(I would have called this songs in the key of E, but someone would have pointed out that the songs weren’t in the key of E. now someone might be pointing out that there is no key of S, but I’ll take the hit on that one.)
I haven’t had the best luck with mix tapes. Sophomore year in high school, I made a recording for a girl I had a crush on. It was her favorite song. But yeah, it was from the radio. And I recorded it on a portable cassette player. And it sounded awful. And she barely even knew who I was. And I might have awkwardly played the cassette for her in the hallway between periods 3 and 4 while people (HER FRIENDS!) were streaming past. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when she hit STOP and walked away.Never mind, she was not my kind.
Later on, I had a different kind of crush. That was actually reciprocated. So I tried again. Being the Top 40 addict that I was, I scoured the handwritten listings that my friend Shelley had made of Casey’s Countdown and devised a plan. I was going to tell a story. About how I felt. Through top 40 hits. Week old top 40 hits, but still. So I made a playlist with consideration to chart positions and progress. I camped out in the barn with the radio on the right station. I got the cassette recorder ready. And my dad came in and had some chores for me to do. So I missed the top 40 that week. But nothing much changed chart position wise. With a few judicious edits, I was ready to try again the next Saturday. I’m sure my dad was completely puzzled as to why I was not to be disturbed for several hours on a perfectly fine Saturday afternoon when there was farming to be done. However, the fervor in my eyes, must have convinced him of my sincerity, or at least my temporary insanity and he left me alone. I can only hope my older brother had more work to do because of me. I can’t say the second recording went off without a hitch. Although there hadn’t been a lot of change between the previous two weeks, for some reason, chart positions had changed a lot by the third week. Half of the songs were in very different orders than I had expected, making my story a little (ok, a lot) less coherent than I’d have hoped. If I was faster on me feet, I’d have told a different story, but I’m not and besides, I’d spent a ton of time working my playlist up. Worse than the songs that were in different order, were the charts positions of some songs that I had counted on HAD COMPLETELY FALLEN OFF THE CHARTS! Unheard of. Ridiculous. Damnit. Saving grace, however, was a long distance dedication (usually, my least favorite part of the countdown) that arrived at a pivotal spot in my playlist and made it all work. At least in my mind. Skip ahead to next Wednesday and I’m in the car before catechism. My crush stops by, hops in the car, and I say, “hey, I’ve got something for you to listen to. if you want, that is.” I get a nod, and then I start the cassette. A song plays, and I get puzzlement. “Just wait for the next one, “ I insist, “it’ll make sense.” Next song plays and I can see I’m not getting through, “What are you doing,” but I interrupt, and say, “oh Wait, let me play you the next song.” and I’m starting to panic and also realizing that I have 30 minutes of music and about 3 or 4 more minutes before we have to be in class. So of course, I wasted a minute fast forwarding to the Long Distance Dedication song, thinking that will be the thing. Of course, I catch too much of Casey Kasem talking, and I also happen to notice a cow mooing in the background (damn quality control), but whatever. Here’s the song and it plays. After it was over, my crush looks at me and he said, “I only like country music,” and got out of the car.
It did get better. But I also quit making mix tapes. Or at least I quit making them for the reasons I was making them. For a long time, my mix tapes were just greatest hits, mostly chronological, but making sure I didn’t miss any of the lesser singles. And that was good enough.
I broke my rule back in the late 90’s and made another mix tape (cd by this point). Frankly, I think it was my best one ever (I still have a copy and play it regularly). Probably don’t need to go into details, something about apology and miscommunication. I can’t say definitively that we aren’t friends today because of a mix tape but I also can’t say it didn’t matter.
So there’s history. I don’t make them very often anymore. And I have some trepidation, knowing I’m going all “Man O Sea to Girl O Sand.” However, I think I’ll take the odds of us over the some random bad luck with mix tapes.
Here ya go, boo, a little virtual birthday mix tape:
Favorite things (Julie Andrews)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiGQhMQCGZY
Purple People Eater-(Sheb Wooley)
Girls Just wanna Have fun Cyndi Lauper
Mambo Italiano Rosemary Clooneyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NYWJlOL_iY
The Man I Love (Ella)
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (Frank)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Iz)
Come Away with Me (Norah Jones)
It Had to be You (Harry Connick Jr)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Milkle Buble)
My Funny Valentine (Bobby Darin)
You take my breath away (Eva Cassiday)
The Wing and the Wheel (live) (Nanci Griffith)
Nobody Does it Better (Carly Simon)
Somebody To Watch over Me (Frank)