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Songs Bringing Back Memories in My Life

Paul is a retired American ex-pat living in Thailand. He has been following popular music since the 1950s.

Songs Bringing Back Memories in My Life


Popular songs from the past easily bring back memories from various stages of my life. Starting from the mid-1950s, I followed pop music on the radio. Rock music became an infatuation throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. When I stopped following pop music in 2007, experiences in my life had been plentiful. I had been to college, in the Navy, worked for the federal government, lived in Taiwan and Thailand, and been married and divorced.

When I hear old songs today, many of them bring back memories from my earlier years. In this article, I share seven songs that immediately trigger vivid recollections of when and where I was.

You Talk Too Much

In the fall of 1960, I was a junior at Burlington High School in Wisconsin. I remember the school having a jukebox outside of the gym in the basement. During lunch hour many kids would go down to the gym area to listen to the jukebox and dance.

Beth B and Andy W, both seniors, seemed to always be swaying on the dance floor. Beth was a very pretty blonde cheerleader and Andy was on the football team. Andy was especially noticeable and got the name "Big Bopper" for his cool dancing. One of the songs he loved bopping to was Talk Too Much by Joe Jones.

As a junior, I was on the football team with Andy. I will always remember the nosebleed that he suffered after running back a kickoff to the opponent's five-yard line.

Burlington High School



Kicks by Paul Revere and the Raiders was a very popular song in early 1966. At that time, I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and living in a dorm next to Lake Mendota. On one weekend, the Lakeshore Halls Association that we all belonged to held a dance with a DJ on the second floor of Carson Gulley Hall. Carson Gulley was right across from our dorm and also served as our eating hall.

The dance started at 8:00 pm and was open to the men residents of Adams and Tripp Halls and the co-eds of Schlicter Hall. We all ate at Carson Gulley. One of the songs I remember hearing and dancing to was Kicks. I had been social chairman of my dorm the previous semester so I knew a lot of the coeds in Schlicter. After having a few dances with Holly, Sharon, and Janet, we all made our way over to the Badger Tavern a few blocks away to enjoy the remainder of the evening.

Carson Gulley Hall

We entered the dining hall through the door on the second level.

We entered the dining hall through the door on the second level.

Heard it Through the Grapevine

In the spring of 1969, I was stationed with the Navy in Taiwan when I first listened to I heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye. Working and living on Shulinkou Mountain, I would sometimes spend the afternoon in my barracks listening to the radio. Armed Forces Network Taiwan (AFNT) was our favorite station because it was in English and played popular Western music. One of the station's disc jockeys had a program called Psychedelia. Although I Heard It Through the Grapevine wasn't a psychedelic song, I grooved to this hit by Marvin Gaye. Whenever I was on liberty in the bars and clubs of Taipei, I would play this song on the jukebox.

25 or 6 to 4

It seems like only yesterday when I heard 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago in January 1971. At the beginning of January, I had just been separated from the Navy. After three weeks with my family in Wisconsin, I was ready to return to Taiwan as a civilian. I recall first taking an evening flight from Milwaukee to Los Angeles that was almost an hour late getting into L.A. It was a close international connection and I almost missed my flight to Taipei, Taiwan. As a stewardess was preparing to close the door of a Boeing 707, I presented myself and was barely able to board the aircraft. Having settled in my seat, I put on my headset and started to listen to music. The first song I enjoyed was Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4.

Hooked on a Feeling

When I first heard Hooked on a Feeling by B.J. Thomas, it was the summer of 1974 and I was living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I had married a Taiwanese and already had two children. Mike aged six was adopted and Charles just born in February was my own. My wife Mona had a friend who worked in Nancy's Harbor Inn just off Chi Hsien 3rd Road near Kaohsiung harbor. One evening while visiting her with the family, I played Hooked on a Feeling on the jukebox and immediately fell in love with that song.

The Reflex

How can I forget The Reflex by Duran Duran! I first heard this song when I was back in Taiwan with my family in August 1984. The U.S. government had just sent my family and me over to Taiwan so that I could have one year of Chinese Mandarin language immersion training. Our living quarters were on Yangmingshan Mountain near a training school in the vicinity of the small village of Shantzehou.

During our first week on Yangminshan, I often heard The Reflex on International Community Radio Taiwan (ICRT) in our quarters after I returned from my classes shortly after 3:00. The summer and fall of 1984 were some of my family's happiest times.

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

In contrast, the summer and fall of 1992 were some of the saddest periods of my life. My relationship with my wife had gone downhill in a hurry since 1984. To compound matters, my oldest son Mike developed schizophrenia in 1986 and had been in and out of mental institutions. By February 1990, Mona and I separated. Due to my wife's mental illness, our marriage could not be saved and ended in divorce in July 1992.

The sadness and sorrow of a divorce following 19 years of marriage didn't hit home until a few weeks after receiving the divorce decree. After hearing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted by Paul Young, I broke down and cried. I still loved her and felt awful for my youngest son Charles who was still in high school and living with me. Many times I regret not being able to save our family at that darkest time in my life.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Paul Richard Kuehn