The Magic of Mix Tapes

By Mike Johnson

My mix tape is selected 50% for the music and 50% for the feelings that music evokes.

Remembered feelings.

I hear a song and it transports me to the time & place where those feelings were imprinted.

“Wichita Lineman” (Glenn Campbell) Puts me in the dark, on the morning paper route. I’d run the earphone from the pocket on my paperbag that held a transistor radio.

“Live & Let Die” (Paul McCartney) takes me to my first date, with Carol & her long thick hair, in the Orpheum theatre in downtown Minneapolis. Bob Dylan later bought and sold the theatre.

“Yesterday Once More” (Carpenters) takes me to the midnight shift, next to the steamy commercial dishwasher at Mr. Q’s Restaurant. On good shifts, the song might play three times on WDGY.

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (Elton John) puts me alone, in my room, friendless, in some rented apartment, in a strange land. Dad transferred just before my senior year and I was ripped from lifelong friends and moved 1800 miles south.

“I’m Not in Love” (10cc) puts me in my orange Vega, driving in pre-dawn darkness, to the opening shift for my job at McDonald’s in St Pete, Florida. I worked enormous numbers of hours to escape a dysfunctional home. Just weeks before high school graduation and moving out, I was on the cusp of one of the best years of my life.

I could do this all day.

My favorite feelings were imprinted during times of adversity. Tough jobs. Fearful situations.

I hear the songs, relive the feelings and then bless them from where I stand today. I overcame the adversity. Waves of gratitude follow.

The songs put me right there. Every single time.


Back to Mike's Warm, Wealthy Wisdoms

Back to Mike's Website,