In the darkness of the parked car, I quietly loaded the CD into the stereo. It took a few moments to load, and then the song came up. I closed my eyes and when the first verse started, I breathed the lyrics into the music. Everything around me ceased to exist. My voice was unwilling; I hadn’t sung in a long time. I enjoyed it by myself in the privacy of my car. Fade to black.
The song was Black Velvet, sung by Alannah Myles, and for the last few days it had been stuck in my head. It was all the fault of Goodwill. While I was there shopping one day last week, the song came on, and suddenly I stopped moving, listening, remembering it, pulling the lyrics from the deep weeds of the pond that holds all the song lyrics I know. It was an effort, but I remembered most of them. The song is old, from the late 1980s, but it is no less seductive now than it was then.
It is a pulsating song, and I felt the heartbeat, the life of it. The heat, both physical and virtual pressed into my skin. In my mind I watched the colors shift from the brown mire of mud, the orange of the setting sun, to the blueness of “the blues,” to the black of the title. It’s a magical song, and one that pulls me into it every time I hear it. It tells the story of Elvis and the musical revolution he caused, then ends with regret that he was gone so quickly.
Little did anyone know back then how far-reaching his influence would be, nor could they predict the depth of his legacy.
In the dark of my car, I was one small person who had become part of the music as I wove myself into a night made of black velvet.