Entertainment Music

Sunday 4 December 2016

Songs are my way of marking years

Ciara Ferguson

Published 18/09/2011 | 05:00

YOU can often tell what someone is feeling by the songs they sing to themselves. Sometimes I have to listen to myself just to know what I'm feeling. "Why?" I might ask. But usually I find it's best not to ask questions ... . Just Sing, Sing a Song ... la lah lala.

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When I'm going away, a whole litany of "on the road" songs accompany the packing of the suitcase. Right now, it's Me and Bobby McGee. (Or indeed Me and Mr C). And one of my coming-home songs is (I'm sorry to admit) Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree. Remember that one? Cringe. Probably dates back to the first time I came home back in the Eighties.

A stream of memories can be sparked by hearing, for example, a busker in Florence or a Filipino band in a bar in Shanghai singing Hotel California, badly, or an Irish ballad wafting into the air in a far-off land.

Come to think of it, I could probably chart my life in song titles. It would start with Glenn Miller and A String of Pearls, and my mother singing Bing Crosby and the Carpenters outside the school gates. Things gradually went off-key from mum's sweet voice, and my teenage years would best be summed up by My Way (Sex Pistols version, of course) and a natural progression to Crazy (Patsy Cline), Strangers in the Night and He'll have to Go (Jim Reeves). On replay.

Until Bono appeared and saved me with I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (insert job/man/house/life depending on the moment). And, of course, I would end up with Desperado (Johnny Cash), Back to Black and Rehab (poor Amy Winehouse). Until eventually back to the beginning with Someone to Watch Over Me (Ella Fitzgerald). Perhaps it's time for a My Way encore -- the Frank Sinatra version.

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