Dave Morey of KFOG was a well-known DJ in the Bay Area from 1982 through 2008.  He made famous a program called “10 at 10” — ten great songs from one great year (at 10am each day, hence the name).  For example, 10 songs from 1985, or 1968, or whenever.  Priceless…  Sometimes he varied the theme, such as 10 “Hits from Hell” — songs that charted and sold a lot of copies but that many people agree are terrible, such as “Island Girl” by Elton John or “Muskrat Love”, truly awful stuff…  Well, one of my favorite themes was “Sledgehammers”.  Morey would develop a  set of songs related to stories that listeners would call in.  A sledgehammer by Morey’s definition is, to paraphrase, a song that hits you over the head like a sledgehammer when you hear it — i.e., triggers a specific memory or evokes a strong emotional response.  Maybe it’s a song that was playing when you made a memorable road trip or when you went on a special date.

I have what I think of as a “reverse sledgehammer”:  a song that was playing at a big moment in  my life such that when I hear it I recall exactly where I was and how I felt.  In 1998 I found a lump on my throat.  I went to the doctor and was referred to an endocrinologist, who prescribed a biopsy.  I took the test and then went back a few days later for the results.  I will never forget that day when I found out I had thyroid cancer.  The good news was that it was stage 1 and well encased.  Nevertheless, when I left the doctor’s office and got in my car, the song “My Father’s Eyes” by Eric Clapton was playing on the radio:

Sailin’ down behind the sun
Waitin’ for the Prince to come
Praying for the healing rain
To restore my soul again

Just a toe rag on the run
How did I get here?
What have I done?
When will all my hopes arise?
How will I know him
When I look in my father’s eyes?

My mind flashed to thoughts of my father, who three years before had died of cancer, and I was thinking of him looking down on me, his youngest son, finding out I had cancer at age 35…



About goldenbearflyer

Robert Martz is a writer who doesn't make any money writing, so he keeps a day job in finance. He lives and works in Walnut Creek, CA. He began blogging in 2011 as a way of taking responsibility for and finding a place to put his thoughts and feelings. He loves to eat, cook, and travel. He volunteers, practices yoga, runs, bicycles, hikes, and explores nature with passion and a child-like sense of wonder. He is inspired by his amazing friends, doers and other writers. Check out another of his blogs at
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One Response to sledgehammer

  1. Lori says:

    Very scary. I’m glad you’re ok!

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