Thursday, March 26, 2015


If it is true that most of us use only 10% of our brain power, then I have a special handicap. About 50% of my 10% is occupied with song melodies and lyrics. I take pride in my wide-ranging song knowledge, but I realize that remembering songs is keeping my brain from focusing on other information that might be even more valuable.

Nothing is more fun than listening to the Sirius/XM station “Sixties on 6.” I grew up on those songs. I can’t claim to have “made out” to most of those songs (my making out skills were sadly lacking in the sixties), but I did dance to them and sang along while I danced. And I can still sing along today. Which is pretty amazing since I often can’t remember details about what happened in my life yesterday – or the reason I have just entered a room with great determination, only to stop dead in my tracks.

Over the past few weeks, Audrey and I have been driving to Vermont on Saturday afternoons when Lou Simon has been hosting his weekly “Sirius Sixties Survey” show. He does more than “spin the records” of that calendar week during one of the years during the sixties; he also tells great stories behind the songs. For example, just this week I learned that the real names of the singers performing “Hey, Paula” were not Paul or Paula. Their real names were Ray and Jill. But the record producer decided it made little sense to use their real names on the label. The record sold more than 2 million copies, and I’ll bet that most of us believed that it was really Paul and Paula who wanted to marry each other. (By the way, the duo had a second hit on the charts in March 1963, “Young Lovers,” but I didn’t remember that one.)
Ray and Jill pledge their love
Simon also revealed that the bass voice on “Mr. Bass Man" (song #28 last week) was also the deep voice on “Who Put the Bomp” a few years before. No, none of us need to know this stuff, but our lives are fuller with the knowledge. At least, mine is. And I’m storing the information in my 10%.

And there were more surprises. For example, the #16 song that week was “All I Have to Do Is Dream” sung by (are you ready for this?) Richard Chamberlain. He did more than break hearts and cure disease as Dr. Kildare. He also had three hits on the charts in 1963. Can anyone name the other two? Lou Simon, of course.

As Simon counted down to number one for the week of March 21, 1963, Audrey and I sang along and I reminisced. That’s what I do a lot when I listen to 60s music. And what was number one? “He’s So Fine” by the Chiffons. It was written by a man named Ronnie Mack, whose name impressed Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier enough to write a song called “Jimmy Mack” a little later on.
doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang
And "He's So Fine" was a key part in a plagiarism suit against George Harrison, who was part of another rock group that achieved its own fame in the sixties.
More than religion may have inspired George Harrison

Lou Simon is providing me with so much great stuff. But I wonder what my brain is giving up to make room for it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment