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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Those oldies but goodies and you

Rick Derringer (left) and The McCoys did "Hang On Sloopy" in 1965

It doesn’t matter who you are or whether you are a man or a woman, you probably have a lot of old popular songs that are etched into your mind. Why are they there? Probably because music is one of the greatest sources of bringing back memories, whether good or bad. Is there anyone on Earth who doesn’t know some of the lyrics from "Louie, Louie"?

I was listening to Music Choice Solid Gold the other night on Cox Cable and it was like a trip back in time. Suddenly, I was remembering old cars I had, former girlfriends, and nights at the drive-in movies (I think I hold the record for the fewest movies seen at a drive-in between 1957 and 1961 and I’m damn proud of it!). Then there were the tunes from the military years, early days of a great marriage, and beyond. Songs are great memory makers, those old 2 ½ to 3 minute tunes are hard to forget. Here are some I heard recently and my recollections of them. What are some of your favorites and your memories of them?

1957: "Diana," by Paul Anka, "Wake Up Little Susie," by The Everly Brothers. I turned 16 and started driving legally that summer. Those songs remind me of make out sessions in a ‘54 Ford.

1959: "Sleep Walk," by Santo and Johnny, "What’d I Say?" by Ray Charles. It was a great summer, met my first steady girl, drove a ‘57 Chevy to California on Route 66 to meet another girl. I was young, free, and life was good along with the music. Remember "Venus" by Frankie Avalon? "Pink Shoe Laces" by Dodie Stevens?

1961: "Runaround Sue" by Dion, "Runnin’ Scared" by Roy Orbison, "Moody River" by Pat Boone. I was 20, had a girl, a job, went water skiing almost every day until September when Uncle Sam called.

1962: "Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee and the Starlighters, "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler, "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva. Stationed near Kansas City, no more girl friend but still had my ‘57 Chevy and chances to meet new girls. Sorry, Nancy, It was fun while it lasted.

1963: "It’s My Party" by Lesley Gore, "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer, "Surf City" by Jan and Dean. Back from Germany, partying a lot in Kansas City, eating at McDonald’s so I had more money for drinking. Listening to the tunes on "Yours truly WHB,"AM radio full blast.

1965: "Downtown" by Petula Clark, "Help Me, Rhonda" by The Beach Boys, "Yesterday" by The Beatles. Discharged from Air Force in September, back to Cincinnati and college. Met future wife Barb a month after hitting town. The number one tune when I met her? "Hang on Sloopy" by The McCoys with lead guitarist Rick Derringer ("Rock and Roll Hoochie-Coo").

I could go on but you know what I mean. Most of my stuff may be a bit old unless you are Don, Tom Moore, or animadvert, some of my contemporaries. Don’t be afraid of the newer stuff. I remember disco, electronic ‘80s stuff, Madonna, Falco, Rockwell, Phil Collins, Supertramp, Rush, U2, Kim Wilde, etc. If it’s hip-hop or rap, though, forget it. I have to draw the line somewhere!

Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in their "Beach Party" days. His "Venus" was a big hit in 1959. It was great drive-in song.

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