35 Things Music Has Taught Me in 35 Years

The story of my life as told by my favorite songs.

Outside of writing and spending time outdoors, music is one of my biggest passions. In fact, my favorite songs/bands span several genres of music:

  • Alternative Rock
  • Classic Country
  • Classic Rock
  • Grunge
  • New Wave
  • 90s Rock
  • Oldies (Rock N’ Roll)
  • Pop
  • Red Dirt Country

I decided to write a blog post about my life using references from my favorite songs and bands. Believe it or not, song lyrics often contain important life lessons that we can learn from. However, sometimes we overthink lyrics too!

1. Meet the Beatles!
My aunt gave me my first Beatles album.

I have enjoyed listening to the music of the Beatles for as long as I can remember. When I was a young kid, my dad still had his 1970s era Zenith record player which also included an 8-track tape player. The stereo had four big wooden speakers. (Back in the day, bigger was better when it came to enjoying the best sound from your stereo). I can remember him and my mom playing a lot of records on that old stereo. My favorite record was the Beatles/1962-1966 compilation album. Therefore, I credit the Beatles with my deep love for good music!

2. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – The California Raisins

When I was a little kid, I loved raisins – especially the California Raisins! The California Raisins were an animated music group from the late 80s that covered a lot of rock n’ roll classics. How good were they? Well, their hit song, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was used in raisin commercials. I enjoyed their performance so much that raisins became one of my favorite snacks to take to preschool. Raisins are still one of my favorite healthier snacks!

3. Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

The Ozarks – where I was born and raised – were once home to vast strawberry fields. In fact, many early settlers came to this region to grow strawberries. They also fell in love with its scenic beauty. That heritage got passed down to me – which is a big reason why I love the outdoors so much. Here’s to those Ozark Mountain strawberry fields!

4. Yakety Yak (Don’t Talk Back) – The Coasters

My grandmother used to tell me that in her day children were supposed to be seen and not heard. She did get a little more “liberal” by the time that I came around and was always more than happy to hear what I had to say to her. I think that it would do some adults good to be seen and not heard as much!

5. Up In the Mornin’ and Out to School – Chuck Berry

Just like for most kids, school comprised a large part of my childhood. I like going some days more than others. I had some really good teachers and made some really good friends. As far as learning went, I enjoyed some subjects more than others. Since I always had bad cursive handwriting, I jumped at the chance to use a word processor to type assignments instead of handwriting them. Today, I type on a computer all day for a living!

6. Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay – Otis Reading

I can remember sitting on the Galveston Bay on my first big family vacation. I enjoyed the ferry ride to Galveston Island and playing on the beach. I still love being around water when I’m out hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

7. Mississippi Moon Won’t You Keep on Shinin’ on Me? – The Doobie Brothers

Another fun family vacation was to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I remember taking a boat ride from Gulfport to Ship Island. There were some college students on board who were struggling a bit after having a little too good of a time over the weekend. I learned an important lesson from them: If you are feeling nauseous, getting on a boat won’t help your symptoms lol!

8. There is a House in New Orleans – The Animals

There might be a house in New Orleans that they call the rising sun. However, when I was eight, we took a trip to the Southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast – known as the “Cajun Riviera.” We stayed on the beach in a cabin that was probably built in the 1960s judging by the linoleum flooring. But, nothing lasts forever. The old cabin has since been washed away by a hurricane – and replaced by a new beach house.

9. I Wanna Be a Paperback Writer – The Beatles

In addition to listening to music, I have always loved writing from a young age. I even won a couple Young Author’s Awards in elementary school for two short books that I wrote. The ironic things is that for most of my life, I never thought that I could make a living from writing. But thanks to the need for lots of SEO-friendly content on the Internet, my writing skills have proven lucrative.

10. He Likes to Keep His Fire Engine Clean – The Beatles

Sometimes a friend or relative will ask you to do something that sounds fun but questionable! In this case it was my cousin Doug who was a volunteer firefighter at the only fire department in North America to have a green fire truck. It was a lot of fun when he suited me up in a fireman’s uniform and took me for a ride in the very cool green fire truck. Unfortunately, nothing goes unnoticed in a small town. A few of the local residents started wondering where the fire was!

11. Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin
Historic Cayuga Mission Church

My faith has made me (and continues to make me) a better person. For example, it has helped me enjoy life more and made the hard times a little less hard. It’s still something that is very special and deeply personal to me.

12. Nightswimming – REM

I once heard someone refer to “Nightswimming” by REM as a song that everyone from a small town can understand and relate to. There are just certain things that nearly every town have in common. Back in the day, my hometown had a pizza parlor and Dairy Queen that were both popular places to hang out after school. There was also a cool swimming spot that was fun in the summer.

13. There Goes My Hero – Foo Fighters

My heroes have always been rock stars, not cowboys! Dave Grohl continues to be one of my favorite rock heroes. From drumming in Nirvana to leading his mighty Foo Fighters for 25-years (and all of the other bands that he has played in), there are few other musicians who can match his talent and hustle! Plus, the guy is really funny. I can remember as a teenager being thoroughly entertained by the Foo Fighters’ very humorous music videos. Whatever you do in life, do with the kind of passion that Dave Grohl has!

14. It’s All About the Pentiums, Baby – Weird Al Yankovic

While most of my friends liked playing video and computer games, I enjoyed using the Internet more as a research tool – to learn about new topics that I was interested in. My internet research skills have served me well over the years – especially when it comes to writing articles for clients.

15. Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution – AC/DC

I think almost everyone has a ‘cool’ older cousin that they like to hang out with – especially as a teenager. My cousin Jared helped turn me on to classic rock and alternative rock. For example, he used to narrate Led Zeppelin concert videos and show me the guitar riffs to his favorite rock songs.

16. I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar

Small towns tend to be notorious speed traps. Therefore, if you want to avoid friendly chats with your local law enforcement, you learn to go the speed limit and obey traffic laws.

17. You Are Always 17 in Your Hometown – Cross Canadian Ragweed

I think this line from the Cross Canadian Ragweed song “17” describes how everyone from a small town feels when they go back and visit their hometown. No matter how old you are, everyone remembers the way you were as a kid – especially your teenage years it seems like.

18. Our Little Group Has Always Been and Always Will Until the End – Nirvana

When you are in high school, it feels like your little tribe will always stick together. Since it’s hard to picture your life post-high school, it’s hard to imagine your life without your little group of friends.

19. Teenage Angst Has Paid Off Well – Nirvana

I remember before turning 20, my friend Matt remarked that a large part of pop culture and consumer marketing is aimed at teenagers. He pointed our that for most people, your teenage years just make up a small part of your life.

20. I’m On a Plane – Nirvana

My first time flying was to the big metropolis of Minot, North Dakota. An elderly relative had told me that I should travel and discover new places any time that I got the chance. (He was probably picturing a little more exciting destinations though lol). I look forward to traveling again post-COVID!

21. Upon Us All a Little Rain Must Fall – Led Zeppelin

One of the most important life lessons that everyone must learn is how to take the good with the bad in life.

22. Restless Soul, Enjoy Your Youth – Pearl Jam

There’s an old saying that “youth is wasted on the young.” Basically, if you knew then what you know now, you could have made better decisions. However, I think that it’s better not to second-guess all your decisions and just embrace the life you have by trying to make the most of the opportunities that come along.

23. Mother Nature’s Son – The Beatles
Ozark Mountain spring water.

I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors – especially when it comes to hiking and exploring nature. As mentioned, I grew up in the scenic beauty of the Ozarks. Since the area is home to so many creeks and rivers (and man-made lakes), it’s a paradise for water recreation enthusiasts. I have many fond memories of floating the Elk River, kayaking on area lakes, and hiking through the Ozark Mountains to enjoy mother nature’s beauty.

24. On the Cain’s Ballroom Floor – Turnpike Troubadours

I have many fond memories of listening to my favorite Red Dirt country bands in college at legendary venues and dance halls like the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I even learned to two-step on the Cain’s Ballroom floor. Like many Red Dirt fans, I’m still waiting for the Turnpike Troubadours to reconcile and get back together!

25. The Day is Done, But I’m Having Fun – Nirvana

I have learned that when you are really enjoying an activity, it’s better to quit while you are still enjoying it – instead of quitting after you get sick of doing it. The same is true for vacations, and visits with friends and family.

26. Well I Was Working on the KCS Rail Line – Turnpike Troubadours

Okay, I’ve never worked on the Kansas City Southern Railroad – at least not in this life. However, I have always had a strong appreciation for trains and old railroads. Plus, this is my favorite Turnpike Troubadours song!

27. Words You Say Never Seem to Live Up to The Ones Inside Your Head – Soundgarden

These lyrics from Chris Cornell capture what it often feels like being an introvert lol. Most of us tend to be very smart and clever thinkers. We just need a little extra coaxing to get us out of our shell.

28. Good Riddance – Green Day

Out of 161 students in my graduating class, only seven showed up to our 10-year high school class reunion – while the other 154 didn’t come. (I didn’t even go). However, if you would have polled my class on our graduation night, probably 154 of us would have said that we planned on being at our 10-year reunion. However, once we all left school and went our own separate ways in life, it was like good riddance!

29. Down on the West Coast, They Got Their Icons – Lana Del Rey
My woman crush Wednesday and every day: Audrey Hepburn!

When I think of iconic figures on the West Coast, I go back in time and think of classic film actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood:

  • Humphrey Bogart
  • James Cagney
  • Montgomery Clift
  • Clark Gable
  • Jean Harlow
  • Edward G. Robinson

In addition to the Golden Age of Hollywood, I’m also a huge fan of several actors who were big during the 60s and 70s:

  • Charles Bronson
  • Clint Eastwood
  • James Garner
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Lee Marvin
  • Steve McQueen

These are just a few of my favorite classic Hollywood icons.

30. Then The Morning Comes – Smash Mouth

Remember this when you go to bed after a rough/disappointing day, the morning will come – which will bring you a new day filled with new possibilities.

31. Let It Be – The Beatles

Sometimes you have to learn to let go and just let things – so that you can enjoy life more.

32. You Know I’m a Dreamer – Motley Crue

I think most writers tend to be dreamers. While dreaming is cool, it’s even cooler to figure out how to make your dreams a reality.

33. Nothing Can Beat Me Down – Soundgarden

I’ve been through a lot in life. I’ve learned how to persevere and get back up. This has been a tough year for just about everyone. But you have to learn how to not let stuff beat/keep you down. Get back on the horse!

34. Rocket – Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins have always been able to “rock it” in their music. Whenever I hear their song ‘Rocket’ come on the radio, it makes me think about Elon Musk and his incredible SpaceX rockets that are exploring the final frontier.

35. Off On a Wing and a Chance – Turnpike Troubadours

If you want to achieve great things in life, then you must learn to take chances (calculated risks). For example, the reason that you are reading this blog post is because I took a chance on making a living as an SEO content writer. I took a chance that people would like my writing well enough to buy my articles.

I hope that you have found my blog post enjoyable to read – and that it has given you some good, nostalgic memories of some really cool music, as well as introduced you to new music that you might not have been aware of before.

The music of the Beatles continues to inspire new generations of musicians and music lovers!

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