The day a song I had heard a hundred times before became my mantra and helped me to put my life back together /Sue Plunkett

The other night, while driving to pick my son up from his friend's house, I suddenly found myself in floods of tears!

Monday, 13th September 2021, 4:58 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 5:00 pm
Sue Plunkett talks about the significance of music and different songs in her life

The classic song Raindrops Are Fallin' On My Head, sung by B J Thomas, started playing on the radio and I was instantly transported back to one of the darkest times in my life.

It was the summer of 2015 and I was on holiday in Benidorm with one of my best pals and five children - my 16 year old daughter and her friend, my son who was aged eight and my friend's two who were eight and six. We were a raucous crew staying in a beautiful hotel.

I had just gone through a very messy and painful breakup, so wasn't at my best, but the sun, sangria and great company, was helping to ease it a little.

As I was lying by the pool one day Raindrops started playing over the hotel music system and, although I have heard the words so many times before, for the first time they really resonated with me, particularly 'the blues they send to meet me won't defeat me, it won't be long til happiness steps up to greet me' and 'crying's not for me.'

That song heralded a turning point for me to stop feeling sorry for myself and start to get on with my new life, whatever lay ahead.

So the unexpected tears were happy ones and a feeling of gratefulness to a song that was written in 1969 could speak to me almost 40 years later.

It also shows how powerful music can be, how it can move or inspire you or take you back to a place of sheer misery or blissful happiness and it got me thinking about other songs that have significant meaning to me.

James Taylor's You Got A Friend takes me back to the day when I brought my new born daughter Jenny home from hospital for the first time, 23 years ago next month.

I was exhausted and overwhelmed but very content, and as my baby fell asleep in my arms with my husband flat out next to us on the sofa, while this song played on the CD player. I knew that, whatever else was to come, I was happy in that moment.

I sat and listened to the entire album while the two of them snoozed away and I still listen to it now and it takes me right back to that moment.

It's amazing that music can have such a profound effect on you.

I have been a music lover all my life, from being a child when I used to belt out classic Shirley Bassey hits like Hey Big Spender and Speedy Gonzales by Pat Boone at family gatherings.

How a child of seven or eight even knew those songs was thanks to my mum who always had records playing in the house by so many different artistes, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Matt Munro, Just Garland, Barbara Streisand, and several different bands, to name a few. She also loved iconic band Queen before they became really well known.

No records in my house now but any music I want thanks to good old Alexa! What a fantastic invention. Just ask her to play any song and away she goes.

Alexa plays the radio for me throughout the day so the music is like background noise most of the time but it's great to be able to hear practically song you choose whenever you like.

Another favourite of mine is This Is Me, the absolute show stopper of a song from the hit musical The Greatest Showman. Whenever I hear it it reminds me of the surprise birthday party my Jenny threw for me a couple of years back.

It wasn't a special birthday, she just wanted to do it for me, and one of the highlights of the evening was when we all sang this song in the kitchen. It was exhilarating and emotional, some of us were out of tune and struggled to hit the high notes, but it was a special one off moment.

Other songs that resonate with me are Not While I'm Around, a beautiful song by Barbra Streisand about her son and how she will protect him. It was one of my mum's all time favourites and I still cannot listen to it all the way though, it's too raw even now 25 years after she died.

Evoking very bittersweet memories for me are Moon River by Henry Mancini and Matt Monro's Days Like These. No matter how many times I hear them I still feel that emotional pull as they played so often in childhood home.

I am trying to embrace new music and artistes at the recommendation of my partner, Ian, who is not a fan of listening to what he describes as 'old stuff.'

There are some wonderful new musicians out there to be discovered to I am open to listening to them to create even more memories.