For today’s A to Z Challenge, I’m going to write about two “B” songs that I call Backseat Songs, because they bring back very specific memories and feelings of being a kid and riding in the back seat of my father’s car. I suppose kids these days are carted around in large minivans and SUVs, but my father drove a 1972 Chevrolet Nova (don’t worry, I promise that not all of these posts will be about my father). This car was a sedan, but it felt inordinately massive, especially if you’re a child in the back seat and feel like you’re in a whole separate world from the front seat. The one thing that would bridge the divide was music played over the stereo.
So with no further ado, the first song is 1977 soft rock hit by the California band Player:
Baby Come Back
There are two things I remember about this song. One is that as a child interpreted it very literally and thought it was a song about an infant that ran away. Second, I remember it playing as we drove home from a visit to my grandparents’ apartment in Brooklyn. The smooth guitar and harmonies of “Baby Come Back” combined with the rhythmic bumps of the seams on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway lulled me to sleep on that spacious back seat. Have you ever noticed that music sounds much better just as you’re drifting off? Player’s tune entered into my brain during that liminal period between wakefulness and unconsciousness and has resided there ever since.
The next song was released a few months later in early 1978, and would be the biggest solo hit for Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty:
This song sounds unlike any other song from its time, partially because it contains dynamite saxophone solos between the verses. Rafferty wrote the song about his experiences staying on the famous street in London, so of course it reminds me of … stock car racing. I assure you that I grew up in suburban Connecticut, but yes, my dad liked country music and took us to auto races at the Danbury Racearena.
My sister and I have a disagreement about how many times we went to the Danbury Racearena, as I remember going several times, and she says we went just once. She’s older so she may be right, but that one time must’ve made in impression because I not only remember the roar and smoke of the race cars, I remember the long trip it took us to get there. We traveled on windy, back roads through the woods of Connecticut, and even briefly crossed the state border into New York before cutting back into the Constitution State. And somewhere along the way “Baker Street” played on the radio and so I forever associate those soaring saxophone solos with going to the racetrack.
2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – A Song and a Story
If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A journey through my neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in Boston.
- 2017: A spontaneous photograph each day.
- 2018: Watched and reviewed documentary movies.
And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:
- Book Reviews
- Movie Reviews
- Beer Reviews
- Music Reviews and Writing
- City Stories, expository writing about my experiences in various cities
And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.