My Mom's Top 10 Songs
ith a daughter like me, my mom had no choice but to pay attention to music. The music bug bit me thanks to my dad’s jazz records, but it was my mom who learned the names of all my favourite bands, and knew what music was cool and what was decidedly uncool. Once, at Newark Airport, I saw one of my mom’s favourite television stars. When I got back home, I busted through the door yelling “Guess who I saw at Newark Airport?” My mom thought for a second and said “I don’t know. Nirvana?” No, but nice guess. She had even saved a clipping for me from our local newspaper about the new music the kids were playing called grunge (“Nirvana, they’re grunge right?”). Or there was the time when I was blasting some Pussy Galore and my mom asked if that was one of my band’s songs. I said “No.” And she said “Too bad cause that one’s a rocker!” She is one hip lady.
So after consulting her own CD collection, as well a research trip to the local record store (“My daughter’s writing an article about me.”), where she tried a bunch of stuff, she came up with her definitive Top Ten list.
Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley and the Comets
According to the rock pundit I call my mom, “This was the beginning of rock-n-roll.” But this is also one of her favourites because “When I was young, I loved to dance to this. Great memories.”
The Wonder of You - Elvis Presley
She says, “Elvis always sang great ballads and this one is one of his best. This is a good, old-fashioned love song.” I say, my stepfather LOVES Elvis, so I am sure he bullied her into putting this on.
After the Loving - Engelbert Humperdinck
Okay, first things first. The guy changed his name to Engelbert. That is insane. But this is such a mom choice for a song. And true to form, according to mine, it’s “romantic and sensual.” The song is, not Engelbert (who my mom says is “Yucky”, which she then amended to “Well, he just isn’t my type of guy”). She actually said something very similar about Marilyn Manson after I told her I was going to review one of his shows. But she also added, “Oh Lisa, I don’t know why you pay attention to all that satanic nonsense.”
Reggae Night - Jimmy Cliff
My favourite Jimmy Cliff is the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. Not to be outdone by her daughter, my mom chose this one “for the horns”.
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Ah Satchmo. I know my mom loves this song because it’s on most times we get into her car. She likes the fact that it’s an “uplifting song with great lyrics.” And it was played at her wedding. And it is a great song.
The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand
From the movie of the same name, which is my mother’s (and every other mothers) all-time favourite film. I think its because my mom has curly Barbara Streisand-like hair and my dad bore more than a passing resemblance to Robert Redford. And because its dead sad at the end. Moms eat that stuff up.
MacArthur Park - Richard Harris
I am sure my mother put this one in just to wind me up, because I HATE this song. When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to have a Dad who knew the importance of a fully stocked wet bar, not to mention a jukebox and pinball machine to a teenager’s basement. And this song was on the jukebox, and I hated it. But, this list is about my lovely mommy and not me. So in her defence she said, “I always liked Richard Harris as an actor, and this song really tells a story. Although it’s one I am not sure I follow. I mean, why did he leave the cake out in the rain?” Exactly.
Wise Up - Bim Skala Bim
I used to go out with a guy in a somewhat famous ska band, so my mom, being the supportive type she is, got into ska music. The Bimmers remain her favourites, with Fishbone a close second. In fact, she used to have a giant Fishbone poster on her fridge. And, to be fair, this song does have “a great beat, nice movement and a bopping tempo”. It is also very good background music for cleaning the family room on a Saturday morning.
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
This is a marvellous song, and honestly, should be on anyone’s top ten list.
Kish Kash - Basement Jaxx
I bought this when I was home and played it in the car. My mom loved it. She couldn’t remember who it was. Here is the transcript from me figuring it out:
“You know, that dancey thing you played in the car when we were driving back from the mall that time.”
“Seriously mom, I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Lisa, you said you couldn’t believe that two skinny white middle-class English boys could have made this music.”
“Oh, Basement Jaxx.”
“Yes, I liked them. I like those Basement Jaxx”
Moms, eh? Aren’t they great? Go hug yours for me today.
By: Lisa Oliver
Published on: 2004-01-28