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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What defines you?

Music has been a defining party of my life since as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before but I love to sing. The problem is that I sing like a frog on crack. It’s so bad that when I was young my own mother would tell me to pipe down as I belted songs out from the back seat of our car.

However, just because I can’t sing does not mean I don’t have a deep appreciation and love for music. I can directly link major moments or times in my life to a particular song, which represented what I was going through or made me feel a certain way. When I was a senior in high school, my favorite song was "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley. I was a bona fide beach girl, and this song encapsulated my summers. The song "Dancing Queen" by ABBA reminds me of my mother every time I hear it. She would dance around our house singing this song when I was young, and to this day my friends and husband think I’m crazy for loving ABBA, but I have a special place in my heart for the group that makes me think of my wonderful mom every time I hear them.

The song "Leaving On A Jet Plane" by John Denver always reminds me of my dad, a pilot for thirty years. The song "Fortunate Son" by CCR was my getting ready to go out song in college, thus I can’t hear it without thinking of Disco Night in T Town.

I had two five-year relationships before I met and married my husband and the songs "I Can’t Tell You Why" by the Eagles and "Chances Are" by Matina McBride and Bob Seger each respectively remind me for good or bad of the times with those men.  "At Last" by Etta James was the song my husband and I danced to at our wedding and will always put a picture of my husband’s sweet face in my head when I hear it.

So last night as I was out celebrating turning thirty-nine I wondered what song do I think defines me now. The truth is I’m not sure, but I’m going to have fun finding out. I made a list of five things I want to do this next year: 1. See an amazing concert, 2. finish writing another book, 3. go to NYC, 4. go to San Francisco, and 5. buy a bike and train for a race.  Maybe the song that defines me will be about traveling.

Do you have a song that reminds you of someone or something or perhaps that defines the moment you are in right now?

I’d love to hear about it!

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. One of the very first times my hubby ever said he was sorry for being a jerk Buck Cherry's "Sorry" just happened to be playing on the radio. I've adopted that song as "our" song now because he sang the words to me and really meant them so that made this song especially special. Love this song. It was one of the most romantic times of my life and one I'll never forget.

  2. What a great memory and very romantic! You need to put that in a story!

  3. Oooh, good question! Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" has always been "our song," but if you're looking for a song that defines me, I'd have to go with Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten." Lyrics are here:


  4. Fun topic, Julie!

    I grew up with music in my house, and I trained in classical voice at Manhattan School of Music, so music has always been pretty huge in my life.

    HOWEVER, I don't really love listening to music that much. When I'm exercising or walking to the grocery store, I have my music playing in my ears, and what I listen to just depends on my mood and the weather :) But rarely do we have a lot of music playing in our house.

    I could probably list a hundred songs that remind me of certain times in my life, but I think the song - or album, really - that most defines me is the Johnny Mathis Christmas album. I know it sounds crazy, but I believe it truly paved the way for the type of person I am - or at least want to be - today: joyful, sentimental, pretty :) My mom used to put it on in the mornings once the weather started to turn chilly and that's how I was woken up through most of the fall and winter months. A lot of songs from my past are difficult to listen to now, just because I prefer to live in the now and not the past, but I cannot help but smile every time I hear that "tinkle, tinkle, tinkle" of the first song on the album (it's Winter Wonderland, just in case you're wondering ;))

  5. "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi...just kidding.

    Actually, now that I am working on the Sean Costello documentary, I have his music playing almost constantly. I need to pick out lyrics he wrote that defined his life. So while I am defining his life, I guess his music is defining mine as well. :)

  6. Oh, dear. This is hard. I don't play music much unless I am cleaning and that is usually Meatloaf or Jesus Christ Superstar. I know, odd combination. However, Unchained Melody always reminds me of my husband.

  7. Becke - I love Paul McCartney and the song "Maybe I'm Amazed". It's one of my excercies stretch songs.

    Jerrica - You completelty crack me up! I love that you are defined by Christmas music!

    Amy - Meatloaf and Jesus Christ Superstar are an interesting combo! I love Unchained Melody. It reminds me of living in the dorm my freshman year of college. My roomie loved the movie Ghost and she loved that song.

  8. Sarah,

    You'll have to recommend some Sean Costello songs to me. I'm not familiar with his work.

  9. I have to admit, there was a point in my life when the song Hurt by Nine Inch Nails (covered by the late, great Johnny Cash) could define my life. Luckily, that time has passed. The song still evokes some strong emotion in me every time I hear it.

  10. Catherine,
    I'm so glad that song no longer defines you life! However, I do love Johnny Cash!

  11. Early in our marriage, my husband and I had some tough times. We were poor, keeping two residences in two different towns while he finished his fellowhship, and we had a baby. In addition, we had no family around to lean on.

    After a year, it was time for him to move home and I was so happy. We rented a mini-van for the day with our credit card, buckled our little sweetie in his car seat and went to get all of hubby's things. That night as we drove back we listened to Counting Crows' "Sullivan's Street". I told him I always thought of him when I heard that song, and he sounded surprised and said he also always thought of me.

    We still had some rough patches ahead of us, but we were together. That's all that mattered.

  12. Samantha,
    I love the Counting Crows! They remind me of a festival in college I used to go to in Georgia. We'd sit out on the lawn all day long and listen to live band after live band. Counting Crows played in the pooring rain, and it was one of the best performances I've ever seen.

  13. It's taken all day for me to work out my favorite song. Strangely, after combing my itunes my husband goes, oh you like that Lenny Kravitz song. It's Are you Gonna Go My Way. I usually act like a woman a quarter my age when it comes on, but it fits me! LOL

    I did find a song to sum up my marriage: Life is a Rollercoaster by Ronan Keating. Yep, everyday is an adventure round here!

    Oh, and I love to sing but there really shouldn't be anyone within hearing distance.

  14. I love Lenny Kravit's song, Are you Gonna Go My Way. Did you see that U tube where he stumbled on a group of kids on the street of New Orleans, LA and he jumped in and started playing with them. It was awesome!