Day 15. A song your parents played on road trips when you were young

“You Can Call Me Al” — Paul Simon

paulsimonchevy“Young” is a relative term. I’m 43 years old, and I still feel young. I’m assuming that the creator of the challenge meant “when you were a kid” but it’s vague enough to allow for some license.

I’m going to use that license, because, although we did a lot of road trips when I was a kid, I never remember us listening to music. My parents were not “The Wheels On The Bus”-type people (thank God). On top of that, we did a lot of overnight driving. The “if we leave at midnight the kids will sleep and we won’t have to listen to them” mentality. Of which I wholeheartedly approve as an adult.

When I was really young—the time when we did the most driving—we were still in the era of AM radio in the car. (Cue “AM Radio” by Everclear.) By the time we got to the era of the Power Wagon, and the capability to play tapes, most of those really long trips were a thing of the past (and a good thing, too, given the Power Wagon’s other “amenities”). So, as a kid, I got nothin’.

This is where the license comes in.

In 1988 I went on a student exchange to Australia, where, as it happens, we also did a lot of road trips. I saw a bunch of New South Wales from the back seat of a Holden Premier station wagon (which actually did have power and did have a tape deck). So I’m focusing on those.

In preparation for the exchange, I had taped a lot of albums, one of those being Paul Simon’s Graceland(with his first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits, Etc., now long out of print, on the B side). For one reason or another, we started listening to that tape every time we went somewhere.

I stayed in Kiama, NSW, which was some sort of weird focal point for exchange students. While I was there, we had at least six or seven students from other countries just in my class. I’m not sure why that was. One of those, a guy from Denmark named Janus became a close friend, and he began to spend a lot of time with my family, joining us on many of those trips.

Now, we were pretty goofy as it was, but when “You Can Call Me Al” would come on, the goofiness went to 11. During the song, we played air guitar, air bass, air trumpet (mimicking the moves from the video as much as you can while sitting in a back seat), air pennywhistle, air bongos… Anything “air.” Which must have looked really weird to anyone who saw us.

Cascading notes, starting on that last paragraph:

And now, here’s something we hope you’ll really like: