My Childhood in 12 Songs or Fewer

My Childhood in 12 Songs or Fewer


You know that song that you listen to, and it immediately transports you to a certain place and time? That’s precisely what this list is about… It’s a list of songs that, early on, helped shape and define my musical taste, interests, and ultimately my career choice. Yes, music is that powerful. It gives you wings and you have to take them and fly.

We all have those life-defining moments and unforgettable songs, so you should create your list, too. Here we go:

Maná – “Oye Mi Amor”

This was the first-ever major concert I attended, and it’s had a lifelong impact on me since I witnessed Maná live at age 9. I became a mini rocker.

Gipsy Kings – Volare

I was a curious 10-year old playing with my toys and listening to Gipsy Kings in the background. All I could think was, “How on Earth do they play so many notes at once?” The intrigue for guitar began…

Me trying to figure out how on Earth the Gipsy Kings could churn out so many notes at once

Titán – Corazón

This video was the first time I ever saw an all-girl band rocking out, and I thought to myself, “Wow, it’d be cool to do that.” I was somewhere in 7th grade. I haven’t forgotten this video since then.

Shakira – “Estoy Aquí”

I first heard Shakira when the world hardly knew about her. She was a singer-songwriter equipped with an acoustic guitar, and sheer, raw talent. It was love at first sight when I learned she could play, sing, compose, produce, and God, can she dance… jill of all trades. Bet you won’t recognize her in this video!

I discovered Shakira a long time ago before she turned blonde

Soda Stereo – De Música Ligera

I heard this song played live by my cousin’s boyfriend’s band. That opening hard-hitting riff made me realize that I really wanted to play guitar. I must’ve been around 15.

Caifanes – “Afuera”

I was instantly captivated by the opening guitar in this song, and really the  guitar throughout. Plus, that solo starting at at 2:45 just melted my heart…I didn’t know it at that point, but that was my first exposure to beautiful phrasing.

Dream Theater – “Pull Me Under”

When I listened to Dream Theater at 17, that was it; it helped define my musical taste. I became a prog metal lover for life and went to almost all their concert stops in my hometown. To this day Dream Theater remains one of my top five bands.

Dream Theater for life.

Liquid Tension Experiment – “Acid Rain”

When you listen to Dream Theater, you inevitably gravitate toward Liquid Tension Experiment. Thanks to them I developed an affinity for all things musically complex and heavy-sounding. I even entertained the idea of learning keyboard thanks to Jordan Rudess.

Joe Satriani – “Always With Me, Always With You”

Instrumental electric guitar quickly became my favorite genre thanks to Joe Satriani. When he came to my hometown, he was playing at a 21+ venue and I was only 18. I was pretty devastated, but I’ve seen him several times ever since, so now my life is complete.

Racer X – “Technical Difficulties”

Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert amazed me right away. He made it look so easy. Around the same time, I discovered Gary Hoey, Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, whose music is heavily abundant in my playlist. Love them all.

Paul Gilbert plays guitar with robot-like precision. 

Metallica – Every one of their songs

In high school, my infatuation for Metallica was so evident that my classmates dubbed me Metallichick. When Jason Newsted left the band, I thought it was the end of the world (I was like, 0 when Cliff Burton died, otherwise I would’ve been shattered). It’s a work in progress, but I’m working on my down-strokes to play just like James Hetfield. Master… master.

Led Zeppelin – “Over The Hills and Far Away”

Alright, I wasn’t quite a child when I first heard Led Zeppelin. I learned about them in community college thanks to my awesome uncle who gave me a bunch of classic rock albums, one of them being Houses of The Holy. The opening acoustic guitar riff in “Over The Hills and Far Away” got me hooked immediately, and made me want to devour every other Led Zeppelin song in existence. Funny thing is, when I was about 4 I heard the “Immigrant Song” off Led Zeppelin III and loved it right away, but didn’t know it was Led Zeppelin until a few decades later.

That’s it! What’s your list? Tweet me at @pauline_france.