Boston On My Mind

April 17, 2013

The 117th Boston Marathon will be remembered by runners and non-runners alike. Those who have run it, those who know people who have run it, those who have watched it, and those who had never heard about it until they saw the news, will all have their own memories of April 15, 2013.

As for me, part of my heart is always in Boston. I went to college in Boston. I met my wife in Boston. Many of my best friends and countless memories are in Beantown. I learned how to become a serious runner in Boston. I ran the Boston Marathon with a fundraising number, and my goal ever since has been to return as a qualifier.

It felt very weird that day for the obvious reasons. But it was also surreal because I only missed qualifying for Boston by 6 seconds. While a lot has crossed my mind since that day in Philly, this was never something on that radar. There was comfort in the fact that everyone I knew running and their loved ones were safe, but only for a moment as I watched the news updates. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy.

It was late on Monday when I finally reached deep into my drawer to pull out the old Boston Marathon singlet, snapped a quick photo, and went out for a mind-clearing four miler. When I got back, the only other thing I could think of to relax me was music. So I cranked up the speakers and put together a short, but fun playlist which includes songs that remind me of one of my favorite cities, Boston.

Boston on the Brain playlist:

1) Shipping Up To Boston (Dropkick Murphys) – This iconic, powerful song was an easy first choice.

2) Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond) – A Fenway Pahk classic. The Red Sox fans love this one and, even as a Yankees fan, it’s hard not to sing along. The night following the tragedy, they played it in the Bronx as a symbol of unity.

3) Rock and Roll Band (Boston) – It is hard to make a list about the city without including the classic rock band that adopted its name. This song tells their story of success from very humble Beantown beginnings.

4) Sweet Baby James (James Taylor) – Any Boston playlist needs to include one from the city’s favorite son and quintessential American troubadour. This lovely lullaby is chock full of local references as it delights both our ears and hearts.

5) Black Betty (Ram Jam) – Another classic track that has some throwback value for the Fenway faithful.

6) Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Gary Portnoy) – Otherwise known as the theme from “Cheers,” this friendly song brings back some great laughs and reminds us of the lovable Boston locals.

7) Charlie on the MTA (Kingston Trio) – An oldie, but a goodie. Used to sing this when I was a kid, and it still always brings a smile.

What songs make you think of Boston? Are there any songs you thought about during that day to uplift your spirits? Do you have any stories, feelings, or responses to the event you want to share?

For good measure, here are another 29 reasons to love Boston.

My last night living in Boston-some years ago-beautiful and peaceful

A beautiful sunrise from my last night of living in Boston, some years ago



  1. I love #3, plus it’s one if my favorite songs to crank up with the car windows open on a sunny day!

    • I could listen to their music all day! It was tough to pick just one song, glad you like the choice too.

  2. LOVE Black Betty! Great post 🙂

  3. Beautifully written, sensitive.

  4. Don’t forget “Love that Dirty Water.” Anything by Dropkick is perfect, but we played Dropkick’s Amazing Graze on 9/11/01 in an impromptu vigil of thousands of students in Vermont when students were still waiting to hear from their parents. That one will stick with me forever.

    • Very cool, I bet that was quite an incredible scene. Thanks for sharing the memory!

  5. Mostly techno for me, dont think Boston will be associated with that genre.. LOL.. hope you qualify again for the next one dude.

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