Feature image courtesy of Getty Images
By Layne Partin
Almost everyone, especially in the western world, has grown up with television. Everyone has his or her favorite shows, and one thing that all of those shows, whatever the genre, have in common is that they all have theme songs or instrumentals. And since life sometimes imitates art, if you could have a theme song for your life, what would it be? Ever hear someone say, “That’s the story of my life?” Merle Haggard even wrote a song about someone telling his life in a song. With that in mind, let’s tiptoe through the tulips with ten suggestions for themes for life.
“Tiptoe Through The Tulips” by Tiny Tim
Speaking of tiptoeing through the tulips, in the Victorian language of flowers and funerary symbolism, the tulip is associated with love and passion. Are you a hopeless romantic, a passionate person who loves moonlight and flowers and garden strolls with the one you love? Just consider these lyrics: “Knee deep in flowers we’ll stray, we’ll keep the showers away, and if I kiss you in the garden in the moonlight, will you pardon me, and tiptoe through the tulips with me?” Tiny Tim’s use of the ukulele and his high-pitched falsetto, combined with the flowery prose, make this song a theme for the romantic in all of us.
“Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” by B.J. Thomas
Someone once wrote that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain. If that’s your philosophy for life, then this might just be the perfect theme song for your life. This song has been featured in movies such as Spiderman 2 and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in happy-go-lucky, carefree ways. “Raindrops keep falling on my head, but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red, crying’s not for me, ‘cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining…” If this song sums you up, then not only should you be in the optimist club, you should be president.
“Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty
If you’re always chasing an elusive dream, then this song might just be right down your alley for a theme song for your life. And Petty sounds so relaxed and unhurried in his delivery that you just know that he, and you, will catch that dream. “The last three days, the rain was unstoppable, it was always cold, no sunshine…” happens in the pursuit of every dream. Into every life, a little rain must fall, of course. But if you’re the kind who doesn’t let things keep you down for long, then this song is a fit for your personality and your life.
“Thank God I’m A Country Boy” by John Denver
Cringe at the thought of living in an apartment complex, like an ant in an anthill or a bee in a beehive? Does the constant noise of traffic and masses of humanity grate on your nerves? Not a big fan of the nine to five? Do you much prefer the peace and quiet and isolation of country life, “Well life on the farm is kinda laid back, ain’t much an old country boy like me can’t hack?” If you have a fine wife and like cakes on the griddle and you think that, “Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle,” then this song is a good theme song for your life.
“Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John
No doubt everyone at times feels, “Frozen here, on the ladder of my life,” like all their, “Pictures seem to fade to black and white,” but some people live life like a canary in a coal mine, waiting for pianos to drop on their head, or a virus to infect them. If you have such a noir outlook on life, living from one bleak day to another, then you probably feel like the sun is going down on all the good things in your life. Hopefully, not a lot of us feel like this would be an appropriate theme, to sum up our lives, but then again, if you’re a fan of Winnie the Pooh’s dour pal Eore, then why not? He’s the ultimate pessimist, and delightful to watch.
“Never Gonna Fall In Love Again” by Eric Carmen
Had your heart broken and feel like you’ll never love again? Then maybe Eric Carmen has written the theme song of your life: “Never gonna fall in love again, I don’t wanna start with someone new, ‘cause I couldn’t bear to see it end, just like me and you…” Some broken hearts never mend, as another song tells us, and if you feel that way, like lady luck will never again smile on you, nor will Cupid’s arrow will ever again find your heart, then you can identify perfectly with this one. “At first we thought that love was here to stay, the summer made it seem so right, but like the sun we watched it fade away, from morning into lonely night…” Bleak, but it happens.
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
Ever heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Those who have gone through a lot of hard times in their lives survive even siege warfare better than those who have lived lives of ease. Has life put you through the wringer, until you feel like it’s one long beating? If you have survived devastating injuries or illnesses, scratched and clawed your way back to some semblance of normalcy, then Gloria Gaynor has given voice to an anthem for your life. If the lines, “And I grew strong, and I learned how to get along…It took all the strength I had not to fall apart, kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart…” resonate, then this is an excellent theme for you.
“Top of the World” by The Carpenters
Someone once said that if you love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life. Are you living your dream, doing what is a passion rather than a necessity? Ever get up in the morning and your outlook is, ”Such a feeling’s coming over me, there is wonder in most everything I see, not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes, and I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream…” A rare few get to not only bring their work home but also feel as if going to work is going home. Who could ask for a better theme to life than this classic?
“Splendid Isolation” by Warren Zevon
During the pandemic, a lot of people around the world were forced to become reclusive, whether they wanted to or not. Most couldn’t wait to return to lives of normalcy, even if it was a “New Normal.” Some, however, found out that they liked never venturing outside and having everything delivered, and not just those suffering from agoraphobia. Not everyone wants to be like Georgia O’Keefe or Howard Hughes, but for those who do, Splendid Isolation sums up their lives perfectly. If you feel like, “I want to live on the Upper East Side, and never go down in the street… I don’t want to see their faces, I don’t want to hear them scream…” then Warren Zevon has written the theme for your life.
“With or Without You” by U2
Does this song describe your relationship? You can’t live with a person and can’t live without the person? Do you ever feel like this: “See the stone set in your eyes, see the thorn twist in your side, I’ll wait for you, sleight of hand and twist of fate, on a bed of nails she makes me wait, and I wait without you…” Not exactly a bed of roses, such a relationship, but some couples only seem happy when they’re fighting, and consider the making up well worth the torment for thorns in the side and beds of nails. If that’s you, then this is your theme song.
There you have it, a few suggestions for theme songs that may sum up your life. There are countless others, too many to mention here, and any suggestions would be welcomed.
Be sure to check out the full archives of Vinylstalgia, by Layne Partin, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/vinylstalgia-archives/