Thursday, August 5, 2010
Buy Me a Song.
By Gerry Wendel, Groovy Reflections Founder and Team Member
“Daddy, Daddy THAT’S the song! THAT’S the song I want to buy! PLEEEEEZE, can I have fifty-four cents?” That wishful chant happened in the backyard on our patio. I was the one chanting. THAT song was oozing from the “jukebox” which was hooked up to the stereo inside the house. Well, it really wasn’t a jukebox, just a giant speaker. Originally painted white, on this particular day it was proudly wearing a color that us kids were told was lavender. Trust me, it was pink, and could have been called “muted Pepto-Bismol”.
Oh, but the sounds that came out of that "jukebox substitute" from both the radio and records. In my youngest days, it was a blend of Rock ‘n’ Roll, crooners, Country and Western, and traditional German songs. The mix included Nate King Cole, Jerry Vale, Johnny Cash, Everly Brothers, Cousin Brucie on WABC, and the Beer Barrel Polka.
The playlist morphed into something quite different a few years later. German songs gave way to Danish ones. Show tunes and soundtracks emerged: West Side Story, Half a Sixpence, Mame. Rock ‘n Roll lived on, however, there was an on-going conflict between my Dad and Step-Mom over whether or not Rock 'n Roll should be heard. Thankfully, it still was.
Dad of course needed justification in order to give me the fifty-four cents. He had to actually LIKE the song. And yes, he did fork over the dough; otherwise, there’d be no tale to tell.
Soon after the funds were surrendered to me there I was at Woolworths gazing at the rack of 45’s, anxiously searching for THAT song. And there it was! Eagerly, I grabbed my treasure and marched over to the cash registers, where I promptly paid for that platter with the sacrificial coins from Dad. Yes! My first real purchase of a record. Sure, I owned records already and had accumulated a small collection. They weren’t bought by me, but acquired in other ways; I was notorious for stealing my brother’s records including both their “Here come the Judge” 45’s. Other discs came my way as gifts.
Why this record? I had connected with this song, and though I had no clue as to what the song was truly about, I felt drawn to it by the soaring vocals and the lyrics. I knew that it was about people coming together. I knew it was about peace. But as far as the inspiration for those words it was something I’d learn about later on.
In the privacy of my room, seated on the floor, wearing those larger than life headsets, I spun that 45. Three minutes and 49 seconds of pure bliss. Over and over. Funny, I do the same thing nowadays, only nowadays with digital tracks on my iPod instead.
Now you know and I know that those turntables from our youth perhaps didn’t have the highest quality. And records certainly weren’t made to last forever. But we could fix those skips and improve the quality ourselves by placing a penny on the stylus, couldn’t we? And so, I did. Soon, Melanie ceased singing “Lay down, lay it down, lay it all down”. Instead, she sang “Lay down, psssssssssssssssssst, lay it all down”. But that was okay, because her next release, “Peace Will Come” became my new favorite 45. And so the process begins again.