Another Type Of “Love” Song

Sometimes when I listen to music while I run, I simply draw on the raw energy that’s present in a lot of rock ‘n roll. There’re nothing like AC/DC’s high voltage power chords to fuel a fast paced tempo run! A lot of my running, however, is at a slower pace for a longer period of time, and while the energy of rock ‘n roll is always welcome, my mind has a lot more time to wander when I’m logging in dozens of miles each week at “base pace.” It never ceased to amaze me which old memories will be triggered by music from my past. While my feet are pounding along a street in Grand Forks, my head is often far away, enjoying its own stroll down “memory lane.”

This week my i-pod has been in the “L” section of my play list. On Thursday, almost all of the selections began with the word “Love” and the memories they conjured up were as varied as the artists that performed them. Def Leppard’s “Love Bites,” Nazareth’s “Love Hurts,” Rick Springfield’s “Love is Alright Tonight,” Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield,” and Loverboy’s “Loving Every Minute of It” all provided a welcome escape from the Wellness Center’s track to a different time and place.

“Love Bites” always makes me think of Sue, but not because I harbor unpleasant memories of our time together. We instead have a little ongoing joke between us that takes this song about love gone bad and turns it into one about eating. The chorus of the song includes two phrases “…love dies” and “… love bleeds,” but we prefer to use our alternative lyrics “… love dines” and “…love feeds.” Whenever we hear the song, Sue will raise a knowing eyebrow, and nod her head slightly in agreement as she repeats the words ”love dines” and “love feeds.”

“Love Hurts” warped me back to seventh grade and my first school dance. Of course, at the time I thought the song’s title was “Love Her,” but even if I would have known the song was really about having your heart broken, it wouldn’t have changed a thing about the magic of that evening. “Love Hurts” always takes me back to that old school gymnasium and the one dance I shared with an older, eighth grade girl named Patty.

“Love is Alright Tonight” sends me back to 1985 when I was working with my friend Cory. Two of the many things I remember about Cory were that he loved heavy metal music and that he was extremely proud of his Norwegian heritage. He detested what he called “bubble gum pop music” a genre that included everything performed by Rick Springfield. He did, however, become acquainted with one of Sue’s cousins, a blonde Norwegian named Judy at our wedding, and eventually took her to the Rick Springfield concert in Fargo that year. Every time I hear “Love is Alright Tonight,” I am reminded of how I gave poor Cory a rough time for months about selling out his heavy metal ideals for the sake of love!

“Love is a Battlefield” returned me to early 1986, a period in which I worked at the Fargo Target store as a cart attendant. One of my duties each day was to arrive an hour before the store opened to clean the front windows and to stock each of the checkout lanes with paper bags. The night crew, which was still working when I arrived, always had one of the display stereos in the “camera and sound” department turned way up so it could be heard throughout the store. It was during one of these early mornings that I heard the Pat Benatar classic for the first time.

“Loving Every Minute of It” reminds me of May 2011 and the weeks leading up to that year’s Fargo Marathon. It was my third marathon, but really the first one in which I felt strong and positive after completing an 18 week training plan. The Loverboy lilt just seemed to describe how I was feeling at the time so perfectly that it floated around in my head for days after it appeared on my i-pod’s play list.

Five different songs, whose titles all begin with word “love,” and five completely different memories conjured up by each individual melody. Aren’t love songs great?!

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