Today while we were puffing along on our daily hill walk, my son asked me what my favorite album was. (He loves to ask the “favorite” question, which almost invariably leads me to say, “I don’t have a favorite,” which is of course never a satisfactory answer.) After thinking about it for a few minutes, I said, “The soundtrack from The Man From Snowy River.“
Of course he’d never heard of it — it came out 18 years before he was born — so I told him the story about how my mother and I had loved the music in the film so much that we went back to the theater a second time and watched it again just to hear the soundtrack. Then we went to the speciality record store in town, the one that made special orders and imported music from all over the world, and placed our order. (It was an Australian film — we’d never have found that album in the regular stores.) Weeks later, we got the phone call and went to pick up our brand new LP. Then we put it on our home turntable and proceeded to wear it out.
At some point in our enthusiastic playing, we were hit by the scourge of the 33rpm record format: it got scratched. And though the scratch extended across most of the album, it was only deep enough in two places to cause that repetitive “pop” sound. Every time we listened thereafter, two of the songs popped. They were, of course, my two favorite tracks on the album: “Jessica’s Theme (Breaking in the Colt)” and “End Titles.”
When cassettes displaced records, we bought a new copy. And when CDs replaced cassettes, I bought a new copy again. Now I have it on Spotify. But such is the power of memory that even now, 32 years and three formats later, I still expect to hear those pops when I listen to this album. My brain remembers right where they were.
And somehow, my brain also pulls up the original associations with this music and pipes them into my emotional center. Which means that at certain points in “The Chase,” “Mountain Theme,” and “End Titles,” I still get teary-eyed. Every. Dang. Time.
Memory is an amazing thing.