another personal favorite was Marcia Hines’ album Shining, which to me never dates.
Music of my generation: the 80s
You have a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from scratch has nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll do something
Me, me, I have nothing to prove
From Fast Cars by Tracey Chapman to In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins, the music on these albums takes me back to my last school assembly where the world was full of possibilities until my heady early days in London where my career first started. took root with a work on the UK newspaper Today.
Music of my generation: the 90s
I won’t let you down
i won’t abandon you
I must have some faith in the sound
It’s the only good thing that I have
I won’t let you down
So please don’t give up on me
Because I really, really wanna stay
The 90s saw me move from London to LA and back again. I have listened to everything from Seal, Santana to Alanis Morissette and let’s not forget George Michael.
Working on Breakfast TV in the UK in the 90s, I was invited to a special event with George Michael. He released a new album and his PR arranged to meet him. He told us a funny story. He remembered a time when the rival breakfast show had come to his door with female dancers and performed the Wham! song Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. He told me he had had a big night and fell asleep with the TV still on. Suddenly he was woken up by the sound of music outside and on TV. On the small screen in front of him, he saw girls with pom poms singing wildly and wondered if he was delirious from the day before. It was then that he looked out the window and spotted a television crew outside his house. Turns out he wasn’t going crazy after all.
So I can tell you that George Michael was both funny and a talented musician and his music shaped the 90s for me.
Music of my generation: the 2000s
He didn’t give time to regret
kept his cock wet
With its same old safe bet
Me and my head held high
And my tears dry
Carry on without my guy
Soul Amy Winehouse is what brings me back to that time. For me, it was the era of powerful singers like Amy, Beyonce, Mary J Blige and Lady Gaga. It also marked my return from London, Los Angeles and Auckland to the Sydney shores. After flying to the UK for a two week vacation, I was finally home but with an English husband and two boys, both with English accents.
Music of my generation: the 2010s
Every now and then I think about when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
I told myself that you were right for me
But I felt so alone in your company
But it was love and it’s a pain that I still remember
With teenage boys and a job as editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, life got busier than I could imagine and Gotye’s Somebody I Used To Know takes me back to that time in my life. Frantic.
Music of my generation: the 2020s
Easy on me – Adele
There is no gold in this river
That I’ve been washing my hands forever
I know there is hope in these waters
But I can’t bring myself to swim
When I drown in this silence
Baby let me in
While I’m still shaping my future playlist, it looks like I’ve reverted to music from my past and favorite movie soundtracks. One thing is certain, Adele will be making an appearance. And now, of course, I have Spotify keeping an eye on the evolution of my musical tastes.