I like to recall melodies that were popular at special moments in my life. They bring back high school proms, first dates, wartime journeys, college, marriage, children and other still-bright personal history.
Some Oscar-winning songs are particularly clear in my nearly-90-year-old brain. In 1939, it was Over The Rainbow, causing my first movie star crush on the teen Judy Garland. When You Wish Upon A Star got the 1940 Oscar. It was the year I got my wish to qualify for our state champ high school swim team.
On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe won in 1946. It recalls my return from the Pacific after WW2, and on my way home across the country in a troop train. There were many more sentimental Oscar-winning songs since then that evoke memories.
Of course, musical tastes have changed over the years. Starting somewhere in the 1950s, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll took over. Traditional melody was replaced by discordant shouting, angry lyrics and just plain ear-splitting noise. Then, I realized I had finally become very, very old in 2005 when It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp won the Oscar. Can you imagine Bing Crosby crooning that sentimental tune?
Of course, I must mention this year’s Academy Award winner. It was the song Glory from Selma, the movie about Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic march. Unlike decades of discordant rock noise that had earned too many recent Oscars, it had a gospel-like intensity and substance of heartfelt sincerity. In a word, the song was glorious!