Not long after I started working at the library, I was reunited with a lost love at the Jewel, in the bread and cereal aisle to be precise. The lost love was not a person but a song, and when I heard the opening keyboard line it was as if some missing puzzle piece of my heart had snapped perfectly into place, and all felt right in my world.
The song was Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest, and if you listened to rock radio in the 70s you probably heard it, even if you've long forgotten the title. To my pre-teen ears, this song was happiness itself bottled in a perfect little three minute song. I especially loved the keyboard part, a bit of contrapuntal wizardry that sounds like something Bach might have written if Bach had lived in the 1970s and taken to an electric keyboard on a night when he was feeling especially loose.
When I was growing up, my older sister had the song on a 45 rpm, probably purchased at the local drugstore back when drugstores sold 45s. Although I had been explicitly forbidden to touch her albums and 45s, I'd sneak a listen to Dancing in the Moonlight when she was out of the house. (I also touched her Beatles white album, multiple times. I have no regrets.) Though I absolutely adored this song, I somehow lost track of it.
Thankfully, after hearing it that day in the Jewel, I tracked it down on a CD at the library. The song has found its way onto a number of compilations over the years, including Have a Nice Decade: The '70s Pop Culture Box, as well as the soundtrack to Outside Providence, both of which the library owns.
Did you know you can search the online catalog for songs? A lot of patrons are surprised when they learn this; they think you can only search by CD title, not song title. Here are are a few tips and tricks for searching for songs in the online catalog:
Use the default words or phrase search.
Type the words "and" and "cd" along with the song title, so your search string looks like this:
dancing in the moonlight and cd
But let's say you know that the band Toploader also recorded Dancing in the Moonlight, but you only want the King Harvest recording. You can add the name of the band, King Harvest, to your search string so that your results only contain the King Harvest original. Your search string would then look like this:
dancing in the moonlight and cd and king harvest
As a general rule, if you know the name of the performer or performers of a song, type it in and it'll speed your search. This is especially true if you're searching for a song that has lots of common words. For example, say you're looking for the song Baby, I Love You. If you type in Baby, I Love You and CD, 377 titles will come up. If you know that the fabulous Ronettes recorded that song, and you type in Baby, I Love You and CD and Ronettes, the catalog will bring up only the CD that contains that song performed by the Ronettes--The Best of the Ronettes. A great CD by the way!
Other songs I've been happily reunited with:
Fool's Gold by Graham Parker on Graham Parker: The Ultimate Collection. One of rock's all-time great angry young men allows a glimpse of the idealist and romantic behind the dark glasses--without sounding mushy. Most of the other songs on this collection are great, too.
Dixie Storms by Maria McKee on Maria McKee: The Ultimate Collection. A haunting song of beauty and longing sung by the unparalleled McKee. That she isn't well-known given her extraordinary voice, emotional range and brilliant songs is one of the world's great mysteries. (And how can I not love a songwriter who wrote several songs inspired by the work of Tennessee Williams?)
Happy searching and listening, and feel free to share your own stories of reunion with songs from your past.