Sifting through the hundreds and hundreds of replies to NPR's request Tell Us The 6 Songs Of Your Life we rediscover just how meaningful music can be in our lives, and the supermagical powers that some songs possess.
I Want To Hold Your Hand, for example ...
The melodious Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, Fire and Rain by James Taylor, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and Hallelujah sung by writer Leonard Cohen and others are recurring favorites. Multiple songs by Adele, Beyonce, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Sam Cooke, Elvis, Pink Floyd and Queen pop up often.
Here are a couple of more playlists from people who share with us, in lightly edited notes, why certain songs are so special. And for accompaniment: Montages of those songs crafted by NPR Digital News Producer April Fehling.
Laura Thompson, 28, is a middle school choir director in Fall City, Wash. She listens to member station KPLU in Tacoma.
1) Do, Re, Mi The Sound of Music
I watched this movie hundreds of times as a young kid, and this period of my life preschool and kindergarten marks the beginning of my obsession with music. I would watch it with a pair of tights on my head to serve as long hair, a blanket wrapped around me as a dress, and a rocking chair in the middle of the room which was the tree I would dance around like Julie Andrews does in the opening scene. I wanted to be in that family, like, so bad. To have a puppet show, fall out of a canoe, live in a huge house, wear pretty dresses, have a hot boyfriend, sing in harmony every day with my awesome siblings whom I got along with, escape the bad guys and disappear into the mountains with my happy, musical family. This song is now the basis of what I do Monday through Friday as a choir teacher.
2) I Wonder Joy Williams
This was one of the Christian songs I listened to during my search for religion during high school. I spent a couple of years trying to make church work for me, but in the end I realized that the whole reason I was there was to try to fill the hole that my actual family wasn't filling. I wanted an outlet to express my feelings, a place where I felt like I belonged and was accepted and loved. In the end I realized I didn't believe in God at all, I was just really, really lonely.
3) The Sun King The Beatles
This song sounds like peace and freedom to me. That's what college felt like, and that's when I first started listening to The Beatles. I was getting away from home and my old life, concentrating on what I love music, learning about myself, gaining a lot of self-confidence and life experience, and looking forward to the future.
4) When It Hurts So Bad Lauryn Hill
If we're talking about chronological order, it helps if you play this song at exactly the same time as the next one. You get a true picture of my relationship that way. This song speaks to the feelings and worries about my relationship with the guy I was ready to marry until things exploded into a zillion pieces.
5) Everybody Knows Dustin Tavella
And this song speaks to the feelings that some of my friends and family had about my relationship with the Song #4 guy when I was still with him, and the lyrics are approximately 100 percent accurate as far as what was happening at the time while I was trying really hard to make things work.
6) Independent Women Part 1 Destiny's Child
A couple of years and several thousand dollars' worth of therapy later, I feel like a new woman. Happy to be independent, feeling empowered and strong, and ready to take on life's challenges with or without someone beside me.
Teddy Ray Bullard, 37, works at a military shipping terminal near Southport, N.C. He listens to member station WHQR in Wilmington.
The most memorable song --perhaps due to the emotional bent in a pivotal moment in my life, the night before I was to leave civilian life and enter basic training in Fort Benning, Ga.
My grandaddy and grandma divorced late in life. One day i walked up to Grandaddy's house we all, the entire family, lived on the same large area of farmland and there Grandaddy was, all alone, drinking George Dickel, crying and singing this. It was a country song come to life.
This song was the first time I heard the voice of JD Sumner and it made me want to sing bass for a living. The funny thing is ... I ended up doing just that, taking JD's place in the Stamps Quartet when he passed. What a voice that man had.
This song was a very memorable part of the background noise during my senior year in high school. No, I wasn't a senior when it was released, I was a child.
As a lifelong Carolinian, in my first Army assignment after basic and infantry school, this song brought me comfort when I was homesick or made me homesick, depending.
This song made a very dark period of my young adult life a period dominated by substances, family problems and uncertainty about who I was and what I wanted from life bearable.
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