In the words of Cliff Richard:
We’re going where the sun shines brightly
We’re going where the sea is blue.
We’ve all seen it on the movies,
Now let’s see if it’s true.
Summer is here and it’s time for a holiday! Indeed, the sea is blue (to varying degrees). Whether the sun shines is less dependable. However, one thing is usually certain; we come home from a holiday with a song or album stuck in our head defining those memories forever. We can flick back through the holiday file in our mind and recall hazy images of the cottage, campsite, or apartment we stayed in. That boat trip, vista or stand out meal. Yet music from the time rings clear as a bell and brings back vivid snapshots so clear it’s like whizzing back in time for a split second.
As we chatted about holiday anthems from the past, Anna remembered her mum and dad dancing on balmy evenings to the Lambada. Lisa’s dad is a mechanic, so their holiday-mobile changed from trip to trip depending on which car was available in his garage: Jag, Range Rover, or Fiat. To add to the holiday excitement the car almost always came complete with a cassette or two left by the previous owner. One year, they found 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up, and Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe; to this day Lisa is fond of both songs. Likewise, Meg has hilarious childhood memories of back seat antics squashed into a Fiat Panda with her siblings, darting about a Greek island listening to The Beach Boys.
Why do we acquire these holiday hits that remain etched, along with nostalgic memories, in our minds? The truth is, music is powerful. It sticks without us trying. How many times have you found yourself humming a song, or singing along to the radio, realising you know the words or tune having not ever ‘learnt it’? One time record producer turned neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin, writes in his book This Is Your Brain On Music: “Music is distributed throughout the brain.” When we hear music, several brain regions, serving different purposes, are stimulated: “The story of your brain on music is the story of an exquisite orchestration of brain regions… it involves precision choreography of neurochemical release and uptake between logical prediction systems and emotional reward systems… it is all about… connections.” As music buzzes throughout our brain in this way, rich, broadly embedded musical memories form. Music moves us physically and emotionally: uniting us in celebration, moving our feet on the dance floor, comforting us, inspiring us, and painting memories that last forever.
The Tootsie Rollers was founded on our love of retro musicals from childhood. The band is a direct result of happy childhood memories linked to music; times spent dancing in front of the television in awe of Mitzi Gaynor in South Pacific or Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. So, we thank music, for its wonderful all encompassing power to inspire. Perhaps, on reflection, we’ll spend a few minutes longer choosing this year’s holiday playlist, one that will inevitably get added to the memory bank, without us having to try!
Happy holidays readers…