Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Music of My Life: Part 2

Being born in the early 50’s, my teen years were dominated by The British Invasion. I remember vividly watching The Beatles debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” (and teen debates about if you could spell “antidisestablishmentarianism”). My personal favorite was The Dave Clark Five. Of course, there were The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark. There was also the California movement epitomized by convertibles and surfing, which we did not do on the beaches of Long Island: Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, and one of the most memorable drum solos by The Surfaris (Ahhhh, Wipeout!). And I cannot forget “My Boyfriend’s Back”, “Soldier Boy”, “Leader of the Pack”, and everything recorded by The Supremes.

I became aware of the Viet Nam War. I discovered boys. I discovered poverty. I took weekly accordion lessons. I found the library was the best place to be other than home. I played these songs as I sewed all my own clothes and learned to knit and crochet. I figured out I would never look like Twiggy. Alone, I would go to the movies for the Saturday matinee featuring my television idols, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, Sandra Dee, Connie Francis, Haylee Mills, and admittedly, Shirley Temple (would I ever look like these girls? I don’t think so.).

In my house there was also “The Mitch Miller Show”, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Leslie Uggams, Sam and Dave, Frank Sinatra, Otis Redding, the annual Christmas specials by any number of songsters. At school, there were The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Simon and Garfunkel, Bobby Vinton, Mamas and the Papas, Dylan, Baez, and many more. I discovered music that seemed to accurately reflect my sadness, my adolescent angst, and could also make me dance with joy. I started dealing with death, bullying, and feeling like an outsider. But I also had “All in the Family” and more shows involving people who looked like me. It was definitely a time of interest.

I also had a “baby” brother who had to deal with not only our father’s death, but the deaths of many of our closest relatives, and a mother who had her own issues. Once, my mother made me take my brother to my regular Saturday matinee trips. I took him to see “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte”. He hasn’t forgiven me to this day.

I’m sorry, Brother Mine. But it is said I have “Bette Davis Eyes”.

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