Timely reminders: Evocative songs recall good times, bad times

Summer hasn’t even officially begun, and already it feels like the warm-weather days are zooming by. It must be the early spring that creates the mental time warp.

That feeling of valued time slipping away is a familiar song theme, too. Here are a few of my timely favorites:

Fleeting time
• Enya’s mesmerizing “Only Time.”

• Jimmy Elledge’s “Funny How Time Slips Away.” There are more than a dozen great versions of this Willie Nelson song, but this is my favorite.

• Jerry Wallace’s poignant “How the Time Flies.”

Songs of regret
Lost opportunity — or wasted time — is a theme nicely explored in these evocative songs:

• Expose’s “Seasons Change.”

• Paul Davis’ “Ride ’em Cowboy” offers a candid rodeo rider’s review of his life. Here’s a touching sample:

Oh, Midnight was a champion
He’s the only bronc I couldn’t ride
Now they tell me Midnight’s blind
Rides the little children for a dime.

Ladies used to hang around
I must’ve been a hero in their eyes
My silver spurs are rusty now
Lord, I wish I tried to settle down . . .

• Roy Clark’s harsh reflection on his life, “Yesterday, When I Was Young.”

“Time,” a reflective slice from the Pozo-Seco Singers (which gave us solo country artist Don Williams).

Reminiscences
A whole bunch of songs recall special times:

• Rod Stewart’s “As Time Goes By,” with Queen Latifah.

• Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.”

• Paul Anka’s “Times of Your Life,” the Kodak song.

• Gale Garnett’s “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.”

And two different songs with the same title:

• Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days.”

• And “Those Were the Days,” the Archie Bunker clan’s theme song from “All in the Family,” complete with the seldom-heard second-verse lyrics.

Songs of change
• Bob Dylan’s anthem, “The Times They Are A-changin’.”  

• Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time.”

• Henry Mancini’s “The Days of Wine and Roses.”

Some other timely songs
We’ll wrap up with a few other “time” songs, ending with an often-recorded  pop classic:

• The Outsiders’ “Time Won’t Let Me.”

“Time Is Tight,” with Booker T. and the MG’s.

• Ed Ames’ “Time, Time.”

• Simon and Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter.”

• Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”

• Jimmy Jones’ “Good Timin’.”

• And Chris Montez’s version of the standard “Time After Time.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 06/11/2010 - 09:01 am.

    Let’s not forget:

    Time Is On My Side by the Rolling Stones

    Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers

    Changes by Phil Ochs

    Twine Time by Alvin Cash

    and finally,

    Sixty Minute Man by the Dominos

  2. Submitted by William Levin on 06/11/2010 - 11:11 am.

    And also:

    The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell

    September Song by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson and interpreted so well by Frank Sinatra

    As Time Goes By by Herman Hupfeld from “Casablanca”

    Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds

  3. Submitted by chuck holtman on 06/11/2010 - 01:32 pm.

    Some songs are just about time, others specifically tap into the evanescence of it all. It’s the latter for which I have a profound weekness. From my own particular window of time, I’d second “The Circle Game” and add the following:
    Time for Going (Joni Mitchell)
    April Come She Will (Simon & Garfunkel)
    Sandy (Springsteen)
    Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Sandy Denny)
    Where Does the Time Go? (Innocence Mission)
    Old Friends (Simon & Garfunkel)
    It Was a Very Good Year (Sinatra)
    Time (Alan Parsons)
    Time (Pink Floyd)
    Try to Remember (I like Belafonte’s version).

  4. Submitted by Don Effenberger on 06/11/2010 - 03:31 pm.

    Excellent additions, all.

    I particularly like Chuck’s point about songs that are more than just about time — of which I jettisoned dozens, mostly for length.

    I especially like the addition of Circle Game, Very Good Year, September Song, Who Knows Where the Time Goes and the 2 S&G songs — none of which I had thought of.

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