HereAfter Stories

The Ultimate Playlist

Growing up, our home was filled with music. We were a family of musicians, with each of the five siblings playing a different instrument from as early as I can remember. Violins, flutes, drums, cellos – you name it, we played it. It felt natural, as if music ran in our blood. Dad deserves credit for that. He was all about the “good stuff” – the classics from the Allman Brothers Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller Band, and The Eagles. Those songs became the soundtrack of my life, especially “Hotel California”. For me, that song is a long car ride with my dad to the mountains. In high school, my friends teased me for being an old soul, but those songs held more than just musical value; they became memories of my dad, strumming his guitar, singing along at the top of his lungs. He was like a rockstar in his own living room, and we were his biggest fans.

If I could say one thing to my dad now, it would be a simple “thank you.” Thank you for igniting my passion for music and the incredible melodies that make me appreciate the world around me. I genuinely believe that music has made me a better person. For my kids, I want them to experience the same connection. It may sound strange, but since I was about 13, whenever I connected with a song, I felt the need to save it. I had this strange fear that if I didn’t write down the song and its artist, it would somehow be lost, despite my collection of cassettes, CDs, and digital downloads. It might not make sense to everyone, but us musicians are quirky like that.

While Rolling Stone may choose the greatest songs of all time, my playlist, “The Ultimate Playlist,” is deeply personal. It’s a collection of hand-picked songs saved from different moments, memories, and of course, the songs dad loved. This playlist has 452 songs. It really is an autobiography of my life through music. I’m leaving the playlist for my oldest son, who is the spitting image of my dad, but with more hair, and more attitude. He doesn’t know about it yet, but when the time comes, I know he’ll understand its significance. I’ve done my best to jot down a significant memory associated with every song. My hope is that this playlist becomes an experience for him, a way to keep our connection alive long after I’m gone.

My son will have a lifetime of songs to explore. Some songs will be new to him, while I know others will bring back specific memories of our time together, like when I introduced him to the “Macarena”, (my awesome dance moves included!) and of course, “Hotel California”. Giving my son this gift means the world to me, especially for a time when he will need comfort and connection the most. I hope he can find solace in the power of my life’s music.

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