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Saturday, June 18, 2005
The Songs in My Heart
Here's one music journalist's list of the 25 saddest songs ever written. (I think he must mean rock songs - except he has something by Billie Holiday...but, then, it has to be considered an egregious overlook not to have some WWII songs on there, like the all-time sure to make a rock weep song, "I'll Be Seeing You.")

Going down the list, I kept shrugging, as, by the end, I have only ever heard four of the songs. It occurred to me that this might have a lot to do with why I've always been basically happy.

My parents were very strict about music with us when we were growing up. We weren't alowed to listen to anything my parents thought would disorder our souls... which I guess meant, anything that would add more troubles to our day then the day itself had decreed sufficient. I missed a lot of cool stuf. So, for example, I didn't "discover" Fleetwood Mac until 1996. I still haven't discovered Springsteen. (Going to stop being my friend now, 117?) But, I also remember being flummoxed repeatedly by my high school friends increasingly darker attitudes and perspectives. The music was always with them - on the bus, at their parties, on their alarms, in all their free-time, and they kept getting more glassy-eyed and rebellious as they got more and more into Pink Floyd, Metallica, Black Sabbath, etc. - all of whom were just names to me.

We had lots of music in the house, but it was happy music. Real geeky stuff, I suppose - big bands and night clubby singers like Nat King Cole and Sinatra, Broadway and movie musicals, Herb Albert, classical and religious music, and certainly happy sounding pop music. I couldn't identify a signle song from any metal or, later, punk band, but I could distinguish a Gershwin song from a Cole Porter...and which Gershwin too. Yes, the Nicolosi's were definitely weird in this respect. But the happy music we had in our lives warded off any resentment we might have otherwise nurtured.

Music is very important. The songs in your heart can give you either inner hope and joy, or inner meaninglessness and cynicism. I always marvel how parents can just shrug off what their kids are listening to.