The First Time Ever I Heard That Song


The other day while I was making supper I heard my granddaughter singing “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”  It’s one of those songs kids start singing and can’t stop.  They drive you crazy with it.  You drove your mother crazy with it.  If you start singing it, you’ll drive yourself crazy with it.  “Oh, no, I’ve got this song stuck in my head!”  Can you imagine how many heads that song’s been stuck in?  Can you throw them over your shoulder/Like a Continental soldier?  American Revolution vintage.  236 years of getting stuck in people’s heads.  Amazing, isn’t it, the way a song hits you and sticks in your brain?  

Or the way it hits you and stays with you, marking a moment in time, making a photographic, stereophonic memory.  Do you remember the very first time you heard certain songs?  I’ve been thinking about those songs lately, maybe because Valentine’s Day approaches and I realize they’re almost all romantic songs.  I can still hear my mother singing “To Each His Own.”  I don’t know how old I was—not very—but she was in another room, and I followed the sound.  It wasn’t the kind of song I usually heard her sing, and she was singing in a different way.  (She had a beautiful soprano voice.)  She told me that was hers and Daddy’s song, and I remember the wonder I felt.  They had their own song!

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” has been recorded by so many artists, but no version has ever transported me the way it did the first time I heard it.  Harry Belafonte in concert.  It’s one of those songs that wraps itself around you from the beginning.  I can still feel it when I call up that memory.

And then there’s Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”   When I think of it, I go back.  The radio alarm comes on in early morning darkness right at the beginning of the song.  That’s the way I first heard it.  I came awake instantly and listened all the way through, transfixed.  Very sexy song.  

Do you recall the first time you heard a certain song?  What was it?  Who sang it?  Did the song make the moment, or did the moment make the song?

I’ve often used song titles for book titles.  (Yes, it’s legal.)  TO EACH HIS OWN, of course.  SOMEDAY SOON—that’s one of our songs, and it was my first book.  BAD MOON RISING.  Lots of others.  Sometimes you don’t mind having a song stuck in your head.


someday soon to each his own FIRE AND RAIN

And just tonight I found a cover I haven’t seen before…

bad moon rising

This is the new large print edition.  Found it on Amazon.  It’s $33.00.  (Reading glasses would be cheaper.)

Let’s talk about the soundtracks of our lives.


About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in music, songs, song titles, romantic songs. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The First Time Ever I Heard That Song

  1. laurieg72 says:

    Love Song – Loggins and Messina
    One of our first dates was a Loggins and Messina concert. This became our song. It was from their album Full Sail.
    There’s a wren in a willow wood
    Flies so high and sings so good
    And he brings to you what he sings to you
    And the love in his lulaby
    Seemed to tell me if I try, I could fly for you
    Lover, I wanna try for you ’cause

    I wanna sing you a love song
    I wanna rock you in my arms all night long
    I wanna get to know you
    I wanna show you the peaceful feelin’ of my home

    Summer thunder on moon-bright days
    Northern lights and skies ablaze
    I bring to you, if you let me sing to you
    Silver wings in a fiery sky
    Show the trail of my love and I
    Sing to you, love is what I bring to you
    And I wanna sing to you, oh

    I wanna sing you a love song
    I wanna rock you in my arms all night long
    I wanna get to know you
    I wanna show you the peaceful feelin’ of my home


    Oh,I wanna sing you a love song
    I wanna rock you in my arms all night long
    I wanna get to know you
    I wanna show you the peaceful feelin’ of my home

    Ooh, La La La La
    Ooh, La La La La
    La La La La La La La La

    One of our favorite albums:
    Moody Blues – Days of Future Past- Nights In White Satin, Tuesday Afternoon

    Magic Carpet Ride-Steppenwolf, Midnight Confessions-Grass Roots, Fire-Edgar Winter’s Group= Making our Freshman float at the Coast Guard Station

    Eighteen- Alice Cooper, You Know It Don’t Come Easy-Ringo, Wild World- Cat Stevens
    1972 when I turned 18

    The Wedding Song -Noel Paul Stokey and Somewhere (from West Side Story) at our wedding.

  2. laurieg72 says:

    OOPs first part was accidentally cut off.

    One of our first dates was to a Loggins and Messina concert.
    Love Song lyrics above became our song.

  3. Ah, Laurie, I’m a lyrics lady, too. I remember the lyrics, beginning to end. I know the tune, but since I can’t sing, I can’t replicate it. Hubby is a melody man.

  4. Maggie Shayne says:

    I was just thinking about this very topic this morning on our doggy-walk. I was remembering how my mom taught me to sing harmony when I just a little bitty thing, by doing duets with me to the Everly Brothers. Bye Bye Love, and Bird Dog and Dream. So great. Oh, and to the poster who posted the Loggins & Messina lyrics, I posted a youtube of a Kenny Loggins song to my FB this morning. (I’m Alright.) Can’t get that one out of my head today.
    I tried naming a book after a song once–Long Gone Lonesome Blues–Hank Williams. But my editor changed it. I loved that title! I also tried recording my own version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, but haven’t yet found a karaoke track for it that’s in the right key for me.
    This is turning into a tome. Suffice to say, I love this blog and I love this post!

  5. Welcome, Maggie! Ah, the Everly Brothers. “Wake Up, Little Susie”–First time ever I danced with a boy at a dance. I can see it now. We held hands the whole way through, handshake style.

    Maggie, when are you going to visit us with a guest post?

  6. michelehauf says:

    I have a lot of older songs that just spring into my head, like American Pie “bye, bye, Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee…” John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High, some Sonny & Cher stuf. So you can guess which decade I was growing up, mindlessly tripping along, singing songs carefree and out of tune. 🙂

    • Wonderful memories. Can you sing the long version of “Miss American Pie”? Older son used to be able to–don’t know if he remembers. His first public performance was “Rocky Mountain High” on the steps of his kindergarten (which was a portable) miked (miced?) loudly enough so that I hear it in my classroom (also a portable).

  7. Leanne says:

    I remember the first time I heard my mama sing a song. I was a little thing — Down in a meadow in an itty bitty pool swam three little fishies and a mama fishy too. Swim, said the mama fishy. Swim if you can and they swam and they swam all over the damn. Boop Boop Didem Dadem whatamachoo… Still love that song.:) Fun memory. Great topic Kathleen! xo, Leanne

    • My mama sang that one, too! I sang it a lot when I was feeding kids in highchairs. It’s great for that.

      • Leanne and Kathleen, my mom sang that one too. I had forgotten about it until I read what you wrote, Leanne. It must have been a really catchy song “back in the day” when it was so popular for so many mommas to have remembered it and sang it to their children.

  8. loisgreiman says:

    🙂 Love the commercial, Kathy. Thanks for sharing. I heard about it but hadn’t seen it.

    I remember singing Thank God I’m a Country Boy while spotting cattle as a kid. My mother loved that.

  9. Cindy Gerard says:

    Love, Love Love this post. Makes me smile and feel sentimental all over.
    There are sooo many songs that color my life. Just pick a Beatles song – I’m there. I Want To Hold Your Hand. He Ain’t Heavy … He’s my brother. She Loves you, Yeah, Yeah Yeah!!!
    I could go on forever. Oh – and don’t forget Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer. Classic

    But, one of my favorite childhood songs that I make sure my grand kids know is similar to Leanne’s fishie song :o)

    Maresydotes and dozeydotes and little lamsiedivy
    A kiddledivytoo, wouldn’t you?

    While the words sound queer and funny to your ear
    and a little bit jumbled and jivvy. Just remember that:
    Mares eat Oats, and does eat Oats, and little lambs eat ivy.
    A kid will eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?


    • Cindy, you’ve just solved one of my life’s great mysteries. Little. Lambs. Eat. Ivy. Finally, it makes sense!

      I’m with you on the Beatles. We just celebrated the anniversary of the Fab Four on the Sullivan show in ’64, didn’t we. i showed the granddaughters the picture and pointed out that Justin Bieber is trying to copy John’s hair.

    • Cindy, my mom sang that one, too. Maresydotes. LOL Lots of those nonsensical songs back in the day, but they have stayed with us, haven’t they?

  10. Christie Ridgway says:

    Right this moment I’m listening to U2’s “All I Want is You.” I saw it mentioned in a JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood book (one of the brothers sings it at a wedding) and I d/loaded it. Great song that is now part of the soundtrack of the current book.

    Dh caught my attention playing “Ocean Breeze” by Pablo Cruise on the dorm’s piano. He can also play the Peanuts song and I think I might have fallen in love with him just because of that. 🙂

  11. catslady says:

    When my now husband and I were dating (like 45 yrs. ago) we had our song – Never my Love by The Association. What is so great is they still play that song on the radio so we can be driving and hear our song and it really does take us back in time.

  12. Betina says:

    I’m a music junkie and lyrics are very important to me. Oddly most of the rest of my family say they just like the melody and don’t pay attention to the words. How can they not pay attention to the words? I have to have good lyrics, ones that really speak to me. “I Say A LIttle Prayer For You” (Dionne Warwick?) made a big impression on me. So that’s what I did in college and after. I said a little prayer each day for my love– BEFORE I met him.

    And all the Beatles songs. Whew– right back to junioir high and sock hops. And the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” which my Aunt Margaret used to sing professionally in her dusky voice. “Autumn Leaves”, which I learned to play on the piano and all of my cousins would come over and we’d sing at the tops of our lungs. “Hey Jude” by the Beatles– a major bar song when i was first in college. . . I can still smell the sudsy beer. “A Bridge over Trouble Water” by Simon and Garfunkel– late college dorm days.

    More recently LeeAnn Rhimes’s “What Would I Do Without You” made me bawl every time i heard it– came out just after my husband died. I finally had to buy a CD of it and play it over and over until I stopped crying. Tough therapy, but helpful.

    And hymns! When I hear the “All Day Hymn” I think of my kids, because it was sung at each of their baptisms. And when I hear “On Eagle’s Wings” I am taken back to the sound of my husband singing it as a solo in his little country church. His mom leaned over to me and said “I didn’t know he could sing.” I was a little shocked, but they were stern German folk who didn’t share much. Now when I hear that song in a church service, I think of him and am flooded with a sense of peace.

    My mom also sang the “mares eat oats and does eat oats song”– must have been a generational thing! She played the guitar a little, my mom, and she loved to sing. Nice memories. And my dad strummed and sang Kenny Rogers’s “You PIcked A Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille” and “The Gambler.” Great memories!

    Thanks, Kathy! GREAT post, even if I am coming in late!

    • The party starts whenever you arrive, Betina!

      Isn’t it amazing the way a song opens the floodgates in a cathartic way. I remember hearing “Fire and Rain” on the car radio not long after Daddy died. I was alone at night on a lonely SD road. The line “I always thought I’d see you again” hit me hard, and I had to pull over and cry my eyes out.

      You guys made me google “Mairzy Doates.” WWII vintage–that’s why our mothers sang it–but here’s an interesting tidbit: soldiers used the lyrics as passwords.

  13. Kathleen O says:

    I think a song that stays in my mind is “Your Song” by Elton John, I was in Junior High and I remember it played on the my radio while I was getting ready for school.. I went that day to the record store and bought it.. I thought it was one of the most romantic songs and still is. Here is the track on YouTube

  14. Kathleen, I’m really late coming in on this, but I just loved the topic and all the wonderful answers you got. I wanted to tell you, I love “I’m on Fire” too–and I just remember when that video came out how sexy it was in its own way. Your mind can conjure such images to go along with what’s there in that short video.LOL Anyhow, there are so many wonderful songs. I think one of my favorites along with I’m On Fire is Unchained Melody, and you know another one I love is Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah–and I don’t care who does it. LOL I have the Il Divo rendition (no I don’t speak Italian) that I will listen to sometimes and I even went to google the words in Italian so I could at least try to learn it that way, because I love the way they sing it. LOLLOL (Not much luck, though.) My husband and I never had “a song”–I’ve always wished we did. We sang professionally off and on for several years. My mom was a wonderful singer, and knew soooo many songs. This is a great topic and I’m so glad I’m here, even though I’m late.

  15. Hi, Cheryl!
    kd Lang’s rendition of Hallelujah will take your breath away:

    Leonard Cohen is amazing. One of my favorites of his is “Suzanne.”

  16. MaryC says:

    I had never heard the song Hallelujah until my nieces sang it at my Dad’s funeral. I love kd lang’s version of the song.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s