Dickson: Give your children the playlist of your life

Sep 21, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 9:37 am

Gift your children a Spotify playlist that tells the story of your life....

Amanda Dickson created her own Spotify playlist to share with your kids.

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

My son Ethan asked me to do something for him this week that caught me off guard. He asked me to create a Spotify playlist of “my music” for him.

“What do you mean ‘my music’?” I asked him.

“You know, the music you grew up listening to,” he answered in a tone that sounded like I should have known what he meant. “The music you used to play when you were my age.”

“What about the music I listen to now?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure. I want all of it,” he said. “I just want to have your music so I can listen to it.”


“And then I’ll have it when you’re gone,” he added off the cuff.

“I’m not planning on ‘going’ any time soon,” I laughed.

Where to start with this Spotify playlist?

I opened Spotify and thought back to my earliest memories. Suddenly I was in a swimming pool with 50 other kids, singing Beatles songs in my head while we swam endless laps. I was 11 or 12 and singing “Blackbird” and “Norwegian Wood”.


In the dorm where I lived in Florida when I was 12-15, I had roommates who were seriously into rock. I listened to Led Zepplin, Kansas, Journey, Aerosmith, Steve Miller and AC/DC whether I liked it or not. The music did grow on me, and I find myself still craving a little “Back in Black” once in a while.

When I got to play my own records, my roommates would make gagging noises. I loved storytellers like Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Chicago. I would belt out “Legend in Your Own Time” and “You’re so Vain” loud enough that neighbors would pound on the wall.

When my parents sent me north to a school in New Hampshire, I started singing James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” when I was homesick, only I’d change the word “Carolina” to “Pennsylvania.”

I started listening to Elton John then, too, “Funeral for a Friend” and “Levon.”

When I got a little older, I added Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and Michael Jackson’s everything. I included the Thompson Twins and Paul Simon, INXS and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”

I’m on a roll

Once I started adding songs to my playlist for Ethan, which I named Amanda Soundtrack, I found myself laughing and crying, remembering the period in my life when only Bob Seger could soothe me, the time when America’s “Sister Golden Hair” was my anthem.

I so fondly revisited Kurt Bestor music from his “Seasons” album that I loved, and still love. I’ve always thought I would love for Kurt to play “Summer Portrait” at my funeral. (Too weird?)

I remember the boy who dumped me in college who loved Bryan Adams, the nightclub I worked in where I used to play Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” and the way I would sing “Time for Me to Fly” or “Roll with the Changes” from REO Speedwagon whenever I needed courage.

I went through a female crooner period when only Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holladay would do. Later, I added Diana Krall to that list and still get all gooey when I hear “Peel Me a Grape.”

And now?

I still love it all. I’ve added Taylor Swift to my list because she reminds me so much of my daughter Ashley. I listen to “The Man” and see her defiant, beautiful face. I listen to Peter Gabriel or Sting and I remember falling in love with my husband. I listen to Fleetwood Mac or the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You,” and I am back at the Delta Center at concerts Aaron took me to.

I suppose I have always had a little rebel inside me. That part craves Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys and Sia. I play “Unstoppable” and feel like it was written for me.

I haven’t told Ethan yet, but I plan to create a special playlist for him of my Christmas music. When he was born, I would sing his name over and over to the tune of “Silent Night” as I rocked him to sleep. I could never seem to boot up any lullabies, so his name was the only lyric I needed.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.

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Dickson: Give your children the playlist of your life