We’ve been talking about music this month on O + U, and I figured that I needed to get this mix tape from my past sorted out. Years ago, like almost 21 to be precise, CDs were so cutting edge that most cars didn’t have a CD player unless you were fortunate enough to have a tape adapter for your portable CD player. But almost every car had a tape player, and cars were filled with all sorts of tapes. Now, you would be hard pressed to even find a tape player. So when you discover the ultimate mix tape, the one that you played at your wedding, that doesn’t have any of the tracks listed because you couldn’t be bothered to list them and you realize that you don’t own a working tape player, you get a little depressed.
Mix tapes were all the rage growing up. But until CDs, you had to really time your shit on the radio and hope and pray that your favorite song would be on the top 9 At 9, or you would be fucked. I had countless mixes created over a series of years. Some were just the top hits. But some were songs that I found while figuring out that I really didn’t like heavy metal ans was more into modern rock. CDs made it so easy to take just the songs that I loved and wanted to hear in the car or on a walk with me everywhere. Just press play, click the record button, and you’re on your way.
So that wedding mix? How the hell was I going to figure out what was on there. No tape players in the house. No Walkman to rely on. But I still have a car that has a tape player. And a four hour car drive to Baltimore. I figured that now was as good a time as ever to figure out what nuggets of wisdom were squirreled away on this gem of a mix tape.
Turns out, there were some doozies and some real head scratchers and some songs that I had no clue about. Here’s the list with a little bit of the rationale behind the choice for the songs:
- “Ballad of John and Yoko” by the Beatles – just plain fun but now I’d probably go for something more sentimental
- “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke – huge Sam Cooke fan; I wish Dave still had his Sam Cooke t-shirt from Miami
- “Never Let Me Down” by David Bowie – my first birthday present from Dave was a greatest hits CD by David Bowie . . . love this song
- “After All” by Peter Cetera and Cher – I have no excuse for this one; none . . . sorry; it’s cringe worthy
- “Close to Me” by the Cure – peppy as shit and a thoroughly undepressing song, which is rare for the Cure
- “Love Is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia – I had a student named Sylvia; she never got why another teacher and I would sing to her
- “In the Still of the Night” by the Five Satins – clearly I owned the Dirty Dancing soundtrack
- “Cry To Me” by Solomon Burke – I’m thinking that I owned several Dirty Dancing inspired soundtracks; it was the early 90s . . . sue me
- “Thorn In My Side” by the Eurythmics – I’m pretty sure people were scratching their heads at this one; truly, I’ll always think of this song as our wedding song . . . might just get a tattoo of some lyrics on my left foot
- “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor – let’s just forget this is on there; it’s the most depressing song ever . . . I’d rather claim that Peter Cetera shit over this one
- “I Will Be There” by Glass Tiger – I. Loved. Glass. Tiger. That’s all you need to know
- “Disappear” by INXS – I think my love for Glass Tiger was eclipsed by INXS; I’m shocked there was only one on there
- “Love Will Never Do (Without You) by Janet Jackson – this song could be referred to as my “Fuck you” song for the playlist . . . go Google the lyrics
- “Only the Young” by Journey – this one brought more than a few smiles during our road trip; and, yes, I had to sell the CD at the Jukebox to pay the electric bill . . . you do what you have to
- “Runaway” by Del Shannon – who doesn’t love the instrumental in the middle?
- “In the Mood” by the Glenn Miller Orchestra – I’m not sure why, but Glenn Miller was huge in the late 80s/early 90s . . . really no clue why
- “I’ve Been Thinking About You” by London Beat – ironically, it was the number one song on the day the Girls were born . . . do the math
- “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone from The Mission soundtrack – truly, one of the loveliest soundtracks ever
- “Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major” by Pachelbel (but really some chamber group) – walked down the aisle to this . . . still makes me cry a little
- “Depending On You” by Tom Petty – not going to lie: I don’t like Tom Petty . . . but I love this song
- “Walking Towards Paradise” by Robert Plant – remember when Robert Plant tried to shake that whole Led Zeplin shit? Yeah, me neither
- “Twisting the Night Away” by Rod Stewart – and I had to sell this CD at the Jukebox to pay the electric bill, too; thank god they bought used discs
- “We’ll Be Together” by Sting – but the lyrics only said “And baby makes three” . . . no one had the right number for us
- “40” by U2 – just a beautiful song that should have been the last one; alas, I filled the remaining time with some chamber music . . . probably because I got bored and didn’t feel like finding any more carefully selected songs of love and devotion
And with that, the Great Wedding Mix of ’91 is complete. Sort of. Turns out, there are two songs on there that Dave and I couldn’t not for the life of us figure out. One of these days, I’ll break that tape out again with my iPhone and power up the Shazam app to match a song that I forgot about 21 years ago. A very high tech way to figure out a low tech device. And truth be told, I would have to be really, really motivated to do that.