Quiet Desperation

Music lovers note their favorite songs

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“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?”

“Philip Glass.”

That joke goes out to my friend and former KVOD host David Rutherford, who thinks Glass is a repetitive stinker.

It was a pleasure and an honor to field your entries in my latest reader participation project: to name a piece of music that means something to you. Responses were heartfelt and eloquent.

One reader, Jim Robie, Ojai, California, named 38 performers and groups who have “kept (him) company throughout the years.”

He chose the Chords’ “Sh-Boom,” a song they wrote and released in 1954. It was later covered by the Crew-Cuts. Robie said, “My life has been a dream.”

Rob Clarke, Highlands Ranch, wrote, “In April 1965, I was in a barn on a stack of alfalfa bales when I heard `Mr. Tambourine Man’ by the Byrds, and I was frozen for five minutes afterwards.”

Aurora artist Matt Hendrick picked “Only the Young” by Journey, because, “I miss my youth. Wisdom is overrated. I want youth.”

The first person to hear the song before its release was a small, dying boy who was a big Journey fan. The boy’s mother wrote to the band, and they went to the boy’s hospital room and played the song for him. It thrilled him. The boy died the next day.

Charles Pray, Lone Tree, named Christopher Parkening’s “Chaconne - Violin Partita No. 2.” Pray wrote, “I have listened to this a thousand times. I have it on both vinyl and CD. I know every skip on vinyl.” (Parkening is a classical guitarist.)

“Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” reminded Susan Josepher, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, of “Dancing, dancing, dancing, and singing along with all of the cheerleaders and varsity basketball players (at Midwood High in Brooklyn) until the wee hours of the morning.”

The Teenagers’ lead singer, Frankie Lymon, was only 14 when the song was recorded. Lymon died of a heroin overdose at age 25.

Sue Williams, Highlands Ranch, said her song “Always, always, always inspires belly laughs and ear to ear smiles.” Here’s a clue: It’s played every Thanksgiving on KBCO.

Jerry Derossett, Castle Rock, admitted his selection invariably brings him to tears: “The Marines’ Hymn.”

Brett Ganyard, Aurora: César Franck’s “Symphony in D minor.”

Darin Rose, Littleton: “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” by Nick Lowe or Elvis Costello, depending on the mood he’s in.

John Hazard, Centennial: “Those Were the Days,” by Mary Hopkin.

Wendy Eckstein, Centennial: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” performed by Rufus Wainwright.

Kathy Haruf, Highlands Ranch: Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Variation No. 18.” She wrote: “When I hear it, I am captivated, inspired, and moved with emotion.”

Russ Bond, Centennial: “Ebb Tide” by Frank Chacksfield.

Timothy Reinig, Lone Tree: Gustav Mahler’s “Adagietto from Symphony No. 5.”

Vern Hansen, Highlands Ranch: Shirley Jones’ version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Dan LaChance, Highlands Ranch, helped take care of 5-year-old Mackenzie Phillips while the Mamas and the Papas performed at Duffy’s, his hangout on Saint Thomas, in the summer of 1965. LaChance chose “Creeque Alley.”

Rutherford’s entry sounds just like one of his brilliant radio introductions.

“The Chicago Symphony once made me pull off the road in 1987 because I couldn’t see to drive. I was listening to a cassette tape of their performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s `Pictures at an Exhibition” under Georg Solti’s baton. (The recording was made the same year as my car, incidentally — a 1980 Honda Civic wagon.”

He wrote more, vividly, but I am out of room. I will email the rest if it’s requested.

Plato said, “Music gives wings to the mind,” and he didn’t even the opportunity to hear “Susie Q” by Dale Hawkins.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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