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American Bandstand

Like lots of kids,when I was small I liked pop music, the hits on the radio. I remember buying 45's at the grocery store; I recall that they were like 99¢ each. My sister liked a teen heart-throb named Bobby Sherman. I liked the unicorn song, by the Irish Rovers:

There were green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn.

I remember having a cheap little portable record player and spinning "Band on the Run" and "The Locomotion" on the concrete slab that predated the deck outside the back door. Even earlier, I remember listening to records in Norman O's basement, Beatles and Monkees, they were equals to me. That must have been the late sixties.

Later we had an album that we bought from a TV promotion, "Summer '72". It was covers of the hits of that year. Neil Young's "Horse with no Name" was one of the songs; another was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, etc.). There was another by Paul Simon, I forget which. I was maybe ten (let's say it was 1973 by the time we got the album). I couldn't distinguish the covers from the originals.

By around 1975 my tastes were developing. We would sometimes sleep outside and listen to the radio. I remember listening to "Jackie Blue" and "Magic," among others.

Around that time I got my first LP, by the Captain and Tennille, which featured a catchy little number called "Love WIll Keep Us Together." Around 1975 we brought a cream colored Chevy station wagon, and my dad installed an 8-track player. I think we only had two 8-track tapes: Jim Croce's greatest hits and one of big band favorites from the forties. I loved that Jim Croce album, but eventually got sick of it. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" ad nauseum. I liked the drum part on "Sing, SIng, Sing." My dad would sometimes torture us by playing an easy-listening radio station that advertised itself as "warm and friendly." My brother and I hated the "warm and friendly."

For my birthday one year I got a cassette of Elton John's greatest hits. I would play it on my portable cassette recorder. Probably the very one I used to record music from the TV. On Saturdays around noon, American Bandstand came on. I would sit in front of the TV with my cassette recorder and record the songs I liked. I remember my dad walking into the living room talking. I was livid. Didn't he realize I was recording? He did, but kept on talking anyway.

By the mid to late seventies I was into heavier stuff, like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bachman Turner Overdrive. My brother had more eclectic tastes; by then he was into Stevie Wonder and Elton John. I remember a trip downstate when I bought Bob Seger's Live Bullet. It was a gray day and was lying in the back of the station wagon admiring the photographs thinking about how cool the Silver Bullet Band was.


childhood memories

I remember lying on my tummy (can't do that any more) gazing adoringly into Bobby Sherman's life-size face on the album cover, listening to the music and singing along, positive he was singing directly to me. Today I can't think of a single song on that album. About the same time I would listen to "American Pie" on my transistor radio...

May 2019



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