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My Head Is Like a Random Jukebox

While we were in Miami Beach last week, some random tune jumped into my head, and I started whistling it without realizing what I was doing. It just so happened that it was the opening bars of “Through a Truck/Airport Chase” from Stu Phillips’ Knight Rider score. My dad looks at me and goes, “Knight Rider?” I was a bit startled, though, because I wasn’t even consciously aware of what I had been whistling until that very moment.

That little incident got me thinking about how my head acts like a random jukebox pretty much 24/7. There’s always music playing up there. Sometimes it’s something really obscure, other times something mainstream. Invariably, the last song I heard on the radio when I parked the car in the garage follows me into the house, and I find myself whistling/humming it for the next ten minutes. Yes, even when the song sucks, which, I assure you, is very annoying.

What’s most ridiculous, though, is that some of the music that still floats through my head to this day hasn’t graced my ears since the eighties, or at least a very a long time. These are the tunes that I don’t even need to be reminded of before I start randomly hearing them. Stuff like:

  • Stu Phillips’ Knight Rider theme (this will follow me to my grave)
  • The intro music from Test Drive, which I probably last played in 1988 on our old IBM XT
  • The car selection screen music, also from Test Drive (what’s really silly about this Test Drive stuff is that the only way to get music out of an XT was through the PC speaker!)
  • The theme from Seinfeld
  • Peter Howell’s Yamaha CS80 “electronica” remix of the Doctor Who theme from 1980
  • My favorite polysynth tune from the widely-panned 1994 PC game Corridor 7
  • The main title theme from another PC game, The Legacy: Realm of Terror (more polysynth)

Great, now some of that stuff is probably stuck in your head, too. Have a nice day.

On a related note, like many people, I associate particular songs — or sometimes entire albums — with certain time periods of my life. But I also associate certain music with the cars I was driving when I listened to it most often. For example, when I hear any of the soundtracks from Magic Knight Rayearth, ZZ Top’s Eliminator or Genesis’ Invisible Touch, I think of my first car, my old Grand Prix. Ringo Starr’s Vertical Man, Metallica’s black album and the Shin Kimagure Orange Road Image Album make me think of my Trans Am, and for the GTO, it’s Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor or anything by China Dolls (I’m still writing the catalog on that one).

Anyway, I’m off. Think I’ll go listen to some of these tunes and drive myself crazy.

3 thoughts to “My Head Is Like a Random Jukebox”

  1. This happens all the time with me; it’s usually oldies that get stuck in my head (for example, the Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” suddenly popped into my head while I’m typing this, and I haven’t heard that song in years, nor am I a particular fan of the Dave Clark Five). Often, though, it’s stuff that I’m overly familiar with or that I’ve been listening to obsessively recently — Shoko Suzuki and Pink Lady are swimming through my head quite a bit lately, for example.

    I don’t associate music with cars, per se, but more with the year/general time. For example, Vertical Man, Geopge’s Best of Dark Horse, and the KOR “Green Album” all remind me of junior/senior year of high school and driving out to Doug’s – especially KOR. Similarly, seeing The Rutles always makes me think of McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and “SNOTT.”

  2. Ha — dude, I hear you on the Rutles bit. I cannot eat anything at McFragster’s without thinking of The Rutles film. Likewise, vice-versa also holds true.

    Ironic that the old KOR soundtracks (in particular the “Green Album”) should be mentioned, because I recently dragged that album out and have been listening to it in the car again! I think it is the only album that has been in the CD changer of every damn one of my cars. Unbelievable.

    Of course, I can’t listen to the infamous KOR OAV tune “Natsu no Mirage” without thinking of Forster going, “Slide guitar!” (even though it wasn’t a slide guitar) and then thinking of “Cheer Down,” the song it reminds me of. At which point I always want to actually listen to “Cheer Down,” but — horrors — lately I haven’t been able to find the Geopge album. I found the jewel case, but it’s empty! Fragsters! I hate that!

    Speaking of Pink Lady, I was watching something recently…an anime, I think? Oh yeah, it was GAINAX’s Anno/Sagisu confab His and Her Circumstances. One of the songs on the soundtrack was Pink Lady’s “S.O.S.” Of course I thought of you immediately. 🙂

  3. “It was on this spot that Ron Nasty and Dirk McQuickly first ate McDonald’s double cheeseburgers together. And it was on this spot — well, just a few feet back there — that history was made.”

    Heh, sometimes I’ll pull out the old KOR soundtracks when I go on Donutown runs. 🙂 Of course, that hasn’t happened too much lately, except when I’m heading out to see Reaper.

    Oh God — “Chill Down!” I think of that whenever I hear “Natsu no Mirage,” too. Which makes me think of that stupid Fine Arts retreat from senior year, when we were all cooped up in that cabin in the middle of a forest. And how the other kids on the trip shattered the window right above our chaperone’s sleeping spot. And Tuna-Man singing Bananarama on the bus ride up to the retreat spot. And “21st Century Schizoid Man.” And a whole bunch of other things. =P

    I remember reading that Pink Lady’s “S.O.S.” was an incidental plot point to one episode of Kare Kano, but I never watched that far. Oddly enough, I actually own the first DVD of episodes, but never bothered to get any more beyond that. Which is strange, because I remember liking the episodes I did see.

    And I’ll have to play you some Pink Lady when you’re up here — goofy Japanese dance pop from the ’70s is sure to get stuck in your brain, too. 🙂 Seriously, I’ll just spend your entire vacation showing you movies and playing music for you.

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