(I've Had) The Time Of My Life?

The Oregonian newspaper recently published a list of area high school prom themes. On this Friday I thought would share them with you.

Burns High, Burns: "A Night in Vegas"
Catlin Gabel, Portland: "A Trip to the Stars"
David Douglas High, Portland: "A Black and White Affair"
Lakeview Senior High, Lakeview: "Mardi Gras"
Oregon City High, Oregon City: "Masquerade Ball"
Sunset High, Beaverton: "Into the Sunset"
Bend Senior High, Bend: "A Night in Hollywood"
Madras High, Madras: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Astoria High, Astoria: "Come Away With Me" (Norah Jones song)
North Salem High, Salem: "Under the City Lights"
Corvallis High, Corvallis: "Old Hollywood — The Golden Age"
South Medford High, Medford: "A Night to Shine"
Gresham High, Gresham: "Rumble in the Jungle" (They held it at the zoo)
Jesuit High School, Portland: "Jurassic Prom — 65 Million Years in the Making"
Tigard High, Tigard: "Diamonds Are Forever"
South Eugene High, Eugene: "Bollywood"
Lake Oswego High, Lake Oswego: "Starry, Starry Night"
Southridge High, Beaverton: "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Aerosmith song)
Aloha High, Beaverton: "Red Carpet"
Columbia River High, Vancouver: "Time After Time" (Cyndi Lauper and Quietdrive song)
Century High, Hillsboro: "Once Upon a Dream"

Without a doubt, my favorite theme is "Jurassic Prom—65 Million Years in the Making." It makes it sound like the members of the Jesuit High School prom committee were some of the first humans to walk the earth. After all, they had ostensibly been planning this special night for many millennia. Amazing! In contrast, "A Night In Vegas" just seems like a recipe for disaster.

I was also surprised to see Aerosmith and Cyndi Lauper as two of the writers behind this year's prom theme songs. In 2008? Is prom one of our only traditions immune to contemporary trends in music, culture, and technology? Wouldn't Usher, Fall Out Boy, or Gnarls Barkley be timelier? Or is prom the ultimate form of nostalgia, wherein kids reenact traditions and traditional roles long since abandoned or transmogrofied, so that the themes are in fact a commentary on the staleness, retro-ness, or novelty of the dance itself? I could not say for sure.

My own Senior Prom was theme-less and held on a boat on Lake Union in Seattle. The DJ never bothered to show up. The captain had two CDs that he played in a round over the boat's PA system—NIN's Pretty Hate Machine and Legend: The Best of Bob Marley. Somewhere between "Head Like A Hole" and "Three Little Birds" I got partially drunk in the bathroom. I've never listened to either CD again.

What I do find interesting about prom is that it is one of the few moments in your life when a song not chosen by you comes to define who you are as both an individual and as a member of a community. And the song becomes part of your story, whether you want it to or not. It's not merely some friends or a couple having their special song; it's a song that momentarily embodies you and your small segment of the population, a generation signifier even, at least for a single night. And it's the song that ends the long soundtrack of your youth and you didn't even get to decide on it. That is a lot of power for one silly little song.

Or maybe you didn't go to prom and you saved yourself the embarrassment.

If you remember your prom theme song, feel free to share.

—————

On an entirely different note, and as some of you know, composer Earle H. Hagen, who is probably best known for writing the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show died on Monday, May 26th. The story goes that Hagan had never whistled before in his life, but when the TV execs asked for his idea, he wanted it to be something simple. He wrote the tune in an hour.

In honor of Hagen, and if you want to have a song stuck in your head all weekend, click here.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I am one of those people who spared herself the embarrassment of going to prom, but I stayed home and did something that was arguably worse: I wound up watching that night's episode of Dawson's Creek, even though I'd decided that the show wasn't worth the effort several seasons earlier. It was the obligatory graduation ceremony episode, and for some reason that I still can't suss out, it totally depressed me. It didn't really hit me that I was graduating, that the whole high school nightmare was finally coming to an end, until I watched several overpaid and over-age actors graduate on tv. Which I think is problematic in and of itself.

Oh, and I cried. I totally sobbed over Dawson's Creek while my classmates were gyrating on some dance floor in ugly formal wear.

Sent by jv | 12:42 PM | 5-30-2008

I would be so pissed if Aerosmith was the theme of my prom. I'd rather listen to Patty Loveless.

80% of my class was Mexican, so there was a lot of music with trumpets and high pitched "Aye"s. And as a white female who never learned spanish, I was lost wishing there was tequila.

Sent by katie j | 12:52 PM | 5-30-2008

Unearthed some fond memories of ill-contrived prom themes, namely my high school's "Hour of Enchantment." {The dance actually endured *three* hours.) But perhaps even an hour was a bit optimistic in estimating the duration of the "magic."
``````
I think many high school graduates tend to overlook the fact that "Good Riddance" precedes "Time of Your Life." Poor squandered cynicism.

Sent by Zia | 12:52 PM | 5-30-2008

"Transmogrofied"? Oh my god.

Frank Sinatra was it for us. I went to prom. And junior prom. I wore a suit type thing to the latter and wish I would've stayed with that for the former too. I will skip the silly questions of what you wore and who you went with because the details you have already given are good enough. NIN and Marley. Wow. Wow.

Sent by Jaime | 1:41 PM | 5-30-2008

The prom. Jesus. I don't even remember what theme my high school chose nearly 20 years ago, but I did save myself the embarrassment of going. I remember that the prior year, they had used "Let it stay forever now", based on the Psychedelic Furs song. And before that--"These are the best of times," presumably from the Styx song. I have no idea WHY I remember this random bit of information...I'm sure I'll remember it after I've forgotten other things like my social security number, ATM PIN, etc.

Sent by Brigid | 1:48 PM | 5-30-2008

The prom tradition at my high school was for the prom to be cancelled every year due to a lack of interest/ticket sales.

There would always be a prom committee who would plan the whole thing, sell ten to fifteen tickets (to themselves, mostly) then, a couple of weeks before the big day, make a tearful announcement over the PA that it was cancelled... again.

If I remember correctly (this is going back nearly fifteen years) I think I spent what would have been my prom night working at my grocery store job, then smoked a bowl and watched Demolition Man in my friend's basement. That still sounds better than most of those themes.

Sent by Mike M. | 1:57 PM | 5-30-2008

Too bad about you and "Legend" that is one of the greatest "best of" collections ever made.

I still like Bob Marley I just have to listen to individual albums. -CB

Sent by Steve_in_NC | 1:58 PM | 5-30-2008

My junior prom was in 1996. My very straightlaced classmates (I'm surprised many of them even knew about Led Zeppelin) inexplicably picked "Stairway to Heaven" as the theme and theme song for our prom. And the art teacher/cheerleading coach who made the banner (prom was her pet project) did very elaborate Gothic calligraphy, and it looked like it said "Stairway to Beaver." Above a stairway up which we all had to march. Yeah.

Sent by Allison | 2:04 PM | 5-30-2008

That's why I skipped my prom. Well, the music aspect, *and* because I didn't want to go to the trouble of finding a girl who would participate in the charade of a heterosexual date.

Sent by Jason | 2:11 PM | 5-30-2008

Oddly enough...
I missed both my senior prom, and graduation... playing the same high school in baseball... losing both times, 1-0. Both runs scroing on errors... The second game was in the semi finals of the state tournament, and, is still one of the greatest baseball games ive ever seen... and I had a great seat a 2nd base...

spend $300+ for prom, and sit in a hot sweaty gym for graduation...

no thanks...

If I remember correctly though, I believe I DJ'd a house party the night after prom... and was told I should have been the DJ at the prom... I never did understand the themes though. I think ours was some sort of under water thing? and thinking "how lame... are we going to dance like fish?"

Sent by Kramer | 2:14 PM | 5-30-2008

Definitely didn't go to prom. The night of my senior prom I worked and then saw a midnight showing of X-Men. I was just reminded recently (upon discussing prom) that I told everyone that Hugh Jackman was my date that night.

Sent by Jamie | 2:23 PM | 5-30-2008

I went to prom just because I didn't want to regret not going even though I knew deep down inside that would never happen.

after spending too much money on a dress my date got blood all over (bloody nose on the drive there) and then he wouldn't dance it was clear I would have missed nothing.

The last song was that really annoying song that went "come and ride the train and ride it choo choo" Everyone made a train and danced around the hall.seriously.

My friend, her date, my date & I sat at the table and blew bubbles most of the night.

We went to whataburger afterwards and I was in bed by midnight.

Sent by Esme | 2:46 PM | 5-30-2008

My senior prom was bizarre primarily because by an act of either planetary alignment, planetary misalignment or giant interdimensional accident, my band ended up playing.
We were a bunch of marginal weirdos, unknown to many even among my small graduating class of 75 people.
Yet somehow we ended up playing our clunky, rudimentary sonic manglings (ie, original material) to an audience that was surprisingly receptive.
I was petrified and had spent about 15 minutes charting the fastest escape route, anticipating humiliation at best, and humiliation coupled with moderate to significant physical harm more likely.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up from the drumkit to see all these good 'ol boys in brushpoppers, Stetsons and h1/4ap-sized belt buckles whooping it up and having a hoedown. Weird.
Of course, we didn't play our 11-minute version of the Germs' "Forming" either.

Sent by Roberto Campana | 2:58 PM | 5-30-2008

In honor of Allison's prom's "Stairway to Beaver" sign I'd like to share http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CetPq_pkHc something I found again yesterday. I wish I'd had access to one of their latex outfits for the event but, frankly, I don't recall the senior prom. I probably didn't go, thinking I couldn't top the Jr. prom where, as 16 y.o., I'd brought a 24 y.o. bicycle road-racing fling as my date. To the surprise of those classmates who knew little of my extracurriculars.

Sent by snf | 2:59 PM | 5-30-2008

I do recall the 8th grade graduation ceremony mix tape I'd made at a teacher's request which had the puncher of Depeche Mode's Blasphemous Rumors as its focal point. I guess that wasn't quite the tone she'd hoped to set. Subversion came later when, for my HS graduation, another teacher asked what issues were facing us and, based on my and another student's feedback, implored us at commencement to do something more important than just go out and fulfill our parents's 'yup-scale' yuppie fantasies. Parents walked out in response.

I can think of at least one classmate who's succeeded in this, albeit by doing something very similar to what her mom's long done http://www.smallplanet.org/ it ain't always bad to follow a father or a mother's path.

Sent by snf | 3:15 PM | 5-30-2008

I never did prom or Homecoming. But I remember my class motto was not picked out by anyone affiliated with my class. Class of '99 at Martinsburg High School, Martinsburg, WV, had as their motto "what a long strange trip it's been." Even then it struck me as odd that an anthem describing the drug addled journey of the hippie generation could be so misconstrued by middle-aged teachers who grew up in that time that they could use it on their children. I don't particularly care for the song. I thought a better motto would have been Grampa Simpson telling a young Homer, "I used to be with it. But then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it is weird and scary. It will happen to you!" I think that's the most universal statement ever uttered.

Sent by Nick L. | 3:23 PM | 5-30-2008

Argh, our graduation song was "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly. Not just a crappy R&B artist, but also a pedophile, chosen to represent me and my senior class. Thank you.

I think our prom theme was "A Knight to Remember".

Sent by Simone | 3:38 PM | 5-30-2008

I LOVE the Andy Griffith Show. Easily one of my top 5 favorite television programs. The theme was supposed to have words put to the melody also, but Hagen insisted on the simplicity. I've been going through the series on DVD, and I think my roommate wants to kill me every 19 minutes when the theme song plays again (don't forget the back to back closing credits/opening credits)!

The two days preceding my prom I had day trips each lasting frmo 4am -1am, so by Saturday night I was in bed by 7pm, no regrets. The theme that year? "Into the Future!"

Sent by ljc | 3:45 PM | 5-30-2008

I went to Century High and our theme in 2000 was "This Magic Moment" and they didn't even play the song at the dance. They played "Billie Jean" though, so all was forgiven.

Sent by jake | 3:48 PM | 5-30-2008

Our prom theme was "Bon Voyage" and our grad song was "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", coincidentally. I hated prom and I really wish I hadn't gone, actually.

Sent by Madeline | 3:49 PM | 5-30-2008

I skipped my prom to see Living Colour and Bad Brains at the Troc in Philadelphia. It was the right thing to do.

Sent by Dyn-O-Wright | 4:01 PM | 5-30-2008

i spared myself the trauma and instead went to see the movie "son-in-law" (yes, that's right, with pauly shore on a farm) with my mom. then we went out for roast beef sandwiches. my mom passed away unexpectedly soon after and to this day i'm grateful for the fun we had that night. and really, what did i miss out on? razzleberry wine coolers and that g.d. alphaville song ("forever young"!)?? no big loss.

Sent by laura | 4:15 PM | 5-30-2008

I was prom queen, believe it or not, despite being a high school jock and a future lesbian. So, you can't judge every prom queen by her dress! Our theme that year was Richard Marx' "Hold onto the Night." I remember it mostly because they announced my name along with the prom king's during that song and we danced to it in front of everyone. Talk about not getting to choose the song that represents you.

In thinking back on this, I Googled Richard Marx (still touring, by the way). Check out his website and click on "Launch Jukebox" if you want a blast from the past. I still knew almost every lyric.

Sent by Michelle | 4:37 PM | 5-30-2008

The music at my prom was forgettable, but I do remember singing along with my friends to Mudhoney's "Touch me I'm Sick" in the car on the way there. That song always makes me think of prom night and how half of us were saying we should have gone to see the fake Dead Kennedys (when Brandon Cruz was playing Jello) instead.

Sent by beth | 4:46 PM | 5-30-2008

I'm not even sure my prom had a theme song, but the song I associate with prom was 'Holiday,' by Green Day, which was on the radio in the limo.

Sent by Genevieve | 5:14 PM | 5-30-2008

So, it turns out that Earl Hagen not only wrote the Andy Griffith Show theme, but the almost as maddeningly catchy themes to The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, and Gomer Pyle. He also wrote the jazz chestnut Harlem Nocturne (go figure!). Expressway to your skull, indeed. RIP EHH!

Sent by Michael | 5:23 PM | 5-30-2008

"Jesuit High School, Portland: "Jurassic Prom -- 65 Million Years in the Making" "

Go figure....apparently the Jesuits are the only ones hip to the concept of a time before Jesus. I predict they will all be humming a John Williams themes by the end of the night.

Sent by jack | 6:04 PM | 5-30-2008

Before my prom in 1990, I got 200 petition signatures from my classmates to make Kung Fu Fighting our prom theme. But the powers that be ignored the will of the people.

Our prom theme ended up being Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes. A solid, crowd-pleasing pick especially since Say Anything had just come out that year.

The only problem was, the DJ only had the special "jungle mix." For those unfamiliar, it's a 10 minute, Stacey Q-esque funk workout with the occasional "In Your Eyes" chorus thrown in. A total fiasco, but somehow it fit the mood.

Sent by Rick | 6:09 PM | 5-30-2008

My prom theme was (I've Had) The Time Of My Life. I graduated in 1998, not 1988 when the song was at the height of its popularity.

Sent by Mike | 6:12 PM | 5-30-2008

It looks like some things never change as the song and theme of my junior prom in the suburbs of Chicago in 2003 was "Time After Time" as well. It always cracked me up that this came to be the prom song in Napoleon Dynamite as well.

Thankfully, I graduated early my senior year and went to Europe. I felt good about being in Madrid instead of going to senior prom.

Sent by Lance | 6:13 PM | 5-30-2008

Chicago, "Color My World"...yikes. You're spot on: chosen by the prom committee, that song is forever part of my high school memories, against my will. At the time I was taken by the expansive weight of the Chicago Transit Authority album, particularly Terry Kath's guitar playing, and appalled by Chicago's transition to a lightweight ballad band. Chicago had turned to fluff. I remember arguing this point at the prom to many deaf ears!

Sent by LarryD | 6:49 PM | 5-30-2008

Bob Seger, "We've Got Tonight"

Sent by john | 6:55 PM | 5-30-2008

I graduated last year, which meant everything, from the yearbook to the dry grad decorations was Bond themed.

We did not have one singular grad song: my grad class had 525, so there were four songs picked, which included Europe's "Final Countdown" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way". Unfortunately, halfway through the nearly five hour ceremony, the CD began skipping and the only song that would play was "My Way". I took a History of Rock and Roll class in eleventh grade, and about two thirds of the class had never heard of Frank Sinatra, let alone name one of his songs. Although Justin Timberlake would have been timelier, somehow the prom committee didn't find SexyBack as classy.

These days, if I feel like making an Itunes mix to reminesce about those happy golden years, Scissor Sisters' "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" gets top priority. By the time that song was played, most of the happy heterosexual couples had left, and I became much, much more comfortable on the dance floor.

That said, a Jurassic Park theme would have been absolutely amazing.

Sent by Kirie | 7:18 PM | 5-30-2008

I went to my prom.
Thats all I remember.

Sent by mikey | 8:57 PM | 5-30-2008

In place of heavy romantic pairings, my prom had more of a communal, celebratory feeling. I remember jumping in the air in a group of people during songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam.

Sent by Nick | 10:32 PM | 5-30-2008

My prom was also on a boat ["Come Sail Away" was the theme]. Luckily, we didn't have the prom disaster you did [although we all heard this disaster story from Greg Bamford]. We brought our DJ with us. And he wasn't like amazing or anything, but damn, he was hot. And yeah. I go to Overlake [and am fucking proud that you're an alumna, seriously!].

Last year ours was at the zoo, which was cool in theory, but totally lame. Several people showed up drunk. The decoration was lame. I left about an hour or two early.

But surprisingly? Neither had a theme song. Not that I mind. I can do without the corny tunes.

Sent by Mehera | 10:56 PM | 5-30-2008

1998, on the shores of Lake Union: I don't know what the theme was, but the prom king was a band geek, which I thought was cool. The "song" was K-Ci and JoJo's "All My Life", which then became "our" song as my date and I hooked up shortly thereafter. I do remember two incredibly popular kids showed up, stumbled out of their limo drunk, and promptly vomited on the off--duty cop working security.

I thought I was a badass, I wore a big poufy princess dress and a leather biker jacket, it was incredibly '90s.

Sent by Jessica | 11:23 PM | 5-30-2008

Oh, our graduation songs will be My Wish [Rascal Flatts], Wanting Memories [Ysaye Barnwell] -- both sung by the choir; and then the one the seniors chose is Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." I don't know if they had this tradition when you were there, but the seniors storm the gym in the beginning of the year and they have a song playing in the background. "Don't Stop Believin'" was the song to which we stormed the gym.

Sent by Mehera | 11:26 PM | 5-30-2008

theres themes? really? my school didnt have themes. And i didnt go to either of the balls (theyre not called proms here, theyre balls). Theres no way in hell they would have got me into one of those hideous dresses. I stayed at home, and bought myself a cheap electric guitar instead. It worked out to be cheaper than actually going to the ball.

Sent by NC | 6:26 AM | 5-31-2008

Gosh kids in Wes. Wa. had it made.. prom on Lake Union & shit?.. I made it a point not to go to mine which was a decision I made in Jr. High...but now reading everyone's cheesey prom stories I wish I woulda gone just to laugh. lol.

Sent by Marissa Dailey | 7:38 AM | 5-31-2008

Theme of prom, "You Belong Among the Wildflowers"... Tom Petty was played a lot that night.......

Sent by KK | 8:41 AM | 5-31-2008

I graduated from high school in 1999, so our senior prom song and theme was Prince's 1999. Thats pretty much all I remember about that night.

Sent by Lauren | 10:34 AM | 5-31-2008

As a Jesuit alum, I have to say that I am bursting with pride about this year's Jurassic Prom theme. Brilliant. A huge step up from our sadly generic "A Night with the Stars" fiasco...which, it turns out, was held in the gym after the prom committee couldn't get their shit together early enough to book a location. Disappointing at the time, although satisfyingly old school in retrospect.

Sent by Hill | 11:54 AM | 5-31-2008

I can't remember my senior prom's theme but it was something science related as it was held in a now defunct science museum in downtown Atlanta (which is cooler than it sounds....I promise).

Sent by Brian A. | 12:44 PM | 5-31-2008

Courage, the guy who wrote the Star Trek theme just died too.

I didn't go to prom. I did get drunk and have sex, I just skipped the dancing.

The story of your prom is so anti-prom poetical I almost don't believe it.

Sent by Elizabeth | 1:03 PM | 5-31-2008

my high school prom theme [stadium high school, 2001] was "can't take my eyes off of you," the lauryn hill version, not the sinatra version.

which is sort of ironic, because two summers prior, they filmed ten things i hate about you at my school, which featured sinatra's version. or maybe this isn't ironic. maybe i'll ask at the reunion if i go.

Sent by douglas martin | 1:30 PM | 5-31-2008

i don't remember the prom theme my senior year, but in my junior year i was on the prom committee and got to pick the theme song... i picked jim croce's "time in a bottle." i was really into that song when i was 16. to go along with this, we had hourglasses on the napkins and souvenir champagne glasses.

Sent by ld | 3:19 PM | 5-31-2008

I never went to my prom. My girlfriend at the time went with one of her girl friends (who she cheated on me with shortly after). :(

Sent by Al | 8:59 PM | 5-31-2008

"Might As Well Jump" commemorated the end of my youth at prom as well as the end of David Lee Roth's prime in VH. It was the only song I danced to that night.

Sent by Misty | 9:44 PM | 5-31-2008

I don't remember the theme cuz it's been about 15 years, but I do remember that I made my best guy friend go with me. I didn't have the guts to bring my girlfriend. The best part was that my friend's mom made me a dress and dyed it to match my shoes - purple high top Converse!

Sent by Gretchen | 8:47 AM | 6-1-2008

I opted not to go to my prom in 2003 and I honestly do regret it sometimes. I don't remember the theme at all. I do recall, though, the restaurant that I ate at with my family that night, and that my dad (who's from Taiwan and still has a thick accent) thought that prom meant a large shrimp.

Sent by Jess | 11:12 AM | 6-1-2008

No prom: REM's "Green" tour stopped in my town the same night. A no brainer.

Sent by Gina V. | 1:34 PM | 6-1-2008

I don't remember what our prom song was (because I didn't make it), but our Homecoming theme for 1987 was "Ball of Confusion" (yes, the Love and Rockets song). "Ball of Confusion" to represent the "confusion" and "anxiety" we were experiencing as we moved beyond high school (this was in Kirkland, WA.)

Sent by David | 2:23 PM | 6-1-2008

I'm a junior, soon to be senior. I've never gone to a real dance nor do I want to, so I will opt out of senior prom. Why spend more time with my douchebag classmates than I have to?

Sent by Bri | 2:55 PM | 6-1-2008

We few, we lucky few got Green Day's "Good Riddance" - a year after every other school in the nation.

Sent by Matt | 8:25 PM | 6-1-2008

My senior prom song was "Angel" by Aerosmith. That was in 1997. My sister's senior prom song was "Angel" by Aerosmith. That was in 1988. We went to the same high school. 9 years apart.
Wow.
My senior prom also took place in a barn where the county would store trackers, exhibit farm equipment and collapsible fences during the fall and winter months. So after a long night of listening to nearly the exact same music as my sister did 9 years prior, we all left, partially drunk as well, smelling like diesel and pig manure. oh to be young again.

Sent by brittani | 5:52 AM | 6-2-2008

believe it or not, clapton's "tears in heaven." the year was 1992, and while I would like to attribute the song choice to the hotness that was Jason Patric in "Rush", I have no idea the psychosis that took hold of the prom committee when they decided to make us all remember Clapton's poor dead son on prom night. and of course, for the rest of our lives. Were we supposed to mourn the end to this part of our lives? Or were we meant to take a less metaphorical meaning from the lyrics and realize that we would be somehow linked together in the afterlife? Either way, it was a hell of a depressing song to signify the night.

Sent by jonashpdx | 10:50 AM | 6-2-2008

My best friend and I skipped our prom and went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the 20th time. I went to an alternative school so I heard from friends that the Beastie Boys were played alongside NIN and Wu-Tang Clan.

And, I have never heard of 95% of those songs!

Sent by jane birkin | 11:39 AM | 6-2-2008

I only went to one prom. It wasn't my school, so I didn't know anyone there but my boyfriend. I can't recall the main song, although I do recall that they played both "Come On Ride The Train" (is that even what that's called?) and "Tootsie Roll," which made me want to die. And they gave away free gilligan hats, because it was sea-themed.

Gilligan hats? Seriously? Who am I, Mrs. Howl?

Sent by stephanie | 12:07 PM | 6-2-2008

Just as I was sitting here feeling old (33), I read this post and realized that either I am not that old or prom really has not changed at all. I pretty sure my HS prom themes were that list or in the comments. A "Knight to Remember" rings a bell. Obviously it was life changing for me, but my thoughts on HS can be summed up with my suggestion for senior class song: Suicide is Painless (MASH theme song) [It was rejected, it was "The River" by Garth Brooks]

Sent by Angela | 1:04 PM | 6-2-2008

The first live album ever released by Soul Asylum was recorded at my senior prom. It's called "After the Flood: Live from the Grand Forks Prom, June 28, 1997". We suffered a major flood that year and school ended almost two months before it should have. I didn't attend the prom, even though a decent band was playing it cost a whole $2 to get in. Even after the emotional strain of the flood, there was no way I was going to attend the prom, just not my style.

I didn't realize that the performance had been recorded and released until a couple of months ago. It was very charitable of Soul Asylum to play our prom, assuming they weren't reimbursed much, if anything, and there was barely a cover charge. I couldn't find any information online supporting this, but I really hope that some of the proceeds of the album sales are going to some sort of a relief fund. You know, keep the charity going.

Sent by Johanna | 1:23 PM | 6-2-2008

Interesting point about the ways that the Prom theme/song becomes forced upon your identity. This seems to be the case with any committee-chosen (or popularly-voted) high school event theme song. For instance, the class song for graduation. Mine was a country song called "I Hope You Dance," a song that meant very little to me and still fails to conjure up any nostalgic emotions. My brother's graduation song (in 2003!) was "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart. Like so many of these prom theme songs, it felt inappropriately old.

Maybe the problem definitely seems to be that nostalgia as a song's theme may lend itself to triteness that many contemporary artists might be attempting to avoid--just a theory.

Sent by c8ic8 | 1:35 PM | 6-2-2008

Ours was "These are the Moments" - which if it isn't a cheesy enough theme, just listen to the song by Edwin McCain to make your teeth hurt intensely enough for a few hours.

Though, our graduation song was "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart, which mostly made me feel sorry for my classmates; had they stayed 'forever' 18, I would fear for the social structure of the world.

Sent by gabby | 4:54 PM | 6-2-2008

I was too cool to attend the prom. This was in the early 1970s and we were political activists. My g/f and I went out somewhere that evening (I can't remember what in the hell we did). I do recall I had borrowed my dad's car for the night and managed to scrape-up one of the doors when I brushed-up against a pole.

I was at Gilman St in May 1997, Carrie, when S-K played the "alternative" prom at the Berkeley club. I tell people that was one of the best live sets I've ever seen (all 60 mins of it), and I am a veteran of several hundred r'n'r shows. Before the show, as people milled around outside Gilman St, I recall Corin mingling through the crowd, taking photos of folks who had dressed in their finest prom night best.

Sent by rocket1air | 12:28 AM | 6-3-2008

Our song (1981) was Dust in the Wind by Kansas, by popular vote. Then it was changed to something else by the school administration.

Sent by george | 8:43 AM | 6-3-2008

I don't remember the actual song to my actual prom. But I do remember that "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman was playing on the radio every ten minutes that whole weekend in 1988. Fantastically, "getting out of here" seemed to be my theme of the time, so it worked out great!

Sent by Peter | 10:33 AM | 6-3-2008

the theme of my prom this year was "a streetcar named desire" which i guess could be classified as a "mardi gras" theme prom. we had a cover band play and the prom song was acdc's "you shook me all night long" which was very ironic seeing that i go to a strict jesuit school.

Sent by Carolena | 11:21 AM | 6-3-2008

Themes make me uncomfortable. Any theme.

Sent by Jose Jones | 2:56 PM | 6-3-2008

Are theme/song was "Bungle in the Jungle" by Jethro Tull. It was 1996 and the prom was in the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee WI. It was boring and i left as soon as I could.

Sent by Marisa | 3:39 PM | 6-3-2008

i don't remember the actual theme, but i do remember my best friend and i demanding that the dj play kelis' "milkshake" and when he wouldn't we left to go eat taco bell and smoke cigarettes in laurelhurst park.

Sent by kristen | 7:40 PM | 6-3-2008

senior year, the theme was guns 'n' roses' "welcome to the jungle." as the doors opened they had the song blasting. the gym had been decorated like an actual jungle, complete with a giant ugly creepy paper ape.

Sent by sheena | 12:57 PM | 6-4-2008

When I was a youngster, my second oldest brother tried to make me believe that the Andy Griffith theme was the national anthem of Swaziland. Colonial/postcolonial implications aside, the idea of thousands of people simultaneously whistling that chipper tune makes me giggle.

As for my prom, both a male friend and I skipped it and took our "dates" to a nice restaurant in a nearby city. We both turned out homosexual eventually. Frankly, I would have rather gone out with him, but this was the 80s in conservative suburbia, so no go. I can't remember the theme song, but I think it involved the word "mist." "Misty?" Seems too old-fashioned. Hm.

Oh, we did go to afterprom (bowling) and then Perkins for a very early breakfast. Our waiter's name at the restaurant in the nearby city was Del, which for some reason we thought was hilarious.

Sent by Michael | 10:03 PM | 6-4-2008

I was at the same prom on the boat on lake union as you spoke of. All I could keep thinking was why was I at a prom when I had already graduated a year earlier. Couldn't wait to get off the boat. Silly me for having a girlfriend still in high school. Funnily enough I don't remember anything else from either prom at all, just a phony feeling when I hear that stupid "I had the time of my life "song which I felt was chosen by a bunch of people who didn't have a clue what kind of music any of us found meaningful.

Sent by Douglas Starcevich | 12:01 AM | 6-5-2008

I just want to comment saying that I find it cool that you used the word "transmogrified." I immediately began daydreaming about Calvin & Hobbes.

Back on topic, I didn't go to prom. Hopefully the grass isn't always greener on the other side, and I won't torture myself wondering if my life would be more complete had I attended.

Sent by Natalie in PDX | 12:40 AM | 6-8-2008

I was in the Class of '87 - so my senior prom's theme song was on the charts at the time: Never Say Goodbye by Bon Jovi. I wrote an editorial in the school paper about this horrible choice. A girl I had a crush on, who was on the prom committee, hated my guts after that.

Sent by Mike | 2:11 PM | 6-8-2008

My prom (1997) didn't have a theme, however the DJ insisted on playing Will Smith's "Men in Black" song about 20 times.

No wonder everyone got drunk.

Sent by Nools | 8:56 PM | 6-8-2008

i don't even have a clue if we had a theme at prom. frankly, i can remember my junior prom more than my senior. only because after the prom, i spent the night at someone's beach house. not really sleeping or being naughty. but in fear after learning that one of the people sleeping over was a perverted douchebag. so my friend and i took turns sleeping.

Sent by alexa | 6:47 PM | 6-10-2008

I dont remember the theme... but i do remember the single song that stuck with me. in the middle of hip hop and eighties music, with the dance floor packed, the dj player blister in the sun. and it was magic. all of these kids who probably did not even know the song on the dance floor dancing like i had never seen people dance. i just stood there in awe.

Sent by tanya | 11:32 AM | 7-1-2008

I didn't go to my prom, and that night I had a hideous migrain after watching the blaxploitation classic COFFY starring Pam Grier and eating Chinese food with me mum, who was viciously angry with me at the time.

G.G. Allin clips on YouTube somehow factored in.

I don't miss high school.

Sent by Alberto Santillan | 5:21 PM | 7-21-2008

About