Hum Along

Do you? Hum along? Maybe you’re not much of a singer or maybe you don’t know all the words yet to your new-favorite song so you hum the uncertain parts. Or you just hum because you prefer to hum. It’s better than whistling in a lot of cases.

Speaking of unknown lyrics, did you ever gopher song lyrics? At least that’s what I think it was called, it’s what I remember reading on a blog ages later after the Internet and sites like sing365.com made such methods somewhat archaic.

I remember I had a binder full songs that I’d taped from the radio (ah, tapes… feeding the nostalgia, folks!) and spent hours stretched out on the floor, fingers near the buttons, wearing out tape after tape hitting Play-Pause-Rewind as many times as it took to get the words right. I don’t think it was as much about signing the songs myself, in my room, requisite hairbrush as a microphone. It was just about knowing them. Understanding what the artist was trying to say–at least on the surface. It would be years before I started thinking about hidden meanings and subtext.

The pride of my homemade libretto? Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

Speaking of archaic tech, one more memory from the late-80s:

Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” came out in February of 1989. Our local top-40 station was going to first play it at some unholy hour (probably midnight) and I was determined to stay up for it. I wouldn’t get my tres spiffy compact stereo until the following Christmas so I was stuck with a basic radio in my room and no tape recorder of my own. My little brothers, however, had a Fisher Price tape player that actually did record. I’m not certain where I scored a blank tape from.

Anyway, late that fateful night I stayed up, in the dark because I was supposed to be asleep. The radio being on was nothing new, I always went to sleep with music on. At the appointed hour I set the boys’ toy tape recorder on the dresser with the mic as close to the speaker as humanly possible and tried to time it just. right. to get all of the song that I’d never heard but was sure I’d love. Not to mention die if I wasn’t among the first girls at school to hear it.

Hearing the song on the radio always brings back this memory. What songs from your tween/teen years do that for you?

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