TDP Sweet Sixteen Playlist: Mrs. Ford

Mrs. Ford is an amazing English, Drama, and Media teacher at BHS who also masterfully advises the school’s improv troupe, Idle Hands. She is described by her students as “funny – like for real,” “inspiring,” and “dedicated.” Here is what she was listening to when she was sixteen.

1.) “One Thing Leads to Another” — The Fixx

2.) “What You Need” — INXS

3.) “Taking My Chances” — The Outfield

4.) “Don’t Get Me Wrong” — The Pretenders

5.) “Life in a Northern Town” — The Dream Academy

6.) “Love Reign o’er Me” — The Who

7.) “I’m on Fire” — Bruce Springsteen

8.) “Party Girl” — U2

9.) “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” — The Police

10.) “Relax” — Frankie Goes to Hollywood

11.) “Let’s Go Crazy” — Prince and The Revolution

12.) “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” — Georgia Satellites

13.) “You Give Love a Bad Name” — Bon Jovi

14.) “Can’t Get Enough” — Bad Company

15.) “Mama Kin” — Aerosmith

16.) “Dance the Night Away” — Van Halen

When I was sixteen, my musical tastes were heavily influenced by other people, but maybe that’s as it should be. Regardless of where I first heard each of these songs, I wouldn’t be who I am without the music and lyrics of my youth. I distinctly remember turning sixteen, and thinking that I was leaving behind childish ways, so although their pictures still graced my wall (along with images of Doug Flutie) there are no Duran Duran songs on this mix. And though I would like to think of my sixteen-year-old self as listening to REM, Joy Division, and The Cure, the truth is, I really didn’t start listening to them until my college years. My sixteenth year focused mostly on hard rock with a little bit of pop.

images“One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx and “What You Need” by INXS remind me of the early days of MTV (when they still played music videos). I almost put “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel on the list for the groundbreaking video, but these two songs better reflect the fact that I am a sucker for catchy beats.

“Taking My Chances” by The Outfield reminds me of a particular moment: the long drive from my hometown of Clinton down to Princeton University to see my older brother play baseball. I remember sprawling in the backseat with my Walkman on, listening to my cassette of The Outfield. Though I could have included the more popular “Your Love” — I prefered the lyrics to “Taking My Chances.”

Unknown“Don’t Get Me Wrong” by The Pretenders is a brilliant song by a brilliant band. The Pretenders join Bruce Springsteen and U2 as artists that I still listen to on a regular basis. I remember hearing it for the first time riding the school bus home which is how I was also introduced to “Life in a Northern Town.” The Dream Academy song instantly struck a chord, mainly because the song felt so different from anything else I had heard on the radio to that point. I defy you to listen to it, and not sing along with the chorus: “Hey um ma ma ma (doobie doo-n-aya) / Hey um ma ma ma (heeeeey-yaaa).”

“Love Reign o’er Me” serves to represent all of The Who that I was listening to at the time. My older brother introduced me to their songs, and I was hooked. I could’ve included “Baba O’Riley” or “Behind Blue Eyes” or “Squeeze Box” or “Eminence Front” — but I selected “Love Reign o’er Me” because my first ever “real” boyfriend included it on one of the mixed tapes he made me.

UnknownBruce Springsteen and U2 — are artists who are still going strong. I’ve seen both in concert many times, but these songs in particular remind me of my sophomore year in high school. As I recall, “Party Girl” got a lot of play on the parks & rec bus trips that I and my friends took to places like Hampton Beach.

“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police introduced me to reggae, ska, reggaeton, and dancehall, all of which I still love to listen to. It was also a favorite at high school dances, as was “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. So was “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy — but that song is just terrible.

images“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and The Revolution also got a lot of play at dances, but it resonates with me because it reminds me of my high school field hockey team, which used it as a psych-up song. “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by Georgia Satellites reminds me of bus rides to basketball games with all of the cheerleaders singing this at the top of our lungs. “You Give Love a Bad Name” is the song I most associate with bus rides to softball games, again, with a bunch of teenage girls singing loudly.

Mark Sullivan 70's Rock ArchiveWith “Can’t Get Enough” by Bad Company, I return to the mixed tape from my boyfriend. At sixteen, I fell in love for the first time, so it is only right that I include several songs from that mix, as I know I listened to that tape incessantly. Aerosmith was featured heavily on all of his mixes for me, and “Mama Kin” is one of the best. If I were allowed more songs, I might have also included “Little Miss Dangerous” by Ted Nugent and “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush (how did he know I would become an English Teacher?)

Finally, I end the list with “Dance the Night Away” by Van Halen. Van Halen was my second ever concert (Duran Duran was the first) and they were in heavy rotation on the soundtrack of my youth. Really, any VH song prior to my sixteenth year could have made the list, but “Dance the Night Away” always makes me happy.

Thanks to The Devil’s Playlist for running with this idea! I can’t wait for 30 for 30…

My cut list:

“When the Levee Breaks” — Led Zeppelin

“Wuthering Heights” — Kate Bush

“Day by Day” — The Hooters

“Alive and Kicking” — Simple Minds

“Gimme All Your Lovin'” — ZZ Top

“Foolin’” — Def Leppard

“Never” — Heart

“Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” — Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin

“West End Girls” — Pet Shop Boys

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