Over the years I have had many songs capture my attention and affections. I have been a fan of music almost my entire life. My earliest memories start at 3 years old and I can still remember what songs were popular at the time. I've mentioned it before but would like to say again how much I appreciate having older siblings and parents who like music. So, with 29 years of music listening and loving under my belt I would like to present you with my all time favorite song.
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)
My mother is responsible for my love of Motown and oldies in general. She always had music playing in the car which probably explains why listening to music in a car is one of my favorite things. As I got older I would ask her for specific memories of hearing some classics for the first time. I enjoy people telling me about their first time hearing certain songs. Samuel R. Delany tells of hearing Martha & The Vandellas (Your Love Is Like A) Heatwave for the first time in his book, The Motion of Light in Water and it may very well be my favorite first time hearing a song story. I worry that we don't have songs like that today. I don't think Umbrella is a classic, you know?
The first time I recall hearing The Isley Brothers song was on an episode of Moonlighting which Dana Delany guested on before her starring role on China Beach. Now, given that my mother loves Motown and was always playing it I'm sure I heard this song prior to that. However, that episode married the song and the story so perfectly that it made a deep impression on me. Probably the first time I understood the power of music to help tell a story. When I got older I became obsessed with the song. Analyzing what makes it so great to me. The bottom line is that it is just perfect. The Funk Brothers playing is top notch. The bass line is my favorite ever played, the piano, the drums, the strings! That's just the first 15 seconds! Then the vocals kick in and take it even higher. Ronald Isley just nails the pain of having your heart broken over and over by the same person. Of course, Holland-Dozier-Holland (along with Sylvia Moy on this song) understood something about songwriting that very few people have understood since. I only wish I knew what it was! There have been many covers and none as good as the original.