Heal the world, Spotify an old fart

As the world watched the horrors of Manchester live on TV, a secret and incredibly powerful remedy for combating fear, pain and sorrow was being discovered half a world away.

Right here on the Gold Coast, by me.

My dad turned 60 this week.


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As a loving but fairly poor and pretty lazy son, naturally I waited until the day before his big day to realise I had found neither the time nor the funds to buy him a gift.

Luckily for me I have two young kids, and can easily get them to ‘make pop a card’ which by some magic, that I have not yet worked out, seems to completely get me off the hook in terms of gift giving.

Still, it was his 60th and given he has smoked since Whitlam was PM, the odds of me making it up to him on his 80th seemed slim.

An idea formed.

You see my parents, like most I assume, absolutely love music.

Growing up there was barely a day I can remember when our overworked three-stack cd player was not blasting smiles, song and happiness throughout our home.

But over the last five years or so, the music my parents so loved is seldom heard.

Kids move out, CD Players break and aren’t replaced, my folks have moved house and that cherished CD collection built up over two decades or more is now horribly scratched, missing or in some box no one can seem to locate.

So I decided to sign Dad up to Spotify, mum too, and spent half a day finding and recreating their musical library.

Concerned my thoughtful but intangible gift for my technophobe father would not be as well received as I initially hoped, I raced into Target on the way to the party to pick up a retro-looking stereo with Bluetooth functionality.

It may be the grown up equivalent of the ‘here dad I made this for you’ present, but my hours of searching the Spotify archives paid off in the most unexpected of ways.

Robert Cray, Tony Childs, Van Morrison, Wet Wet Wet, The Boss, Johnny Cougar, The Sorrows, Peter Tosh, Chris Isaac, BB King, Paul Kelly, Tom Petty, The Whitlams – songs and albums not heard in years were suddenly and simultaneously bringing back memories and making new ones.

Seeing my kids dance around with their pop as George Benson’s Broadway was cranked up was worth it alone, but as four generations of my family and their closest and longest friends danced, laughed and sang all afternoon (and well into the night) to what was effectively a soundtrack of their lives and friendships, it was abundantly clear I had stumbled onto something special.

But the best was yet to come as my not-so-technically-sound parents and their friends got a first-hand glimpse of the power of the Age of Accelerations.

Mellencamp’s ‘Aint Even Done With The Night’ must have triggered a memory in mum as she turned and asked if I had any Bob Seger.

‘Ah damn how could I forget Bob, hang on give me a minute …ok, good now.’

Remember, this is the generation that thought we were setting cd’s on fire when we told them we were going to burn that song – it was a wonderful thing to watch their faces as they realised the new possibilities.

It didn’t take them long before the requests started to roll in, obscure tracks they hadn’t heard since petrol ticked over 35c and live versions of songs that 30-40 years ago their young selves were listening to live in concert.

Music brings people together in song, joy and happiness and those things are needed more than ever in today’s world.

So Spotify (or Pandora, or whatever) an old fart, and heal the world one afternoon of song and memories at a time.