When I first started training to make my round trip paddle to the Isle of Shoals, I noticed something unique was happening inside my head. About two miles out to sea, without conscious effort, random songs began popping in my mind.
Commonly referred to as Earworms, these tunes kept repeating over and over again in my head until I found myself humming along and paddling in perfect rhythm with whatever song had my attention.
Since this first happened, I’ve kept record of these songs, and documented when and why I believe they suddenly took hold of my thoughts.
As the unofficial soundtrack to my upcoming paddle for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast, I thought I’d share this list.
If you have a song, or songs, that constantly get stuck in your head feel free to leave a comment. I’m always on the lookout for new songs to add to my playlist.
My Paddle Playlist
Broken Down Palace – The Grateful Dead
The first time the boat dropped me off in the middle of the ocean for a training paddle, I was a little nervous. Not knowing what to expect, I started paddling and by my fifth or sixth stroke, I found myself humming The Dead’s Broken Down Palace. Maybe it was my brain’s way of trying to calm my body, but since that time this song pops into my head every time the water gets dicey.
No Sleep to Brooklyn – The Beastie Boys
In a recent interview with The Portsmouth Press Herald I was quoted as saying, “”I’m 100 percent confident I will do this. I don’t care if it takes six hours, or a day — I’ll get it done.” Growing up in Jersey my friends and I listened to the Beastie Boys a lot. As one of the motivational songs I listen to as I prepare for my paddle, No Sleep to Brooklyn reminds me of all my friends from back home who are pulling for me.
Trenchtown Rock – Bob Marley
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain…
With lyrics like this, I usually find myself repeating Trechtown Rock in my head the morning after a long paddle to avoid thinking about the blisters on my hands, leg cramps or sore shoulders. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t appreciate Bob Marley, and hopefully, I never will.
1,000 Miles Away – Hoodoo Gurus
My brother Paul introduced me to Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus in 1987. While I’ll admit its not my favorite song by the band, it has taken root on my list probably because of the feeling I get when I’m standing on 80’ of water staring out on an empty horizon
*Interesting Fact: 1,000 Miles Away was adopted by the crew of Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Canberra as their ‘anthem’ in 1993, playing it whenever they left port.
I’m Shipping Off to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
There are plenty of songs that motivate me, but I’m Shipping Off to Boston by the Dropkicks is the one song that gets me fired up and ready to go without fail. I can almost guarantee that this song will be playing in my head the morning I set off to complete my paddle.
Where is My Mind – The Pixies
It’s easy to get distracted while paddling for a long period of time. One day, I was so focused on paddling and navigating swell that I didn’t realize that I drifted right into the shipping channel. Fortunately, I was able to correct my course quickly and avoided becoming a speed bump for a boat entering or exiting the harbor. Every time I miscalculate or make and error in judgment, I find my self humming “Where is My Mind.”
Strike While the Iron is Hot – Todo Bien
Another song worthy of mention is Strike While the Iron is Hot by Todo Bien, one of my favorite Seacoast, NH bands. Besides being an amazing musician and a solid surfer, lead signer Skip Brunette recently launched Sticks and Stones, and anti-bullying program. Feel free to stop by his Facebook page.
Weather’s Changing – Martin England
I first heard Weather’s Changing when I was shooting a video interview with Martin England for a project I was working on for the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP). Needless to say, the folk-inspired song has stayed in my head ever since. Give it a