Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Let Us Remain Together: The Birthday Disc 2009

For more than a handful of years now, I've celebrated my birthday with a group of friends. I pick a restaurant and we meet up and have lunch. Several years ago, I hit upon the idea of creating a CD for each guest, a party favor/placecard hybrid. Each disc includes each guest's name as well as a note on the cover and a collection of songs, which sometimes center around a theme and which sometimes, like this year, are a merely a collection of tunes I like for various reasons.

This year, I didn't convene a group of friends in a restaurant. This year, my friends – and family – came to me. So I didn't need placecards, but I wanted to keep the CD tradition alive, so I made them for everyone, as I have in years past, as party favors.

At the top of the cover, along with the year, is this note: "This collection is dedicated to Dave Waldon."

The remainder of the cover of this year's CD reads:

Family and friends:
Some of you are new to my birthday CD tradition.
Each year, I put together a collection of songs.
Some have great meaning. Some are just great tunes.
This year, I’ve included some songs that were hits during
the past 40 years as well as some more-current favorites.
My life is filled with music.
It brings me great joy.
But nothing brings me greater joy than the love I feel for all of you.
Thank you for being a part of my life.
Here’s to the next 40.

The songs are ordered very particularly, for flow from one track to the next. Try to listen along in your head. Here are the songs and my reason for choosing each:

1. Gonna Fly Now (Theme from "Rocky"), Bill Conti
I listen to this tune every morning. It is the epitome of a theme song.

2. Help!, The Beatles
I had to include something from the boys. I considered "All You Need Is Love." I considered "Paperback Writer." But when I fired up "Help!", I laughed. The notion of including a song titled "Help!" on a collection of tunes for my 40th birthday amused me greatly.

3. Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears
I love the opening lyric: “Welcome to your life, there’s no turning back ... ."

4. Wisdom, Gran Ronde
It's just a kicky tune.

5. Follow You, Follow Me, Genesis
This is one of the tunes that was chosen with Dave in mind. He loved Genesis, though he loved Peter Gabriel Genesis far more than Phil Collins Genesis.

6. The Fixer, Pearl Jam
I love Eddie's voice, so he and the band often make appearances on my birthday CDs. This is yet another in a long, long line of great Pearl Jam cuts.

7. Hello It's Me, Todd Rundgren
A lovely, bittersweet song.

8. Alive And Kicking, Simple Minds
A song that hooks me and doesn't let go.

9. Cadillac Ranch, Bruce Springsteen
One of The Boss's less-famous greats; I love the keyboards in this tune.

10. (Don't Fear) The Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult
The choice of this song is in no way a commentary on my age. The reason for its inclusion is simple: because we all need more cowbell.

11. Out Of The Sky, Van Hunt
I dig the bass in this tune, and the overall groove. Maybe I’m not the whitest girl in the world after all. And check out the opening lyrics: "I've reached the end of my story / and I still don't understand the plot." Now those are some relatable lyrics!

12. Fly Like An Eagle, Steve Miller Band
“Time keeps on slippin’ into the future ... .”

13. Why I Am, Dave Matthews Band
This song blows my mind. It's just outstanding. Tempo run amok!

14. September, Earth Wind & Fire
This song, in particular, is for Dave. He was born in September, and he gave this song to me. I've always loved it, but for these specific reasons, I love it even more.

15. Higher, Ezio
Knock-out guitars in this tune. If you don't know of this duo, you should. Stop what you're doing and get your hands on some of their music.

16. Love Will Find A Way, Pablo Cruise
Doesn't it always? I sure hope so.

17. In Your Eyes [Live], Jeffrey Gaines
An amazing acoustic cover of an outstanding song, sung by an outstanding artist.

18. Something About You, Level 42
Selected with a smile for my mom, who remembers me dancing to this tune with our dog, Spanky.

19. Louie, Louie, Robert Plant
Yeah, you read that right: Robert Plant and his hair singing "Louie, Louie"! Because I try to include Plant on every disc. And because this tune belongs on a party CD.

20. "40", U2
Because it was just too perfect to not put at the end of this collection. "I will sing, sing a new song ... ."


Blogger Doreen said...

As a recipient of all 6 bday discs - I am a HAPPY CAMPER .... They are the ONLY hard copy CD's i have kept and sit in the player - for rocking good times - you never know what will come up!!!

7:59 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Aw, glad you like 'em! I'll have to load up my CD player too and hit Shuffle.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent choices!

3:57 PM  

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