Friday, June 15, 2007

Don't Stop Me Now

Don’t Stop Me Now: Words and music by Freddie Mercury

Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time, I feel alive
and the world…..turning inside out yeah! Floating around in ecstasy, so
dont stop me now…..don’t stop me
cause I’m having a good time having a good time!

I think the DJ at my son’s wedding was brilliant. As we were all seated, he came around with little slips of paper asking guests for musical requests. He had an extensive library and was confident that he could produce just about anything. He did too; if there were any songs that he couldn’t produce, I didn’t hear about it.

I requested “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. That song has special significance with me and the kids. We’d play it in the car (along with all of Queen’s Greatest Hits off of their three CD selection) and we’d act it out. The DJ played this song at around 10 pm. The floor was still packed with young adults dancing, and a lesser number of their parents – 10pm is pretty damn late.

I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky, like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like lady godiva! Im gonna go go go…
There’s no stopping me!

At this point in the dance, we were alternately tigers, or racing car drivers waving, or chesty broads baring ourselves to the world (uhm, no one actually bared themselves to the world – some just stuck their chests out).

I think music helps define and shape us. It is an expression of who we are and what moves us. Our tastes can and do change over time, but I think generally, the music we listen to between the ages of 11 – 18 will be with us forever.

When I was a kid, we were forced to listen to my parents’ music. Roger Whittaker, Slim Whitman, Burl Ives, Charlie Rich. Their concession to our more modern musical needs was to carry John Denver 8 tracks in the car. I still have a deep fondness for Roger Whittaker. What an incredible voice!!

Dad would also make us listen to his easy listening station, challenging me to recognize Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Benny Goodman, and Doris Day. It was a fun game.

I’m burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees, thats why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light, I wanna make a supersonic man out of you!

At this juncture, we would all point at each other.

Many years ago, I was concerned when my children didn’t know who the Beatles were.
Circa 1996, my then husband and I bought “Queen’s Greatest Hits”. This CD sadly did not include “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but did include other favorites. As a strategic move, it was brilliant. My children as well as all their friends were immediately drawn to “We Are the Champions” and were stunned to learn that cool music had been produced nearly 20 years ago. They couldn’t get enough.

Don’t stop me now…. I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now…If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (cause I’m havin’ a good time)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m havin’ a good time) I don’t want to stop at all

Much putting our hands up to our ears as if we are holding a telephone as we don’t stop havin’ a ‘good time’…

As we rode in the car, we would listen to the entire CD, and we’d tell the kids how people would go out and buy bicycle bells to ring at a Queen concert at the appropriate section of “Bicycle Race”. We would talk about Freddie Mercury and discuss how, in our opinion, he had the best voice, bar none in the industry. This led to conversations about Steve Perry from Journey, and my ex-husband’s concert experiences in Germany.

I’m a rocket ship on my way to mars, On a collision course
I am a satellite…I’m out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload…Like an atom bomb!
About to Oh oh oh oh oh explode!

Arms reaching to the sky, in good Broadway fashion, our interpretation of fireworks exploding…

My ex gave our children 1970s rock in all its forms; AC/DC, Ozzy Ozbourne, CCR, Neil Young. I gave my kids the Bee Gees. Shunned by some for years for their contribution to the late 70’s early 80’s disco movement, I introduced them to 1960s Bee Gees, 1975 Bee Gees, fabulous 1990s Bee Gees, and waxed poetic on the iconic status of “Stayin’ Alive”. We heard the beauty of the lyrics in all the music we listened to, we talked about the meaning of some of the more obscure passages in Don McLean’s “The Day the Music Died”, we bounced to Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll, Parts 1 & 2”.

I'm burning through the sky yeah! Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light, I wanna make a supersonic woman of you!

More pointing.

We started listening to the kids’ music. Presidents of the United States’ “Peaches” was a favorite, Chumbawumba’s “Tub Thumping” both come to mind.

The kids eventually started to listen to all forms of music. Dean Martin is a favorite of my 15 year old daughter who also enjoys jazz, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles and Billy Joel. (She also knows all the lyrics to today’s remarkably slutty songs.) My oldest, who has a beautiful voice coupled with the ability to pick up an instrument and figure out how to play it can make you weep singing “All I Ask Of You” from “The Phantom of the Opera”. He can also make you draw your eyes together and say “huh?” when singing something from the band “Atreyu”. I can never understand the words of those songs, but I try to appreciate it from an artistic perspective, knowing that it appeals to a certain searching demographic. They have some knowledge and familiarity with country music as well.

Don’t stop me don’t stop me don’t stop me hey hey hey!
Don’t stop me don’t stop me ooh ooh ooh (I like it)
Don’t stop me don’t stop me Have a good time good time
Don’t stop me don’t stop me ah

Circles, pointing, dancing, bouncing, circle some more. Crazy open interpretative dance. It is at this point that I realize the musculo-skeletal consequences of jumping up and down repeatedly will have an impact me for several days to come.

They now not only can discern between the Beatles and the Bee Gees (in all their iterations), but they can identify each Beatle by name when their independent work is played on the radio. They now encourage me to listen to the entire Dire Straits song book, they attend Journey concerts, and keep an eager eye open for any potential AC/DC tour dates.

I’m burning through the sky yeah! Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit, I’m traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you!

To my shame, their appreciation of Yo Yo Ma playing Bach, or pieces by Mozart is not at all extensive. But they listen and appreciate when it comes on. I can get my daughter to watch and enjoy movie musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and she can close her eyes and recognize Julie Andrews signing anything, but it’s tough to get the boys to sit through “Flower Drum Song” or “Singin’ in the Rain” – though they will admit that Gene Kelly is phenomenal.

My point is – play your music, play their music. Talk to your kids about it, tell them where you were when you first heard that song, who you were kissing and how stupid you felt. Play the game of “who sings this?” Listen to Avril Lavigne. Ask your kids what Nelly Furtado and Timbaland’s song “Promiscuous” means and listen to their answer…it will get you both talking. Find out what they think of Marilyn Manson – their answer might surprise you. Oh and if you can get them to write down the lyrics to any of Atreyu’s songs? Let me know. I keep trying to get it.

There is little that will more powerfully bond you to your children. Their music, your music. They might even pull you up on the dance floor at their wedding and actually WANT to dance with you because it means something...to both of you.

Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now - If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (cause I’m havin’ a good time)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m havin’ a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all

2 Comments:

lace1070 said...

Love the connection that music has created a bond between you and the kids ~ BTW ~ here's a link for Atreyu lyrics ~
http://www.darklyrics.com/a/atreyu.html

E said...

The little bit of Atreyu I have listened to is so painful. The boys like it though. I don't like to consider what that means. :)

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