Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Travel Music: Songs for My Upcoming Itinerary

In the immortal words of The O'Jays (later repeated by Rozalla in her 1994 UK Top 20 cover), I love music. Anyone who truly knows me also truly knows that this might actually be something of an understatement. I've been living and breathing music since that day in December of 1979 when I won my first transistor radio in a fifth-grade auction.

For the next few years, until my mom gave me a plastic blue record player for Christmas of 1982, which she followed with a gray portable radio/cassette player for my 15th birthday in 1984 (which I followed with a boombox nearly three times its size that flashed bright multi-colored lights to the beat of the music and took me right through to the CD age), my little black transistor radio with the tinny, static-soaked sound was my constant companion.

I went to sleep every night with my ear on top of the speaker and dreamed about the country and pop songs whose lyrics I didn't always fully grasp. I woke up on Saturday morning and listened to Bob Kingsley's American Country Countdown (a Top 40 that kicked off my ongoing obsession with lists -- I can still hear the theme music in my head). About six months after I won the radio, the week that Billy Joel "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" replaced Paul McCartney's "Coming Up" at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100, I added Casey Kasem's Sunday-morning Top 40 countdown to my must-listen-to radio schedule.

I've long since given up on radio -- I can't remember the last time I owned one, or even turned one on -- but music remains central to my life. I won't pretend to understand people who aren't into music, or casual listeners who don't care enough about it to choose favorites. I mean, what goes through their heads all day?

Today as Joy Division's "Warsaw" was going through my head while I was also contemplating the upcoming stops on my 2013 world tour, I realized that I might be subconsciously working music into my travel plans. Until I switch hemispheres and flip seasons once again and head to Cape Town around mid-October, with the exception of Milan and Pompeii, all of the cities on my planned Summer and Early Autumn of 2013 Travel Itinerary are represented by songs that I love.

Someone once told me that every day should have a soundtrack. So should ever travel itinerary. Here's mine.

"No More Words" Berlin

"Warsaw" Joy Division

"Hamburg Song" Keane

"Venice Drowning" Duran Duran

"Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" Morcheeba

"Tel Aviv" Duran Duran


"Jerusalem" Sinead O'Connor

"Fire in Cairo" The Cure

"Egypt Egypt" The Egyptian Lover (for Giza)

"The Lebanon" The Human League

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