With a tip of the hat to @andersun whose list helped me out of my "favorite picking" paralysis 🙌🏻
  1. Oklahoma! (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
    My Dad has been involved in choirs as long as I can remember: church choir, Choral Union, Masterwork Singers. We used to sing this in the car on the way to church. Even though the state itself (and especially the "universities" within 🤘) sucks, this song sure is fun to bellow when you're a kid about to spend an hour trying to sit still.
  2. Puff, the Magic Dragon (Peter, Paul & Mary)
    Did my Dad know most of his epic folk vinyl collection was songs about drugs? I just liked the story of the dragon who lived by the sea.
  3. The Gambler (Kenny Rogers)
    I knew every word to this song in the first grade, thanks to my mom's Kenny Rogers fandom. Listen, "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run" is good advice at any age.
  4. Carmen (An opera by French composer Georges Bizet)
    My kid brother and I would push the coffee table off the big area rug in our den, and improvise choreography during this entire album. We tip-toed around the edges of the rug during the Toreador song, and raced across the diagonal on others. My mom urged us on—whatever kept us out of her hair, I guess.
  5. Mountain Music (Alabama)
    The band Alabama was formed in the small town my mom grew up in. My Memaw talked about Randy Owen like he was our cousin. Another country album on repeat.
  6. Little Bit Country (Donny & Marie)
    I was too young to remember their variety show, but we listened to their greatest hits throughout my childhood, and I had a poster of them in my room. I rebelled by proclaiming myself a little bit rock n' roll.
  7. My Favorite Things (Sound of Music)
    I sang myself hoarse practicing this song in preparation for try-outs in a local musical, coincidentally saving myself from the immense embarrassment of singing in public.
  8. All Night Long (All Night) (Lionel Richie)
    My mom said I was too young to take with her to this concert. I suspect we both had a crush on Lionel Richie at the time.
  9. True Colors (Cyndi Lauper)
    I dressed up as Cyndi Lauper for Halloween, and spent the whole night explaining my costume to people handing out candy. For some reason, my side pony and the neon rainbows I was wearing did not clue them in. I was very into rainbows at the time: rainbow sheets, trapper keeper, lunch box. I think my love of this song was just a natural extension of that obsession.
  10. Mad About You (Sting)
    Sting's Soul Cages tour came along at a very hormonal, dramatic time in my life. This was the first concert I went to without* parental supervision. (*my friend's mom was a few rows behind us)