Call me old fashioned if you wish, but at the age of 70, I really don’t dig todays modern music mayhem, and maybe it is because I was trying to grow up in the ’50s and ’60s.
Like many of you who were teeny-boppers way back then, we were mesmerized by such glitzy rock stars and crooners as: Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Frankie Avalon, Ricky Nelson, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, The Everly Brothers, The Drifters, Gloria Gaynor, Kenny Rogers, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Loretta Lynn, Ike and Tina Turner, Tom Jones, Jose Feliciano, and Elvis Presley, and so many others that rocked our world morning, noon and night.
What I really liked about those great old songs is that they always had a great story to tell, during which we could laugh, cry, sing along, or just get in the mood and day dream a little to perk up a down day. When we rushed out to the record store and bought those early 45 and 78 records, you will remember that the flashy cardboard cover had a sizzling photo of all those stars, one that we would sit and admire for hours, pin up on our messy bedroom wall along with all our precious souvenirs, then when we got tired of them we would swap them for the newest music and screen heart throb. I guess in those wild and wonderful days those records cost less than a dollar but if we couldn’t afford them, we would flip on the downstairs radio or head down to a local cafe to share a Coke and fries, while spinning the hottest songs on the juke box for a nickel.
Many of us kids even tried to follow the same hairstyles of our favourite music icons and would have loved to dress the same but our meagre budget usually amounted to 50 cents a week allowance and all the bottles we could collect, so we just spiffed up with what we had and imagined the rest. One of my proudest possessions was a pair of white bucks (shoes), which I only used for special occasions, and painted them when they got to scuffed up. In those days there was a Ponoka Teen Town Club that hosted an annual Friday night dance, where you could shuck and jive and twist to the stylings of a local band with your favourite gal until 10 p.m. then everyone dashed down to the local greasy spoon, squeezed into those big booths and shared some treats. At the end of the evening the parents would usually pick up your date (how embarrassing), or just maybe you got to walk them all way the home, unless you had a rich buddy with a car.
In today’s world of music you can download any number of songs in seconds on all sorts of electronic gizmos and there are thousands of choices that include rap, rock, pop, dance, Celtic, blues, jazz, classic, country and western, and who knows what else. Did you know C and W started way back in the 1920s in the southern United States? It has been the most popular music played on car radios during commutes and on vacations for decades, and will always be the ‘in thing’ at most country dances and rodeo flings? I am sure that most of us can still shake it a little to most tunes but not quite as long and lively as we once used to?
I guess I have to admit, and I’m sure some will agree, that we still love to tune in a song when we are alone at home or in the car and make a brave attempt to match the words and even occasionally get right in the groove and shake to the rhythm, as long as no one is watching. There is no doubt that many of us still sing in the shower, and love to plug in those earphones whenever the occasion arises, but please tell me why that some have to turn up the base so high in their vehicles that everything shakes, and must be very tough on young eardrums?
On the same great subject of music, I was quite saddened last week to hear of the death of Canadian Legend Stompin’ Tom Connors, a unique entertainer who for decades proudly stood for everything that was Canada. With his signature black hat, Tom Connors sang and stomped his way into the hearts of millions of Canadians with legendary but totally down to earth songs such as: Bud the Spud, Canada Day, Up Canada Way, Sudbury Saturday Night, the famous Hockey Song, and on and on.
Make sure that you always try to swing at your own beat each and every day, go ahead and share it with others, and have a great week, all of you!