I am old enough to be certain that there is stuff in my brain that I have no real use for except for doing crossword puzzles Things like the names of silent film stars, the names of old baseball players, and the letters of the Greek alphabet. I just have lots of useless (and pointless) knowledge stored in the long term memory folds waiting for retrieval. What surprised me was how much music from long ago appears to be taking up space.
The Bee Gees don’t usually come up in conversation and I haven’t given them much thought or any thought at all probably since college when they were at the height of their popularity. I spent many nights in discos dancing to “You Should be Dancing.” But then it all disappeared–disco and the Bee Gees.
One night, for some reason, my husband played a Bee Gees song in some music mix and I mentioned that I would love to see a “Behind the Music” on The Bee Gees. They seemed to implode and disappear, and those stories were always the best Behind the Music episodes (please someone bring this show back!). I turned to the font of all knowledge, Google, to see if such an episode existed. I discovered that a documentary was going to be released on HBO. I just had to wait.
The documentary finally arrived and my brain exploded. What shocked me was how many songs I remembered. We bought the Bee Gees anthology because why not? and suddenly words I did not know I knew were coming out of my mouth as I sang along. They really wrote some earworms and those worms were dug in deep. Brain cells that had long gone dormant sparked to life. I knew the words to Bee Gees songs going back to the 1960s. The words to “Massachusetts” came flowing out, and I really do not like that song. But there it was, verses and choruses at the ready. That poor brain cell has been sitting around waiting and waiting for someone to need it. And this was the day. Even weirder, there were some songs I remembered but I had no idea they were Bee Gees songs. I honestly thought that “Lonely Days” was a Beatles song. (Just go listen to it.)
Then after that mind blast, I picked up an autobiography of Tommy James. Once again lights went on in parts of my brain I thought were dedicated to more important things like my old home phone number. But no, there they were bubbling up from the depths– “Mony, Mony,” “Crimson & Clover “and “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” every word and note a longstanding memory.
It is becoming a game at this point. What obscure music can I recall from the days of AM radio when music wasn’t curated for your particular tastes. You had to take it all in, the good with the annoying. Soul, rock, folk, pop, and John Denver singing “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” There was no way out of it. And it led to the lurking lyrics in my synapses. So now I just have to live with the fact that somewhere in the depths of my brain lurks the words to The Candyman.