Today I'd like to welcome my guest blogger, John Mayer!
Yeah. This is actually one of the columns he wrote for Esquire a long time ago, but it inspires me, and I hope it inspires you. Get ready for a new variety of Mayer Monday.
This is Your Life, The Mix Tape.
A few weeks ago I was lying in bed in my hotel room, falling asleep to my XM satellite radio, when I decided to spend some time on the '40s station. I was looking for the oldest music I could find. I'm obsessed with time lately, constantly crunching the numbers to get some sense of where I stand in the continuum. I instantly thought of my dad, who would be able to call out the artist and title of every song that played as if they were hits today. And then I wondered, where in his life was he when he first heard Art Mooney's "Bluebird of Happiness"?
So I sent him an e-mail. "I would love to hold a mix CD of the songs you remember most from your youth," I wrote. "Would you think about it and tell me some names and titles? How cool would that be for me to fall asleep to a record of all the tunes you loved growing up?" The more I thought about it, the more I needed to have it. Your life's soundtrack is your fingerprint, tracing all the individual way points, taking into account all the curveballs, surprises, and heartbreaks.
Dad wrote me back the next morning. "The first song that I can remember hearing is 'The Music Goes 'Round and Around,' by Tommy Dorsey. ('I blow through here / the music goes round and round / whoa-ho-ho-ho/and it comes out here.') The first piece of sheet music I ever bought was 'Serenade in the Night.' My first record was 'Tales from the Vienna Woods.' I bought it secondhand, and it had a crack in it. When I hear the song played now, I still unconsciously expect it to repeat over and over at the point of the crack."
So I went to iTunes and downloaded all three. I won't tell you what they sound like, because it won't mean anything to you. You have to know my dad. But I can tell you this: All the megapixels in the universe won't capture what asking your parents for a list of the music that moves them can. I'm nine minutes into "Tales from the Vienna Woods" and I can smell the house my father was born in. And with more of his memories to come, I can't stop crunching the numbers.
And here's a fun vid for any Lady Ga Ga fans or Ellen fans out there. (Travis Wilson, I'm talkin' to you.)