Music Interviews

Listeners Pick Their Summer Songs

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Listeners, who were asked to come up with their songs of summer, offer Pearl Jam's Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town and Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline.

(Soundbite of music)


This summer, we've been talking with musicians about their favorite songs of summer. We also asked you to send us your memories about the one tune that pops into your head when the days get hot and lazy.

We received a ton of great stories, and we've picked a few of them for the air. Here are two listeners with their memories about singing summer songs out loud.

(Soundbite of song, "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town")

Mr. EDDIE VEDDER (Vocalist, Pearl Jam): (Singing) I seem to recognize your face.

Mr. ERIC LOCKSTINE(ph): My name's Eric Lockstine from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. And my favorite pick for my summer song is "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" by Pearl Jam.

(Soundbite of song, "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town")

Mr. VEDDER: (Singing) Cannot find the candle of thought to light your name.

Mr. LOCKSTINE: I was listening to it while mowing the lawn at my parents' property. I had a cassette tape when I was a kid. And we didn't have a lot of money so this was like, one of the one tapes that I had - was this album. So I would listen to the album in its entirety. And then right around the time that "Elderly Woman," that song came on, I was just about getting finished with the lawn and that's a song that, as a young teenage boy, you could - it was fairly in my range. So I could attempt to sing it, and nobody would overhear me over the lawn mower.

If you can imagine a 13-year-old, skinny, little boy singing, you know, at the top of his lungs, pushing this lawn mower - but you know, hopefully you couldn't hear him.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of song, "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town")

Mr. VEDDER: (Singing) And here I am. Hearts and thoughts, they fade away.

BLOCK: What happens when you hear the song now?

Mr. LOCKSTINE: I do think of Sunday afternoons, freshly cut grass, you know. It's usually warm, so I'm ready to get my lemonade or my drink of water after I'm finished with my weekly chore. So it's always that summer, cut grass kind of feel.

(Soundbite of song, "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town")

Mr. VEDDER: (Singing) Hearts and thoughts, they fade, fade away.

(Soundbite of song, "Sweet Caroline")

Mr. NEIL DIAMOND (Singer): (Singing) Where it began…

Ms. MARGOT BOWMAN(ph): I'm Margot Bowman, and I'm from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. And in the '70s, my family for a couple of summers took a vacation on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie. My mother would kind of set us loose with basically two rules: Be back before dark, and don't drown in the lake.

(Soundbite of song, "Sweet Caroline")

Mr. DIAMOND: (Singing) And spring became the summer.

Ms. BOWMAN: So we'd go off, and we would fish and bike and swim. Whenever we got a quarter, we'd go into that little restaurant-bar that's nearby the cottages where we'd stay.

And, of course, I mean, you know, there's no air-conditioning. And so the doors were open and, you know, you'd just kind of run in there, dropping sand along the way. We'd walk up to that jukebox and didn't even have to look for what number to push.

(Soundbite of song, "Sweet Caroline")

Mr. DIAMOND: (Singing) Sweet Caroline. Good times never seem so good.

Ms. BOWMAN: It wasn't just me. It was me and my two sisters and my two brothers. And we'd all just stand there and sing "Sweet Caroline" and you know, just belt it out for all its worth. And so, I'm pretty sure that by the time that week was out, that bartender had heard enough of that song.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: I'm betting there were some dramatic arm movements, reaching out.

Ms. BOWMAN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. BOWMAN: Oh, absolutely. You know, the hands - touching hands part, it definitely demands that you do the gestures along with it, you know, and then hang on to whoever was next to you, and sway back and forth as well.

(Soundbite of song, "Sweet Caroline")

Mr. DIAMOND: (Singing) Reaching out, touching me.

BLOCK: Margot, didn't anybody at this bar say throw this kids out, I'm tired of this song?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. BOWMAN: Well, you know, we speculated about that over the years. And my sisters and I firmly believe that because there was a poor guy working behind the bar and listening to that song, you know, six, eight times a day for the week that we were there, today if you looked hard enough on Kelleys Island, you would find somebody who hates that song.

(Soundbite of song, "Sweet Caroline")

Mr. DIAMOND: (Singing) Oh, no, no.

BLOCK: We heard there from listener Margot Bowman of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, and earlier from Eric Lockstine in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, with their memories of summer songs.

(Soundbite of song, "Sweet Caroline")

Mr. DIAMOND (Singing) Sweet Caroline. Good times never seem so good. Sweet Caroline.


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