As most music lovers can attest, there are songs that I consider to be part of the “Soundtrack of My Life.” The songs that held your hand in tough times, moved your feet to the beat during joyful times, soothed your aching heart through the painful times, and brightened your face in delight during the happy times. For the songs on that soundtrack, you don’t have to think long or hard to name the artist or song title, it takes very little effort to remember lyrics, and the period during which you first heard it is etched in stone along the crevices of your mind. I know I’m not the only one with a life soundtrack. And as I approach the magical age of 40, I realize that since I spent 20 years of my life with my late husband, “our” songs probably make up more than half of that soundtrack.
Becoming friends in 11th grade allowed MrTDJ and I to learn one another in that slow, unhurried way that went against everything that teenagers normally do. We talked, and talked, and talked ad nauseam about every damn thing under the sun. We fell in love hard over marathon late night phone calls and cafeteria french fries with watery ketchup. Our love of music was one thing that bonded us together and somehow his ability to sing never came up. Say what???? Yup, that brother could BLOW! He played a mean set of congas too, but his voice was like butter.
When I left the D.C. area to head to Charlottesville, VA to start college, my sensitive dude packed me a small shoebox full of slow jam cassette tapes. Yeah, 1993, so we were still rocking cassettes hard. He made me promise not to open the box until I got settled into my room on campus. I was tempted, but I refrained and I’m glad I did. Man, that dude was always full of surprises!! He had taken the time to label each one, by pencil, with titles like, “When You Miss Me”, “When You Need a Kiss”, “When You Get A Bad Grade”, etc. Whoa, tapes in that box. One tape was labeled, “On Your Ride Back to DC”. Hmmm. That one was the most intriguing, but true to my word again, I didn’t listen until Thanksgiving eve while waiting for my parents to pick me and 3 friends up for the holiday weekend. The tape was the ultimate slow jam tape! The tape that said, hey girl, I love you and we’re about to get it on! Yeah, it was THAT kind of slow jam tape. The kind of tape that made me blush and giggle!
When we finally got to spend some alone time that weekend, we made sure to pop that tape into his stereo. Hush! We got married, so none of this is scandalous anymore. As the first song began to play, he began to sing and I was blown away. Up until that very moment, I had no idea that he could sing. No, he didn’t just sing, he SANG that song. I was moved to tears and we actually didn’t even get busy that day! LOL! That had been the plan, but instead he just sang to me and we cuddled. That special song was “Quiet Time To Play” by Johnny Gill. If you’ve never heard it, click that link and have a little listen.
For the rest of our years together, that song became one of our special, intimate songs. Every single time that we heard it by chance or if one of us played it intentionally, a knowing smile and a deep wave of emotion came with it. Johnny Gill’s voice is both soothing and exciting, as he sings about love, passion and blocking out the world to give your partner your undivided attention. I’ve long since tossed that box of tapes, but I have that track in my digital library. Listening to it now still evokes the same feelings of love although it is tempered a little with the ache of missing my guy. He worked hard to make me love Valentine’s Day as much as he did and by 1994, I certainly did. This song was always involved in our Valentine’s Day plans and now I am sending it into the universe for any lovers that need a soulful tune to round out your playlists.
I did a blog hop with a few blogger buddies, so head over and check out what songs put them in a loving mood: