Imagine what life would be like if you could remember nothing of your past — the names of your parents, the place where you grew up, nothing — unless a piece of music you once loved was currently playing. When you hear the music, memories come flooding back to you; but when the song’s over, all is forgotten again.

Believe it or not, such a thing has happened. The subject of the case study “The Last Hippie” by Dr. Oliver Sacks — “Greg F.” as he’s known — suffered for years with a large brain tumor. Even though the tumor was removed, the damage it had done was vast and debilitating, and one of the effects was this bizarre connection between music and memory.

If that sounds hard to imagine, try being the actor who has to portray this man who alternates between being comatose and completely normal, as Lou Taylor Pucci did for the film based on Greg F., “The Music Never Stopped.” “That was my hard part — making myself believe that he comes into this spell,” Pucci explains. “The way we talked about it was that he was put under a spell by some wicked witch and the fairy godmother is his music. It takes him out of it when he hears that scratch of the needle and his favorite music starts playing. It’s like the frog turned into a prince, but then he turns back into a frog when the music’s over.”

Enjoying the silence

Unlike the character he plays in “The Music Never Stopped,” Pucci finds little emotional connection to music. “I dig silence,” he says bluntly. “Music really helps in life in a lot of ways, but I’m kind of an anti-escapist. To be awkward is a weird feeling, but I love it!”

Follow Heidi Patalano on Twitter at @HeidiatMetro.

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