10 Songs That Bring Back Memories

There are some songs that, when I hear them, take me back to the first time I heard them. All of them except one are from the 60s and the other is from the 50s. In fact when I look through my (growing) list of favourite songs, about 70 or 80 at the moment, some are from the 50s but the majority are from the 60s, quite a few are from the 70s and early 80s, and very few after that. That could mean:

  • the songs were better then and they’ve been going downhill ever since
  • I’m getting older and my palate is becoming more jaded
  • I’m getting older and don’t listen to as much music as I used to
  • I’m getting older and my hearing is gradually getting worse
  • All of the above

I could have chosen 20, or 50, but I thought that 10 was a reasonable number to start with. Anyway, here they are. I’ve added the intro for each song so you can have a listen and see what you think. They may not all be great songs (some of them are), but they all bring back memories.

Let me know if you agree, disagree or have any other thoughts on the songs I’ve chosen and my reasons for choosing them.

1. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys (1966)


I don’t know what to say about this song – Two minutes fifty-five seconds of perfection?The greatest pop song ever written? Whatever you say, I can remember hearing this, probably on Radio Caroline, in the summer of 1966, walking round in the sun on Morecambe fairground behind the Winter Gardens, seventeen years old and touched by bliss. It still touches me deeply when I hear it but, of course, never in the way it did then.

Ah well.

Here’s the intro

If you’re interested I’ve written more about God Only Knows here Continue reading

1966 – God Only Knows, The Beach Boys


Brian Wilson in the studio

This is the song I want played at my funeral. It is, to me, the most sublime, spiritual pop song ever recorded and, whenever I hear it, it takes me back to ‘that time’ – you know, the time when you are seventeen and everything is intense and overwhelming and, sometimes, almost unbearable.

A bit of serendipity. I was listening to my favourite podcast a couple of days ago, Kermode and Mayo’s film reviews on the BBC and they (or rather Mark Kermode) was talking about the new Brian Wilson biopic, Love and Mercy.  One of the things he talked about was God Only Knows and how, after he had finished recording it, Brian took it to play to his dad, Murray Wilson who, on hearing it, said, according to Mark Kermode, that it sounded less like a love song and more like a suicide song – this is the man who thought he knew better than Brian how to arrange and record music!

So, the first time I can remember hearing this was in the Summer of 1966 on Morecambe fairground. Morecambe had two fairgrounds then, one on the prom, which eventually became Frontierland, and the other behind the Winter Gardens theatre, an area which is now mainly an open market and a carpark. Continue reading