Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

The Soundtrack of My Life – The 90s


My local colleague Arlee Bird from Tossing It Out broached a meme a few years back that certainly intrigued:

The Soundtrack of My Life

As Arlee put it, “A few weeks ago a piece was posted by Jessica, the Modern Day Drifter, on her  Country Girl blog about The Soundtrack To Your Life.  She proposed the following”:

What would be the soundtrack to your life? What songs would be included that can sum up past events as well as things in the present?

Made an impression. So, I decided to follow suit with one of my own. Copying the idea, I know. But then again, I have no shame. 😉 So I will accept the Modern Day Drifter’s challenge from awhile back, care of Arlee and with thanks, and see where it takes me. The high points for sure, but many will be skipped. With one caveat. I’ll break it into decades. So, on to the Naughties. I mean, The 1990s.

nick of time

Label: Capitol Records ‎– CDP 7 91268 2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1989
Genre: Pop
Charted: #1 US

I do not say things had changed for me when I married at all lightly. Nothing at all “light” about marriage. Having seen how it breaks on impact as a four-year-old establishes its weight in your head early. Even then, I thought I’d eventually wed someone. Maybe mom’s questions, and experiences, along those lines growing up helped to formulate that. All I know was Bonnie Raitt’s heartfelt Nick of Time had etched its words on me and mine.

"I found love, baby, love in the nick of time"


Label: Sire Records ‎– 7-15989
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1990
Genre: Dance-Pop
Charted: #1 US

At one time, I honestly hadn’t thought to get this far. Born in the 50s, at the start of what came to be called “The Cold War”, the subsequent decades only heightened the worry it was all going to get nuclear hot someday. Live for the moment the by-product. Now I was married to the love of my life, and the Berlin Wall came down. First year of marriage, too. What a way for the 90s to rollout. Madonna’s Vogue headlining it all.

Parallel Realities Live...

Label: Jazz Door – JD 1251/52
Format: CD, Album
Released: 1993 (1990 performance)
Genre: Jazz
Charted: album cut

Had the hardest time as a newlywed realizing “my family” had expanded in the process. Once so use to it shrinking, and now I had “in-laws.” Thankfully, my wife made me realize it’s a good thing. As well, they had a tradition of attending the annual Playboy Jazz Festival each June…as a group…now with me in tow. At least I recognized a few in the weekend-long event. Pat Metheny joining the likes of Herbie Hancock, et al. memorably.


Label: Hi Records – 5N-2324
Format: Vinyl, Single, 45 RPM
Released: 1977 (’73 in the UK)
Genre: Pop, Soul
Charted: #104 (US), #82 Soul

You don’t get to choose your “relatives by marriage”, they’re bequeath in the union. I know my brother received a great set years before. Would I? Turns out I did, but didn’t know it at the time. My adversarial relationship with my mother-in-law shading early opinion. Eerie her parents loved Al Green, though. His Love and Happiness track playing on their stereo many times when we visited (hauntingly reminding moi of my college days).

from a distance

Label: Atlantic ‎– 7-87820
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1990
Genre: Pop
Charted: #2 (US)

My wife noted her mother and I were cut from the same cloth. No wonder we didn’t get along. At least she loved movies. Would take the ol’ battle-axe…er, my mother-in-law to the movies with us from time-to-time. These movie-going experiences started the bridge building. Leastways, she and I shared a deep love for her second daughter. Bette Midler’s From a Distance reminds me of “the moms” whenever I hear the song.


Label: A&M Records ‎– 75021 1538 7
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1990
Genre: Pop, R&B
Charted: #1 (US), #3 R&B

There are instances when you catch a glance of a familiar artist and don’t recognize ’em. Having transformed when you least expected. One day seeing Janet Jackson’s music video of Love Will Never Do (Without You) that moment for me. “Who’s that sexy woman?” Janet?!? The same child actress-singer who grew up before my eyes on the 70s’ The Jacksons and Good Times TV programs? Realizing you’re getting old can be painful.


Label: Capitol Records ‎– s7-57698
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1991
Genre: Pop
Charted: #34 (US)

I’ve one bad habit…more than one really, but let’s center on this. A plodding, below-the-surface reckoning with “life in all her wisdom.” Understanding and I don’t meet as often as we should, and whatever eventually breeches my awareness, I more often than not fail at sharing it with those I love. Finally accepting and realizing that the ten-year span of 1978 through to 1987 was my own lost stretch. La Década Perdida, which Bonnie’s Not the Only One1 gave voice to.


Label: Atlantic ‎– 7-87481
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1992
Genre: Pop
Charted: #12 (US)

Sharing, whether it’s your thoughts or feelings, is hard. Divined to not do it through the years of breakup and loss. Better that way, I thought. Un-learning this difficult, to say the least. My ever tolerant and patient spouse proved its equal, though. She more than worth fighting for. Genesis’ Hold On My Heart spoke volumes when I couldn’t:

Hold on my heart
throw me a lifeline
I'll keep a place for you
somewhere deep inside


Label: A&M Records ‎– 31458 0259 2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1993
Genre: Pop
Charted: #23 (US)

Bill Clinton was President. The Space Shuttle Endeavour sent on a repair mission to fix an optical flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope. Jurassic Park (we’d take my mother-in-law with us), Philadelphia, and Schindler’s List were released with impact. And old friend Sting reappeared in our now steady lives with Fields of Gold.

I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in fields of gold


Label: Arista ‎– A-2855
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1993
Genre: Pop, R&B
Charted: #1 (US), #1 R&B

Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You made me realize two things: 1) a great song is a great song, and 2) once more, my music tastes were changing. Found myself turning away from what was Pop in this decade. Yes, I still listened to it, but not as I once had. Whether it was age, as I approached my 40th year on this Earth, or something else, definitely had an effect in my listening habits.


Label: Island Records ‎– 422-858 487-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1994
Genre: Rock
Charted: #42 (US)

If the Cranberries’ Dreams seems familiar, it should be as it’s been used in a number of film soundtracks: Mission: ImpossibleYou’ve Got MailThe Next Karate KidShot Through the Heart, and The Baby-Sitters Club. And it was the one film, Boys on the Side, my dear wife dragged me to that introduced the song and group to me. Replayed countless times on later ye ol’ iPod, never would have happened if not for who I married.


Label: LaFace Records ‎– 73008-24056-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1993
Genre: Pop, R&B
Charted: #3 (US), #4 R&B

Took my only cruise ship voyage in ’94 (wife’s idea). My “in-laws” and friends were on this Virgin Islands excursion, too, via the Atlantic and Caribbean waters. Inclined to motion-sickness, wouldn’t you know. The 20-30 foot seas re-emphasized that. Daily Meclizine dosing got me through it2. Twenty years later, I admit I enjoyed the other parts of the trip. Toni Braxton’s Breathe Again mockingly played on the flight home.


Label: Hollywood Records ‎– HR-64543-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1994
Genre: Pop
Charted: #4 (US)

The Northridge Earthquake, magnitude 6.7, hit the San Fernando Valley that same year. She-who-must-be-obeyed would spend the next 30 hours straight afterwards helping at the medical center we both worked at. O.J. arrested, suspected of murder. Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, and Speed hit theaters. The Lion King, too. Can You Feel The Love Tonight by Elton John reminds of the time. Mainly for what we’d decide to keep quiet.


Label: A&M Records ‎– 31458 1028 7
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1995
Genre: Pop
Charted: #1 (US)

An' when you can see your unborn children in her eyes
You know you really love a woman

We’re pregnant!!! The decision we made to each other the previous year finally came to fruition. I’d play Bryan Adams Have You Ever Loved A Woman every chance I got once I’d heard it — especially in her presence. Can’t believe I still mist up with this…even in writing those words. Especially by the time those last Spanish guitar chords play.


Label: Atlantic ‎– PRCD 6246
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1995
Genre: Pop
Charted: #6 (US)

By that summer, it still was hard to believe I was to be a father. Worried me something fierce since my own was hardly a role model. Still, children of divorce collect father-figures while growing up. So, used the best of them as a basis and vowed to not let dad’s penchants to ever darken how I’d treat my kids, or my love for their mother. Hootie & the Blowfish would say all in title and chorus, “I Only Wanna Be With You“.


Label: Geffen Records ‎– GEF 79 195
Format: Vinyl, Single, 45 RPM
Released: 1981
Genre: Rock
Charted: #18 (US)

When John Lennon wrote the song Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), from his 1980 album Double Fantasy, I couldn’t think it mattered. Yet, it rebounded with me the only way this sentimental, poignant tune could, given the circumstances on Columbus Day 1995. Looked upon it differently from that point forward as I held our small baby boy cradled in one arm3. Bloomed in a manner that broke my heart as it swelled in pride.

change the world

Label: Reprise Records ‎– 9 17621-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1996
Genre: Rock
Charted: #5 (US),

Use to think one of the grand demarcations of life was when you married. Parenthood proved that so wrong.  It’s when children are born. When you realize what came before was another existence altogether. Now wholly and completely gone. Missing it fleetingly as it disappeared in the distance. My long-dead mother nudging me forward in that way she does from time-to-time. This the hardest job I’d ever love. Eric Clapton’s Change The World, indeed.


Label: Columbia ‎– 38-03219
Format: Vinyl, Single, 45 RPM
Released: 1982
Genre: Rock
Charted: #5 (US)

Children change everything. Especially grandparents. Ours would only have one pair — chided my wife she’d only get my dinky set vs. the full-strength brew of “in-laws” I’d got in the bargain. Still, her mother actually warmed to me as our number grew. Couldn’t be that bad, I reckoned. Particularly her longstanding love of Neil Diamond. His standby Heartlight speaking to both us, even as my beloved wife strained to fathom the notion.

don't fear the reaperLabel: Columbia ‎– 3-10384
Format: Vinyl, Single, 45 RPM
Released: 1976
Genre: Rock
Charted: #12 (US)

Since I was there for his birth, vowed personal responsibility to be there fully for my son. “What would dad do here?”, the question. Then I’d do the opposite. Change diapers, feed, whatever. Put him to bed, likewise. Except, do it my way. Built almost entirely around Roeser’s stellar guitar riff, Don’t Fear The Reaper being the one song I taught my son how to air guitar as a toddler (much to his mother’s chagrin).

My Heart Will Go On

Label: Epic Records ‎– 36K 78825
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1997
Genre: Pop
Charted: #1 (US)

If I’m to be honest in this soundtrack, the main theme song to the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, My Heart Will Go On, driven by Celine Dion’s pipes, has to appear. I’ll just have to stand the embarrassment. Let the record show my wonderfully supportive wife put up with my indulgence back then. When the movie played the other night, and our teen son got caught up with it, his mother couldn’t believe her luck for the life of her. 😉

hello goodbye - I am The Walrus

Label: Capitol Records ‎– 2056
Format: Vinyl, Single, 45 RPM
Released: 1967
Genre: Pop
Charted: #1 (US)

Speaking of wifely chagrin, might as well add this. The indoctrination of said first-born with his father’s all-time favorite band, The Beatles. Playing their stellar tunes in the auto, him in the car seat, or at home. Johnny Danger (as we called him) was exposed as a child earlier than I to The Lads. “Why?”, his mother groaned. “Because”, I’d say…followed with,  “John Lennon, 1969.” He’d latch on early to Hello Goodbye, by the way.


Label: Squint Entertainment ‎– no record catalog #
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1998
Genre: Pop
Charted: #2 (US)

Ten years after my world shifted in ’88, found it a little sobering for the changes that had taken place. Our Tin (or Aluminium) wedding anniversary, learning to cope with an exuberant toddler intent on stretching the bounds of danger (to himself), work and the daily trepidation of childcare. Oh, and the simple acronym appearing on the horizon, Y2K. Sixpence None The Richer providing the best response to it all, Kiss Me.

bitter sweet symphony

Label: Hut Recordings ‎– 7243 8 38634 2 6
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1997 (discovered in 1998)
Genre: Rock
Charted: #12 (US)

No one warned me that time would become so precious. Its passing seemingly doubled when our first arrived. “He’s three?!? Criminy, where the time gone? He was just born!” Not only that, the decade and the millennium were lining up to come to an end. It’s too much, I thought. No wonder I found it hard to listen to anything current in music. Case in point, The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony from the year before.


Label: Warner Bros. Records – 9 17119-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1998
Genre: Pop, Electronic
Charted: #1 (US 1999)

Fearing our work was far from done, for perhaps our last chance (my wife and I were not getting any younger) we were pregnant yet again shortly into the last year of the 20th Century (as many counted it). This time, she-who-must-be-obeyed allowed us to know if Johnny Danger was to have a brother or sister (instead of me falling back on old wives’ tales to guesstimate the gender as previously done). Believe sung Cher.

Jus the Two of UsLabel: Elektra – E-47103
Format: CD, Single, 45 RPM
Released: 1980
Genre: Pop, Soul
Charted: #2 (US), #3 (Soul)

Just like the previous decade, Prince’s lead tune for his 1999 album (1982) would have been perfect here as it made numerous appearances throughout the year’s airwaves, and in people’s thoughts and fears (Y2K among them). But the artist doesn’t share. So, another 80s classic will stand-in. Grover Washington, Jr. (who’d die far too early this same year) and Bill Wither’s Just The Two of Us as we awaited the arrival of our new daughter4.


Label: Arista ‎– 07822-13718-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 1999
Genre: Rock
Charted: #1

Santana, featuring Rob Thomas, closed the decade and millennium with the more than appropriate Smooth. And not for being a song that’d win three Grammy Awards5. A personal favorite of my dear wife, the mother of our son and his newborn sister, I’d play it to get me through the last day of the year. After all of the Y2K preps6, our main server crashed hours before the big date. I’d drive-in, recover it and bring it back online, and be back to my expanded family mere minutes before midnight.

Soundtrack of My Life series

  1. Raitt and actor Michael O’Keefe were married at this point, and she and her husband appeared in this music video. They’d be divorced before the decade closed. 
  2. Knowing this, why did I do it, you ask? Reassurance by family members, with the newer ships built with stabilizers and amenities, I wouldn’t be affected. So wrong that I’ve never got back on a cruise liner. 
  3. On the B-side of his “Woman” single. 
  4. I came from a line that had a Y-chromosome winning streak going. Note the stretch of so-called luck: paternal grandfather — two sons (one my dad); father — two marriages (three in all), two sons for each of them (three, in fact, with my mother in that second union, but the first was stillborn); brother — two sons. My first-born? A son, natch. 
  5.  Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. 
  6. Since I was the administrator, scheduled to report our workstations and servers status after the rollover. 

23 Responses to “The Soundtrack of My Life – The 90s”

    • le0pard13

      More than I thought I would, that’s for sure. 😉 Always glad to know others enjoy, too. It’s much appreciated. Thank you so much, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Arlee Bird

    Another interesting line-up of tunes and stories to go with them. The 90’s is decade that I don’t really associate many songs with though I guess if I thought enough about it I would come up with a number of them.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      I know I spent a lot more time with the later decades for this. Some followed pop music, but others surely didn’t for this period. Wandered back some, as you’ll see come tomorrow. Thank you very much for keeping up with the series, Lee. Much appreciated.


  2. ruth

    Oh man, tons of my faves here too Michael!

    Fields of Gold, Dreams, I Will Always Love You, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, love them! Oh how I miss Whitney Houston, her voice is unparalleled. Y’know I used to watch that Love Will Never Do (Without You) video over and over because of the hunky Antonio Sabato Jr 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      I’ve no doubt a lot of women found Antonio as alluring as the men Janet. 😉 Nice to know we’ve similar tastes in music, but you probably knew that by the film soundtracks we also share. Thank you so much for following this series, Ruth. Coming to a close tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sati

    This is spectacular! Loved reading this and the songs you chose are lovely – I loved 90’s songs even though I was only a little girl back then but I remember Believe playing everywhere on 99’s New Year’s Eve

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      Thank you so much, Margaret! Yeah, “Believe” was indeed everywhere on that last New Year’s Eve. What a time. 🙂


  4. Victor De Leon

    So many incredible tunes, here! LOVE Fields of Gold by Sting. Reminds me of the birth of my son. I remember taking a shower after he was born and this song came on the radio and I just bawled with joy. Fantastic job!

    Liked by 1 person


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