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. That could be our high school dances and proms. It could be college concerts and parties. They might include weddings and select family events. It certainly includes your record, tape, or CD collections, and maybe even some digital playlists. In future years our soundtracks will all be held in digital form in a cloud that you can download when you feel nostalgic.

Chicago at Ravinia Festival

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 your early years. This is not just because it holds true for me, but it does for many of my friends as well. It is reflected in the crowds that show up to concerts. In the last dozen years or so, I have seen Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Chicago, and Reo Speedwagon as well as Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, 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.

Fleetwood Mac at the UC Chicago

Of course, I have gone to see current acts. They included One Republic, Maroon 5, David Archuleta, Hunter Hayes, Lifehouse, Bruno Mars as well as MAX Schneider, fallout boy, and a few others. 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 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 the commotion was. Mickey Dolenz was just starting Last Train to Clarksville and the AARP set was 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 on 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. Since that performance, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith have also passed. I am glad I saw them while we could.

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. Since this performance, Charlie Watt passed away.

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 re-release 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:

Chicago will be appearing this summer in Chicago (OK, Tinley Park, Illinois), along with Brian Wilson and his band. We have tickets, COVID-19 permitting, of course.

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

Categories: Entertainment, Music, Rich Paschall

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10 replies

  1. Brian Wilson and his band??!!!!!!! Brian Wilson and his Band !!! Really!!!???
    This would be a Founder of one of the Greatest, most influential, and important Groups on modern Popular Music history … THE BEACH BOYS.
    Former Beach Boy, Al Jardine is also part of that band. Can’t really say what kind of music will be coming out of there now as Wilson himself is about 75 years old now,
    Just saying … WOW.
    I expect a full report.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I saw the Beach Boys several times, including the 50th anniversary tour. That was 10 years ago! I saw Brian Wilson band at Ravinia, same spot as the Chicago pic in this story. The Wilson group is as good as the Beach Boys ever were and they do a lot of Beach Boys tunes. It will be interesting to see them with Chicago as Chicago always finishes with a long set with whoever they play with (when they actually have another band with them). It they do that, it will be one awesome band. I have seen Chicago with REO Speed Wagon, Earth, Wind and Fire and in 1979 The Beach Boys at Soldier Field. I recommend the Brian Wilson album No Peer Pressure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, I feel like a dinosaur in this conversation. I watched the recent Lady Gaga-Tony Bennett concert. I felt a rush of nostalgia when Bennett came out and performed. I grew up with the old standards of Bennett, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and AM radio stations like WNEW in NYC where there was a constant flow of “tin pan alley” classics. Big Band to contemporary standards to the ‘classic rock’ of Elvis, Chuck Berry and company which was the “new” music – loved by kids like me and a puzzle palace for the “old folks”.

        Now, I’m one of the “old folks”. But still crazy after all these years.

        Terrific post, Rich.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I saw Tony Bennet a few summer back at Ravinia. His daughter was the opening act and escorted him on and off stage. He still sounded great and lyrics to everything must have been burned into his mind after all those years. I am so happy I saw him. I believe his show in 2020 at the same venue was cancelled.
          I took my mother to see Sinatra at the Chicago Theater when he was 71 I think. The iconic theater had been restored the year before. I did not expect much by then, but he was absolutely awesome. I saw some great ones along the way, I am so sorry I missed out on some others.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rich, it’s wonderful that you took your Mom to see and hear Sinatra. I’m guessing it was a terrific night for both of you.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I looked for it. Sinatra was the first act when the Theater was finally restored and reopened in 1986. I think it was the following year that we saw him. Jan Murray was the opening act. My mom would have been in her late 60s.
              The 3600 seat theater is a Chicago treasure and we are fortunate it was saved when so many other downtown theaters from my youth were torn down or repurposed and essentially lost.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Rich, thanks for that share. So, it WAS a memorable evening. Jan Murray! I remember him well. Funny guy. Your Mom must’ve been beaming.

                Liked by 2 people

      • Good on you Rich. Wish I could be there!

        Liked by 2 people

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