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The Song That Changed Your Life

Three Songs by Susan Borgersen

This story is on the shortlist for The Song That Changed Your Life challenge. 

Video source: Youtube.

A pivotal moment song?  When you are approaching 70, there can’t be just one. For me there are three.

The Everly Brothers’ sang Wake Up Little Susie just for me in 1957. It was time. I was fourteen. Flat chested. No boyfriend. The lyrics teetered on the brink of risqué. Use your imagination; it was my wake-up call and my ticket to the growing-up arcade.

Three years later Carole King wrote Will You Still Love me Tomorrow. Sung by The Shirelles in 1960, it was catchy. It was (and still is) haunting. As I write this now, I remember, in great detail, how I felt then. These were my angst years. A time of wondering and worrying over loves lost and those still to come. My mother tearing her hair out as I hummed along to “...tonight you’re mine, completely...” I think it was the “completely” that worried her the most. Much more than the line, “will you still love me, tomorrow?” She was always there to pick up the pieces of my continually breaking heart.

But none of that mattered when, in 1992, I heard Mr. Leonard Cohen sing Closing Time. He’s singing it now. The song lasts for six minutes. He (the singer) and it (the song) pulsate through my brain, through my body and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that, as an old gal approaching 70, it (life) is most definitely not yet over. The song continues to be pivotal. It is a party. The pinnacle of parties. Parties brimming with home truths. I dance, pardon the cliché, like no-one is watching. The thought of frenzied fiddlers, polka dotted blouses being torn off and Johnny Walker wisdom makes me smile. Every time. The lyrics from this legendary poet fill me with images, yes, of big yellow moons swimming naked. Of sighs and cries and hungry kisses. And the idea that Heaven is dead and empty on a Saturday night. On the very rare occasion when I’m not feeling on top of the world I remember the line, “looks like freedom and feels like death.” So I savour the freedom, and when it comes to my own death, a life changing moment indeed, maybe this will still be my song.

I could have it played at my funeral. Most appropriate. Maybe I’ll wear a polka dotted blouse.

Susan Borgersen is from Mill Village, NS.




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