Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
These songs are a mishmash of seeming weirdness… but what else would you expect?
“O Holy Night”- sung by Mahalia Jackson
Not only is this an iconic Christmas carol, it is the one Christmas song that I associate with my Mom. She used to sing it in church at some point during the Christmas season almost every year. I’ve heard people liken Mom’s voice to “angels singing”. I remember always crying at the point that she hit the high note because it was perfection.
As she got older, she struggled to hit the higher notes, but her voice was just as beautiful to me. Now Mom is singing among the angels, and every time I hear O Holy Night, I end up practically a heaving heap on the floor, crying because I miss those notes… and because I can’t hear her voice any longer.
How I long to hear her belt out, “Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!”
Billy Don’t Be A Hero by Bo Donaldson and Heywoods-
Although it is a remake of the Paperlace original and is supposed to be an anthem against war, this isn’t why this song has become one of the important songs in my life.
When I was 9-10 years old, Bio-dad ran a pizza parlor across the street from his house. On the weekends that we were at his house, after Marie and Jeff were asleep, my step-mom Candy would watch me cross the street to the restaurant and I would get to hang out in my pj’s until Dad closed the store, sometimes at 2am!
When I walked in Shrout’s Pizza, I was the star of the night. Dad let me help make pizzas and wash dishes. All the regulars spoiled me rotten, buying me sugary soda, sharing their pizza and breadsticks, and giving me rolls of quarters for the pool table, pinball machines, and the jukebox. And I danced around the room in my footy pajamas.
My favorite songs in the jukebox were “The Twelth of Never” and “Billy Don’t be a Hero”. The night I used an entire roll of quarters on that song, Dad threatened to have it taken out of the jukebox!
Years later, Bio-dad and I had a strained, distant relationship, but that song always reminded me of how special I felt on those nights with the jukebox blaring in the pizza parlor with my Dad.
You Are My Sunshine– (Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan/ Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
While I was growing up, any trip in our car meant that you would be required to hear this song sung by Mom and Dad, at least once. This was “their song” and they sang it often. As LeeAnne got older, she learned to harmonize with them, so they become a trio. I could only sing the melody, so they would end up singing circles around me!
I don’t hear the song as much anymore, but I see the words on plaques and wall hangings all the time and it reminds me of those special times in the car.