Monday, August 25, 2014

Heartbreak Hotel

From the brilliant pen of Rick Kollinger

In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare wrote, “music oft hath such a charm to make bad good.”

When you recall how good the songs about love gone bad sounded during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, you know the Bard was right on target.

A veritable river of tears flowed from every radio and jukebox during the golden age of rock and roll. These sad songs helped carry us through unhappy experiences and provided us with a primer for handling heartbreak.

For example, how can you tell when love is about to go cold? The Righteous Brothers reckon you’ll catch your beloved’s eyes open while kissing.

How can you prove your love is a cheat? Connie Francis recommends a detailed lipstick comparison.

What if the object of your affection dumps you? Despite all of the lovely Miss Brown’s attributes, Herman suggests getting on with life. Pining is simply a waste of time.

And these scenarios are just the tip of the Kleenex box. Because at the Heartbreak Hotel, there’s always room for one more old friend with a good, sad story to tell.    

Here are a few of the lyrics that have meant something to me over the years. Which are your tear-soaked faves?    

         Perish is the word that more than applies
         To the hope in my heart each time I realize
         That I am not going to be the one to share your dreams.
         That I am not going to be the one to share your schemes.

         The Association

Yesterday’s love was like a warm summer breeze
But like the weather you changed.
Now things are dreary baby, and it’s windy and cold
and I stand alone in the rain, calling your name.

         Classics IV

I should have known you’d bid me farewell.
There’s a lesson to be learned from this
and I’ve learned it very well.
Now I know you’re not the only starfish in the sea.
If I never hear your name again,
it’s all the same to me.

         “Red Rubber Ball”
         The Cyrkle

You made me leave my happy home,
You took my love and now you’re gone.

“Since I Fell For You”
                   Lenny Welch

I walk in shadows, searching for light
cold and alone, no comfort in sight.
Hoping and praying for someone to care,
always movin’ and goin’ nowhere.

         “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted”
                     David Ruffin

Remember what we’ve said, and done,
and felt about each other.
Oh babe, have mercy.
Don’t let the past remind us of
what we are not now.

         “Suite Judy Blue Eyes”
         Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young 

A one-line note left by a suicide victim became the inspiration for Elvis’ first number one single. After reading “I walk a lonely street,” co-writer Mae Axton decided to put a heartbreak hotel at the end of it.

Though it’s always crowded,
you still can find some room.

                 “Heartbreak Hotel”
                     Elvis Presley

Even the rich and famous can't always buy happiness.

"Onstage, I make love to 25,000 people. Then I go home alone."
                                                                         – Janis Joplin


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Welcome to Wisdom of the oldies

 Not long ago, I was riding in my car listening to “It’s My Party” on a local oldies station. 

Of course, I’ve known the words by heart since 1963, but for some reason, I started giving some serious thought to poor Lesley Gore’s predicament.

I wondered why in the world she cared one iota about this creep, Johnny. After all, he’d ruined her birthday party by running off with another girl. 

Plus he’d made a fool out of her in front of all her friends. (Not to mention that we find out in “Judy’s Turn To Cry” how incredibly fickle he is.) 

Then I started thinking about how Lesley handled her crisis. She told her friends to “play all my records, keep dancing all night... but leave me alone for awhile.” Instead of crying her eyes out in some dark corner, she should’ve listened to the songs on her record player. The common sense of the lyrics might have pulled her out of the tailspin. 

She could have saved her party. And saved face.

For example, Bobby Rydell would have advised : “Forget him, if he doesn’t love you. Forget him, if he doesn’t care.”

The Beatles would have issued this warning to Johnny :  “You’re gonna lose that girl... if you don’t treat her right, my friend, you’re going to find her gone.”   
She might’ve worked up the gumption to fight back after hearing Little Eva proclaim: “Keep your hands offa my baby.” 

The Flying Machine could have consoled her with: “Darling, dry your eyes, so many other guys would give the world, I’m sure, to wear the shoes he wore.” 

And the Staple Singers would have added simply: “Respect yourself.”

If you listen carefully, you’ll find that tucked within virtually every oldie is a little nugget of advice, a morality lesson, a shared experience.   

Together, these lyrics comprise the Wisdom of the Oldies. 

Some will make you laugh. Some will make you think.

And, oh by the way, it’s a blog devoted to oldies fanatics, so you can even cry if you want to.