Sweet Emotion

My care-free summers as a kid included watching Fact of Life. I had a crush on Blair, which was unfortunate, because none of the girls in my fourth grade class could live up to the the standard set by her. Even if she was Junior high age. And had a full-time makeup artist.

Of course, it wasn’t cool to admit the crush so I kept it to myself and made sure the girls my age never found out. Nobody would have believed me had I told them I watched Facts of Life for the story arc.

Utah summers are warm, and when I wasn’t swimming or watching Blair, I was calling the radio stations to request my favorite tunes.

I couldn’t afford to purchase albums. On rare occurrences, my mom would let me choose a 45 if she liked the song and I happened to have tagged along to ZCMI with her. With those restrictions in place, I ended up listening to a collection of ABBA, Donna Summer and deeps cuts from the Jazz Singer soundtrack.

Otherwise I had to wait for the DJ to spin up my favorites. It would be a few more years before I had a cassette recorder. My grandfather gave me a digital clock radio for Christmas one year. I spent every night laying in my bed hoping for my favorite songs to play through the tiny mono speaker. If I was lucky, my parents were upstairs and I could sneak the phone into my room and call the stations and plead with the DJ to play Starlight Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight”. I had no idea what the lyrics meant.

Remember the feeling when you’d hear a song for the first time and it felt like it belonged to you? That’s how it was with “Sweet Emotion”. I’d never heard anything like it before. Starts off sounding like someone is strangling a guitar followed by….a rattlesnake? What is going on here?

I’d never heard anyone play that hard. One could feel the energy. Will there be anything left of their instruments by the time this song ends?

And the lyrics. Oh the wondrous lyrics that sounded wild enough to be cool but not raunchy enough to be banned at our house.

“Said my get up and go musta got up and went…”

I didn’t have the internet to look up the lyrics or the album linear notes.  All I cared about was how it made me FEEL. That’s what great music does. You feel it.

What’s the last song you felt?

Link to Sweet Emotion on YouTube.

5 thoughts on “Sweet Emotion

  1. When I was 8 or 9 my Dad bought an 8 Track home stereo system and joined the Columbia House Records club. One of the first 8 Tracks he got was Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf. I used to listen to that album day and night for years. And can still sing every song by heart. The title Track: Bat Out of Hell is one song that I remember I felt, everytime I listened to it. The Maniacal Piano riffs, the motorcycle sounding guitar, that was THE STUFF!! Then right after that I would cool down with Meatloaf's Heaven Can Wait, a somber, sweet song with a great melody.


  2. I'd love to say Muskrat Love but that would just be wrong. The truth is, most of Pink Floyd resonates in me in a way that I find inexplicable, particularly most of the tracks from Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. I don't understand why so much of their music has a calming effect on me. Not the smae kind of calm that comes when I listen to more spiritually based music, but a definitive calm nonetheless. To that end, “Consider the Lillies of the Field” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir centers me like nothing else. How's that for juxtaposition?


  3. Ben, I know what you mean about Pink Floyd. I remember well the first time I heard Comfortably Numb. Dark Side of the Moon reeled me in but it was “Mother” that become my favorite song. Have you heard of the group, Nickel Creek? They have a song called “Out of the Woods” that has that same calming effect on me. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/ylhq3d6


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