What song brings you back to your time at Colgate? What would you add to a playlist of Colgate essentials?Back to Your Stories
Whipping Post cover by Penal Code takes me right back to the FIJI house. Anything by the Violent Femmes takes me back to freshman year in Stillman where we played their album continuously.
“Layla” Derek and The Dominoes
“Family Affair” Sly and the Family Stone
“Spectrum” Billy Cobham
“Let’s Get it On” Marvin Gaye
“Electric LadyLand” Jimi Hendrix
I was a DJ on WRCU for four years at Colgate.
Terrapin Station by the Grateful Dead. Mt first day at Colgate I also met my first “deadhead.” I learned all about Jerry (Garcia) and Bobby (Weir), bootleg tapes, tie dyes and all that goes with following the Dead from my freshman roommate. This was quite a cultural exchange for a city kid from Queens.
Every time I hear the Mommas and Poppas' "Monday, Monday", it takes me back to my Freshman year on the first warm(ish) Spring day of 1966. Ironically it was a Monday around the lunch hour and someone in Stillman Hall blasted out that tune to our world. We had just been through an incredibly rough Winter, including a blizzard that gave us 86 inches of snow at the start of February. The joy of that splendid harmony blending with the cherished warmth of the sun made me think that everything was going to be alright no matter what other challenges would come. That song always provokes that warm, optimistic memory and makes me smile.
Stevie Nicks' Landslide will always bring me back to my senior year - my two roommates, Nancy Norris and Lynn Plant, and I sitting on the floor of our Griffith House room late at night (perhaps a beer or two) and playing this song over and over again.
In my time at Colgate, 1978 to 1981, we had several terrific concerts, including Little Feat and Ramsey Lewis. Not many folks were into Mr. Lewis, but I sure was: an excellent player, showcased in the Chapel with its excellent acoustics. When a musician of Lewis' caliber brings that much tone to the music, it just freezes me. And, in fact, a friend of mine told me me I did not move for the entire set. I am not sure I was even breathing.
But the next year in Spring 1980, it was announced that Bob Marley would be the concert. BOB MARLEY! In Hamilton, NY! I bought tickets for my sister and cousin and they drove up from Connecticut for the show.
Unfortunately, it was kind of sad. Marley was in the habit of playing a "warm up" show before headiing into New York City, where there are many Caribbeans and he was regarded as a monster musician. I had seen him in a tiny country club in Connecticut, playing before less than 1000 souls, on a beautiful June night in 1976, and it was a magical night. The next week he would take New York by storm and become the legendary Bob Marley.
So the show at Colgate was like that, I thought. It was a more remote location because Marley was more popular now. I went by the gym during the tune up and the booker, a casual friend of mine, let me right in (I played some guitar and I guess those were my bona fides). I stood there an watched for well over an hour as the band and Bob simply played a 'A' chord over and over. These were master musicians. Why were they doing this? I moved closer and realized Bob's right arm was slightly out of sync with the beat. This band, his road warriors, some of the finest musicians anywhere, were patiently providing a "bed" for their leader to sync up with a beat he had played his whole life. He looked exhausted but determined.
The show was fantastic and Bob left nothing on the field. His songs endure, and endure for a reason: they speak to perseverance in the face of unimaginable oppression, of impossible love, of pride in self. That was a night of beautiful, and beautifully fierce, songs.
By September, Bob Marley would collapse while jogging and be diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in May 1981, just over a year after playing at Colgate University.
This one is incredibly easy for anyone from the class of ‘87. Jackson Browne’s Stay Just a Little Bit Longer. Caroline Sherman spent most of 1986 and 1987 with a camcorder on her shoulder filming our senior year. She created a montage video of our life that debuted graduation week and without a doubt every time I hear this song I think of that video and our life at Colgate. We show it every reunion and it’s always a hit. Thank you Caroline!!!