Sing It, Granny!

I’m happy to report that my inner child is still ageless. ~ James Broughton

A few weeks back, a video made the Facebook rounds. You probably saw it: an old man in a nursing home, virtually unresponsive to the people around him, listens to music from his youth and lights up, singing, dancing, and interacting freely with the interviewer. It’s a wonderful video, and if you haven’t seen it (or want to see it again), here it is. Have a box of tissues on hand, you’ll need them.

Now, me being the snarky snark that I am (in other words, this made me cry and so I had to start making jokes in order to distance myself), I got to thinking. The music from my youth wasn’t exactly Cab Calloway. What songs will Sausage play for me, if and when I end up in a similar state to Henry from the video?

I’m sure he’ll play The Beatles for me — I know all the words to most of their songs, and they’ve always been a go-to for me. Then there’s Simon and Garfunkel, and Blondie. I guess these are all innocuous enough, and I shouldn’t embarrass him too terribly by rocking out to Magical Mystery Tour. But I’m not ultimately a child of the 60’s and 70’s. My formative music was from the 80’s and 90’s, and the 90’s in particular were not a decade of sweet innocence from songwriters. It was a decade of screaming obscenities and equating sex with death. So what are some of the songs that I’ll most respond to when I’m 95 years old, belting them out and grinding in my seat, I wonder?

I plan to start wearing a hat like this one as soon as I turn 65.

Here’s a small selection of songs that I always turn up really loud and get dancing to. I know all the words to every single one.

5. Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”. I had this on vinyl as a kid, and it always makes me feel like a happy, bouncy six-year-old in neon leggings. I can’t imagine that I’ll feel any differently about it when I’m 95.

4. The Offspring, “Bad Habit”. My poor mom. I used to put on The Offspring and turn it up really loud, just to annoy her. She never said anything about it, but she had to have been wondering why I couldn’t be one of those girls who was listening to bubblegum pop instead of to angry punk. Whatever. This song still makes me headbang (though I get a headache from it now).

3. Fiona Apple, “Criminal”. This song makes me feel naughty, and I expect that if they play it for me when I’m old I may just become a pincher. Nurses, take heed.

2. Jill Sobule, “I Kissed A Girl”. This will mostly be embarrassing because my poor son really doesn’t want to know that much about my college experience. He just doesn’t.

The official video, the one I watched when I was 15, is not on YouTube. It’s here, though. Not to be missed. Did you remember that Fabio was in it? I didn’t.

1. Divinyls, “I Touch Myself”. Years ago, on the radio, I remember a female DJ talking about how all women have a “Secret Stripper Song.” It’s a song that they do their sexy dance to every time they hear it — and they hear it every time they do their sexy dance. This is it for me. Even if I’m in public when I hear it, I’ll always do a mental striptease to this song. When I’m 95 and doing a chair dance in the nursing home, I anticipate that my son will be as mortified as it is possible to be. And that’s always fun!

What songs will you be belting out from your wheelchair?

26 responses to “Sing It, Granny!

  1. Oh, man, no one will ever get me to stop loving “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears. Ooo, or “Self Control” by Laura Branigan. If we’re going for slightly later songs in my development… I dunno, “Self Esteem” or “Black Hole Sun”? I really wanted to be an angsty kid.

    • I fought with myself as to whether I should include Self Esteem rather than Bad Habit, but I wanted that line “You stupid dumbsh!t goddamn motherf^cker.” And Black Hole Sun would have been on my top 10 list. I limited it to older songs, but a newer one would be Cee Lo Green’s “F^ck You” (with the real lyrics, obvs.)

  2. The 80s and 90s are what I most relate to as well. Love Shout by Tears for Fears, Fine Young Cannibals, She Drives Me Crazy, Wild, Wild West by Escape Club, Call Me by Blondie, George Michaels’ I Want Your Sex and Teacher. Got Cee Lo’s original on my playlist and Holla Back Girl by Gwen Stephani. Third Eye Blind, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Counting Crows’ Mr. Jones!!! there’s too many to mention. Like Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy too — maybe I’ll sing that one when I’m 80 and get my first tattoo. Great post — loved it. :).

  3. So much music to take to the Home. If I don’t break a hip dirty dancing to “I Touch Myself”, I certainly will attempting to do the running man while listening to early 90’s hip hop like “It takes Two” or rolling on the floor to Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf”. The rehab will be totally worth it, though. I should start practicing now.

  4. I am also an 80s girl, so for me it will be anything by Tears for Fears, Duran Duran, U2, The Cure, and Madonna!

  5. I’ll probably be belting out whatever the popular songs of the day are. Although I’ll listen to oldies, I prefer the current stuff, especially alt rock. If I was in my wheel chair now, I’m sure I’d be rocking to the Black Keys.

    Great post, and I agree, that video is beyond touching.

    • I listen to some new stuff as well, but I think that the songs that I’ll remember all the words to when I don’t remember my own son’s name will be the ones that I listened to as a kid. Well done, though, keeping up with new music — I have no idea who the Black Keys are 😉

  6. Is it bad that #5 is one of my favorite songs too?

  7. Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Because it’s one of the happiest songs I know…and no one knows the words to it. So when my teeth are floating in a cup on the table next to my wheelchair and everyone things I’m just mumbling, I can always pop my chompers back in and demand, “Oh! You know so much? Then you sing it and get the words right, you damn whippersnapper.”

  8. I’m going to re-enjoy me some Tiffany, Salt & Pepper, the Police, Chicago, Boston and Bon Jovi… Hmmm… happy times already!

    • Bon Jovi! Yes! And also (though I’m a little embarrassed to admit it) Debbie Gibson. Nothing like a deaf old lady tunelessly singing “Electric Youth.”

  9. This post rocks! Speaking of rock… how about some Hair Bands?? Seventeen by Winger, Dr. Feel Good by Motley Crew, anything by Def Leppard…let us not forget Bon Jovi 🙂 I want Action and UnSkinny Bop by Poison…ok you get the picture. Thanks for the trip down memory road. As you can see I’ll be the big haired granny in the wheel chair.. anyone joining me?

  10. I knew the video was going around, but I never watched it. My father has Alzheimer’s and I knew it would be too much. I watched it now. It’s so beautiful. I can’t ever remember my father listening to music, which I think is tragic. Music is necessary. I suppose no matter how old I get Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing will always get me singing. I’m such a sucker for that song.

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