Having a song

by Lorin Michel Thursday, January 28, 2016 6:28 PM

In 1988, Brenda Russell wrote a song while staying in Stockholm, Sweden. Russell was mainly a dance artist at the time, but she recorded the song anyway and it was fairly successful. Oleta Adams heard it as well, and also decided to record it. She put it on her 1990 album Circle of One and when it was issued as a single in 1991, it reached into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Many attributed its success to these lyrics: “You can reach me by caravan/Cross the desert like an Arab man.” This was during our first Gulf War and those lyrics resonated. The song was Get Here.

I don’t remember hearing the song much before the mid to later 1990s. Kevin and I fell in love with it. Every time it came on the radio – 94.7 KTWV, The Wave, the then smooth jazz station in LA which has since devolved into another contemporary pop station – we would crank the volume. There was something haunting and loving about it; something impossible made possible. We never particularly liked the Brenda Russell version. It didn’t have the depth. We bought the Oleta Adams CD and it quickly became a favorite. We liked the song so much we somehow decided it was “our song.” Naturally we played it at our wedding in 1998. 

The song eventually made it to both of our iPods. Again, every time it came on, we’d crank the volume, whether it was the car or the house. We still do.

Last night, as I was making dinner, we had internet radio on, one of the jazz stations we’ll be losing shorty because Live365 is going off the air, and the song came up. Kevin went to the receiver and cranked the volume. We have six speakers in the wall and ceiling in the great room, including a subwoofer, and two in the ceiling in the kitchen. We mouthed the words and danced around the room. When it was over and we turned the volume back down, it suddenly occurred to me that I really didn’t know how it got to be our song. It just was and still is. 

“How did this get to be our song?” I asked. 

Kevin poured himself a glass of wine and thought about it as he took a sip. He furrowed his brow and finally said: “We used to listen to the Wave. We heard it all the time and we liked it so it became our song.” 

“That’s a terrible reason to make something our song,” I said. “We could have chosen Highway to Hell. We like that, too.” 

“Yeah, but they didn’t play that on the Wave,” he said with a smile. 

I nodded. That was true enough. On no planet does AC/DC get played on a smooth jazz station.

“We need a better story,” I offered. 

He nodded. “It’s too bad we don’t know a writer.”

He had to play the writer card. I pointed out that making up a story about how a song became our song didn’t sound like the way it was supposed to happen. I don’t know if there is a set way and I’m sure there isn’t. Still, deciding it’s our song seemed like a copout.

As the next song came on, I started to think about it. It’s a great song, Get Here. I looked at my husband, slicing the pizza, and decided that I think it’s our song because in 1995 we were both in search. We didn’t necessarily know what we were in search of until we found it, until we found us. Not to get overly sappy, but I think it’s our song because when we heard it we realized we needed to get to each other to finally find happiness. 

That’s the story I’m sticking with, the story we wrote. Together.

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live out loud

Comments (2) -

1/29/2016 6:36:26 PM #

Ok....you just gotta love that!....yup.....

Pam United States

1/29/2016 6:38:07 PM #

Uh.... Your story/post...not the song 😬

Pam United States

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