Driving down Bridge Street with Nick, checking out all the changes that have occurred since I was enrolled at SUNY Oswego, all the dive bars now torn down or repurposed. I jumped at the chance to take him back to school, wanting quality time with him to see how it was going. He’s living on West Campus, where I spent four years engaging in shenanigans during the 80’s. As I approached, all the feels for the sounds that I love from that time came flooding back. Whether it was Taps played on a snare and trumpet by Michael and Nelson at sunset, or walks to the lake with my roommates where we could not even talk over the roar of the waves on Lake Ontario, or playing the stereo with the speakers out the windows having a music war with the opposite dorm, there are so many memories. And the music…so many songs…here are 10 of the songs that take me to Cayuga Hall every time I hear them!
Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen
This song does double duty. My roommate Joanie loves Bruce and introduced me to some of his greatest hits when we lived together (Tenth Avenue Freeze Out is my fave). I hear her every time I hear his voice. It’s also the theme song for the student made movie Glory Days that a couple of my quadmates. Anthony and Tony, made while at Oswego. I wish it out there on the internet somewhere because it would be so much fun to see it again. I remember it was a high quality production and that we all attended the movie premiere in Mahar Hall. And this song reminds me of those two guys from Jersey who created it!
I’ll Be There by the Jackson 5
This song could be heard blasting from the suite on the first floor of Cayuga a lot. Ellen would turn the lights out and the four of us (Joanie, Patty, Ellen, and myself) would sway on the state issued couches, singing at the top of our lungs, right along with Michael and his brothers. Back before people had anthems, this was ours.
Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye
Ellen also loved this song and she and Patty would play it incessantly. I think they played it over and over again to watch me squirm, winching at the explicit lyrics. From Queens, I always thought they seemed so worldly and street smart. It didn’t take long for me to realize they were a lot like me, and they found many more things to tease me about during our time together, including inviting me to a concert with Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix among others (how was I to know they were all dead?)
Corner of the Sky from the musical Pippin
This was Patty’s comfort song. Everyone has that one song that gives them all the feels. She would wander across the hall to Joanie, our resident Broadway lover, and ask her to put this LP on. Whenever we heard it, we knew that someone needed a few hugs, and maybe a beer.
American Pie by Don McLean
Back in the day, there were parties most weekends in the quad (I did live with the rugby team, after all) and some parties in the basement, the CBI (for Cayuga Beach Inn). Every keg party down there, whether it was a toga party or a beach party, had this song as part of its soundtrack. Nothing says party like a song about the day the music died!
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel
Bryan would make his way down to the piano room a few times a week, which was across the hall. If my door was open, he would try and lure me over by playing the opening stanzas of this song, although as soon as I appeared, he would jump into My Life (or Movin’ Out, I never can remember) and my face would fall. 30 years later we tried to recreate the magic by doing this song at a karaoke party, but it turns out our talents were more suited for “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”
St Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion) by John Parr
These six friends showed up my senior year and gave me a glimpse into my future (well, except for the drugs and the expensive lifestyles.) Many of my college friends are still in my life 30 years later and consider myself very lucky and blessed. Friends who love and accept you no matter where you are are priceless. Lucky me, I am part of another group of friends that make me feel the same way! Maybe some day there will be a Band Wives movie, and Valerie Bertinelli can play me! Unless it ends up The Band Wives Lego Movie.
The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby
I had to include a second song for Bryan by showcasing someone who is considered a rock star for keyboardists!! What I love about Bryan is that he can pick out almost any song and play it; he is music savant! He is MY rock star for keyboards. Bruce does a great job with this one (and so does Bryan)!
Walking On The Moon by The Police
Mike Walker was my single most important music influence in college. He introduced/reacquainted me with the music I listen now to the most. We spent hours listening to jazz, rock, and classic 60’s. I also took music classes together and even had a few drum lessons just to spend more time with him! We spent a lot of time listening to early song by The Police and here is one of my faves.
I’m Looking Through You by The Beatles
And I’ve saved the best for last. Mike also introduced me to The Beatles in every stage of their careers. Before Mike I thought they were bugs. My favorite album is Rubber Soul, because it was a gift from him. I love the harmonies of You Won’t See Me and the sweet melancholy of In My Life, but the song I belt out the loudest when listening to it in the car is this one.
So many things about Oswego shape who I am, and what makes me happy. Since this is a rock and roll blog, I wanted to give a glimpse into what influenced my music and my life!