Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My love life through Elton John

So, everyone who knows me well knows that I am a devoted Billy Joel fan, but I tend to keep his songs close to my heart. They speak to me in ways I have always held dear and I think, in retrospect, I never attached a Billy Joel song to any relationship for fear it might ruin it for me.
I picked out my wedding song was I was about 14, though, long before I met my future husband, I had the song I wanted played at my wedding. In my brief and ill advised first marriage, this song was not played. I did, in fact save it for my first dance at my real wedding. The song was Billy Joel's "You're my home" and I waited to play it until I felt the meaning of it with the right person. So, even then, the song was not his- it was born of him living up to it.
I have saved every Billy song for me, though sometimes they do remind me of a place or a time or a situation- even a person I was with. I'll always remember my friend Paul doing his crazy dance to "Only the Good die young." but that isn't his song.
A few years ago I realized I had given Elton John songs to the loves of my life. It might have started innocently enough. My first real boyfriend was Dave. I was fifteen and we lived in Oxford, England. He was not the first boy I kissed or the first crush I had ever had but he was the first guy who I would meet every day and would hold hands with me and call me his girlfriend. I was so crazy about him. He came home and met my parents and everything.
Dave and I were hanging out in the park one day, under a tree, by the Cherwell. I was sitting on his coat and he looked at me and he sang a little of Elton John's "Blue Eyes" to me. Told me he thought of me every time he heard that song. That's the kind of thing that makes a fifteen year old melt into a puddle of goo.
That was a good day. And it was the start of my love affair with Elton John because now that song belonged to Dave. I still can't hear that song without thinking of that guy. Even the fact that Dave turned out to be a rat bastard hasn't ruined the song for me. It's still a sweet memory.
For some reason, my next boyfriend, Bryan was attached to the song "I guess that's why they call it the blues". I never told him that, he would have mocked me endlessly - he liked mostly punk rock and rebellious noisy crap. It was something in the lyric and I knew we were two kids trying to live like adults.
"Laughing like children, living like lovers, rolling like thunder, under the covers..."
Something my sixteen year old self identified as meaningful in that song. Something in our relationship that made me sad and happy. Something in me that knew it was doomed to be tragic- that it was going to end up in the blues... and it did. Of course, it was even more tragic than I had ever imagined it could be. For me, that song is now always bittersweet. I love the song, but it's a tough memory that it's attached to. That relationship was brutal. I was with that guy for three years.
After him was a tumultuous two year relationship with Sean who I married-the marriage lasted all of four months. Really, honestly, I think of him with "Saturday night's alright for fighting". In the end, the only thing that was entertaining and worth doing with him was fighting. He sort of began the fight in me. I worked so hard finding a voice in that relationship even though I was never really heard. Did I say all of these songs were romantic? No. In fact my favorite break up song became REO's "Time for me to fly"- loved that. I sang that a lot on the way out.
It gets worse. The second David I dated was "I don't want to go on with you like that." As a side note, my breakup with him was marked with the song "Don't Shed a tear", I used to belt that out in the car.
My next relationship, with Brad was categorized by him with a Tears for Fears song called "Sowing the seeds of Love" but I always found that song banal and ordinary. It didn't have the richness of lyric and it was sappy and cliche. That should have been my first sign that he was an idiot. There was so much grief in this relationship that it became "Sad songs say so much"
After this, I began my survival mode songs. My love affair with myself began with "I'm still standing" and morphed into "I want Love". I was lying around crying to Tori Amos and listening to "Don't let the sun go down on me". I know. Pathetic. Those years were somewhere between pissed off and angst ridden but I did get my shit together and picked myself up. After all, I was still standing!
When I started dating John, I had deliberately not been in a relationship for four years- in fact I had decided I was maybe never going to be in one again. I was a little raw and emotional to be feeling all I was feeling for him. We went out to Joanie's Pizzeria on the day it opened and "Don't Go breaking my Heart" came on the jukebox. We had been dating a few weeks. I knew right then that was his song. I had fallen in love with that song a long time ago- but now it belonged to him- and I knew that he would be breaking my heart. And he did. But he also put it back together-
A few years later, I heard the song "The One" on the radio and I knew that also belonged to him. After we got married, I was deciding what songs to put on our wedding video and I knew very quickly the two songs would be "You're my Home" and "The One". It was a nice way to bookmark my love affair with Elton John songs.

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