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Have a musical memory that you’d like to share? Throughout the month we will post listener submitted recollections here and share a few on MPBN’s Facebook page. Send your memory to us at music@mpbn.net.CLICK HERE to hear a musical memory aired on Maine Public Radio and Maine Public ClassicalCLICK HERE to learn more about MPBN’s instrument donation projectOur listeners’ favorite music recollections:

Melanie Brooks

Last Kiss - the cover by Pearl Jam
By Melanie Brooks

When I was a child in the late 1970s and early 1980s, my father used to sing to me at night to help me fall asleep. One of those songs was Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.

It’s a pretty sad song about a young man and woman who got in a car crash while out on a date. An odd choice, for sure, for a lullaby.

“I couldn’t stop, so I swerved to the right.
Never forget the sound that night.
The crying’ tires, the bustin’ glass.
The painful scream that I heard last.”

I’m not sure why my dad thought this was appropriate. Maybe he was tired and it was the first slow song that popped into his head. But I loved it. The melody wasn’t difficult and I the refrain was easy for me to remember.

“Where oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me.
She’s gone to heaven, so I got to be good,
So I can see my baby when I leave this world.”

When I was a child listening to my father’s voice lull me to sleep, I would imagine that the boy and girl were caught in a torrential downpour when the accident happened. For some unexplainable reason I also imagined that there was a black gorilla nearby, watching the scene unfold. (I can’t even type this without laughing at my ridiculous imagination.)

Eventually I grew up and dad stopped singing me to sleep.

It was the year 2000, the year I graduated college, when Pearl Jam covered that song and it became popular on the radio. I hadn’t thought about my father’s lullaby for years. I had never heard the original song sung beyond my dad’s voice. When I first heard Eddie Vedder singing “my dad’s song”  a wave of nostalgia washed over me. I was in the car and I burst into tears, having to pull over. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was with friends and the song came on, I’d tell them that it was the same song my dad used to sing to me as a child. I always got confused, and sometimes disgusted, reactions. Last Kiss made me so happy…but it also made me seem a bit weird.

Today I have a 6 year old. And I sing to him a song he affectionately calls “Papa’s Song”. I’ve been singing it to him since he was a baby. He sings the refrain with me, and is slowly learning the other words. I don’t know if he imagines the young couple caught in a rain storm, or a large black gorilla looming nearby watching the carnage. But I hope the song sticks with him. I hope it carries through to another generation.