Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke

Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke - Rob Sheffield Music has always been an important part of Mr. Sheffield’s life. As a writer for Rolling Stone magazine he had transformed that into a profession as well. In 2001 Mr. Sheffield was a young widower, had recently moved to New York City and by his own admission was still in the depths of mourning the sudden death of his wife. On a rare night out with friends he was introduced to karaoke and a new love story began … not only with karaoke but with the woman who would, due in large part to her own love of music, not only rescue him from the depths of his self-imposed solitude but also become his second wife.

This book is a little bit love story, a little bit the history of karaoke and a whole lot about the importance of music in our lives. The memories of certain occasions in Mr. Sheffield’s life are emphasized with songs … whether he is quoting lyrics or amusing his reader with anecdotes about his poorly performed (by his own admission) karaoke versions of those songs. Every so often he cleverly worked the lyrics of a song into the flow of his writing and I found myself immediately starting to hum the song in my head. This is the second book I have read recently that made me wish it came with an accompanying CD. He pays homage to most of the popular artists over the last several decades, as well as some lesser-known (to me) ones paying special attention to Rod Stewart, The Beatles and Rush. He moves smoothly from pop music – does anyone besides me even remember “Love Grows Where Rosemary Goes” – through Indie, Country and Heavy Metal. I don’t think he ignored any music genre. All of that “plays” softly in the background as he shares about his parents, his life, living close to the World Trade Center on 9/11, personal grief and falling in love again.

Being of a “certain age” this book included many songs that could be included in the soundtrack of my own life and, although loath to admit it, I have enjoyed one or two Corona fueled karaoke performances myself, so this was a fun read.