Music is fun and entertaining to most of us whether it is from our own memories of pop tunes recorded during our lifetimes or before.
I love the old stuff because the tunes are so great and supply us with a vision of their times and some of the
lyrics infuriate the holier than thou liberals of today who don’t understand the era that produced the songs.
Cole Porter (1891-1964)
A favorite is “Let’s Do it (Let’s fall in love)” written in 1928 by the prolific Cole Porter. The irony in this song is in the opening chorus where it states that “Chinks do it, Japs do it, up in Lapland little Laps do it...”
Porter wrote it for the show Paris which was his first Broadway success. With the politically correct world that evolved, the lyrics were later changed to “Birds do it, bees do it”. I think that is a cop out; I think Porter was just having fun with the first lyrics and meant nothing harmful with “Chinks do it, Japs do it” but as we know, tastes change and skin gets thinner (The attached YouTube has the original lyrics).
I’ve been a music freak forever and still carry a harmonica around much to the disdain of some but, hey, that’s just me. I’ve been following pop music since I was 6 or 7 and have never tired of it although some of the stuff today makes me glad I like what are now the oldies.
One favorite from the late 40’s was a regular on the hit parade from WCKY in Cincinnati: Peggy Lee and her then husband Dave Barbour doing “Manana”. Peggy was great with any tune.
As the 50s arrived 1955 produced guys like Pat Boone with “Ain’t That a Shame” and Perez Prado with “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”. Bill Haley and his Comets snuck in that year with “Rock Around the Clock” which was a portent of things to come.
And come it did in 1956 with some guy named “Elvis” hitting it big with “Hound Dog” and “Love me Tender.” Does anyone remember one hit wonder Jim Lowe with “Green Door”?
Can it really be 55 years since I got out of high school? That would be 1958 when “At the Hop”, by Danny and the Juniors, “Get a Job” by The Silhouettes, “Tequila” by The Champs, and “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters ruled.
The 60s were nice. I spent 4 years in the Air Force; plenty of time to learn things I would never had learned by staying in Cincy. Also a time to meet girls and dance and love in clubs from Texas and Missouri to Germany only to come home in 1965 and find my true love a month later. Isn’t fate great? The young guys today don’t know what they missed by not having to serve.
Meanwhile, tunes like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “The Twist”, “The Duke of Earl”, “Surf City”, “Sugar Shack”, All the great British invasion songs including “Downtown” by Pet Clark; Monday, Monday”, “Crimson and Clover”, and many other great tunes came along.
Even today, I still like to occasionally turn up the volume all the way and break off the knob as I am doing while I write this paean to pop music. So far while writing I have played The Smithereens, Donnie Iris, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, Norman Greenbaum, West End Girls, Jefferson Starship, One Night in Bangkok, Greg Kihn Band, and Yes.
So many songs; so little time!
For a good look at Paris of the 1920’s see Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (2011).