All The Way A To Zed

Randy and I had one of those conversations that he usually won’t indulge in. The ‘what if ‘ conversations.

For instance, one night I woke him up to tell him that I had a dream that I was William H Macy and asked him if he would still want to have sex with me if I looked like William H Macy. He just threatened me with butt stuff and went back to sleep.

He did indulge me by participating in a version of this game when I asked him if he had to give up one, would he give up his hearing or his vision. Without hesitation he said he’d give his vision up. He said if he could never listen to music again, he didn’t think he’d want to continue his existence.

I get that. I can’t imagine a world without music. I would still give up my hearing over vision though, just for practical reasons. One of us needs to be able to see the dust bunnies gathering in the corners of our house.

I’ve met a few people in my life who have expressed a distaste for ALL music. They don’t like it.

I don’t get that. I suspect they must be dead inside.

Randy and I nearly always have music playing in the house and if there’s no music, we both have a 24 hour internal jukebox. Unfortunately for me, I have no control what my jukebox plays. It’s been stuck on Winter Wonderland for a few days now.

I’ll probably drink tonight. That should fix it.

Anyway, we were discussing the albums we’ve had or heard throughout our lives where we knew every single song on the album.  Either because we loved it or because it was forced upon us.

Usually, when I profess to love an album the truth is I love a handful of songs on the album. Still, there are a few where I still know every single song.

When I was a little kid, my dad listened to The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem At Carnegie Hall about a million times. I’m reasonably sure I still know every word to every song on that album, even though it’s been decades since I’ve heard it.

I suspect most women my age had the soundtrack to A Star Is Born. I was 13 years old when that movie came out and I’m pretty sure my mother would still shudder if she ever had to hear it again.

When I was in high school, my dad was obsessed with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. I heard the Waylon and Willie album as many times as my mother heard the Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson album.

When I was in the 8th grade, we lived in a townhouse across the street from a Rink’s department store. I got high every morning before school and every evening I went to my neighbors house, put her big cushy headphones on and listened to Aerosmith’s Rocks and Toys In The Attic.

I fell in love with Hole’s Live Through This when I was with my second husband and sang every song on that album over and over. I can’t sing…but it still made me feel good. 

I discovered Richard Thompson and listened to Rumor and Sigh and never got tired of it. Every song on that album is wonderful.

London Calling. I can listen to Joe Strummer crow all day long.

Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty.

Flowers In The Dirt by Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello.

All of these albums whether I still like them or even ever liked them still make me feel something very specific. They are part of me.

What albums make you feel? What albums do you still know every word to every song?


edited to add: I have NO idea how I forgot to include The River by Bruce Springsteen. That was such an important album to me. 

DAMMIT..and Purple Rain. Every song. Every word.

Also, there was this compilation album I had when I was little that I played a zillion times. I don’t remember the name of the album but it had songs like My Grandfather’s Clock and The Cat Came Back on it. 

My very first record was Dizzy by Tommy Roe. I was 5. I fucking loved that song.

Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos

Doolittle and Surfer Rosa by The Pixies

Bad Music for Bad People by The Cramps (Joey LOVED The Cramps at 5 months old)

The Ramones by The Ramones

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  • Billy Joel, The Stranger. Any one of those songs takes me back to good childhood memories, although we didn’t listen to it much. It was my favorite though.

    • I thought of five more albums since posting that. I remember when I was OBSESSED with learning every word to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire.

  • Off the top of my head?
    Def Leppard – Pyromania

    Huey Lewis and the News – Sports (really? that’s what it was called?..huh)

    Loverboy – Lovin’ Every Minute of It

    But before that…pretty much everything by James Taylor, Neal Young, Crosby, Still, and Nash, and Fleetwood Mac. Soundtrack of my childhood, right there.

    Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  • Like you, I have a long list, starting from when I was a kid. My sister had the Barry Manilow live 8-track and she had seniority so it played in the car when we went on trips. In 10th grade I listened to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid every morning in the parking lot before school. I have memorized every Pink Floyd album. I was going to write “more recently” I memorized Todd Snider’s Songs for the Daily Planet, but OMG that has been out for 20 years.

    Geez, I’m getting old.

    Okay, these really are recently – Halestorm’s The Strange Case of.. and Shinedown’s Amarylis. I don’t quite have ALL the words memorized, but I’m definitely getting there.

    • Oh man…I forgot a BIG one…The River by Bruce Springsteen. I listened to the shit out of that and still know every word to every song.

      I have to update the post. I can’t let that one go by

  • Ahhh…music. LOVE it. From my childhood and teen years – Elton John….anything. Billy Joel – “You May be Right” and pretty much anything off of Glass Houses. Loverboy. Bay City Rollers (yes, I’m old) I have recently listened to the theme song for the Partridge Family and I still love it. I was in a particularly good mood this week and decided it fit the mood. My taste in music depends on my mood. I can go from Frank Sintra to Keith Urban to Justin Beiber, Bieber, Beeber? Oh hell, whatever. If I like the tune or the lyrics grab me, it’s my new favorite song. I had a break up song for my divorces. My first divorce was “Kiss This” by Brad Paisley. Second divorce “Aother One Bites the Dust” (I think that’s the name) by Queen. Third divorce was “Somebody that I Used to Know” by Gotye. I am hoping I don’t have a fourth song. 🙂

    • My 2nd divorce song was the Aerosmith song What It Takes…and it was just recently that I realized they were saying ‘I don’t want to burn in paradise’ which makes so much more sense than ‘I don’t want a bird of paradise’ which is what I thought they were saying..

  • Gosh what a great post! Putting me on the spot like this is not a good thing because I’m drawing a blank on probably 90% of the albums I know. I have such a wide range of music that I listen to that it’s hard to remember it all. I listen to EVERYTHING from Garth Brooks (Se7en I know by heart for sure and everything on the Double Live album) to Eminem (I know every album he’s put out by heart too), The Beatles and Aerosmith to Metallica (The Black Album is my favorite) and Black Sabbath/Ozzie (Paranoid being my favorite from them).

    I rather listen to music all day than see another thing in my life. I don’t know what I would do without it in my life…

    P.S.- this is just to name a FEW. I know every word to a lot more full albums than this list 😉

    • When I turned 18, all I wanted was the Beatles compilation albums 1962 -1966 and 1967 to 1970 and I was so fucking happy when my parents got them for me (on 8-track) I didn’t even think about that when I wrote this post.

      • Oh wow, yes the 62-66 was my 10th Christmas present along with my first record player, so that one is a bit special too

  • I don’t get people who don’t love music either, I live and breathe it.
    My list would take a decade to write as I know the words to every album I’ve ever owned 🙂
    But here are a few gems that get me where it hurts
    Tom Waits- Closing Time
    Rickie Lee Jones- Pirates
    Billie Holiday- Lady In Satin
    The Long Ryders – Native Sons
    Maria Mckee’s self titled album
    Stevie Nicks – Belladonna
    Mirage – Siouxsie & The Banshees
    Hunky Dory- Bowie
    Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
    and a zillion more

    • Yeah, there is so much music that means very much to me. I could make a list and then probably make a second list twice as long of stuff I forgot for the first list.

  • Music is the air I breathe. There are so many albums that have altered the course of my life.

    The Cure – Disintegration
    Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna
    Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming
    Nirvana – Unplugged

    It could go on and on. Music is always, always playing in my house. My parents raised me that way. I get downright offended if I ask you to listen to a song and you don’t listen.

    Just shut me in a room with music and leave me be!

  • I’m not an ‘album’ kinda girl… I love certain songs on an album but almost never do I like EVERY song on a single album…

    … but WHAT? Some people don’t like ANY music whatsoever? What, exactly, is wrong with them? LOL. I could never live without it.

    I used to live in fear of dying and the only reason I was afraid was because I’d miss the next cool new music to come out (of course that was in the 80s when music truly WAS extremely cool). I’ve also been known to fear of going deaf for the same singular reason. I just can’t imagine an existence without it. If my TV isn’t on or I’m asleep, the stereo is on, even when I’m not home, so it’s on to greet me when I get home.



    • I totally get that! And I’m always afraid of missing something awesome as well…I guess we should just appreciate what we have now and there is a shit ton of great stuff out there.

  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside is stuck in my head…has been off and on for weeks. I’ll have to youtube it again. Ann-Margret version, of course. Hub and I wake up regularly with the inner jukebox playing. Typical question is “What’s this morning’s selection?” It’s always different. Once in a very great while, we’ll have the same song going in our minds. It’s a rarity. Hub is mostly deaf, which helps since I can spout all I want without him hearing me. But I agree with your hub…I’d rather not be in a world without music.

  • Ya know, it’s interesting reading this article and thinking about the music you didn’t mention.

    Music which affects you. Music which moves you. Music you’ve committed to memory and has been a major part of our life together.

    Bands like The Pixies, The Cramps, and The Ramones. For fucks sake, you can take those three bands and recall stories about our kid, can’t you?

    Elvis Costello, Howlin Wolf, Graham Parker, and John Hiatt are always close by.

    And who can forget about the people we know like Karena K, The Madisons (and a personal show), and Titty Bingo?

    And the list goes on and on.

    Yeah, musically, I would say our lives together would get a 100 on AB Rate a Record.

    • GODDAMMIT….they all belong on the list.

      I was really just recounting albums where I know EVERY word to EVERY song. But I do know every word to every song of Doolittle and Surfer Rosa and and Bad Music For Bad People and The Ramones.

  • Aaaahhh haha my first “tape” was Dave Matthews Band and then Matchbox 20. Okay, I was a 90s child! But honestly… those DMB albums still give me the feels 😉 And now I know what I will listen to on spotify all day tomorrow!

    Also: My greatest fear is to lose my sight. Much as I love music, I’d give my hearing away any day to save my eyes. I have to observe people and the word.

    • I love listening to music that gets me way down deep..or just listening to music..but yeah, I’d have to protect my eyes first.

  • I had the 45rpm single of Dizzy by Tommy Roe also! It wasn’t my first record, though, that was Hey Jude/Revolution by the Beatles. I got in trouble over that single because the label on it was a green apple (Apple Records was their label) and my Granny mistook it for Little Green Apples by Roger Miller. Seems silly now, but my parents were not amused. I think I was 6. Being the youngest of 3, I first absorbed my brother’s progression from the Beach Boys to the Beatles and a bunch of the psychedelic stuff that was playing back then, followed by my sister’s more pop centered tastes of the Carpenters and the early Elton John albums (that I still love to this day) and all of what we could get on the one FM station available where we lived.
    Then two things happened. One, I heard Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, and two, I took up the guitar. The Eagles, Joe Walsh, the Doobie Brothers, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin… anything I could learn how to kind of play.
    Then I went in to my progressive phase. Yessongs, and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Genesis when Peter Gabriel was still the lead singer) I still know every word and every melody to. Also Who’s Next, Dark Side of the Moon and Animals. Ziggy Stardust. Permanent Waves by Rush. Empty Glass by Pete Townshend. Apostrophe by Frank Zappa. All three of Peter Gabriel’s self-titled solo albums. I could go on and on. Two albums in the late ’90s: 12 o’clock Curfews by the Indigo Girls, and Living in Clip by Ani DiFranco, followed in the early 2000’s by I’m With Stupid by Aimee Mann.
    Then I got access to the internet, and everything changed. One Beat and All Hands on the Bad One by Sleater Kinney, The Execution of All Things and More Adventurous by Rilo Kiley. Electric Version and Twin Cinemas by the New Pornographers… which leads straight to the last three albums by Neko Case. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Middle Cyclone, and the newest one titled The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. I just got the last one for my birthday on the 15th, and I don’t have all the lyrics memorized yet, but I will. It is *SO* good. Actually, that an album that good could have just come out in September gives me hope for the new year somehow.

    • Okay..I’m gonna have Randy read this comment and check out some of the new music your talking about (if he hasn’t already).

      Loved Ani DiFranco the first time I heard her.

  • I have no idea why this happens but I know exactly what types of music I like but many times I don’t even know who sings it! Strange.

    For example, I’m mad about ‘rare groove’ music but ask me who sings what – my response is, I don’t know. I will even go into a shop and embarrassingly sing part of a tune hoping the shop assistant understands what I’m doing. Had some funny looks in my time but who cares?

    I couldn’t live without music and it’s always playing in my house whether it be rock, blues, opera, classic, jazz etc. I just love it and I’m bursting into song right now, la la la de la la la

    • haha. Yeah, I have to ask Randy all the time who sings that one song that I like that goes: I am terrible at song names, bands and album names.

  • The first tape I ever bought was Goo Goo Dolls and I had the entire thing memorized. I still know all the words to Black Balloon and when I hear it on the radio playing some oldies music (I shudder to think they call it that now), I’m slammed back into some rough teenage years and the tunes that got me through it.

    Now that I’m in my -mumbles an age- I’m trapped in a land of screamo metal. Like I don’t have enough with the screaming children…Perhaps my mind is unable to understand other sounds now. But I’m hooked on In This Moment and Motionless in White, New Year’s Day and Five Finger Death Punch. I walked down the aisle to a Papa Roach song, and there is music here that makes me cry, makes me feel, makes me scream out the lyrics at the ceiling (which is totally acceptable in this kind of music, so people don’t think I’ve completely lost my stuffing). I could never lose my hearing. I need to hear the sounds, the people, the music.

    • I get the screaming thing. For me it’s The Pixies or Nirvana. It calms me right the fuck down. Or listening to The Ramones or Rancid. Instant serenity.

      • Nirvana can do it for me any day. It is amazing how it doesn’t always take the “soft” tunes to instill a sense of calm. I can hear Mudvayne start up, think of the hubby, and feel right at home.

        • oh yes…Nirvana as well. My baby boy has ‘discovered’ them and loves them. It’s so much more pleasant than the Lil Wayne phase.

  • Any song, on any album…that Meatloaf put out. I never, ever get tired of them.
    Leonard Cohen…but I’m Canadian so that’s almost mandatory 😉

  • So many…I have the live Simon & Garfunkle album from when they played in Central Park (and I was there, live, as well) and I can sing every song and it brings me back. Then there’s Paul Simon’s Graceland. And Peter Gabriel’s So. Saw him live, as well. Two that I remember from when I was a kid (and can still sing all the words) is The Best Of Bread and Chicago (25 Or 6 To 4). I’m also a huge Billy Joel fan. OH! And how could I forget David Cassidy’s Cherish album?? 🙂 There are many more…

  • I was a radio disc jockey for 16 years — so there are a million songs stuck in the cracks of my brain. In fact, I OFTEN wake up in the middle of the night and have some song playing in my head. Some of my favorites are Cutting Crew, U2, and R.E.M. However, as much as I love music, I have to agree with you that I would rather loose my hearing than my sight. Because I DO have those million songs stuck in my head — so I can play them in my mind anytime I want.

    • Exactly! Although, really….I wish I had more control over what plays. It’s the Black Keyes right now, so that’s not so bad.

By Michelle


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