But first, to follow Anna's lead, I went to This Day In Music and discovered that the #1 song on the pop lists the day I was born was The Chipmunk Song by the Chipmunks. *sigh*
Now, I hesitate to suggest that the worst thing about having a birthday in the last ten days of the calendar year is that the #1 song the day I was born is a greed-fest song sung by a bunch of chipmunks. (An article about the song that includes the lyrics is here.) Still, there were some very good songs on the charts in 1958, and it bums me out that this wasn't one of them.
Following a related suggestion on the This Day In Music site, I then went and looked for my "life's theme song" (the #1 song on your 18th birthday) and found it to be Tonight's the Night (gonna be alright) by Rod Stewart. Poking around on the internet looking for the lyrics, I learned that this song was never released as a single in the UK, due to the suggestive lyrics, which got it banned from radio play.
What I am most struck by when I look at the lyrics to this, my alleged "life's theme song" is how aggressively heterosexual the words are. Well, yeh, I know: DUH! It's top-40 radio and all that. Thing is, my own choices in music are a lot more eclectic. Reading these lyrics brought to my mind some other lyrics from a Judy Small song:
There are songs that say what happens
When a woman loves a man.
Or when a man loves a woman
And he does the best he can.
But where are all the songs
That tell it like it really is
When the mugs are hers and hers
When the towels say "his" and "his"?
In thinking about all this, I realized that music, like reading, is one way that I enter into other people's lives, and (I hope) learn more about them. Reading the lyrics from a song that happens to have been #1 on the pop charts on my 18th birthday, a song that I danced to many a time in high school and college, I am reminded of how little music did for me in high school. I couldn't relate to most top-40 songs and I didn't know why. About the only song I recall adoring in high school was I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, which was for me all about the hope that once high school was endured, there would be something better to follow.
Less than a year after I got out of high school, I discovered both my own sexual self and an entire (albeit tiny at that time) music genre where the words spoke to me. To this day, there are certain songs by Meg Christian, Holly Near, and Cris Williamson that can bring me to tears, remembering how much it meant to hear my life reflected in the words of a song.
These days, my life is more eclectic, and so are my musical tastes. I don't need a song to make me feel okay about who I am in the world, but I am more grateful than I can say that when I needed it most, an aggressively political music movement rocked my world.