Showing posts with label paul revere and the raiders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paul revere and the raiders. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sixty-Four Years of Music ~ Yes, I Was Once a Tween

There's a certain age in a girl's life when her options for adventure are extremely limited. She's too young to drive, too old for a bicycle (which wouldn't take her far anyway). Luckily, helicopter parents hadn't yet been invented. Parents in the sixties were the opposite of helicopters ~ maybe more like Poseidon Adventure parents ~ sink or swim. It wasn't that they didn't care; but their lives didn't revolve around their kids, as much as shows like Leave It To Beaver tried to convince people. We were expected to show up for meals, kind of a "proof of life" gesture; otherwise it was preferable for all concerned that we find ways to occupy ourselves.

My friend Alice's parents were a bit more involved in her life. I remember riding the bus with Alice to her house after school and lazing about on kitchen stools and her mom asking how her day was. That was bizarre! I think she might have even asked me, which rendered me tongue-tied. I don't think my mom ever expressed interest in my daily life until I turned forty.

When Alice and I were on our own, we had very few diversions. Playing records, essentially. I'd almost gotten run over by a freight train at age ten when riding my bike across a railroad bridge, so my adventurous streak was by now muted. Alice lived out in the country, albeit in a facsimile of a neighborhood consisting of a strip of six or seven homes surrounded on all sides by tall prairie grass. It was too far to walk to any semblance of civilization, but those seven families held fifties-style parties on Friday or Saturday nights, with pot luck dishes, music, and gallons of booze.

I, on the other hand, lived sort of in the country, too, but my home was surrounded by businesses. My parents owned a 52-unit motel where we resided in a gloomy attached apartment; and there were eating establishments on either side of us and another motel across the highway, as well as a local Volkswagen dealership. Further down the road was Kist's Livestock Barn and another supper club and a watermelon stand (yes). When Alice stayed overnight with me, we feasted on candy bars from the lobby machine, purchased with quarters from the office cash register and ten-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola acquired in the same manner.

One warm night of summer when vacancies were abundant, Mom allowed Alice and me to stay in one of the motel's double rooms. We made a pact that we were going to stay up all night. Somehow we had secured a box of No-Doz, so fueled by white tablets and copious green-tinged bottles of Coke, we found ourselves wide awake at two o'clock in the morning. Like all adolescent notions, this journey turned out to be a bust. I'd brought my transistor, and we danced atop the beds to the grooviest hits of the day.

This video is a replication of what the actual song might have looked like performed live:

This performance actually does feature supercilious Graham Nash, before he was too haughty to perform pop songs:

At some point in the middle of the night, we decided to smear on white lipstick and tie cloth belts around our foreheads and venture out to act "cool". Lee's Steakhouse was just a short jaunt through the trees. Despite its name, Lee's was just a cafe; one that stayed open 24 hours a day. It was a magnet for late-night club-hoppers who had a sudden craving for pancakes and maple syrup. Lee's served up a mouth-watering fried chicken basket (in an actual basket) with fries and a tiny cup of cole slaw. Lonely guys would nurse a steaming cup of coffee in a booth alone and flirt with Hilda, the late-shift waitress. The family that owned Lee's lived in an actual house behind the restaurant and their kids were great friends of my little brother and sister. And I knew Hilda from having hung around the cafe on my bored days. She was twenty-something and very kind.

Alice and I had about thirty-five cents between us as we sauntered through the door of Lee's at three a.m., barefoot (which apparently was allowed back then), wearing shorts and sleeveless blouses; our foreheads encircled by macrame headbands. We slid inside a booth, sipped water, and when Hilda stopped by with her pad and a puzzled look, said "No thanks, just water". We chomped on crackers from the little plastic boats parked on the table and slurped water from beveled glasses through paper straws.

Occasionally I'd stroll over to the juke box, slip a couple of dimes in the slot and punch up records we liked:

Our thirst for attention went unsated. The only person in the place who found us weird was Hilda, and she wasn't thrilled that no tip would be forthcoming from the saltine munchers. There were two lone guys in the place who probably had issues of their own they were dealing with, and two spotlight-hungry pre-teens didn't warrant a speck on their radar.

After an hour we tromped back to our motel room. The night was black and the world eerily quiet. And we were still bug-eyed from the amphetamines. We crawled into our respective beds and gabbed until eventually we fell asleep and dozed until mid-afternoon.

Sorry this story doesn't have a blockbuster ending, but the life of a thirteen-year-old in the mid-sixties was drearily mundane. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

I didn't realize until tonight that 1967 was fifty years ago! My, how time flies.

Nineteen sixty-seven was a seminal year for me. We'd moved to our new home (or "house of horrors", as I prefer to call it) in December of 1966. As an almost twelve-year-old, I'd had a naive optimism that life in this new world would be superb. Just like me to act now and think later. Not that I was given a choice in the matter.

I was caught in that shadowy crevice between my old life and my new one. I'd left my very best friend behind, but my tiny mind discarded that reality in favor of the new, exciting life I'd conjured.

My brother was twenty years old and independent. He'd left someone behind, too, but he wasn't about to discard her. Thus, he traversed Interstate 94 about two hundred times that first year, to Minnesota and back, until he could bring his soon-to-be bride back with him permanently.

My brother was granted his very own room along the long back row of motel units; room number twenty, to be exact; while I shared a skinny cubbyhole and a set of bunk beds with my little brother and sister. My big brother was never around (see previous paragraph), so if I wanted (needed) a little me-time, I grabbed a pass key from the office and made myself at home in Room 20. It wasn't exactly like his room back on the farm. He no longer had a cozy nook for his albums; his new music center was a set of dark recessed shelves illuminated by a sixty-watt light bulb, directly adjacent to his bathroom. Nevertheless, I slipped "Pleasant Valley Sunday" on his turntable and performed my own version of the jerk in front of his vanity mirror.

I was careful to leave his room the way I'd found it. I smoothed out the bedspread that I'd sat on in between mirror performances. I placed his records back on the shelf in the exact order in which he'd arranged them. I'd had years of experience with this ritual; it came second nature to me.

Then I slumped back to the "house" and did my best to ignore everyone who lived there.

Adults who relocate to a new space in the world don't even consider the things kids worry about. Moving to a brand new school in a brand new town, I fretted about how lost I would be amidst the subject matter. I'd had a bit of exposure to a new school when I was nine and had moved with my mom to Lisbon, North Dakota for part of the school year. St. Aloysius had been woefully behind. I'd felt like a complete fraud when the nuns proposed to Mom that I skip a grade. I'd always been good at memorizing and that was essentially what made me look so smart to the St. A's sisters -- I'd already committed to memory everything they were teaching.

But, now, would the Mandan school system be far ahead of where I'd left off? What if I flunked and had to repeat the sixth grade? Add to that the reality that I would need to keep my head down and not make eye contact with a bunch of disdainful strangers. I was a jittery wreck.

Mandan was big on world history. A big fat textbook with crisp white pages of stories about the "Slovakias" and a study sheet crammed with foreign words. And science. A subject that made me question why God was punishing me. I'd been so good; had gone to confession every week just like He had decreed; had made up "sins" just to have something to utter to the priest dozing inside his little velvet-lined box. I'd done everything He'd wanted me to do -- ate fish sticks on Friday -- and this was my reward?

There was not one subject Mrs. Haas taught that gave me a sense of relief. My only saving grace was that I could spell. Mrs. Haas was big on spelldowns. Every week she'd line everyone up on opposite sides of the room and challenge them to spell words. I soared. My only real competitor was the other new girl who'd shown up in Mrs. Haas' classroom the same day I did. But I vanquished her, too. Take that, Becky Weeda!

I also had to endure the indignity of taking the city bus home from school. The Mandan School District didn't have bus routes that stretched out to the boondocks. Thus, I had to hike six blocks from the elementary school to the Prince Hotel in downtown Mandan to wait for Mister Paul to pull his big blue and white bus up to the stop to take me home.

Crazy people rode that bus. There was a guy who was always sitting in the front seat -- a guy who had some kind of neck stitch. He would crick his head to the right over and over and over again while he jabbered to Mister Paul. There was a seemingly sophisticated twenty-something girl who boarded the bus every day as I was wending my way home. One afternoon she had donned Jackie O sunglasses, and complained incessantly to Mister Paul that she'd recently suffered "snow blindness". I think all of these people were insane.

I sat in the middle row, far removed from the regular eccentrics. There were, at the most, five of us riding the route, and that included the driver. Mister Paul was always nice to me, though. He had a job to do, and I think he understood that as a twelve-year-old, these freaks freaked me out. I really liked Mister Paul. The following year, as I stumbled into seventh grade, I had an English teacher who was also named Mister Paul. He was a foppish dilettante who I was aghast to learn was the son of my kindly city bus driver.

I felt like I spent my life on a bus.

To my astonishment, somewhere between December and February, I acquired a friend. Mrs. Haas' classroom was a test of my memorizing skills. I couldn't really tell Glenn from Robert. I learned quickly that Russell was a big doofus, because every time Mrs. Haas called on him, he coughed up an inane response. As a sixth grader, I feigned condescension toward Russell, but today he would make me laugh. He was rather endearing in his naivete. A North Dakota Gomer Pyle.

All the girls were pale Germanic blondes, which made me stand out even more freakishly, with my Irish red hair. The blondest of the blondes was named Alice. I sat in the row next to hers, a couple of desks forward. Prim Mrs. Haas uttered something one morning that struck me as ridiculously funny, and I had no one with whom to share my amusement. I happened to glance back and saw the blonde girl grinning at me. Every friendship I've ever formed in my life was based on humor; a bond with someone who "got it". From that day forward, this girl Alice would be the best friend I ever had.

In the metamorphic stage of our friendship, though, I still had to deal with "home". Which essentially meant getting off the bus, tromping silently through the motel office, past Mom hovering behind the check-in desk, alighting in my shared bedroom and slamming the door behind me. My conduit for obtaining music was my transistor radio and a battery-powered record player. My latest '45's were the cloud-blue Turtles hit:

I even had this one (I don't know why):

Probably my favorite single at the time was on a yellow label with a revolver that shouted, "Bang":

Speaking of The Turtles, I liked this one even more than Happy Together, despite what Ferris Bueller might say:

Nobody ever mentions the Grass Roots, but in 1967 they were a phenomenon. This was my favorite:

I didn't have a lot of '45's. I had some miscellaneous Paul Revere and the Raiders singles. Paul Revere and the Raiders was a good band -- in concept -- but not an actually good band. I liked them because I thought Mark Lindsay was cute. At twelve, cuteness is of supreme importance. I tacked photos of the band (from Tiger Beat Magazine) up on my wall. The most nicely arranged archive of a band that I never really liked.

I did buy this one, but I don't know why. Roulette Records had a psychedelic orange label that would make one dizzy if they stared at it too long. This song was something my little sister could appreciate more than me, and yet I bought it:

As ashamed as I am now of the singles I plunked down money for, at least I can say I never dropped my pennies on the counter for songs like, "Up, Up And Away". So, in retrospect, this one doesn't look or sound that bad:

Those basically sum up my paltry record collection.  

My after-school schedule consisted of trekking my way down the driveway, pouting through the "family gauntlet" (which truthfully only consisted of my mom), burrowing behind the door of my birdhouse bedroom and reposing on the bottom bunk to the same six-pack of '45 records. 

In time, my little brother and sister would appear from wherever they'd been cavorting, and would sometimes expect me to let them in the room. This dispensation was granted only rarely. They got used to it. I did let them sleep in there, for God's sake. Depending on the night's TV schedule, I may give a cursory glance to my homework early, while the evening news was on the television in the living room. If it was Monday, I parked myself in front of the big TV -- directly in front of the TV -- to catch the latest Monkees episode. I was in love with the Monkees -- for the longest time, before I had an actual friend, they were my best friends. Of course, they didn't know that...or me.

TV was a hugely important part of my life. Ironically, television was basically awful in 1967. Laugh-In, The Dean Martin Show, Green Acres, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C, Petticoat Junction, Family Affair. Just awful, corn-pone shows. Yet I watched them. What else was there? Those bastard Hollywood producers really thought the audience was a bunch of rubes. Or they knew we had no choice, so they didn't give a damn. The best thing on TV in 1967 was on too late for me to watch, except for Friday nights -- The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Wednesday nights I had CCD, which meant I missed nothing except my pride. Sitting behind a long table with my fellow hostages in the church basement, pretending to pay attention to Father Dukart "teach" us things, thinking, hmmm...Father is kind of cute...not grasping why he paid so much attention to the boys' side of the room. After class the boys squealed like little girls about a stupid new TV show, some space thing they called "Star Trek". Yawn.

I remember 1967 as dark. Dark and gloomy. Wintery; cold. My only goal was to get through. Step by slogging step.

Music-wise, even the top hits were gloomy. Cynical. Sure I remember my poppy songs fondly, but my transistor droned on with songs like this one, over and over:

I have no idea what that song meant, if anything. But it annoyed the hell out of me. And don't even get me started on Jefferson Airplane.

If I'm going to remember the year, though, I'd rather remember the music that was good; not the craptastic Summer of Love twaddle. (P.S. The summer of love was a scam.)

So I like these:

(Sorry for the summer of love nonsense footage, but it's still a good song.)

I made some faux paus in '67. I badgered my soon-to-be sister-in-law to barter away some long-forgotten '45 for this one, which is an awesome song and a classic:

This song I danced to in front of my brother's mirror, and I stand by it yet today:

This song sums up 1967 for me:

I know what you're thinking -- Aren't you missing some songs, Shelly? Yes, but those songs are for another time, another post. No, I haven't forgotten Jim and I haven't forgotten Felix Cavaliere.

And I'm well aware of the Whiter Shades and the Judes, but the songs featured here are how I remember 1967. Feel free to do your own retrospective.

These songs got me through.

And that, after all, was my goal.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

1966 ~ Yes, There's More

I'm really not obsessed with the year 1966. Really. If I was asked which years in rock music were the best, nineteen sixty-six wouldn't be my first choice, or my third. As I mentioned at the beginning of these (now four!) posts, this whole thing was an experiment to prove my husband wrong, who opined that 1966 was the best year in music. I'm sure I mentioned that '66 wasn't a primo year in my life. If one was to choose an ideal time to be ripped away from everything familiar and thrust into a new town, new state, new school, the awkward adolescent years are probably not going to be anyone's first choice.

Maybe that's why I remember that year so well. It was a dichotomy ~ part of the year was sunshine; the other part was the ravages of hell. I eventually settled in, but I thank God for my transistor radio.

I probably mentioned that I relied upon my big brother for musical guidance. He had every album worth having, while little me had a pittance of 45's, which mostly consisted of the Beatles. And he guided me along; talked to me about music. Explained things. I never was a big question-asker,  because I didn't want to give myself away as a rube, but I wondered about things. Things like, can a group really name themselves after a punctuation mark?

Apparently so. Here is ? and the Mysterians:

My best friend and I used to comb the streets of our town, looking for eleven-year-old action.  The only "action" we could find was the local disc jockey doing a remote broadcast from a men's apparel store. But to us it was exciting, even though there were approximately three people inside the store. Plus the guy gave out free 45's. "Daydream" had been the perfect summer song for me. Lazy, like me. Lemonade and creme cookies on the front porch. But the Spoonful's next song was different; dissonant. (And of course there was Zal.) Cathy liked the track better than I did, but I eventually came around:

I don't exactly know how I missed the Rascals. Later, of course, when they were "Groovin," they could not be ignored. Hot sun on concrete, sunbathing by the pool, white-framed sunglasses shading my eyes. But that was '67. Thank goodness for retrospectives. And, no, it wasn't the Dr. Pepper commercial that turned me on to them:

I never actually liked Paul Revere & The Raiders for their music. I liked them for the posters I hung on my bedroom wall.  If you'd asked me what my favorite PR&TR song was, I would be struck dumb. I was an eleven-year-old fraud. Nevertheless, this was one I sort of knew:

You youngsters out there (as Ed Sullivan would say) probably think this song was a huge deal in 1966, seeing as how it's been used in the soundtrack of every teen movie since the eighties. But it actually wasn't.  It certainly was no "Born To Be Wild". I wonder whatever happened to the Troggs, but I don't wonder too much.

One of the actual documented incidences of someone from the sixties using the word "groovy" is contained herein. Contrary to popular myth, people didn't go around using the term "groovy". I, in fact, don't think I ever uttered it, and I grew up during that time. Regardless, who can forget Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders?

I'm sure there is a reason I remember the Hollies, I think it may be because of "The Air That I Breathe" or I'm guessing "Carrie Anne".  I liked both those songs a lot.  This one was okay, but it's their most remembered song, so who am I to judge (apparently)?

Tommy Roe. I wanted to say he's a product of the sixties, but then I realized I'm talking about the sixties.  Tommy Roe is sort of Lou Christie without the falsetto, so that gives him a leg up automatically. Let me just say that in 1973 Tommy had a song called, "Working Class Hero" that was completely different...and good! Really good.

One day I grew up. No, I wasn't necessarily hopeless about good music. "Eyes of a New York Woman" in 1968 was, and still is, pretty much untouchable. I didn't know much about Hank Williams except for Jambalaya. (I know much more now.) And I guess I didn't know that this was a Hank Williams song:

I'm going to close out 1966 (really) with the song that my husband feels is the best of the year. This song was written by Paul Simon. The track wouldn't have even been an ink blot on the folds of my memory, but since my husband started this whole thing, I think it's fitting that I finish it with his song. This is The Cyrkle:

Adieu, 1966. 

It was nice, yet scary and forbidding, to remember you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find

I can't say I was a big fan of Paul Revere and the Raiders' music. I was, however, a big fan of Paul Revere and the Raiders.


Well, as a twelve-to-thirteen-year-old, pictures torn from the pages of Tiger Beat Magazine and other pre-teen rags graced my bedroom wall. Mark Lindsay, especially, was cute! (the very best adjective a 1960's adolescent could ascribe to a boy - although I guess Mark wasn't exactly a boy at the time).  Other guys in the band were cute, too; although, shamefully, I don't remember their names.

I really only purchased one Raiders 45, and it wasn't Kicks, which is by far the band's best known hit.

With teenage wonder, I watched the guys perform on various TV variety shows, like Where The Action Is and Happening, my undeveloped mind unable to resolve out the disparity between their goofy costumes and the mainstream rock and roll they played.

My semi-developed mind now asks, wow, how much did those outfits cost? And what happened when one guy quit the band and the new guy didn't fit into the costume? More outlay of colonial-bucks, I guess.

Paul Revere died Saturday at the age of 76. He was born Paul Revere Dick...and the possible band names are not something I care to ponder. LUCKILY, he reverted to just plain Paul Revere and thus was born the Raiders.

He was a showman. I imagine he pretty much controlled everything to do with band - the aforementioned costumes, the "moves", the tri-corner hats. It seems, however, that he didn't play a hand in writing the band's songs. No matter. He was the person who found the gimmick, the man who got the band noticed. He, along with Mark Lindsay, also had the good taste to pick out some good songs from some good songwriters (such as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil). Paul also played a mean keyboard.

Throughout the band's heyday, personnel shuffled in and out (mostly out), but that's really no different from other '60's bands. Guys left to form their own bands, generally never to be heard from again. But they had dreams....

One brief member of the band was Freddy Weller, who sort of transitioned into country music, recording Joe South's Games People Play, which was nominated for CMA single of the year in 1969. One, even a giggly teenager, could sense that Freddy's heart really wasn't in wearing waistcoats and skintight white pants.

FUN FACT: It is unknown whether the Kingsmen or Paul Revere and the Raiders recorded Louie Louie first. Both bands recorded the song in the same studio in 1963. Obviously, the Kingsmen version is the famous one, primarily because one can make up their own lyrics as they sing along with the record.

I had to look at the band's discography to remember which of their many hits I actually purchased, and it was this one, which has no live video, most likely because it really wasn't a very good song, in hindsight:

The next song was better. And it was apparently serious! because the guys changed into twentieth century garb for Indian Reservation:

I remember this one! Here they are lip-syncing on Shindig:

Out of curiosity, I had to find this:

But enough with all that. I know what you and I have been waiting for. Here it is:

You can't say Paul Revere and the Raiders wasn't a fun band. They absolutely did have their day.

Rest in peace, Paul Revere. Thanks for the good times.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Jolt of Reality?

My husband was searching the online guide for shows to record, for us to watch later.  On PBS, there was an upcoming show called, "60's Pop, Rock & Soul", hosted by Davy Jones.  Since we both were mourning the recent loss of a childhood icon, he decided to record the show.

The preview stated that the show would include performances by such luminaries as Davy (of course), Peter Noone, Mitch Ryder, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and many more.  I was sort of excited about it, because I love nothing more than reliving those halcyon days, when rock 'n roll was young, and so was I.

The other night, we clicked it on.

Well, let me tell you, the first thing that jarred me was the audience.  What the heck?  There was a whole slew of old people, bopping away in their seats, looking rather desperate in their quest to be relevant; hip; groovy?  The couple dancing in the aisle, doing the frug, for God's sake, was a dead giveaway.

My first thought was, why are all these old people in the audience?  How can they even know these songs?  Weren't they they ones who were swooning to some group called, the Crewcuts, doing something like "Sha-Boom"?

And sadly, it dawned on me...I'm one of those old people!  When and how did this happen?

I can't really be like that, can I?  Naww.  I can still walk upright.  I am still "up" with the latest entertainment news, although I'm sort of flummoxed by some of the stuff that seems to be really big right, why are people so enamored by vampires?  Is that like Bela Lugosi, who I watched on a nineteen-inch black and white TV when I was young enough to be frightened out of my mind, and afraid to go to bed at night, and my big brother tormented me that the monster was going to stalk me and kill me?  And he laughed about it with his friends, while my pulse was racing at 200 BPM?  Those vampires?

And why is music now so depressing?  I remember pop music being all airy and bouncy.  La la la, walkin' down the street so fancy free....

But I'm still with it.  Right?  I don't actually have grey hair; well, for the most part.

The show reminded me of when my husband and I bought tickets to see the Moody Blues in concert last year.  We got to the theater, and there were all these elderly people, acting strangely animated.  Completely embarrassing themselves in their zeal and apparent devotion to this group.  Sure, I like Tuesday Afternoon, but it wasn't the Beatles, for God's sake.

And speaking of the Beatles, yea (yea yea), when I saw Paul McCartney in concert, I guess I was like one of those aged silver-tressed ladies, for all intents and purposes; swooning, when he sang, "All My Loving", and I kept repeating in my head, "I am seeing a Beatle!"

See, I don't see myself that way.  Old, I mean.  Didn't the sixties happen just the other day?  Seems like it.

But reality bites (as the movie title states ~ although I don't think I actually saw that movie).

As the performers came on stage to do their numbers, I felt bad. 

Bad, first of all, because the oblivious people in the audience either didn't know or didn't care that most of these folks were not the original artists!  Call me crazy, but I still have most of my faculties, and I know who was in which band, and don't try to call yourself Jefferson Starship if Grace Slick isn't there, and you've got some twenty-something lead singer doing Grace's vocals, and really?  Did Grace somehow learn to stop time?  And if so, can she share her secret with me?

And don't call yourself Paul Revere and the Raiders if Mark Lindsay isn't there to sing the lead vocals.  That's just BS.  I don't care if eighty-year-old "Paul" is faux-playing the keyboards.

And, pardon me, but the Miracles are not the Miracles without Smokey Robinson.  And Roger McGuinn did a fine job singing, "Mr. Tambourine Man", but the Generation X'ers who were doing background vocals were definitely not the Byrds.

The other, more disturbing aspect of the show was the actual "real" artists themselves.  I think I choose to remember them as they were.  Peter Noone not withstanding, because, if you recall, he was recording hit songs when he was 16 years old, so he still looks rather spry, in comparison to the others.

But the Vogues, for example?  I don't really want to see them limping on stage with their walkers and canes.  I saw the Vogues in concert sometime in the seventies, and they were quite vibrant.

So, I'm going to rewrite the show.  I'm going to re-imagine it as it should be; in the sixties.





GARY LEWIS & THE PLAYBOYS (in this case, Gary, NOT looking like an 85-year-old version of his dad):

Remember ? MARK AND THE MSYTERIANS? (and really, you don't have to say "? Mark", because "?" is a question mark, so basically, it reads as "Question Mark Mark and the Mysterians"):

Like it or loath it, this is the real Jefferson Starship Airplane, with the real Grace Slick:

I can't help but find this amusing, and I am somewhat surprised that I found a video of this, because basically a group surreptitiously called, "The Kingsmen" could have been anybody, really.  This was a garage band song.  And, I might add, a song that no one really knows the lyrics to.  It's one of those songs that you can just sing, "Louie Lou-I", and then add whatever words you want.  Because nobody will know whether you're singing the actual lyrics or not.  No one knows what the actual words are.  I think it's a mythological song.  I think it has a deeper meaning.  And archeologists will one day find out what it all means, but we'll all be dead by then, so what do we care?

THE VENTURES also appeared on the show.  Or, should I say, "Venture"?  There was one guy, playing guitar (I don't even want to ask what happened to the other Ventures).  But this guy ~ this "Venture" ~ did the Hawaii Five-O song.  Do I remember this?  Ahh, yes.  Hawaii Five-O ranked right up there with Mannix and Medical Center (starring Chad Everett), and they were all, I believe, on CBS.  CBS had a great run, there, in the late nineteen sixties.  I didn't even like the show, Hawaii Five-O.  I think the only thing I liked was, "Book 'em, Danno" and Jack Lord's hair, but I watched the show religiously.  Maybe I watched it for the theme song.

PETER NOONE (without his Hermits) made one more appearance on the show, luckily (for me) doing my very favorite Herman's Hermits song; "There's A Kind of Hush".  I want to say it was 1967 when this song was released.  I do remember sneaking into my brother's room, when he was away, to sing along with this song, as I played it on his portable stereo system.  Ahhh, the good old, sneaky days:

CHAD & JEREMY (Who remembers them?  Raise your hand!)  I think they appeared on an episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show.  It was either them, or Peter & Gordon.  I always get those two confused.  It's that whole "&" thing.  But in actuality, this was the best performance of the PBS Rock 'n Whatever special; "Summer Breeze":

And, of course, THE BYRDS.  On this particular show, it was just Roger McGuinn with some nondescript background singers, but, as you know, David Crosby was part of the Byrds, as was Chris Hillman, who nobody ever gives credit to, but who was the leader of the Desert Rose Band, which, in my parlance, is rather important, because it was a COUNTRY band.

Lastly, of course, there was Davy.  I was sad, watching the opening number of this PBS show, because, you know, Davy is gone (and I wrote a whole long post about my memories of Davy).

Apparently, I am a silver-haired old lady, because Davy Jones had an indescribable impact on my formative years, and, you know, that was approximately 46 years ago (almost a century), but it feels like, literally, yesterday.

But there he was, on that PBS show, doing that side-dancing (I guess you'd call it); sort of a vaudeville-like ~ sixties hybrid dancing.  But we got it.  We thought it was cool.

So, in conclusion, I am apparently now old, and the bands aren't what they used to be.  And Paul Revere should really find a nice retirement village with his wife, and settle in. 

And the music of the sixties really was better.

So sue me.  I may be grey, but I still know what's what.

Friday, February 10, 2012

1967 ~ The Finish Line!

Four posts! Four posts I have devoted to the simple little subject of the summer of love!

Who knew?

When you think about it, though, how many years have a name for their summer? Everybody knows that when you say "1967", you automatically tack on, "the summer of love".

What do you call 1975? "The summer of high interest rates"? Doesn't have quite the cache.

So, thus we have four posts for 1967. I think it deserves it.

I don't really know what happened to music after the sixties, and I was there. I mean, I know what happened; I just don't know why.

And it was a gradual thing. It snuck up on us. Sure, the early 1970's had some great, memorable hits. But, among those great songs, they wedged in some really (really) bad ones. And then it kind of snowballed. Until, finally, all we were left with was the Captain & Tenille.

It seems like, as the seventies fell upon us, we all got really tired and sleepy. And we just said, the hell with it. Just do whatever you want. Throw us some of those NBC "in living color" variety shows, with Tony Orlando and Dawn; or the Sonny & Cher Show; she with the Bob Mackie evening gowns; not the fur vests of the "I Got You, Babe" days. Sonny, hoisting up his cute little daughter son, as they all (three) performed their little comedy "skits". Donny & Marie on ABC (not to leave out the other big network of the day). She's a little bit country; he's a little bit rock and roll ("little bit" being the key word).

We were inexplicably easy to please. Because we were just so tired. We laughed at the comedy "routines", all the while hating ourselves for becoming so complacent that we had lost all sense of dignity.

Because none of this stuff was in the slightest regard "funny". Thank God for Saturday Night Live, or we could have just pronounced ourselves DOA. But who could stay up that late? We didn't have such a thing as DVR's, or even VCR's, so we pretty much saw the first half hour of SNL, and then we passed out from exhaustion.

I remember the big happening in TV during the seventies was, "Who shot JR?". This was for morons like me who had absolutely no life, so we watched nighttime soap operas on a Friday night, for God's sake. My parents and siblings would discuss the whole JR thing, as we gathered together to play cards and eat. And I had to try to keep up, even though I never even watched the stupid show. Truly, it was a major event in people's lives. We'd play cards in the kitchen and every once in awhile take a quick detour into the living room to see what was happenin' on the big TV (Donny & Marie on ice?), although Mom would have the little portable TV turned on in the dining area, so we wouldn't miss any shocking (shocking!) developments on Dallas.

And I thought at the time, this reeks. All of it. This is entertainment? Kill me now. Thank God I have kids to take care of. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I was so tired.....

So, la de da, that's perhaps why the sixties hold a fond place in my heart. It was carefree! I had no responsibilities! I was a kid. My biggest concern was whether the cute boy at my junior high would notice me, or at the very least, not make fun of me.

Music was a HUGE part of our lives in the sixties. You want your top 50? Well, you'd better, because that's all you're getting. Genres? What? Is that some exotic French word? We didn't know about "genres". It was all "music". All fifty songs. Cuz that's all you got. You had a choice. Listen to KFYR AM radio, or don't listen to the radio. Music on TV? Better tune in to the Ed Sullivan Show, or you'd miss it. Or, for the truly anarchic, the Smothers Brothers Show. And, of course, there was The Monkees TV show.

Why were the Monkees so huge? What was their competition on TV? We were the TV generation. The Beatles didn't have their own TV show. They wouldn't have been able to agree on the camera angles anyway. "Hey, why is Paul getting all the close-ups?" "I hate Paul." Yea? Well, I hate you, too!" "You wanna piece of me, mate?" That TV show would have been the ultimate reality series. Pathetic, sad, and embarrassing for everyone, especially the viewers.

So, yes, we loved the Monkees. They were so upbeat! So idealistic! Just like us!

This leads me to the final, and I do mean final, installment of the top hits from the summer of love.

I'm a little perturbed about the fact that I cannot find a performance video of #45. You know, and I know, that Dionne Warwick performed the heck out of this song on TV, but is there any record of it? Apparently not.

But, because I don't want to include some lame duet, with some other singer that nobody has ever heard of, or cares about, I'm giving you this one. It's the best I could find. Sorry. And did I mention that I'm tired?

I am shocked (yes, shocked) that this next song was only number 46 on the charts for 1967. Hindsight can ultimately change one's perspective, can it not? Because this is a classic song. And so beautiful. The voice and the melody. I don't really care about wearing flowers in my hair (Who could find fresh flowers anyway, to stick in your head? I guess it was metaphorical. Even though it really wasn't).

But Scott MacKenzie, even though he never had another hit song that I know of, really captured the summer of love with this song, and you know that this is probably one of the two that you remember:

#47. Paul Revere & the Raiders. I guess you had to be there. None of my younger friends even know or recognize the name. Yes, it was a "niche" band; if by "niche", I mean, "novelty act that lasted about two years". But I liked them. Not so much their music, but just "them". I had their posters on my wall. Mark Lindsay. A completely embarrassed Freddy Weller, who was just trying to make a buck, you know? That's not to say they didn't have good songs, because they did have a couple. But it was a different time, and a different blah blah blah. Anyway, take it for what it is. Here is number forty-seven, "Good Thing":

Number 48 just happens to have been, at one time, one of my very favorite songs. I'll admit; I never was a big Herman's Hermits fan. Their music was rather "twee", as Paul might say.

But not this one. This one was something else. This song, well, watch and listen.

As an extra-added bonus, Peter Noone was only sixteen when this song was recorded, so he's still alive and kickin', unlike many from that period. That always makes me feel good, because, well, I'm still alive and kickin', and I don't wanna be the last man standing, if you get my drift.

#49. Bill Cosby. I remember Bill Cosby, of course, from the sitcom of the eighties, and also from I Spy, with Robert Vaughan (yes, I go back a ways).

I mostly remember Bill Cosby from the standup video that he did in the eighties. "But Dad, I thought my name was Jesus Christ!" Ahhh, I watched that concert video about four thousand times on HBO, so yes, I kind of have it memorized.

But did you know that Bill Cosby also made hit records? No, you didn't. Don't lie to me.

Sure, maybe he appropriated Stevie Wonder, but Stevie doesn't care, so why should we? Steal from the best, they say.

Alas, there is no performance video of this song, which would be so cool, but here is, nevertheless, "Little Ole Man":

And now, here we are. Number fifty. FOUR posts. FOUR.

I never recapped a year like I have here. And I never will again.

But there's just something about 1967. Something that won't ever happen again.

So, number fifty asks the ultimate question:

How can I be sure?
In a world that's constantly changing

Well, you can't. I can't. The further we get, the more confused we are.

The Rascals are woefully under-appreciated.

Because, if one was to rank the influential artists of 1967, one would be a fool to not include the Rascals right up towards the top.

It's probably fitting that there is no performance video of this song. Why? I don't know. I'm just trying to make excuses. There really should be a performance video, but there isn't, so let's try to end this on a high note, and not quibble.

A walk through time. If you weren't there, well, maybe you can at least appreciate the artistry. I have no comment on the culture. That's not my purpose here.

Okay, my comment is: It was all rather silly. But they all thought it was serious, so who am I to judge?

I'm just here for the music.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Bad Hits of the Seventies

Ahhh, the nineteen seventies. A time of Richard Nixon and Jimmy "The Peanut" Carter.

The time of Ford Pintos that exploded, and, on the somewhat safer side, Chevy Vegas. Not "Vegas", as in "Las Vegas". No, I mean "Chevy Vega". Yes, I had one. I didn't even remember what it looked like, until I found this picture. All I remembered was the orange.

Orange was a HUGE color in the seventies. Orange shag carpets, orange fiberglass draperies. Oh, we had it all. Orange, and GREEN. Those two colors just screamed alchemy.

I think the reason for the orange and green color combo was that the sixties were so BEIGE. Sure, you think of the sixties, and you think "flower power", and paisley mini-skirts and ties (for the really "hip" corporate executive), and Peter Max's psychedelic posters. But in the decorating world, one was not allowed to stray beyond beige.

So, of course, the seventies did a 180, and went with the most outlandish color palette imaginable. And we thought it was chic!

"Did you get a dress for the Christmas party?"

"Oh, yes! It's divine!"

"What color is it?"

"It's a really saturated orange, with touches of green."

"Far out!"

And then, for the guys, not to be outdone, we had the leisure suits. When one wanted to straddle the divide between suits and sleepwear. That crisp polyester.

In order to complete the leisure suit look, a guy, even a "guy's guy" had to venture into Woolworth's and find himself a gold chain. Nothing too ostentatious. No charms or lockets attached, or anything "girly". The girly part was accomplished by his heavily-sprayed and blow-dried coiffe.

Visible chest hair, of course, was mandatory. In fact, guys would get out on that disco floor and compare chest hair coverage. Even those who were bare-chested would glue some faux hair on their torsos, just so they wouldn't be ridiculed by the other boogaloo-ers.

Note Tony Orlando and Dawn.

I'm not going to quibble about the fact that Tony just grabbed some random audience members out of the pack and called them "Dawn". Where's Telma Hopkins? I bet she's pissed.

And I don't know exactly what this is, but it's either the worst Christian high school prom ever, or all the guys in attendance are stoned. It's really hard to judge.

But here's Tony (and "Dawn") in his leisure suit, singing "Tie A Yellow Ribbon". And frankly, this song is so monotonous that I'd like to tie a yellow ribbon around his neck, and squeeze hard.

And what better sums up what the seventies were than this song by something called the "Unlimited Orchestra"?

I was trying to figure out where Barry White came in, and then I realized that he's conducting this thing.

Don't tell me that doesn't remind you of this:

Remember this from the seventies? Those organ/muted guitar riffs that start the song?

Sure, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Swiffer Wet Jet. Well, that's what happens to obscure semi-hit songs. They become the soundtrack for cleaning product commercials in the next century. I'm guessing Player, or whoever wrote that song for Player, isn't crying too many tears.

You know, the Native Americans suffered many atrocities. If you know anything about American history, you are well aware of this.

I don't presume to speak for the Native Americans, but I'm thinking that in the lore of their oral history, they reserve a special place for Paul Revere & The Raiders.

From the Swatch-watch wearing "Paul Revere", to Mark Lindsay's hair, there are so many things wrong with this video. But on the plus side, the drummer seems to be heavily featured, so he's down with that.

I will mention that Freddy Weller is ashamedly part of this group. But he did go on to bigger and better things, thankfully.

I don't know about you, but I really miss the three-cornered hats and the revolutionary war tab-coats. But I suppose progress can't be denied.

I'm sort of a fan of falsetto singing. From Roy Orbison, when he went into his high register, to even the Eagles sometimes.

However, much like I hate Lou Christie, I hate this performance by Leo Sayer. And what, by the way, ever happened to Leo Sayer?

And, I know it's stating the obvious, but I'm thinking all those sexy backup dancers probably didn't even ring a bell with Leo. But at least he felt like dancing. That's the main thing.

In conclusion, there are so many avenues to explore in this world we call "the seventies". It's an alien world. But as much as we try to pretend it never happened, the evidence is here ("YouTube") for all of us to see.

I really, truly, blocked most of it out. I think that's a human defense mechanism.

But I say, embrace it! It can't be denied.

And, musical historian that I am, it is incumbent on me to remind everyone of a time that we would much sooner forget.

Oh, that we could.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rock & Roll Of The Sixties - The Groups

There were so many groups in the sixties who had hit records, to try to include them all would be a hopeless task. Since I've already devoted an entire topic to the British Invasion, this post will focus (mainly) on American groups. I thought about ways that I could kind of "group" these groups together in some sort of logical fashion, but I'm not seeing any obvious classifications here, so I thought I would just start with the most famous group:


Well, here is Mike Looove, introducing the rest of the band. And not to be nitpicky, but Carl "Lead Guitar" Wilson is actually just playing rhythm guitar here. It's a minor point, but don't call him "Lead Guitar Wilson" if he's not going to play lead guitar. I really love the Beach Boys, and this performance shows a still-lucid Brian. Plus, their matching outfits are so sweet. But isn't Mike Looove sort of a goofy doofus? I mean, c'mon. Does he really need to act out the song?

P.S. What is a "deuce coupe" anyway? I know that a "coupe" is a car, but I don't know about the "deuce" part. Doesn't deuce mean "two"? So it's a "little two car"? That makes no sense. But I'm not mechanical at all.

P.P.S. When I first heard this song, I thought they were saying, "She's my little do scoop". Of course, that was nonsensical, but it sounded cute. At my young age, I just thought that you could string words together, as long as they sounded good, and in that way, you could make a song. Sort of like how I write songs today.


Here's Mitch and his Wheels, performing on a show called, "Swingin' Time". I've never heard of this show. I guess it never cracked the Nielson Top Ten. Probably a local channel, by the looks of the dingy sheet they hung up as a backdrop. I'm guessing this group was from Detroit....ha ha...I'm just kidding. I'm not really that stupid.......or am I?? Mitch was sort of the king of medleys. He always combined two songs into one. Here he's doing CC Rider and Jenny Take A Ride. But it's still catchy! When he gets to the "Jenny Jenny Jenny" part, you can't help but dance in your chair. But I still like "Devil With The Blue Dress" the best.


Hey, John Sebastian! Welcome back! Isn't this just an infectious performance? I love the enthusiastic lead guitar player. I had to look him up ~ his name is Zal Yanovsky. Unfortunately, he apparently passed away in 2002. That's sad. I'm almost sorry I looked him up now. But he sure enjoyed what he was doing. I really love this video. And, on a side note ~ an autoharp, John! That's a unique choice!


I know. Like you, when I think of the Bee Gees, I picture John Travolta walking down the street, carrying a can of paint. But the Bee Gees had a thriving career long before that movie. I was surprised to find that Barry isn't singing the lead on this one. I'd thought he sang lead on all their songs. But this one is done by Robin. It's a very pretty song. So, see? They didn't just do disco. ("ha ha ha ha - stayin' aliiiiive" - sorry, couldn't resist.)


The Brummels are here, performing on Shindig (at last! A show I've actually heard of!) One might think with a name like Beau Brummels, that these guys were British. Alas! They were from San Francisco. But you can't blame them for trying to capitalize on the British Invasion. And I didn't even know that Peter Tork played the drums. (No, I know that's not Peter Tork). Anyway, the lead singer played a mean tambourine. He really played it with feeling. Good job, Brummel!

And, at the end of this performance, we almost caught a glimpse of this group, getting ready to perform:


The Mamas & The Papas are here performing on a show called, "Shivaree". Okay, this is another show I've never heard of. Was this on a cable access channel or something? I think it came on right after "Swingin' Time". The M&P had two great things going for them: Denny and Cass. Two great singers. Well, okay, John wrote the songs, so that's three good things. As for Michelle? Well, she could clap her hands in time to the music. I heard that they turned off her mic during performances. Okay, I didn't actually hear that. I just made it up. But I bet it's true.


What I'd like to know is, if they are the "union" gap, why are they wearing Confederate uniforms? Hmmm? I know that's a minor point, but it's something that I think has been overlooked. Anyway, this group has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Let's face it, it wasn't cool to admit that you liked this group back in 1967. But Gary is from Hibbing, Minnesota. There was another guy from Hibbing.....who was that again? Somehow I can't see the two of them getting together for a jam session, though. Can you? I just this week got an autographed picture of Gary, and he blessed me. So, he's a cool guy. It's always nice to be blessed. So, bless you, Gary Puckett.


This hit song, from 1967, is memorable for the reason that the background singers sang a much longer part than the lead guy sang. I never knew what they were singing, and I never will, but all I know is, the lead guy sang, "listen", and then the background singers sang something that went on for about five minutes before the lead guy came back and sang, "to what I've gotta say", and then they sang something again for another five minutes. Unusual, to say the least. And you gotta feel sorry for the drummer here. All he had was a snare and a bass. Not even a cymbal. I bet he had to go find a couple of twigs in the park to use as drumsticks. And they didn't have "The Buckinghams" printed on the bass drum. I guess they were waiting to see if this whole band thing was going to work out.


Well, lo and behold. "Sir Douglas" wasn't even a "sir". He was just a guy named Doug from Texas. That's blasphemy. Don't you have to have that title bestowed upon you by the queen? Doesn't she have to hit you with her scepter and stuff? I'll admit, I'm not real familiar with the whole British royalty bit, but I'm thinking that is the case. And who were the other guys in the band? A duke, an earl, a viscount, and a viceroy? (Okay, I made up "viceroy", because I couldn't think of any other British monikers) And, believe me, they don't play the maracas in Buckingham Palace. So, that's a dead giveaway.


The Turtles. Flo & Eddie. (I actually don't know which is which.). I love the Turtles. They were very clever, and they wrote catchy tunes. And doesn't Flo (or Eddie?) look just like Chris Sligh from last season's American Idol? By the looks of the guys in the band, I bet they were in the chess club in high school. Nowadays, they'd work in the IT industry. But they wrote great lines, such as "you're my pride and joy, et cetera". What a heartfelt sentiment.


Whereas Gary Puckett and his Union Gap were kind of stuck in the Civil War era, here's a group that goes back even further! To the Revolutionary War! Nice jodhpurs! Sometimes they even wore their 1770's hats, but unfortunately, not in this video. I was never a big fan of the Raiders' music, but that didn't stop me from plastering Mark Lindsay's pictures all over my bedroom wall at age 12. A couple of notes regarding this video: It's nice that they got both Amy Winehouse and Goldie Hawn to be background dancers. And, if you look closely, that is a much-embarrassed Freddy Weller ("Games People Play") singing backup.


Introduced by Jimmy Durante (who had no idea who these guys were), here are the Grass Roots with their 1966 hit, "Let's Live For Today". Wikipedia says it was from 1967, but Wikipedia is WRONG. I distinctly remember when this song was a hit. I had the single. The Grass Roots had a lot of hits, but this is my favorite. And don't you love their saucy neckerchiefs? You do have to feel kind of sorry for the drummer, dressed in a suit and tie, though. "Oh, man! You guys said you were going to dress up!"


This song, from 1967!! (as annoyingly splashed on the screen), is the soundtrack for EVERY documentary you will ever see on PBS regarding the '60's counterculture movement. I maintain, however, that the band didn't appear to be too upset during this performance. They seemed like they were having a pretty good time. The song features, of course, Steven STILLS, who went on to be a part of Crosby, STILLS, and Nash and/or Crosby, STILLS, Nash, and Young. Coincidentally, this performance also features a heavily-disguised Neil YOUNG, who went on to be a part of Crosby, STILLS, Nash, and YOUNG. On the drums was Richard Dawson, who went on to become part of THE FAMILY FEUD, starring Richard DAWSON. (Okay, yes, I know, but it still kind of looks like him, if you squint.).

A little known fact about Buffalo Springfield is that they originally tried out to be a part of this band (and I'm not kidding):


It's difficult to explain the lure of The Monkees, unless you were there. But for a pre-teen junior high school girl, The Monkees were HUGE! They had a weekly network TV show that was AWFUL, but at the end of each episode, they would have a music "video", and that was well worth waiting for. Micky Dolenz was always my favorite Monkee. Some girls preferred Davy Jones, but he was a bit too "fey" for my taste (sorry, Davy fans). Plus, I always liked drummers. This song was written by Neil Diamond, and it was a really good song! Let's face it. The other members of The Monkees were Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith. Mike Nesmith's mom invented liquid paper, so I'm guessing he had a nice trust fund. He always looked kind of bored or embarrassed in these music clips, but I bet he wasn't too embarrassed to collect the royalties. I bet not.


The Byrds had a big hit with this Bob Dylan song in 1965. You know, the Byrds had quite the lineup. Not only were Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark in the band, but also David CROSBY, who went on to become part of CROSBY, Stills and Nash, and later, CROSBY, Stills, Nash, & Young (oh no, not THIS again). But also, did you know that Gram Parsons was a member of the Byrds at one time? Also, the band included Chris Hillman on bass (who later went on to have a career in country music). In addition to this hit song, the Byrds' other major hit was ripped off from the Bible. But I guess if you're going to rip something off, what could be better to rip off from??

These next two acts aren't technically "bands", but actually "duos", but you just can't leave them out of this discussion. One of the duos was a major influence on popular music; the other one was less so.

So, let's start with the "lesser" one:


I deliberately chose this song, because who isn't sick of, "I Got You, Babe"? When I think about Sonny & Cher, I always feel a bit guilty. You see, one year, for Halloween, my friend and I decided to "be" Sonny & Cher. Well, since I had short hair at the time, I got to be Sonny. Oh sure, we had a great time at work, doing our impression of "I Got You, Babe". I tried to sing it like Sonny, but it came out more like Dylan. But it was still fun, and the "fans" (our co-workers) enjoyed it. But not long after that, Sonny met his demise, so I can't really enjoy pleasant memories of that time, if you know what I mean. But on a less personal note, Sonny Bono started out as a go-fer for Phil Spector, and, from what I understand, good ol' Phil didn't treat Sonny so well. (Phil wasn't known to be very magnanimous then.....or ever). But Sonny had a lot of talent...For one thing, he wrote the song, "Needles and Pins", which was a really good song. Plus, he discovered Cher (somewhere), and they ultimately had huge success as a duo. As for Cher, well, I've heard that there was a lot of "magic", let's say, in getting her vocals to sound as good as they did, even after she went off on her own. But hey! Whatever works and makes you tons of money. So you can live in your penthouse suite. "Newww York is where I'd rawther stay. I get ALLERGIC smelling hay. I just ADORE a penthouse suite......." Sorry, I lost my train of thought there for a minute.


Okay, yes, this is not a vintage music clip, but I couldn't NOT include this song. Is this one of the most gorgeous vocals ever or what? And one of the most beautiful songs? It's difficult to condense these guys down into one paragraph. Paul Simon is a songwriter extraordinaire, and Art Garfunkel? Could anyone sing this song more beautifully? I think, to be remembered for this song alone, would make living worthwhile. And don't forget who wrote this glorious song - Paul Simon. So, there you go.


Unlike some people, who are ASLEEP, I wasn't a huge fan of the Association. They had one GREAT song, but alas, I cannot find a video of it. That was, "Never My Love". So, I had to default to this song, which isn't too bad. Funny how a band/group can have one song that is AWESOME, and yet, their other songs are snoozerzzzzzz. Well, I just call 'em as I see 'em. This group/band/whatever was what I'd label the precursors to the boy bands of the eighties. You know, the Boyz To Men or Backstreet Boyz or any group that had "Boyz" in its name. (I'll admit, I have no idea what these boyz sounded like, so I'm just kind of riffing here, but I do like putting a "z" at the end of every word). So, if and until "Never My Love" is posted on YouTube, I will reserve further comment on this group. But I do have to say, "The Association" is a lame name for a band/group. How about the "Corporation"? The "DBA's"? The "Limited Partnerships"?

So (ta-DA!) I'm going to end this long and winding post with five bands and/or songs that I love. The first one goes like thus:


Burton Cummings, a TRUE Canadian. Note the maple leaf motif on the back of the piano here. And who wouldn't love Burton's long, flowing locks? Burton, I'm afraid, has most likely ballooned up to about 300 pounds nowadays, from the looks of him on this video clip. So?? That doesn't take anything away from his great singing voice. Sure, we make fun of the overweight. It's the last bastion of "making fun of". But one cannot deny that Burton ("call me Burt") was a great singer. And, luckily, he had that lead guitarist dressed in scrubs, who was always at the ready to perform CPR, if Burton needed it.


Ah, Alex Chilton, the quintessential recalcitrant teenager. He would never come out of his room, he refused to cut his bangs, even though his mom pounded on his bedroom door incessantly and implored him to get a haircut, and to stop messing with that "devil music". But Alex wouldn't abide. "Mom!", he'd yell. "I'm working on my masterpiece! Leave me alone!" He later found some guys at the high school, who didn't have much going on, and he talked them into forming a band. The guys were a bit wary of Alex, knowing his reputation of being sort of a prima donna, but they signed on anyway, because they were getting bored experimenting in the science lab. They did their best to bring Alex out of his "funk", but Alex was Alex, and, anyway, at least they got ONE hit song out of the deal, and they have fond memories of their time with the Box Tops, although they disavow any knowledge of Alex to this day.


Felix (that's not a name you hear every day) was a great singer. Unfortunately, the group felt that they needed something to set them apart from all the others, so they made the decision to wear knickers and pork-pie hats. Not necessarily a well-informed choice. It's a shame, really. Because The Rascals was a great group. They didn't need the knickers. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.


John Fogerty always said, "If there is one thing I would do over, I would choose a much better hairstyle. I'd probably not go with the curled bangs, but something a bit more natural." That's really the one regret that John has. If only he'd paid a bit more attention to his hair, who knows what might have transpired? He could have been a big star, to this day. Well, much like the (Young) Rascals, it's too little, too late, at least in the hairdo department. Darn! And I thought this band was really on to something.


Question: Was Jim Morrison an actual human being? Because I'm questioning that. Reason being, he seemed just a bit too "perfect", you know, as far as looks and stuff. Needless to say, I like Jim Morrison. To play devil's advocate for a moment, however, his lyrics weren't the greatest. "Our love becomes a funeral pyre"? "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name? Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game." (??) He's just rhyming stuff that makes no sense! I know he drank a lot, but geez, that just seems lazy. But anyway, I remember when "Light My Fire" came out in 1967. If I could have found an embeddable video of that song, I would have used that one instead of this. Sorry that his light was extinguished so soon, but I think everything happens for a reason. You really wouldn't appreciate a 70-year-old Jim Morrison in the same way that you appreciate the 20-year-old. But good golly, Miss Molly, this was a great band. And Ray Manzarek played a mean organ.