What Is The First Song You Remember?

For me, it was crawling behind the wheel of my “sexy” purple 1962 Pontiac Tempest station wagon at the ripe ‘ole age of 16, and turning on the radio as loud as it would go, and hearing the band Three Dog Night wailing Joy to The World.

Growing up in a legalistic and very religious home, I was not allowed to listen to the music that shaped the world during my adolescence. So, the freedom of a drivers license, and a car of my own, a place completely free of religious control, cannot be overemphasized!

Southern gospel was the music I was force-fed all through my growing-up, and to this day, even though I have dear friends who sing it, I cannot abide it.

Three Dog Night soon progressed to Peter Cetera and Chicago (Feelin’ Stronger Every Day), which progressed to Rick Wakeman (No Earthly Connection) and Yes (Owner Of A Lonely Heart), which morphed (was that even a word in the ’70’s?) to Grand Funk Railroad (Mean Mistreater) and to Boston (More Than A Feeling),  to Kansas (Carry On My Wayward Son),  to Metallica (Kill ‘Em All) and on to, gasp, David Bowie (Changes), Michael Jackson (Thriller), Prince (1999) and U2 (War).

Today, amazingly, the highly touted and very real “generation gap” that existed musically and philosophically between my Father and I, does not exist between me and my children.

Regularly, my girls bring me music saying, “Dad, you will love this!”

From them, I have learned of the musical treasures of Florence and The Machine, Ray LaMontaigne, Butch Walker, East Village Opera Company, and on and on…

So, what is the very first song you remember?

I’m dyin’ to hear…

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78 Responses to “What Is The First Song You Remember?”

  1. I have vivid memories of that song as well, along with “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” and “The Night Chicago Died” – but I was only about 4. I know all the lyrics however and I think it’s because I spent alot of time with my babysitter’s children who were teenagers. I kind of lived at their house when my mom and dad – who were teachers and coaches – had to go to ballgames, or during the day when they were at school. I’ve always tied music to memories and so I remember them singing and dancing and us little kids joining in and mimicking them as well. And so apparently I learned the songs while we were all playing!

    I think it’s interesting that I learned all the words and learned them so well and yet was so young…

  2. Growing up we listened to “oldies” or country (Always my Dad’s choice…he ruled the home)…given the choice I was an oldies fan…. When I think back I remember CCR’s Bad Moon Rising….because my Dad use to tell my brother and me that they were saying there’s a bathroom on the right and for the longest time I would listen to the song and try to figure out why in the world they would sing a song about that…and why it was so popular?!

    I do remember turning 16 and being able to listen to my own radio in my car and exploring pop music and rock music…ahhh the early 90’s and freedom! The song from that time I loved (and still do actually) and remember the most is Shine by Collective Soul.

  3. I grew up on a farm and would get my guitar (which I couldn’t play then or now), climb up on the picnic table and sing “If I Had a Hammer”, or “Blowing In The Wind”. Loved Peter, Paul & Mary, Simon & Garfunkle, Mamas & Papas (“It’s Getting Better” or “California Dreaming”), Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Eagles, The Carpenters, Anything Motown (especially The Supremes). Gosh I could go on and on. My first concert was to see Chicago, and my all-time favorite group growing up was The Beach Boys.

    Funny thing Randy is that I wasn’t a Southern Gospel fan growing up in the church, but yet now all I listen to is Mark Lowry, The GVB or The Perrys. Funny how that works!!

    • @Beth McKamy, Yes, I loved the Carpenters and The Supremes. One of my fav songs of all-time is Superstar by the Carpenters.

      That is funny about the Southern Gospel thing. My friend Scott Fowler of Legacy Five makes fun of me all the time!!

  4. Kindergarten. I’m five or six. Talked my mom into buying me a 45 of Rare Earth “I Know I’m Losing You.” Didn’t know the band or the song, I just wanted a record.

    That expanded to a life long obsession with music (although I have no talent to perform or create it.) Thousands of titles over a lifetime, managed record stores for years, etc.

    These days it’s Miles Davis and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jeff Lang and Richard Thompson, Guided by Voices and Gungor.

  5. I think I was around 7 and I loved listening to AM Radio in my Dad’s stationwagon…It was “Oh Sweetpea Come on and Dance With Me” and Steve Miller’s..my Dad was not much of a fan of “pop music” but my Mom was…She was a member of the record of month club so I remember The Monkees, The Beatles, The Beach Boys etc…by the time I was in high school it was Kansas, Boston, The Eagles, Chicago…It was around 1980 that I discovered Petra and Phil Keaggy…strictly word of mouth through friends, because I never heard of these guys on the radio let alone “Christian” radio.

  6. The earliest song I vividly recall listening to on the radio is a toss-up between “Muskrat Love” by Captain & Tennille and “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell.

    That said, my dad ALWAYS sang, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…” when we were doing stuff together. So that old Three Dog Night classic stirs some sort of Pavlovian bliss for me, because it is forever tied to special one-on-one time with my dad. Steely Dan’s “Reeling in the Years” has the same power over me.

  7. I think the first song I remember was American Pie by Don McLean. Don’t think I understood all the messages entwined but I loved singing it. Soon after I joined the record of the month club and my first album was Carole King’s Tapestry. I sat in my bedroom and listened to it for hours! My absolute favorite song of hers and I still know every word by heart is Natural Woman. Thanks for letting us reminisce!

    • @GinaK, Thanks, Gina.

      Yes, Tapestry is definitely one of the greatest albums of all-time!! “So Far Away” from that album is one of the most haunting songs i have ever heard.

      Here’s to “whisky and rye…”

  8. Three Dog Night and Elton John songs always take me back to 7th grade and Saturday morning skates at the Ft. Olgethorpe Roller Rink. (I was just a 7th grader when you got your driver’s license…)

  9. Yes, I remember, “Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song…” and “Muskrat Love” and, and..we could really get too sappy for your blog readers if we keep on remembering.

  10. I remember riding in the car with my parents singing, “Hey, did you happen to see the most bootiful girl in the world” my mother even has a tape of me singing that Charlie Rich classic. I also covered “Mary Ann” by Donnie Osmond.

  11. Joel Shoemake March 28, 2011 at 10:18

    I guess the first song I remember was “Lamb From The Flock Of David,” a song I sang in a children’s musical at church. Or maybe going to hear my dad sing Cathedrals songs (southern gospel) around town in his group. My mom always played Christian radio, so around that same time I was “rockin’ out” to Sandi Patty/Larnelle Harris Duets and Gaither Vocal Band songs. From there I daringly (ha!) moved into the music of Steven Curtis and Michael W. Then at the age of 17 my whole world exploded with the release of Counting Crow’s “August And Everything After.”

  12. This is a great topic and when I saw you tweet it last night I was looking forward to posting my reply.

    When I was young I was raised on the music my parents grew up with. So for me it was The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, etc. The list also included Elton John.

    I remember (at the ripe age of 6) being fascinated my the artwork from ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.’ If you Google it, you’ll mostly find the front cover, but the artwork extended to the inside (remember, these were full ALBUMS back then) and the back cover.

    ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ is a song I would listen to over and over on this cheap turntable we had. The best part for me is when Niger Olsson would come in pounding on those drums at like 2:20 into the song. The rest of the time he would have these huge, slow pounding fills.

    It would be about 29 years before I would start playing the drums myself (yes, I am was late starter) and even now, 35 years after first listening to that song, I still love those big loud slow fills.

    • @Jay Caruso, Jay, that is awesome!! What memories. Rick Wakeman’s album had all that cool artwork inside and out.

      Just the tactile nature of the cardboard, the small, the art…ah yes…a different time.

      I love it that you know he comes in at 2:20. Ha!!

  13. Having come from a very musical family, or music lovers family, I have vague memories of the White album playing while we drove to the beach, or Neil Diamond on the home turntable or Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson on the back porch while my parents BBQ’ed. And i can’t hear “It’s Still Rockin Roll to me” without seeing the local pool and feeling the summer heat and humidity and the taste of a marathon bar with drips of chlorine water on it.
    So it’s not really a singular song as much as a moment with a soundtrack.

  14. It was in an apartment above a tavern in Chicago Ill. I was 5 maybe. Dad just brought home a ’45’ of the Beetles with “I saw her standing there” and “I want to hold your hand” on it to play on the HiFi. We danced and laughed all night long!

    • @Rocco Capra, Hmmmm. Your Dad obviously felt different about those “long hairs” than mine did.

      I’m glad for you and for this priceless memory!

  15. Pink Floyd – In The Flesh

    Up until then, nothing sounded remarkable. It changed my life forever.

    It doesn’t really have a chorus or a verse. It was huge and visual and I never thought music could be so dynamic and multidimensional. I was kidnapped into the song. It demanded that I stop and listen. The singer sounded like he was wiling to die for the song.

    All that and it’s just an opening track to a rock opera album, it’s not really a song as you might hear on the radio.

    That moment is burned in my memory as i stopped and stared at the record player and new nothing would ever be the same.

  16. wow! I have that feeling once again…gonna go spin The Wall

  17. Well, I’d like to say it was some groovy rock song, but if I’m being honest, it’s probably “Swinging On A Star,” an old pop tune (made popular by Bing Crosby & the Andrew Sisters) that my mom used to sing to my sisters and me. Mom was all about classic singers and showtunes – the joke with my sisters and I was that, by kindergarten, we didn’t know a single nursery rhyme, but could sing anything from “South Pacific” or “The Kind and I” . . .

    Btw – there’s a line in “Swinging On A Star” that goes “Oh would you like to swing on a star?/Carry moonbeams home in a jar?” – for years I thought “Cary Moonbeams” was a person.

    Hee. I hadn’t thought about that song in years . . . it really is a fun one to teach kids.

  18. Jeremiah was a bull frog!

  19. I remember being around 7 or 8 and having two records in particular playing all the time in our house. One was a John Denver live album that we loved, and the other the Carpenters. I would try to match pitch and tone to Karen Carpenter’s voice and sing just like her. Ooh, also remembering Evergreen, Barbara Streisand, and trying to hold out that last note as long as she did! (couldn’t do it as a 7 year old, but got close!)

  20. Every rose has it’s thorn by Poison, shannan smith’s 7th grade birthday party

  21. No relation to Matt up there.

    The first album I actually OWNED was Meet the Beatles. My Dad bought it for me. I was 11. Beatles,, Hermans Hermits, Lovin’ Spoonful, I loved ’em all. Loved the British Invasion music – My Dad did own the car radio, so I grew up with Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, etc, and never lost my love for them. Have VERY eclectic taste in music to this day, and I’m so happy to be able to say I passed it on to both my sons. One is a collector/listener and one is that AND a guitar & keyboard player and praise-worship leader. I think though, that ‘My Girl’ has got to be my #1 favorite song of all time.

  22. I can remember being around 8 years old and sitting in the floor of my parent’s house listening to The Eagles’ “The Long Run” over and over to the point my mother came over, took the 45 and put it on top of the fridge so I couldn’t get it.

  23. I was 4, pedaling around on my purple tricycle singing “Please come to Boston, she just said no, boy you come home to me”. Good ole Dave Loggins.

  24. Lying on the floor in front of our new stereo console listening to “Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson and trying to sing like him!

  25. I grew up listening to anything and everything so can’t remember first song. I can tell you though my very first album was Billy Joel’s Glass Houses. Love that man’s music!!

  26. Ridin in the family camper to the Colorado River and listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival

  27. Abbey Road by the Beatles… the whole thing. I think the memories go back to around 4.

  28. What a great topic.

    For some reason my father seemed to know every radio personality (mostly country music DJs) in our hometown of Wichita, Kansas. He would always bring home 45s for me to listen to. But the first song I remember from my youth was the title track from the album “ABC” by the Jackson 5. I played that album (and especially that song) to death. That is, until I left the LP lying out on the driveway in the hot sun. Ooops!

    Next I graduated into a serious KISS phase. I grew up in a religious family that was in church most every week. But one of my favorite memories is that I asked my parents for (and received) a copy of “Hotter than Hell” by KISS…for Easter. Hilarious!

    I was pretty much a passive music listener until one Saturday night in 1982 when I saw Rush’s “Exit Stage Left” concert on MTV. That night altered my course in a PROFOUND way. I begged my parents to buy me an electric guitar (which they did), played in bands throughout high school, received a music ed degree in college, and am still very active musically to this day.

    • @Derek, Ah, LP’s in the hot sun. I remember that!! You definitely had different parents than me!! :)

      And the rest of your story…is awesome. From one music major to another…thanks!!

  29. Kills me that I can’t remember the name of the song, but I can hear the melody in my head as clearly as I can picture the Gordon Lightfoot record album it played from in my dad’s early eighty’s record player. Not long after I inherited that player as my first stereo system (complete with wood veneered 12″ cabinets), I re-wrote the lyrics as a tribute to my dad for father’s day and dubbed it on to a cassette with Gordon in the bg, and my pre-pubsecent soprano vox wailing in the foreground.

  30. Stephanie Tanner March 28, 2011 at 19:27

    Gotta be Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” I remember that I had a white canopy bed and the post finials could be removed and made into fantastic microphones. There were quite a few impassioned solos sung to my bedroom mirror, but none with the conviction of Crystal Gayle’s early 80’s hit! I begged my mom to let me grow my hair down to my knees!

  31. I’ve been thinking about this all day, especially since it keeps popping up on my twitter feed. ha!
    Ok. I think I’ve got it…

    “You Are My Sunshine” — My grandmother used to sing to us when we were kids, and man did she sing this one a lot. Other option was gonna have to be “I’m in the Lord’s army (Yes Sir!)”…. How many times did I sing/march around the oak trees outside her church during Sunday school! She was our teacher as well. :)

  32. Greetings Randy:

    To be quiet honest, during my childhood years, I listened to pretty much the music that was playing on the radio. During my teen years, I loved listening to Punk, Grunge, Alernative music, and of course I enjoyed listening to the Beatles. In College, it was World Music, NuMetal, and Latino music….and now, I mellowed out a bit..I listen to pretty much everything except jazz and “puke” rock (since you have no idea what they are saying)…. But the one song that I love and is a beautiful poetic song, is by this French singer, Francis Cabrel, “Petite Marie” dedicated to his wife Mariette……Look him up in Youtube :) you would like his music, especially if you are into James Taylor or Bob Dylan.

  33. I was born in the early 70s, so for me, it’s Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” I can remember being in the car when I was 3 or 4 listening to that.

    From around the same time, I also recall The Captain & Tenille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

  34. For me, first 45 I owned that I remember every word too… “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” by KISS. (I still act like a kid when I hear it)

    It was ’79 – That was also the start of my air guitar/drum career… I was awesome when I was 7.

  35. “Oh What A Night”

    Franky Valli and the Four Seasons.

    I was born in ’65. However, as the baby of 6 I had the benefit of a borrowed musical heritage!!!

  36. not to be forgotten,

    “Blinded By The Light”

    Manfred Manns Earth Band

  37. The first song I remember was not only country, but sung by the King of country, Mr. George Straight. “All my Ex’s Live in Texas.”

  38. first song i remember was “i’d like to teach the world to sing”. my second-grade teacher would sit at the piano and play it, with us all kids circled around her singing along.

  39. Jack Nikcevich May 24, 2011 at 14:34

    First song I remember was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” What is so inspiring to me is that 40 years down the road Springsteen is still creating powerful music, not merely resting on yesterday.

Created by Randy Elrod

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