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Cherry Cola, Brandy, and Boston

12 February 2019 Wake-Up Crew

Greetings from The Crew!

I read a little blurb on the show yesterday about Coca-Cola unveiling a new flavor, Vanilla-Orange, which they say is supposed to elicit those summertime childhood memories of Dreamsicles. There’s a “Mad Men” episode in which Don Draper talks about the power of advertising to take us back to some long-lost feeling or memory. I think the Coca-Cola people understand this.

That longing for me is not for a Dreamsicle, but for a cherry cola, sold at a corner confectionery at the corner of King and Tennessee in Martinsburg, WV, circa Summer 1960’s. As Marty Dibergi of “This Is Spinal Tap” might say, “don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore.” I don’t even remember the name of the place. But they had the best cherry cokes in the world. Coca-Cola, for all their best efforts, has yet to recapture that memory for me.

I started thinking about the power of music to do that same thing. A particular song elicits a different memory for each person that listens.

For example, when I hear “Brandy” by The Looking Glass, I am transported to the Summer of 1972, when that song was all over the radio. At the time, I was almost 13, and had a crush on “the girl next door.” It was a great, but awkward time, and those feelings come rushing back every time that song plays.

Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” takes me back to a rain-slick hill outside of Clarksburg, WV., where I crashed my AMC Pacer while attending college. In the midst of the wreckage, the 8-track player was still playing that song. I can’t hear “Don’t Look Back” without “looking back” to 1978.

You have your own unique memories which come to the surface when certain songs play. I think that’s why radio survived the MTV age. A music video creates a singular memory for every one, and great songs don’t work like that.

Thank God that video didn’t kill the radio star. Enjoy your Dreamsicle!