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Signature Song: Pink Floyd's 'Speak To Me/Breathe'


We've asked you to tell us about your signature song, the song that's become almost a part of you. Today, we hear from Toby Lineaweaver from Woods Hole, Mass. His story starts in the summer of 1973 when he was 19.

TOBY LINEAWEAVER: I didn't know what the hell I was doing with my life. All I was doing was getting high and trying to figure stuff out. I went to a party, and I heard some music coming from upstream somewhere from a record player. And I sat down to listen to it, and it was something I'd never heard before. It was this song.


SIMON: It was "Speak To Me/Breathe" by Pink Floyd.

LINEAWEAVER: To this day, what I remember most is feeling for the first time like someone understood me, and I felt connected and not so alone anymore.


PINK FLOYD: (Singing) Breathe, breathe in the air, don't be afraid to care.

SIMON: Toby Lineaweaver struggled with addiction as a young man. He got clean and stayed clean. Guitar lessons helped.

LINEAWEAVER: I went in to my teacher, who was kind of a hipster guy and he said, put your two fingers here and play this. And I went strum, strum, strum, strum, strum, strum. And I went, hey, that sounds pretty good. And he goes, yeah, guess what - you just played Pink Floyd. And I went, no. What song is that? And he said, "Breathe." And I had just played the song that I had heard all those years ago that had carried me through the various challenges and crap in my life that I was going through. And here I could play it.


PINK FLOYD: (Singing) Run, rabbit, run.

SIMON: He now works with people who are addicted to opioids. He plays this song every day. It's become a kind of prayer for him and a way to connect with his younger patients.

LINEAWEAVER: You have to learn how to reach people where they're at and with what they've got. And sometimes, the only way to talk to people is through the music that we listen to.

SIMON: Toby Lineaweaver telling us about his signature song, "Speak To Me/Breathe" by Pink Floyd. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.