It was hard to make this list a reasonable length given the emotional connection I have to so much music. Here are just a few strong memories I have that are tied to songs.
1983-84? - Driving from Eureka, CA to Redding with my mom. Singing while we drove, this was one of my favorites.
1984 - Dancing around the family room with my mom while this played on the record player.
1985 - Sitting in an easy chair wearing my dad's giant metal headphones, holding the record liner in my lap to follow along with the story.
1986 - Roller skating at Viking Skate Country. See also, Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles)
Pop Goes the World (Men Without Hats)
1987 - Calling the local radio station over and over, begging them to play this song, then waiting desperately with a blank cassette tape for it to come on.
Love Bites (Def Leppard)
1988 - Sixth grade, my first slow dance
Deeper Shade of Soul (Urban Dance Squad)
1990 - 12 years old, away at photography camp at Texas A&M at Galveston. This song was all over the radio. It was at this camp that I discovered pretty girls who would never give me the time of day were more than happy to have their pictures taken. This same trip also marked the first time I ever heard Nine Inch Nails (Head like a Hole)
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
1991 - Sleeping over at a friend's house. We'd snuck out of the house and got caught in the rain. Sitting on the living room floor drying my hair with towel when this song came on MTV, my mind was blown.
1992 - Tripping balls, crammed into a tiny car, driving around Red Bluff, CA in the middle of the night.
Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin)
1993 - Attending a writing workshop at Lewis & Clark college. I was walking through campus past the library listening to a borrowed tape on my Walkman. This song came on and my heart actually skipped.
1993 - The same writing workshop, during a late-light poetry-candle-mud-insanity session. This song forever represents freedom from loneliness and self-doubt.
Gulf War Song (Moxy Fruvous)
1993 - I was a camp counselor at Camp Latieze and overheard one of my fellow counselors singing this song. I made her sing it to me over and over for the rest of the week until I got my hands on a copy of the Fruvous Demo Tape.
1994 - Fall of my freshman year of college, the first time I'd ever heard any Pixies. It was like the world opened up and I was falling, falling, falling into my own brain.
Every State Line (Ani DiFranco)
1994 - My friend Noah imploring me to listen to this song. The joy and anger on her face as she sang “Maybe some other time, fuck you very much". I was hooked.
2003 - Jane and I on a rare, baby-free outing to see the Indigo Girls. Girlyman was the opening act and we sat in awe for their entire set.