Showing posts with label tommy roe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tommy roe. Show all posts

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Fifty Years Ago?

(Yea, all the posters looked like this in 1969)

1969 was fifty years ago. I would turn fourteen in May, and I was kind of a mess (but then again, when wasn't I?)

It's difficult to recreate that time, but I will do my best to remember. By '69 I had cajoled my mom into letting me move into my own room. We had 52 of them, so the loss of one wouldn't bankrupt my parents. (It was a motel; just to clarify. We didn't live in a 52-room mansion.) 

Just outside our apartment living quarters was a cavernous double garage that housed the laundry facilities and folding tables and miscellaneous detritus. Room #1 bumped up against all this rumbling uproar, so it wasn't an alluring rental. Thus, I determined that this room would be the perfect ~ absolutely pristine ~ new living quarters. It was like a little apartment, with a double bed, a 12-inch black and white TV, a big dresser with a mirror, and its own bathroom. Mom, in a lucid moment, most likely realized that sharing a bunk bed with my much younger brother and sister in a pseudo-closet wasn't the ideal arrangement for a newly-budded teenager, so she agreed. 

My big brother, who was a bona fide carpenter, carved a door into the wall between the deafening garage and the wondrous room; and thus, I could skit across the garage from our apartment and slip inside my very own private living quarters. The very first thing I did when I moved in was search out a sliding chain lock contraption among the clutter of odds and ends my dad owned and shakily twirl it into the wall with a screwdriver. 

For about a year and a half, I lived the solitary life of a cosmopolitan single ~ albeit a thirteen-year-old single who still needed to raid Mom's refrigerator for sustenance.

I still had my battery-operated phonograph because I didn't have a job at thirteen, at least not one that paid actual wages; but I had my eye on a JC Penney component stereo ~ black. Its price tag read $100.00 and I had nine dollars and change, but I knew one day I would definitely own it. The problem with a battery-operated record player was that it didn't have an auxiliary power cord and there was no such thing as alkaline batteries, so those four D's wore down much too quickly. I did have a transistor radio, though, so the air shimmered with music at all times. 

My new best friend Alice had reintroduced me to country music in 1967 and I'd embraced it wholeheartedly; yet I wasn't quite ready to give up my pop, so I had one size six-and-a-half sized foot in the country world and the other in the candy confection cosmos of KFYR-AM radio.

In January of '69 the Beatles performed a weird rooftop concert and Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th president of the US, which sort of sums up the schizophrenic world of the last year of the sixties.

The Tet Offensive happened in February, and every single person alive (especially the boys deployed) were sick to death of the Viet Nam War. Meanwhile, this was the biggest hit in the country:

Down in Nashville, some guy named Cash had a network TV show that featured the Carters, the Statlers, and Carl Perkins. He also had the number one country hit of January and February. (For you trivia buffs, June Carter did not sing the "Mama sang tenor" part on the record. It was Jan Howard.)

Some guy hijacked a plane and diverted it to Cuba (yawn) in March. Hijackings were an every other week occurrence. At the Grammys, Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson won record of the year, but not to be outdone, Glen Campbell won album of the year for By The Time I Get To Phoenix. Jose Feliciano was best new artist. Jeannie C. Riley and Johnny Cash were best female and male artists, and one of the all-time worst songs of all time, Little Green Apples, not only won best country song but best song overall (and you know how that song has stood the test of time, which proves that the Grammys are overall worthless).

Meanwhile, this was the number one pop hit:

I'm a bit queasy from watching this video. Tommy Roe filled a niche, if that niche was toothache-sweet marshmallow confections. He actually recorded a decent song a few years later and then was never heard from again (okay, I don't actually know that for a fact).

In country, nothing good happened until April. My country station just kept playing Daddy Sang Bass over and over. Album-wise, Wichita Lineman was number one for fifteen straight weeks. Now, I like Glen Campbell a lot, but back then I truly hated him. The songs would have been okay, but the hideous strings he put on all his records made me nauseous. I liked twin fiddles and a good steel guitar solo. And don't even get me started on Jimmy Webb.

A word about TV:  Even the shows I liked were awful. For those who exist in a Netflix world, let me explain how television worked in 1969. There were three networks (PBS didn't count) and that was it. If one wanted to watch TV, not only did they need to suffer through commercials, but they also had to suffer through the shows themselves. Frankly, the only good program in '69 was the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Shows I watched essentially against my will:  Gomer Pyle, Laugh-In, Green Acres, Hawaii Five-O, Get Smart (okay, Get Smart was good), something called Here Come The Brides, Mannix and Mission: Impossible (again, these two are exceptions to the rule); Petticoat Junction, Ironside, I Dream Of Jeannie, Family Affair. As bad as almost all those were, there were programs even I refused to watch, such as Adam-12 and Hogan's Heroes.

Alice and I attended a lot of movies that year, too, because what the hell else would thirteen-year-olds do for fun? We saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Paint Your Wagon, which featured a painful vocal performance by Lee Marvin. We saw True Grit with John Wayne and (hey ~ again!) Glen Campbell.

Thus sums up the first quarter of the year 1969. In retrospect, country music basically sucked and pop was hanging on by a thread. 

Personally, I slathered a lot of Clearasil on my chin and dotted clear nail polish on my snagged nylons. I wore too much liquid makeup, in the wrong shade for my skin tone. I still worshiped my big brother, but he was barely around. My little brother and sister, though cute, were "others" that I scarcely interacted with. My parents were to be avoided at all cost. Life Science was an alien proposition; US History was interesting, but I was loathe to admit it to anyone. School was in essence a day to get through.

1969 does become more interesting, however, as the pages turn. 

Stay tuned.

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.