Basement Songs: “Hey, Hey, Julie!” … A Mixtape

Hey Hey JulieTwo years ago, when I was working on this column’s debut, I wrote about Bruce Springsteen’s “Book of Dreams” and what the song means to Julie and me. During the first month of our courtship I created my first mixtape for her, entitled HEY, HEY, JULIE! On that tape was the Springsteen song, one that’s grown to have profound meaning in our relationship.

We began dating in August of 1992, and soon thereafter, I threw this tape together in a flurry of inspiration, wanting to give Julie something that came from my heart. I don’t recall the actual minutes spent in my parents’ basement picking the songs or laying them down on a Maxell cassette (my brand of choice), but looking back on the list of songs, I’m happy to see they still add up to 90 quailty minutes of music.

Before Nick Hornby wonderfully wrote about what makes a good mixtape in High Fidelity, I assembled exactly the right combination of hip, well known and somewhat obscure songs from my small music collection. Combining big hits like “Learning to Fly,” “What I Am,” and “All This Time” with lesser-known songs by popular artists such as “Until the End of the World,” “Shining Star,” and “Getting to Know You,” while tossing in some hard to find (at the time) songs like “Baby Mine” and “Wild Night” made this tape eclectic, but still enjoyable to listen to and quite accessible.

More importantly, the randomness of the songs and the way I tried to make them flow instead of carefully choosing each selection gave it a high spirit; it’s a fun tape. I love these tunes, even though the B-52’s “Dreamland” is extremely long at over seven minutes and Barbara Streisand’s version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” is a little schmaltzy. One of my favorite moments is the transition from James Newton Howard’s powerful theme to Lawrence Kasdan’s L.A. drama, Grand Canyon, going right into Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Besides this being my first attempt at taking a part of myself and expressing it in some creative form for Julie, this tape is significant because the day I gave it to Julie, I pointed to the Springsteen song and told her to listen to it closely. Although we hadn’t been dating long, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. That song became our song; we danced to it on our wedding night and through the years we have put it on for slow dances in the living room, bedroom and kitchen.

After I wrote that original Basement Songs entry in 2007, my friend John Burland practically demanded that I find this tape and digitize it. I always planned to do so, but it took me time to figure out what to say about it. I soon realized tat there may not be a proper way to define a moment of inspiration. Sometimes things just have to be.

Last Friday, I accompanied Julie and Jacob to his cystic fibrosis check-up at Children’s Hospital; it was a draining and emotional day. I’ve been on a roller coaster since then, finding it difficult to be creative. As the deadline for this week’s Basement Song approached, I had trouble finding words that had any meaning. Then I found this cassette sitting in our office, collecting dust because we haven’t had a working tape deck in years. Suddenly it felt like the right time to digitize the mix. What better way to lift my spirits than to celebrate the music that Julie and I first bonded over? When it came time to actually explain this week’s selection, I thought it best not to put too much thought into what I wrote and just let the words flow freely, kind of like the mixtape I put together 17 years ago.

So here it is: HEY, HEY, JULIE! the group of songs that began a long journey that never ceases to thrill me and fill me with hope. Maybe one of these fine selections will find its way onto a mix for your loved one.

Oh, and Julie, when you read this, check your iPod: I finally loaded the songs as a playlist for you.

Until next week,


Side A:

The B-52’s – “Dreamland”

Bonnie Raitt and Was (Not Was) – “Baby Mine”

The Smithereens – “Too Much Passion”

Melissa Etheridge – “The Angels”

INXS – “Shining Star”

U2 – “Until the End of the World”

Cincinnati Pops Orchestra -  “Grand Canyon Fanfare”

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Learning to Fly”

Indigo Girls – “Kid Fears”

Crowded House – “Recurring Dream”

The Replacements – “Within Your Reach”

Side B:

Ike & Tina Turner – “Proud Mary”

XTC – “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”

Bruce Springsteen – “Book of Dreams”

Edie Brickell and New Bohemians – “What I Am”

Poi Dog Pondering – “Be the One”

Martha Reeves – “Wild Night”

Colm Wilkinson – “Bring Him Home” (from Les Miserables)

James Taylor – “Getting to Know You”

Suzanne Vega featuring  Joe Jackson – “Left of Center”

Sting – “All This Time”

Barbara Streisand – “Send in the Clowns”

  • Bob

    Again, your memoirs bring back so many forgotten memories to me. I remember my string of mix tapes…somewhere I believe some still survive…”Misc. Up” as I recall…featuring Prince, Journey, Gabriel, probably New Kids…the list goes one. Immediately followed by Misc. Mellow, which quicky started a catalog…Mellow II – A New Collection, More Mellow, Mellow IV…these of course were tapes to set the mood with the ladies. You of course have to remember the mix tape “Dancing Hot & Cold – with Becky.” Thanks for the phone call! Sometime during my sophmore year I sprung for that Technics dual cassette deck, which could copy tapes at 2x speed, but more (ok, MOST) importantly play both sides of both tapes without having to stop whatever action was happening elsewhere in the room. Seems silly by what we have at our disposal today…and yes, back in those days, I needed music time of 3+ hours!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, to be young again…as always…thanks for the memories!

  • Matt

    Scott – so many connections on this mix – I loved, and still own the Grand Canyon movie and soundtrack. The B-52's inclusion is also an impressive pick. I could go on, but I'll just say that I'm looking forward to hearing this mix after the download finishes…even though I own nearly all of these tunes! This one will bring back lots of memories.

  • johnb

    Oh, you shameless romantic, Malchus..!

    PS Guess that's why I like you in a networked sort-of way….

  • juliemalchus

    I'm listening to it right now! Still love it!

  • Malchus

    3 + hours?! Man, you were a dynamo. By the way, I didn't make the phone call, it was the other Scott. I was too busy sitting on the floor eating Pollyeyes and laughing at Python.

  • JT

    My friends and I had “rules” for our mix tapes. We weren't allowed to mix genre's.
    Putting a Les Mis song with the rest would have been a no-no.
    Love the scan.

  • Brian

    She married you after you gave her a tape with Edie Brickell on it? That's love.

  • bvladika

    Within Your Reach. What soundtrack is that on? Or did I put it on the soundtrack of my life by putting it on one of my mixtapes? Dangit. Old brain. What a smooth, mellow groove. Smoove!

  • jefito

    It's on the classic “Say Anything…” soundtrack.

  • Malchus

    Can anyone name the soundtrack that “Recurring Dream” appeared on? I may be one of two people who own it, on LP, no less!

  • jefito

    “Tequila Sunrise,” bitch!

  • Malchus

    Damn, Ito, I was just havin' fun and you have to go and get all street on me! Damn!

  • jefito

    I bought the soundtrack re-recording of “Don't Worry Baby” on 45!

  • steed

    I love reading stuff like this. I wish I had kept a copy of any of my mixtapes. Though sadly, by the time I really got into them they were mostly mix-cds. It wasn't the same without either having to flip it or the extra long pause for the player to reverse the tape.

  • steed

    Make it 3 then. I own that on LP as well.

  • Malchus

    Awesome! We can start a small cult!

  • juliemalchus

    It's funny that you say that. I was listening to the mix today and when Edie Brickell came on I thought man I love this song!

  • bvladika

    Gracias! That is why I know it so well. Accompanied by the Peter Gabriel masterpiece “In Your Eyes”.

  • JonCummings

    The great mythical Julie speaks! She IS real!

  • DwDunphy

    Mix TAPES always felt more meaningful. You really had to do your work on them, y'know? And you often had to work with music already in your collection, so it was imperative that you distilled the proper sentiment out of them. Today, with Mix CDs and iTunes playlists, it's kind of plug-and-play. You can still produce pretty great mixes, but the ease with which you can accomplish these now diminishes the homemade/heartfelt nature of that crappy ol' Maxell collection.

  • Sharon

    I love this! I still have my mixtapes (don't know if they still play) from mostly the 80s. I wonder if any friends still have the ones I've made for them. And DW's right, they were meaningful because of the work and thought involved. Thanks Scott (& Julie!).

  • Matt

    I own the CD of the Tequila Sunrise soundtrack. That's bad, right? I think that makes 4 of us now.

  • Matt

    I own the CD of the Tequila Sunrise soundtrack. That's bad, right? I think that makes 4 of us now.

  • Matt

    I own the CD of the Tequila Sunrise soundtrack. That's bad, right? I think that makes 4 of us now.