The ever-revolving selection of earworm songs continues. Following a recent visit to the Southwest which resulted in weeks of the relentless repetition of a particular Grateful Dead song in my brain – the name of which I don’t even want to chance typing here for fear it will start up again – the tune blessedly moved on to new material.
I had been reading a memoir by the writer Joyce Johnson, her story of being a “minor character” in a world of Beat Generation heavies. Thinking about the women involved with or in supporting roles of famous men (and also thinking of those women involved with and in supporting roles of men who aren’t famous at all – I could do a whole post on that), prompted me to move on to a couple of autobiographies written by the ex-wives of some renowned musicians.
I started with Pattie Boyd’s story and was suddenly plunged into four days of George Harrison earworms. I will admit the change of music was welcome. That stayed in my head for a few days (and nights) before moving on to Eric Clapton songs. To anyone who is familiar with a bit of rock history, this will make some sense. At the end of that book, I moved on to reading Cynthia Lennon’s story, resulting in about a week of repetitive Lennon/McCartney tunes. It was all doable, but after finishing these non-fictions and the resulting bombardment of “stuck song syndrome”, I decided not to pursue yet another book of that genre, thinking perhaps immersing myself in some totally unrelated fiction might help. It worked. I became song-free again, until a few days ago.
Decades past, a Dutch band called Golden Earring recorded a song called “Radar Love”. It reached #13 in the U.S., was in the top ten around the world, and it has been voted one of the Ultimate Driving Songs in a number of countries. It had a great energetic beat. Next up on deck….
Radar. I’m not sure if it has to do with the fact that I have strong send/receive abilities. No doubt many of us have that extra sense, whether we are aware of it or not, I think we possess the innate ability to perceive incoming thoughts, as well as to project them. You think of someone, often strongly think of someone, and as if some sort of radar goes out, suddenly they call, write, appear.
It used to happen with my mother and I constantly. It happened with my boyfriends. It has happened with my dogs! It happens with my siblings. It occurs with my children so often that it is just an acknowledged given. I pick up the phone to call and before I even punch in the number, it rings in my hand and it’s one of them. I started calling this phenomenon, this psychic connection, “Radar Love”.
We’ve got a thing that’s called radar love
We’ve got a wave in the air
Or I’ll think “I haven’t heard from so-and-so” and perhaps an hour later an email from them pops into my inbox or a few days later a letter shows up in the mail. With relatives, exes, close relationships, good friends. Sometimes with people I haven’t heard from in years, which is especially wild.
When she is lonely and the longing gets too much
She sends a cable, coming in from above
Don’t need no phone at all
Sometimes it occurs with people I don’t really know that well. It even will transpire with situations. Radar. Thus my latest earworm – Radar Love. Although there were a few intuitive instances over the week that might have set off this latest repetitive tune, I believe – oddly – that a dump truck backing up in the street the other day is most likely what prompted it this time.
This whole brain processing thing really is fascinating.
Aside from the people connection, this particular song is very much associated with a period of time where I worked for the highway department on a road crew. It began in the middle of the night during a snow storm; I was getting ready to head out in a truck to sand and plow. While pulling up to the loading ramp so the loader operator could fill the truck’s hopper with salt and sand, this song suddenly came on the radio. The rotating lights on top of the trucks were strobing and sending shadows everywhere, the snow was swirling, the backup alarm on the loader was loudly beeping in sync with the opening bassline and drums as we pulled out onto the highway at the beginning of a long night:
I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel
There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel
It’s my baby callin’, sayin’, “I need you here”
And it’s a half past four and I’m shiftin’ gear
Now the even weirder thing about it is that following that instance, the song “Radar Love” happened to come on the radio almost every single time we went out on the road that winter…. and it wasn’t even a hit that year. When I hear the opening riffs, visions of snow flying off the end of the wings, of the flag that marked the edge of the plow, of snowflakes making mesmerizing, swirling patterns in the headlights against the dark – all of that manifests. A whiff of diesel. Memories of climbing up on top of the hopper in the freezing cold, kicking down the load so the big chunks went through the grate and wouldn’t fall off into the road. And how noisy the inside of the cab was, the music turned up way loud so as not to be drowned out.
Why this now? I surmise what precipitated this latest “Involuntary Musical Imagery ” was when that large truck backed up in front of my house a number of days ago, its loud reverse alarm beeping. Around the same period of time I had been thinking of each of my children, naturally at the very moment each one called. Perfect storm. Radar Love. If I was young and in a band, I think I would do a cover of this, just for fun. I looked up the song, played it a few times to bring it all back. I guess I’ll be living with it for a while, until something different takes its place.
We’ve got a thing that’s called a radar love
We’ve got a line in the sky
good one, now stuck in my head but won’t last…love that song/
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Somehow it may be working this time. Experiment. Mom and I always had that. I think my sister was jealous.
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