Songs That Make Up the Soundtrack of Your Life

by Julia Smith

Whenever I hear certain songs or pieces of music, I am whisked into a time tunnel, to that moment when the song became seared into my soul.

Where Evil Grows - The Poppy Family

Unfortunately, this song had dark connotations for me, because it played on the car radio on a trip home from the doctor's when I had just received two painful shots in each knee joint to combat mononucleosis. I was 5 at the time and was in bed for a month with it. When I hear this song I can still see the red uphosltery in our white VW bug.

Maggie May - Rod Stewart

On the opposite side of the spectrum, this song played on the radio as my family moved from Michigan in the US to Nova Scotia, Canada when I was six. When I hear this song, I'm in the cab of the truck as my dad drove, while my mom, baby sister, grandmother and uncle were in the car following behind in our little caravan.

My first intense impressions of the golden seaweed along the rocks by Peggy's Cove always accompany this song for me.

Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

Fast forward to high school, when the house parties we'd have often led to dancing, and eventually this song would encourage us to take that chance and ask the guy or gal on whom we had a crush to slow dance. Oh, the mindblowing feeling of being closerthanthis to a certain someone.

E=mc² - Big Audio Dynamite

When I was 21, I moved from Nova Scotia to Toronto, Ontario, where I blossomed in the glow of Big City life. This song instantly takes me to that time of self-discovery, where I can hear the streetcars, feel the heat of a Toronto summer, experience the recognition in the eyes of the man who is now my husband that we had found each other in all the wide world.

Rusholme Ruffians - The Smiths

This song takes me to that time, still in Toronto, when I was a student at Ryerson Polytechnic University, working towards my film degree by day and as an usher at the O'Keefe Centre by night. This song brings the chill of a fall night, the sound of dry leaves skittering and the grateful warmth of hopping on the subway.

Sucks to Be You - Prozzak

This song takes me to the two years my husband and I spent in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where we moved so my grandmother could have someone living in the house with her. Although it was a return to my home province for me, and a reunion with the Atlantic Ocean, which I'd missed every day that I'd lived in Toronto, going from a city of millions to a fishing town of 8000 was a bit of shell shock for us. MuchMoreMusic kept us from going completely out of our gourds.

Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello

My current soundtrack is definitely dominated by the music of Gypsy Punk band Gogol Bordello. I'm currently back in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This music will always make me think of this time in my life, forever more.

So what are the songs that make up the soundtrack of your life?


  1. Ha. I can't even BEGIN to describe the soundtrack to my life. I've often described Metallica as providing it, but that only covers part of it...

  2. Wow, what a great idea! I've bookmarked this one so I can come back and listen to each of these songs. Some are familiar and some are not, so I'm really looking forward to checking out your 'soundtrack' in detail.

    As always, my music-loving friend, you are an inspiration!!


  3. Loved this! Songs from different eras definitely invoke specific memories, but vary from Beatles to U2, Bela Fleck to Pearl Jam, Diana Krall to Ray Lamontagne, Hendrix to Foo Fighters, depending on my mood. These days, Wilco and Spoon are frequently in my CD player.

  4. Susan - I have a Metallica version of Ennio Morricone's The Ecstacy of Gold on one of my playlists. Just love it.

    Chiron - Glad to trigger amazing posts from you in the future!

    Cate - I'll have to go check out Bela Fleck, Ray Lamontagne, Wilco and Spoon.

  5. Hi Julia: What a terrific list and so poignant. ;) I love the soundtrack of your life. Thank you for sharing. There are many songs that fit the bill for me - one that comes to mind is Martin Tielli's (Rheostatics) cover of Joni Mitchell's "The River" - at an emotional time in my life - I used to play it a lot on my radio show back in my college radio days - means a lot to me. I would generally just sit there and let the tears roll.

  6. very nice list of songs from your life. music can definitely transport you back to a time/ place.

    Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins
    Uptown Girl by Billy Joel

    these tie me back to my first love.

    What Is Love by Haddaway

    reminds me of so many influences. friendship, my hometown to name a few.

    There's another song that takes me back to a darker time perhaps but still strongly takes hold of me. i can't remember the name of this song or its artist to save my life.

    Lastly, i associate these songs with my grandmother who died in 1998.

    Angel by Sarah Mclachlan
    Singalong Junk by Paul McCartney
    from Jerry McGuire movie

    have a great day.

  7. Joanna - I'll listen to your song and always think of you when I hear it.

    Naquility - Thanks for your soundtrack list! I get a great sense of you from them.

  8. Great, eclectic list (as usual) Julia - gives me a wonderful sense of your life so far.

    I'd really want to think about this one, but a few of mine would be:

    Proclaimers: 500 miles - Rob wanted that to be our wedding song but it does say alot about us:)

    The end of the world as we know it (but I feel fine) - Great Big Sea - birth of Tristan, my first child.

    Superman Song by the Crash Test Dummies and "Fare thee well love" by the Rankins - two songs that I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard them. There is a bittersweetness in them both I love.

    Traditional fiddle/folk music from Nova Scotia/Newfoundland figure huge in my childhood, as does Elvis (my dad was a huge fan). My grandfather played the spoons.

    Song for the Mira

    Xanadu - first record I ever bought myself. Enough said.
    Plumb song by Snow. That song fills me with Joy everytime I hear it.
    Nothin' on me by Shawn Colvin - I play it in my head anytime someone tries to drag me down.

    Now it's the songs I sing to my own kids - a healthy mismash of stuff. My littlest love "Don't stop me now" by Queen and I think that's his theme song:)

  9. Michelle - I love your song list! 500 Miles always, always brings my Toronto friend Lisa to me. Great Big Sea and Superman Song - love them both. Thanks for giving me this peek at your soundtrack.

  10. I completely forgot to tell you some of my 'soundtrack' songs!

    The first Beatles song I ever heard was "Anna" and when I hear it (and play it--yes, I learned how!!), I'm transported back to my childhood and the vivid memory of listening in a friend's bedroom.

    The summer of '65' at my grandparent's cabin on the lake. My grandfolks were wonderful and actually gave me some of my only experiences with a home. I remember dangling my feet off the dock on a hot summer night, gnats swirling around as the sun set, listening to "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" by the Four Tops. The song felt... golden... somehow and when I hear it today my heart lifts.

    "Don't You Worry 'bout A Thing" by Stevie Wonder was another 'golden' song that always seemed to pop up on a radio station when I was feeling low or worried about something.

    Just a few that pop to mind. Once again, GREAT article!!


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