the tunes i grew up on

August 9, 2015

the majority of my mother's family lives in colorado. we spent christmases there. and spring break. and summer vacations. i remember trips from my grandmother's house in grand junction to the cabin she owned in basalt. she'd drive her white buick riviera, with mom in the passenger seat and my brothers in the back. we'd listen to her eight-tracks: george strait, john denver, barry manilow, helen reddy and the carpenters.

lately i've been thinking about the songs i learned in my childhood. the ones i favored....

george strait's all my exes live in texas. john denver's annie's song, somedays are diamonds, the cowboy and the lady, perhaps love, san francisco mabel joy. barry manilow's mandy. helen reddy's delta dawn, ain't no way to treat a lady...

i googled the most popular songs of 'seventy-three (the year of my birth) and every year after for a decade. i surveyed google's list of the songs most frequently mentioned on the web for each year, and the ones i liked the best? 

delta dawn (there's a helen reddy version and a tanya tucker version, and i'm pretty sure we listened to them both). annie's song (john denver). send in the clowns (judy collins/barbra streisand). all out of love (air supply). king of pain (the police). owner of a lonely heart (yes). faithfully (journey).

delta dawn, what's that flower you have on?
could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
and did i hear you say he was meeting you here to day
to take you to his mansion in the sky?

she's forty-one, and her daddy still calls her baby.

isn't it rich? aren't we a pair?
me here at last on the ground, you in mid-air
where are the clowns?

isn't it bliss? don't you approve?
one who keeps tearing around, one who can't move
where are the clowns? there ought to be clowns.

just when i'd stopped opening doors
finally knowing the one that i wanted was yours
making my entrance again with my usual flair
sure of my lines, no one is there.

don't you love farce? my fault, i fear
i thought that you'd want what i want. sorry, my dear

but where are the clowns? there ought to be clowns.

there's a little black spot on the sun today.
it's the same old thing as yesterday.
there's a black hat caught in a high treetop.
there's a flagpole rag, and the wind won't stop.

i have stood here before, inside the pouring rain
with my world turning circles, running 'round my brain.
i guess i'm always hoping that you'll end this reign,
but it's my destiny to be the king of pain.

i know there was happier music. i know there was. i'm sure i liked it. but i don't remember it affecting me the way these songs did, even as a child. i knew how desperate some of them were, even then. 

the ones i remember liking the most were denver's san francisco mabel joy--my god, that's a sad story--and manilow's mandy. 

i can't listen to delta dawn now. i feel as foolish as the people in the town make her sound.

thank the lord for older brothers and their appreciation of things like acdc, zz top, van halen and def leppard. and mtv.


  1. Anonymous9:03 AM

    fyi... i designed your blog ;) it's good to see one of my themes still floating around. if you are interested... can i fix the bottom credit part? revel and design isn't anymore. i'm now at blog boutique.

    anyways... delta dawn is definitely a memory of mine. my aunt always sang that song. and she loves tanya tucker.

  2. I grew up on a lot of those songs too. They really do stay with you.