Back in the Long Ago — farther back than I care to remember most of the time — I spent a few years hanging out with some semi-reputable folks at a small airport in South Florida. One of the more colorful parties was another guy named Bill. He and I were drawn together by a shared love of airplanes, flying in general, drinking, the bars of Ft. Lauderdale and their stewardess habitués.
Bill, in addition to being a charming guy and inveterate manipulator of facts — hell, let’s just say it: he’d lie when it would have been easier to tell the truth — was a dreamer. He was always looking for the next rainbow or, lacking that, the next scam. I could write a small novel about his misbegotten escapades and may someday, but this is about the time Bill decided to corner the market on iguana tails. Continue reading →
As many readers know, I've been in recovery from alcohol and other addictions for a few years. I have another blog here where I post more-or-less daily on matters to do with that and other issues. Occasionally I may link to posts that I think might interest folks outside of the recovery community. If they please or offend you feel free to comment, but please keep it clean.
It seems that addicts, especially in early recovery, are exceptionally inclined to find fault with other entities, whether people or organizations. This is especially true early on when we’re in denial about most everything and our fellowships are beginning to strip some of it away as we kick and scream. But it’s also true about the world at large, and not only those of us who admit to addictions are guilty. Psychologists believe this is partially because it enables people to feel better about themselves, but also due to the human tendency toward binary thinking: wrong v. right, good v. bad, black v. white, our tribe v. them, our warriors v. theirs, and so forth.
Binary/black and white kinds of thinking may come from upbringing by caregivers who thought that way, religious influences, our desire–perhaps need–to believe we are superior to others and counteract our own doubts, or other reasons. Actually, regardless of the reasons, we’re stifling our ability to understand others and broaden our own horizons. Continue reading
This one’s not for the faint of heart. You not only have to know the songs but in some cases you need to know stuff about the artists as well. All the information you need is here, but you’ll have to work for the answers. Don’t use Google until you’ve given it a shot on your own. Anyone can look this stuff up, but a real guru won’t need to.
Give yourself two points for each correct answer, for a total of 108 points (bonus question).
91-108 = You’re the Dalai Lama of Oldies!
75-90 = An Oldies Guru, for sure!
50-89 = Well, we’re all getting older…
25-50 = Not bad for a millennial.
Under 25 = Start listening.
What did Dion DiMucci ask the stars up above each night?
And while we’re on the subject of Dion: who roamed “Around, around, around…?”.
Little Willie John had a million-seller hit, but Peggy Lee was the one who sang “Romeo loved Juliet, Juliet she felt the same…” and is best remembered for it. What was the song?
The one-word instrumental that made a Mexican beverage famous in the US. Hint: it was The Champs’ only big hit.
Fats Domino performed it first, but Pat Boone took it to the top. Fats may have remarked, “You’re the one to blame.”
Jiles Perry Richardson liked this, “and a pretty face and a ponytail hangin’ down.”
Aretha and Sarah covered it, but Dinah made the “dif’rence.”
It was long before Visa, but Smokey Robinson and the Miracles told us we’d better _________________.
Bob Lind sang about how “You might wake up some morning/To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind.” What was it?
The title song of a film about a Spring romance starring Pat Boone and Shirley Jones on a Kentucky horse farm, it is one of Pat Boone’s signature numbers.
Ricky Nelson claimed, “I’ve played around with other hearts, but never thought I’d see/The day when someone else would play love’s foolish game with me…” What did that make him?
Shortly before his death in a plane crash, Otis Redding recorded this number about a place where he’d been “sittin’…wastin’ time.” It was the US record industry’s first posthumous number one hit.
Jackson Browne said, “”I was always driving around with no gas in the car. I just never bothered to fill up the tank because — how far was it [to the studio] anyway? Just a few blocks.” So he wrote this song.
Gloria Gaynor was having a rough stretch in her career and personal life back in 1979, but she sang “_______________,” and the song made it to #1.
Joanie Jett had this demo tape rejected by 23 record labels before Boardwalk cut it. It became an anthem for people who loved the kind of music she loved, and one of her best-known hits. Put another dime in the jukebox, baby!
The Drifters sang about a great way to stay out of the sun, down by the sea.
Grace Slick said children’s stories “…all have a place where children get drugs and are able to fly or see an Emerald City or experience extraordinary animals and people… And our parents are suddenly saying, ‘Why are you taking drugs?’ Well, hello!” Gracie wasn’t going to jump down this hole with any __________.
When Del Shannon bought his first guitar for $5.00, his dad said, “You get that damned guitar out of here,” but Mom said it was okay to sing for her. If Del had absconded with his axe, he would have been a _________.
Sam Cooke invited this little guy to “draw back your bow.”
A former chicken plucker recorded this hit about a new dance. It took the teen world by storm after they saw his performance on Dick Clark’s show. Who was he, and what was the song? Come on, Baby!
Where did the fireman wear his mac in the pouring rain?
George “Shadow” Morton brought a motorcycle into the studio for the background sounds in this Shangri-Las number about a leading teenage biker.
Sonny Bono wrote this song on a piece of shirt cardboard one night and woke Cher up twice to hear it. She didn’t like the first try, so he changed the key to suit her and it went on to become Sonny and Cher’s signature duet.
Bob Marley’s song about the revenge killing of a lawman featured some of the greatest falsetto harmonies The Wailers ever produced. Also memorably covered by Eric Clapton, it was…
The Dell-Vikings, composed of a shifting group of airmen who kept getting shipped in and out of Pittsburgh, became pop’s first hit multiracial group by inviting a girl to come and go with them. The song?
This soft song asking his significant other to treat his love gently was recorded by Elvis with only his own guitar for accompaniment. It was also the title song of his first movie.
The only instrumental by the Dave Brubeck Quartet to hit big on the pop charts featured a jazzy 5/4 beat and is still their signature number.
You can rock it you can roll it/You can stop and you can stroll it…but where?
Julie London debuted this torch song in Jayne Mansfield’s “The Girl Can’t Help It”. She invited a former lover to cry lots of tears because she cried them over him. The song was…
The Stones didn’t want to carry someone else’s load.
In one of the funkiest soul anthems of the sixties, Wilson Pickett sang, “All you want to do is ride around Sally”. What was the song? Hint: Sally’s ride was not a Space Shuttle. (See what I did there?)
Band leader and instrumentalist Johnny Otis wrote, produced and sang this funky number about a guy named Willie who could really move his hands.
In September of 1973, Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded this song by Jim Weatherly about taking a late train “to find what’s left of the world he left behind.”
First recorded in 1944 by The Three Suns, but best known in the 1958 version by The Platters, this song refers to the time of day when “heavenly shades of night are falling.”
Deep Purple told the story of a fan shooting a flare gun during a 1971 Frank Zappa show at the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, setting the place on fire. The song?
Carl Perkins’ version made it to #2, but Elvis only managed #20. Maybe he was wearing the wrong shoes.
Paul Anka co-wrote and performed this number when he was only fifteen. It became one of the best-selling singles of all time, moving a reported 9,000,000 45’s. Anka is still performing in his 70’s, and old-timers have stayed with him as he asked _____to do.
Billy Joel said of his stint picking out old standards for people in a bar, “It was all right, I got free drinks and union scale, which was the first steady money I’d made in a long time.” Joel is no longer drinking but he is still, and will always be, the ____________.
The Platters took this song to #1 in the US and #5 in the UK back in the fifties, then Freddie Mercury took it back into the UK top 5 in 1987. They all declaimed, “Oh yes, I’m _____________.”
In this song about his aging generation, Don Henley said he “saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.
Hank Williams released this song about six months before his death from a heart attack. It’s been covered by lots of folks, including Fats Domino and The Carpenters, of all people. All of them seemed to like the idea of having “big fun on the bayou”..
Bobbie Gentry wrote and sang her only hit, about what happened up on Choctaw Ridge. Wait…what did happen up on Choctaw Ridge? Anyway, the song was…
Patti Page, the biggest-selling female artist of the ‘50’s, recorded this number about losing her lover “the night they were playing the beautiful ______________.”
Pianist Peter Carpenter and his sister, vocalist and acclaimed drummer Karen Carpenter, recorded this song by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols. Released in September 1970, it made #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Chosen for the Grammy Hall of Fame years later, it was only just the beginning for The Carpenters.
Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman Ronnie Van Zant sang this answer to Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” and even Young loved it. “I’d rather play ‘_________________’ than ‘Southern Man’ anytime,” Young said. They loved it in Mussel Shoals, too.
Bill Haley and the Comets shoved rock and roll into the mainstream with this number. It was about time.
Phil and Don Everly harmonized on this one, with Chet Atkins assisting on tremolo guitar. It’s one of many songs in the Everly style that influenced later bands from The Beatles to The Beach Boys to Simon and Garfunkel. Dreaming will get it done, or so they said.
Blue Oyster Cult’s big hit, with ghostly guitars and cowbell, has added chills to horror films from “Halloween” to “The Stand”. Some listeners thought it was about Jack the Ripper, but they should have listened more closely.
A showcase of doo-wop harmony, this number was written for a movie in 1938. Peggy Lee covered it, but The Flamingos did it best, not caring if they were in a garden or on a crowded avenue.
Jerry Lee Lewis’s hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” catapulted him into the limelight in 1957, and he’s still beating pianos to death fifty-plus years later. This song, one of his signature numbers, had a featured role in “Top Gun,” as performed by a drunken Anthony “Goose” Edwards, who may have been thinking about Meg Ryan at the time.
BONUS QUESTION (8 points): As of January, 2019, who was the only person to have been admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame three times, and what were the groups involved?