Music for me is synonymous to Tracy Chapman. I may never have followed the latest music on the charts or camped out for sellout concert tickets, but I have always very diligently bought (or been gifted) all Tracy Chapman’s albums.
My very first memory of a Tracy Chapman number [circa 2001] is when I had this LSS [Last Song Syndrome] and I couldn’t get this line off my head:
“Years gone by and still”
Just that line… I can’t remember how I came about this line, the source… I didn’t know the beginning of it nor the end, I didn’t know if it was the beginning of a song or the end… It haunted me, one line, that line just haunted me. That one line was all I had. I couldn’t get it out of my head nor could I get a complete picture of that song.
Believe me, it is indeed difficult to piece the pieces when all you have is one line of a song. My friends who were “really into music” couldn’t help me. I would sing them this line with a hope that they would be able to sing along and in turn give me more lines until they could figure out the song. No such luck!
Weeks went by and still… no clue. Months went by and still… no clue. Years might have gone by but… One day out of the blue, while tuning to random FM stations I thought I heard this line. I must have fidgeted quite a while because by the time I got around the FM station, some jingles were on. A little later came the RJ’s voice who started blabbering about some ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ song and I lost all interest. I turned off my radio.
A tiny flimsy hope… vanished.
I would have forgotten all about that line by now had I not heard it on the radio today.
And so the wound was opened wide again. The hunt for the haunting line was back on. And then I decided to humour myself and so I went on YouTube and typed ‘Baby can I hod you’. A list of ‘Baby can I hold you’s came on screen. I clicked the first one, didn’t bother who the singer was or anything… just clicked the first link. My search was over or maybe the search was finally beginning.
I could not believe that the line ‘Years gone by and still’ could have anything to do with ‘Baby can I hold you’. While I had a notion that the latter could be a cheesy number, I always thought the former would be a line from some profound song – the line that had haunted me for months. It was indeed slightly disappointing because I was haunted by sort of a “love song!?!” However… With every listen, I changed my opinion of the song. With every listen, I heard a new story. With every listen, I got drawn into something I couldn’t fathom.
The discovery of the Song led me to Tracy Chapman and her other songs and then there was no looking back. To this day, she is the only singer I have religiously listened to and hers is the only CD’s I have ever bought (or been gifted), the only iTunes I ever bought. All her songs are just magical. All her songs have a life of its own. All her songs are pure genius.
“Years have gone by and still” I am yet to find another piece of music that would ever captivate / haunt me with just one line!