The Magical Mystery of Musical Memory

Listening to Sirius Radio is a special treat for us nowadays. Once Scott and I became work-at-homers, it was an expense we couldn’t justify so we cancelled our subscription. On Monday, Scott and I took a 40-mile-each-way road trip with his mom. The long ride to and from afforded us some serious time with her Sirius radio and Scott, riding shotgun, was in his glory, in charge of music selection. Deep Cuts, carefully curated classic rock and, of course, the Beatles station, were in rotation.

On the way home, we heard a version of this song on the Beatles station. Obviously it was performed by the Beatles but, although the arrangement was similar, I recognized it as a song sung by another voice whose identity I couldn’t immediately put my finger on. I also didn’t know the name of the song. Just a vague but certain memory that I’d heard that song before. When I mentioned it to Scott, he said he wasn’t aware of it on any original Beatles release – maybe from the BBC sessions? he mused.

Once back in front of my laptop, I embarked on Internet expedition to find what recording of the song I remembered, based upon just a few words I could string together and “Beatles recording.” (What would my “satiable curiosity” do without Google?) I found the Beatles’ version right away (sure enough, they’d recorded it in a BBC session) and then, the answer to the mystery: The Honeymoon Song, on Mary Hopkin’s album Postcard, produced by Paul McCartney. Alas, I had solved the mystery of why I know a version of a song associated with the Beatles – but not recorded by the Beatles – that Scott (the ultimate Beatles fan/encyclopedic Beatles expert) didn’t. 

Here’s the backstory: In ~1974, my brother gave me his copy of Postcard. I listened to that album night and day! After each listen, I’d place the LP back in its sleeve and carefully stash it in my bottom dresser drawer for safe keeping. Then came the black, black day when, as I shut the drawer, the album became jammed and, as I pushed it closed, was crushed. And so was I. I cried for hours and had a lump of sadness in the pit of my stomach for days. Mourning. It was as if I’d lost a friend. My Mary. My first music.

Many of the songs on that album have stuck with me and come bubbling up to the surface of my awareness from time to time: The Puppy Song, Inchworm, Happiness Runs, No Business Like Show Business, Young Love, Someone to Watch Over Me, Those Were the Days. Upon listening today to the rest of the songs, they’ve washed over me like an auditory time capsule. I remembered bits and pieces of some and the rest simply transported me back to the soundtrack of an 11 or 12 year old Gina. Imprinted on my brain, etched in my soul, a part of my being that I’d nearly – but not actually – forgotten. I feel reconnected to that youthful version of myself through the magical mystery of music. It’s wonderful to be able to access a little bit of that time when I was coming into my self through these songs.

The miracle of a girl falling in love with an album produced by Paul McCartney growing up to fall in love with a guy who fell in love with the Beatles is not lost on me, either. In fact, it gives me shivers.

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1 Response to The Magical Mystery of Musical Memory

  1. kelly says:

    Those Were the Days reminds me of riding the bus home from school in 7th grade—if it’s the song I think it is. It’s a lovely connection you two have! I ended up with two kids who love The Beatles—one who knows just about everything you could imagine. I have to put this quiz to him.

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