One of the things that sticks out from my childhood is the music. My parents were really big into music and played it constantly. To the point that by age five, I could sing along with songs like “Hotel California”, “American Pie” and “California Dreaming”.
But one of my favorites was a local hit that I was just certain everyone else in the world knew about – like Atomic Cakes. It wasn’t until I left Chicago that I learned that most people don’t know the song…or sadly, the cake either.
While I’ve never forgotten the song, I sort of did. It’s been years since I thought about it…but the other day, while chatting with friends, I recalled the song and went to see if I could find it. Sure enough, I did. And then I found it on iTunes. Of course I bought it immediately.
There will always be a part of me that’s a South Side Irish, White Sox loving Chicago girl. But I haven’t actually lived in Chicago since 1993. We won’t discuss how long ago that was. I have to admit, I don’t know Chicago like I used to. I remember Soldier Field without the abomination of an addition and Marshall Field’s as the place to go at Christmastime with their windows and Walnut room. I remember when the McCormick place was a folly and when the Sears Tower was the world’s tallest building.
My Chicago is the Chicago of Just Yesterday – when Michael Jordan was king, Daley was Supreme Ruler, and Ditka was a god. I grew up loving movies like “The Blues Brothers”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” partially because they were filmed in Chicago.
This song takes me back to those days. When I was young, when Chicago was still a little gritty, and when Lake Shore Drive had an S curve. Even without the emotional ties, I can still appreciate the music. I’ve always loved the pianos, the harmony, and the violin right at the end.
And I have to laugh at the idea of five year old me singing “Snaking on by on LSD, Friday night trouble bound..”