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The most nostalgic playlist: Memories in music

There are many ways you can tap into memories of the past simply through the power of smell, taste, touch, sight and sound. Each of the senses has the ability to stir a long-forgotten memory from days gone by. Whether it’s the aroma of freshly baked cookies that you made with grandparents during your childhood, or an old photograph from your younger days that has been given a new lease of life, these small triggers can evoke a range of emotions, transporting you to another time and place. 

Another great way to bring back memories is through music. There are certain songs that stick with you throughout life. No matter how long it has been since you last heard a certain song, you can remember it in an instant - sometimes all it takes is a particular melody or lyric. Music is to be enjoyed and shared with loved ones, creating memories along the way. It can stir nostalgia and allows you to reminisce with family and friends about the good old days. 

Here at Chums, we wanted to create a playlist of songs that have had a significant impact on your life and triggered old memories. Many musical memories were shared with us - allowing us to bring you the most nostalgic playlist.

1. Jan Lambert - “Have You Seen Her” by The Chi-lites 

This song stands out to Jan because her husband, then boyfriend, used to change the lyrics from "tell me have you seen her" to "tell me have you Zena" (Zena is her middle name) when they were 'courting' in the 70s. Jan says “We would quite often go for a nice evening walk on the beach, or go to the pub and play darts or pool. He never sang the song in a romantic way, more of a jokey way, but it always made me smile and I've never forgotten it so it obviously left a happy impression on me.” 

2. Dave Lambert - “Radar Love” by Golden Earring 

Jan’s husband, Dave, reminisces about the first concert he took his wife, then girlfriend, to. This was back in the 70s and they went with a group of friends. Like youngsters often do, they had a wild evening in the Stadium in Liverpool. Jan was less impressed with how the evening turned out, but Dave holds fond memories of his friends and the atmosphere that night. It still makes him chuckle when he thinks about it now. 

3. Carole Archer - “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations 

At the tender age of 10 years old, Carole remembers buying her first ever record from a shop. This was the song that she was drawn to most and she enjoyed the beautiful sound that the record produced. She still loves listening to it.   

4. Betty Ogilvy - “In The Mood” by Glen Miller 

Back in World War Two, Betty (now aged 94) loved going to the dance halls for a dance. Before there were all sorts of modern day technological distractions, people would go to the ballroom and dance with friends and strangers alike. In fact, dance halls were where women would meet all the soldiers and this song in particular brings back the memories for Betty. Below is a photo of a ticket stub from one of those nights as well as a photograph of Betty when she was younger. 

5. Elaine Whittaker - “I’m All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley 

Elaine remembers the song “I’m All Shook Up” by Elvis very vividly. His songs used to be played when she went dancing and created beautiful memories for her as a teen. 

6. Maroulla Osmond - “She’s A Lady” by Tom Jones 

Youngsters through the ages all have their idols, and for Maroulla it was Tom Jones, who was the same age as she was. She loved the way he looked when he sang and admits that she always wished she had a man like him. Here’s a photo of her when she was younger. 

7. Ian Haywood - “Summer Holiday” by Cliff Richard 

This simple song includes the lyrics ‘We're all going on a summer holiday’ and this line always reminds Ian of a lovely trip that his mum took him and his siblings on when he was a child. They went to the Chessington Zoo railway, which had a miniature train that they went on. Ian specifically remembers poking his head out of the small train and feeling the soot against his face. He said that although that is a less poetic moment, the song still brings back a childhood memory that is very pure and lovely to think of. 

8. Jenny Haywood - “Life On Mars” by David Bowie 

Jenny remembers a trip to a record shop in Blackpool, which had an antique record player with a long stem stylus. This song was playing on a 33RPM record and as it was playing, you would see the stem dance across the turntable. The version of the song that she heard in the shop was the one where Rick [Wakeman] was playing the piano to it. Between the lyrics and the piano, Jenny found it so clever and hauntingly beautiful. 

9. Teresa Nealon - “When Will I See You Again” by 3 Degrees This song reminds Teresa of when she first met her partner, Neil. They were actually set up by their two friends on a blind date, and this was a big song at the time. They’ve since been married for 43 years, and have even named their house after the place where they met! 

Barbara Austin - “When Will I See You Again” by 3 Degrees 

Barbara also requested this song as it reminds her of a sad time when her husband was very ill in hospital asking when he was going to see her again. They went on to have five beautiful daughters and 50 years of marriage. 

10. Robert Campbell - “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago 

“If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago was a big song when Robert and his wife, Julie, were courting. He says it became ‘our’ song and would always be one they would request the DJ to play at parties. They’ve since been married for 35 wonderful years, and Robert wouldn’t change anything about it. 

11. Jo Sealey - “You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash 

Jo loves this song because she used to sing it to her girls when they were babies. She still sings it all the time. 

12. Alan Reeves – “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley 

Alan says: “I remember it during the 1980s as my favourite song on the only cassette tape in my dad's Ford Orion. My fondest memories are heading to a Haven site with our caravan.” 

13. Tony Simmons – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Andy Williams 

Tony and his wife chose this song after looking through so many other options. Tony says: “As soon we both heard this, we knew it was the one and now when it’s played, we have to dance!” Alan Reeves – “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley Alan says: “I remember it during the 1980's as my favourite song on the only cassette tape in my dad's Ford Orion. My fondest memories are heading to a Haven site with our caravan.” 

14. Laura Davies – “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers 

This song reminds Laura of her grandad, and going to watch Liverpool FC with her dad. Laura says: “When you go to Anfield and stand in the Kop it’s so emotional to look around and see everyone singing it so loud with pure passion, which I always feel is not just for the club they love but also something deeper than that, for the ones they love that they have lost. I think it’d be a popular funeral song, even for non Liverpool supporters due to the powerful lyrics.” 

15. Amanda Dougherty – “Vienna” by Ultravox 

Vienna was one of the first songs Amanda’s grandad taught her to play on a synth at the age of eight. Amanda says: “When I was 17, I finally went to Vienna and shamefully ran down the Imperial stairs of the Palace singing ‘This means nothing to me, Oh Vienna’ “The Austrian onlookers (and tourists) were really impressed with my abilities. Every time I hear the song I miss my grandad but smile at my ability to embarrass myself time and time again.” 

16. Joy Cox – “Wind Beneath My Wings” – Bette Midler 

Joy would like to add this song to the playlist in memory of her mum who had the song at her funeral. 

17. Patricia Galagher - “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”  - The Hollies 

Patricia says: “I had two brothers and we lost one seven years ago. When we were arranging his funeral my brother and I wanted a song to be played. We both said to each other to pick one and said we would think about it. My brother rang me the next day we both said it together, He Ain't Heavy He’s My Brother. It was so emotional for us and everyone in the church. Afterwards in the pub a minute's silence was called for and the song was played again. Our brother was very popular and was loved by so many.” 

18. Lynn Budden - “All Or Nothing” - Small Faces This song reminds Lynn of her first crush who was moving abroad, and even now when she hears it she gets emotional, over 50 years later! 

19. Sheila Barley - “Unchained Melody” - The Righteous Brothers 

Unchained Melody was in the charts in the 50s, when Sheila’s husband, then boyfriend, was abroad on National Service and she missed him so much. At that time it was sung by Jimmy Young, but she now prefers the Righteous Brothers’ version. It still reminds her of that emotional time in their lives. This July, they will have been married 62 years. 

20. Anita Shurey - “I Say A Little Prayer” - Aretha Franklin 

Anita says this song reminds her of when she and her husband were writing to each other when they were courting, as he lived in London and she lived in Sheffield. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted a song to be included in our most nostalgic playlist and for sharing your memories with us. We’ve enjoyed reading your comments and listening to your song recommendations. If you would like to listen to the playlist, check out the video at the very end of the post. 

We would also like to recommend the below video from one of our colleagues, Paul, who wrote a song about his mum who was an evacuee in WW2 and adopted him and his sister.


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