The Soundtrack of Your Life, Rich Paschall

You have probably heard that phrase before. Oldies radio stations love to use it. They want you to think they are playing the soundtrack of our lives. You know what they mean. They want you to think that they are playing the songs you remember from when you were younger.  That could mean a few years ago or a few decades ago, depending on who they are pitching their playlist at. What is the soundtrack of your life?

After you leave your twenties, your soundtrack is probably set with the most often played and most often heard music. We inevitably love the music of our teens and twenties. It is linked to those big moments that never leave our memory banks. They could be high school dances and proms. They could be college dances and parties. They probably include weddings and select family events. It certainly includes your record, tape, and/or CD collections. In future years our soundtracks will all be held in digital form in some cloud that you can download when you feel nostalgic.

It is certain that people from 16 years old to those who saw the beginning of the rock era can tell you the songs that meant the most to them, that held the greatest memories. I feel confident in saying that these songs will come from earlier years. This is not just because it holds true for me, but it does for many of my friends. This is reflected in the crowds that show up to concerts. In recent years I have seen Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Chicago, Reo Speedwagon as well as Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett and Brian Wilson. These stars continue to fill concert venues across the country with people who may have seen them generations ago. The reason is not a mystery. They wrote and performed our soundtrack, and the people who connect with that music continue to go to see them.

Of course, I go to see current acts. I have also seen One Republic, Maroon 5, Hunter Hayes, Lifehouse, Bruno Mars as well as MAX Scheneider, fallout boy and a few others with more current hits. I like their music, but their songs do not hold the nostalgic connection I feel when I see Paul McCartney, Frankie Valli or Neil Diamond.  When I saw The Monkees, minus the then recently departed Davy Jones, I heard screaming inside the Chicago Theater as I came through the door. It was as if the place was filled with teenagers and I rushed in to see what was the commotion. Mickey Dolenz was just starting Last Train to Clarksville and the AARP set were reacting as if it was 1966 and they were teenagers. Yes, there were younger people in the crowd.  These songs were not on their soundtrack, however, but they were ours.

While leaving the Davy Jones songs to a couple of music videos from their 1960’s television show, The Monkees delighted a crowd with an evening of hits. The band’s recording of a Neal Diamond composition, I’m a Believer, was the last number 1 song of 1966 and the biggest selling song of 1967.

One thing the Rolling Stones do not lack after all these decades is energy. Maroon 5 may want to Move Like Jagger, but only Mick can do that, and he still does.  Here I have taken a few moments from the show at the United Center.  They were true rock stars of a previous era.  They went on an hour late.

The opening of Moves Like Jagger is shaky as everyone jumped to their feet, so of course I had to also.  The venue is The Woodlands.  I should have known everyone in the crowd would try to move like Jagger too.

Without a doubt, the number 1 song on my soundtrack is Beginnings by Chicago. The 1969 song, written by band member Robert Lamm, failed to chart on its first go around. A rerelease in 1971 when the band was red-hot brought success to a song that was featured at dances, proms, graduations and weddings for many years to come. The album version ran 7 minutes and 55 seconds while the “radio version” ran about 3 minutes. In July 2010 I did not have a camera that could zoom in close or record in HD, but it got decent sound so I have this piece of nostalgia:

RJ Paschall music videos here.  See my concert videos and “liked” performers.

Author: Rich Paschall

When the Windows Live Spaces were closed and our sites were sent to Word Press, I thought I might actually write a regular column. A couple years ago I finally decided to try out a weekly entry for a year and published something every Sunday as well as a few other dates. I reached that goal and continued on. I hope you find them interesting. They are my Sunday Night Blog. Thanks to the support of Marilyn Armstrong you may find me from time to time on her blog space, SERENDIPITY. Rich Paschall Education: DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University Employment: Air freight professional


  1. Rich, your music posts always make us reach back across the years. For some reason (Marilyn may have said “no one knows” about something), I found myself humming (and softly singing in the bathroom) “No One Knows” which was a hit single by Dion (and the Belmonts). I don’t remember many of the lyrics so I kept repeating “…you go to parties, to dances and shows…my heart is breaking…but no one knows”.


  2. We do love the music of our teens and twenties and perhaps it is nostalgia for those long ago days that brings us to reunion concerts although I personally think the music was better then. I pretty much stopped listening to modern music after about 1995. I’m probably like my mum who had no time for the music my sister and I loved. I realised this one day when my sister and I were discussing music we didn’t like back in the nineties and one of us said “That’s not what I call music.” a phrase often used by mum about the stuff we liked. The funny thing was we were on the way to a Kiss concert at the time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The stuff being done now either sounds like a pale imitation of the music we listened to or it’s rhythm and talking — without melody. Shoot me down, but I want to hear a melody. Some catchy lyrics would be okay too.

      We were very lucky. We grew during a period when music was incredible. Amazing. It doesn’t happen every generation or even every century. While we were growing, the musical world was completely shifting to something new. Exciting. Our guys and your guys rewrote music and the stuff they have been doing since the 1980s is not as good — or sometimes, it is almost as good. There may well be another big shift and a sudden burst of creativity, as there was around the turn of the century and again while our parents were young. I hope so. We could use some good, new music. Those times of great originality are so exciting.

      I don’t object to the newness of modern music. I object to its lack of originality and minimal creativity. And sometimes, really poor musicianship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think the mid 60’s top mid 70’s were an awesome time for music. I can spot an 80’s song a mile away. They all sound the same. The 90’s were forgettable as far as I am concerned. I like a few groups now, “few” being the operative word.


      1. At this point, we almost never listen to the radio, so whatever is new, we won’t hear it. But that’s because we listened to the radio while driving to work and since we don’t work, we are rarely in the car. The 90s were a bad decade. I’m not sure I’ve recovered.

        Liked by 1 person

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