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Have You Experienced the Power of Nostalgic Music? You Should!

By Sally Dowling August 02, 2022 Mindset

All through my life I have listened to the radio and there are some iconic songs that immediately take me back in time.

My first memories are of Perry Como singing “Magic Moments”. I must have only been around four or five years old when I first heard it. But as soon as I hear that song I am transported back to a small house in South London where I spent the first seven years of my life.

During the 60s, radio was key in many households across the country. Before there was much in the way of kids’ TV, we all gathered around the radio for “Children’s Favourites” and learned to sing-along with crazy tunes such as “How Much is that Doggy in the Window” and “The Ugly Duckling.”

Many of my generation grew up with a Sunday lunchtime radio show called “Two Way Family Favourites”. This was a programme that linked families serving in the British forces overseas with their loved ones at home.

As we listened we learned all about exotic sounding places such as BFPO (British Forces Posted Overseas), Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Singapore. In my family, as many others, just the theme tune “With a Song in My Heart” conjures up the aroma of a roast dinner!

Nostalgic Music: What Are Your Musical Memories?

Can you recall the first song you ever heard? I remember the first song played on the exciting new BBC Radio 1 when it launched in 1967, and I was just 13 years old. It was “Flowers in the Rain” by a group called The Move. This new radio station was developed to challenge the illegal pirate radio stations, beloved by the teenagers across Britain.

Now the establishment, in the form of the BBC, had been forced to offer youngsters a station of their own and play the music they enjoyed.

When you are a teenager, music is very important. As you go through the highs and lows of growing up, you collect songs along the way. The first time my heart was broken I listened to the Isley Brothers “It’s all in the Game” over and over again until my mother nearly went demented.

Marriage came along and lazy Sundays (when it always seemed sunny and warm) listening together with my new husband to “Summer Breeze” (more Isley Brothers), Rod Stewart “Sailing” and “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty.

What memories do you have of a song that reminds you of a time you were in love?

Nostalgic Music Can Inspire Lifelong Decisions

When my first daughter was born, her name was influenced by “Clare” by Gilbert O’Sullivan. When I brought her home from hospital, “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, was playing on the radio. How apt. When daughter number two came along in 1980, Kelly Marie was number 1 with “It feels Like I am in Love,” and I was.

Many holidays in Spain gave me a love of Flamenco and John Williams “Guitar Concerto” sums up the Mediterranean lifestyle. It transports me to long hot nights nibbling tapas and drinking wine. What summer songs have stayed in your mind?

Sadness in Life Can Be Captured by a Beautiful Song

As time went by, music stayed in my life but started to give me much sadder memories. Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s haunting rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” takes me instantly back to my dear brother in law’s funeral. He died young following a tragic accident and his funeral was heart breaking. Even now that tune will move me to tears.

Choosing music for a loved one’s funeral is such a bittersweet task. It involves spending time considering so many options. You want your choice to reflect the person you have lost. Eventually my sister and I chose “Sailing By”, the theme tune to the very British “Shipping Forecast” for our dear Dad. He was a keen sailor, so it was very fitting.

Have you found it emotional to find the right music for a funeral?

Today I continue to enjoy music but I hate to admit it, I struggle with the latest hits and prefer to reminisce to my old favourites. A sign of growing old? Maybe!

Do you have any favourite songs that bring back strong memories? Are there any genres of music that you listen to when you want to feel a certain way? When it comes to nostalgic music, what are your favorite songs? Please join the conversation.

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Music, smells, so many things can bring up memories, good and bad. But I believe music is one of the strongest catalyst. Growing up in the 60’s we were exposed to such a variety of sound, Sinatra, Bing and all the crooners, the jazz singers like Ella and Louis, and of course the Beatles and the Stones and all kinds in between. It was a wonderful time to grow up, Vietnam war and civil unrest aside. Moving into the 70’s and beyond the variety shrank, but there was still good music. I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way I lost interest in what is current.


I volunteer at a community radio station where the music played is anything from big band to the early 80’s. It’s a station that meets the need of older adults – most stations focus on a younger audience.


The Author

Sally Dowling has had a long and exciting career in the travel industry and now enjoys freelance travel writing and guest blogging. She is a regular contributor to, a popular travel and review website for the over 50’s. Sally likes to seek out lesser known areas of popular destinations and to stay in small family run hotels. Please check out Sally's website here

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