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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GIRL TUNES

I was listening to the radio in the car today and one of my favorite old "girl name" songs was played. It was "Francine" by ZZ Top, a cut from the 1972 album "Rio Grande Mud." Needless to say, I turned the volume all the way up and broke off the knob. (Got a girl, her name’s Francine, finest thing you ever seen, and I love her). Oh, yeah!

ZZ Top’s use of a girl’s name in the title made me wonder about all the other great "girl name" songs that have been popular through the years. If you are like me and grew up a pop music fan, each song will bring back a memory of when you heard the song in the past.

The first one I thought of was "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly. What a great tune to take me back to high school in 1957. I had just gotten my drivers’s license that year and must have heard that song a million times on the radio cruising through Frisch’s Drive-In restaurant in Cincinnati and looking for girls.

In 1966, a garage band from Chicago called The Shadows of Knight recorded the Van Morrison written tune "Gloria." It was a great, grinding, song that was easy to sing and dance to, especially after you had downed a few beers. I was 6 months out of the Air Force and had met a beautiful, 20 year old co-ed at the U. Of Cincinnati named Barb, who would eventually be my wife. We were both young, enjoying life, and having a great time together. Thanks, Van, for writing "Gloria."

A couple years later in 1968, I was living in Missouri and The Monkees were popular. One of my favorites from those guys was "Valleri." We had parties at a vet’s club near school where "Valleri" always made the playlist. I loved the part where we sang to the record: And her name is Val, al, al,al, al leri! Those were fun days, I wonder what happened to those guys.

In 1972, it was Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton) doing "Layla." Another great song and I remember it at many parties. 1972 was the year we bought our first house in Kansas. $26,000 for 3 bedrooms, 2 car garage, large lot on a lake and cul-de-sac. Falstaff beer was also $1.00 per 6 pack and I had my share of that while working in my new yard and listening to that new phenomenon, rock music on FM radio.

ERIC CLAPTON AT WORK



I could go on forever about girl songs. I’m sure you have great memories of your own and when you hear your faves, relate to a time and place when you heard that tune.

Here’s a few more you probably know: "Sherry" 1962, by The Four Seasons, "Eleanor Rigby" 1966, by The Beatles, "Mustang Sally" 1966, by Wilson Pickett, "Brandy" 1972, by The Looking Glass, "Maggie May" 1971, by Rod Stewart, "My Sharona" 1979, by The Knack, "Jenny 867-5309" 1982, by Tommy Tutone, "Billie Jean" 1983, by Michael Jackson.

What are your favorite "girl name" songs? I have barely scratched the surface with my list.

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