BABY BOOMER BABBLE
The magical musical tour continues
Not so long ago, I listed my top thirty hit songs and my top ten albums. I encouraged readers to e-mail me some of their favorites. I had a really good response, which surprised me. So, living up to my word as a rock and roll baby boomer, here are some of your favorites that were brought to my attention. I am not responsible for the contents.
As would be expected, since I didn’t mention Elvis, you did. Elvis was definitely a huge factor influencing the rock and roll scene. He had a string of hits longer than Seminary Street. I was not a big Elvis fan. I could take him or leave him. Listening to “Hound Dog”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, and “Love Me Tender” is a pleasure, to be sure. I remember when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. That was in September, 1956. Our parents were worried about his hip gyrations. If only they knew what was to come.
The Beach Boys got some support from about five or six of you. The most mentioned songs were “Surfin’ USA,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” and “I Get Around.” I liked “Good Vibrations,” because it was different. They were too West Coast for me.
The Monkees were a highly popular group with their own TV show, that ran from 1966-68. They were actually cast for the parts, with somewhere around 437 actors and musicians auditioning for the four male parts. The songs mentioned by three of you included “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “I’m a Believer.” The Monkees were too gimmicky. I did see them in Marshfield, Wisconsin, at the fairground, somewhere around 1977. It was not one of my better days.
Johnny Rivers got mentioned several times. He was an early rock and roller. I have his album, “Johnny Rivers at the Whiskey a Go Go, recorded in 1964. He had numerous hits, including “Seventh Son,” and “Secret Agent Man.” He was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. I understand he continues to perform, playing mainly the blues. No wonder, he’s just about to turn 66.
Jim Croce was another good singer who got some mention. He was killed in a plane crash in September, 1973. He was thirty. He was for the most part a solo performer, known as much for his song writing as his singing. His most famous tunes were “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown,” and “Time in a Bottle.” He could have easily made my list, and would have, if I had gone with my top fifty instead of thirty.
I’m surprised anyone remembered Rick Nelson as a singer. Nelson was the son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, in real life, and in the show, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” which aired from 1952-66. Ozzie Nelson was a big band leader, and Harriet a singer, so Rick got it naturally. Some of Nelsons hits included “Hello Mary Lou,” and “Travelin’ Man.” While he wouldn’t be one of my favorites, he certainly was successful, said to be second only to Elvis at the time. That ain’t bad.
Then there was the whole British invasion, of which eight or nine people mentioned. While the Beatles and the Rolling Stones dominated that attack, there were many other notable and influential groups. Who could ever forget “The Who,” “The Animals,” “The Dave Clark Five,” “The Kinks,” “Manfred Mann,” Paul Revere and the Raiders,” Herman’s Hermits,” “The Zombies,” Peter & Gordon,” “Donovan,” “The Byrds,” “Cream,” and The Troggs.” A lot of hits came out of these groups, including “Wild Thing,” “House of the Rising Sun,” “Mrs. Brown You Got a Lovely Daughter,” “Crossroads,” “She’s Not There,” and “You Really Got Me.” There was a lot of talent coming out of Britain. Luckily, we had already won the war, cause we’d have lost this one.
Anyway, thanks for another trip on our magic swirling ship. I enjoyed hearing from you, even though your taste in music is a little shaky. (I left out some of the worst, including “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” and “The Purple People Eater.”) I didn’t think that was funny.