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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: Songs to bring back old memories

Emma Geis - Copy Board Member
Emma Geis 
Copy Board Member

The other day I heard “Hotel California” by the Eagles play outside a gas station while I was filling up my tank. In that moment, briefly, I was transported back to a family road trip from the late 2000s.

The sun was setting. Its oranges, yellows and deep violets outlined the gas stations and billboards as we were driving past. My dad sat in the driver’s seat in front of me, his head bouncing to the music. 

And just like that, I was back to filling up my gas. 

That’s what I love about music. It takes little moments you forget about, and when you revisit the song a decade or two later, the memories come flooding back.

Once I got to thinking of songs like these, I realized there were so many memories with my dad that were captured by some of the greatest songs of his generation. 

After spending the weekend at a Y Guides camp with my dad and sister, on the way home he would inevitably pull out “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede. The start of the song always embarrassed me so much, but by the end of it, I would be grooving with the two of them.

Don’t even get me started on “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. I hated that song as a kid and it had to be one of my dad’s top ten songs, so naturally he played it a lot. Looking back I can only associate that memory with him driving me home from after-school activities.

“Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel was another song my dad played often but we kids actually liked it. I remember my two toddler brothers giggling at the “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” lyric. Now, they’re 16 years old.

Most of these memories came from the car, but they were small moments I would have forgotten if not for the music that accompanied them. They are memories I cherish, especially now that we’re all grown up.

Since then, I’ve explored the 70s and 80s genres, finding my own idols from that generation and my own personal taste in music. I would be remiss in not thanking my dad for introducing me to good music, even if I resisted at the moment.

Enjoy my playlist with songs to bring back old memories and hopefully some of these songs spark a flashback for you as they did for me.


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Emma Geis

Emma Geis is the 2023-24 copy chief at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as a copy board member and summer copy chief. Emma is a fifth-year pursuing a double major in journalism and media and African, African American and Diaspora Studies.