Day 18. A song you would consider part of the “soundtrack” of your life:

“Bye Bye Love” — The Cars

Although Genesis is my favorite band, The Cars’ debut is my favorite album. I’m not exaggerating in the least when I tell you that I’ve listened to this album at least a thousand times. So, if the challenge was an album that you consider part of the soundtrack of your life, I’d be done. (I better not hear you saying “I wish it said album.”)

But it did say song, so a little more work is involved.

It’s funny the things you remember. In 1978, my brother drove a 1971 Plymouth Valiant. It was a bizarre red-orange color, and so far as I recall, looked pretty similar to the car Dennis Weaver drove in the movie Duel. (I don’t have enough parenthetical space here to talk about just how mind-blowingly horrible that movie was, so I’ll save it for another post.) Looked similar, that is, until the front fenders rusted out and were replaced with blue ones. This was not a car you could “blend in” with to outwit cops if you were speeding at the outset, much less after the repairs. And I believe that’s the way it stayed at least as long as we had it.

The Valiant had been outfitted with an aftermarket 8-Track tape player, and in 1978, that 8-Track player was delivering The Cars through to the speakers on a very regular basis. It is here that I first remember hearing the album. And I have a specific memory of hearing today’s song in the front seat of that car, too. (This was in the days where no one cared about children enough to make them sit in the back seat, or even wear a seat belt. Ah! The good old days.) The reason this one sticks out over the others is that remember mishearing the lyrics for a long time, thinking Ben Orr was singing “Vi, my love”.

Like, short for “Violet” or something, I dunno. Don’t ask me why I would have thought those were the words over the actual “Bye Bye Love.” I was eight. My brain was barely big enough to fill my skull at that point.

From there, the album (and song) has followed me throughout my life. I’m not sure how many copies I’ve owned on different formats over the years. At least one “official” cassette, a homemade cassette recording of the vinyl, the vinyl, and two CDs. There may be more in there. Ric Ocasek has a beach house that I paid for, I think.

The point is, this song shows up at all the important points in my life. Adolescence, high school, college, working life, home life. It’s everywhere. And, that’s why I chose it for the “soundtrack.” It’s there, in the background, providing color for all the things that happen without being too overpowering. It makes you feel what’s going on that much more without really knowing why. That’s a good soundtrack song.

Now, if I could just figure out who “Vi” is.