October 8, 2018
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And here it comes, Week 370 of Weird Whimsical Word World, a presentation of whoever brought you the first 369 weeks of this slog through the murky swamp of our native tongue.
We were visiting our daughter and granddaughter not long ago and somehow I started singing the Name Game song by the great ‘60s pop-soul star Shirley Ellis. You know: “Shirley Shirley, Bo Birley, Banana-Fanna Fo Firley, etc.” Fun old tune. And you could dance to it! This Top Five hit of 1965 reminded me once again of how great ‘Top 40’ radio was, and the variety of creative and crazy things you could hear within that format on any given day. (Oh boy, here he goes again.)
Let’s just look at some songs popular in 1965: ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles, ‘Eve of Destruction’ (not a happy song) by Barry McGuire, who should have stayed with the New Christy Minstrels, ‘Wooly Bully’ by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ by the Supremes, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ by Bob Dylan, (the first five-minute hit in Top 40) ‘My Girl’ by the Temptations, (best instrumental intro line of the ‘60s) ‘A Lover’s Concerto’ (based on a classical piece) by The Toys, and ‘Crying in the Chapel’ by Elvis.
And that’s just the start. The decade of the ‘60s was a bubbling stew of variety. You could dance to James Brown’s ‘I Got You (I Feel Good). You could wave your tambourine along to ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ by The Byrds (and Bob Dylan). You could sing along (how could you resist?) with ‘King of the Road’ by Roger Miller, one of the cleverest writers ever to pick up a pen. Like country music? Eddy Arnold was in the Top Ten with ‘Make the World Go Away’. Brit artist Shirley Bassey had a huge hit with the theme to the James Bond movie ‘Goldfinger.’ (“He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch, a spider’s touch.”) Don’t get me started.
Instrumentals were very big, too. Two Germans (Horst Jankowski and Bert Kaempfert) had major hits with ‘Walk in the Black Forest’ and ‘Red Roses for a Blue Lady,’ respectively. Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass hit it big with ‘Taste of Honey,’ and Sounds Orchestral had major success with ‘Cast Your Fate To The Wind.’ Oh, and Ramsey Lewis’s ‘In Crowd.’
Even 1950’s sweetheart Patti Page was still in the mix with the theme song to one kah-reepy movie ‘Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.’
I guess my point is that back then we all heard and enjoyed (for the most part) the same music. If you wanted to use one of those types of music as a jumping-off point for more ‘in-depth’ study, well, great. But we all had the same basis from which to start.
In music nowadays, many kids just gravitate to one thing and stick there. They don’t seem to grow. Music formats online, on the radio and TV and elsewhere are very ‘narrow-casted,’ as opposed to the ‘broadcasting’ of music in our baby boomer youth. I just believe that the old way made for a more balanced approach to music, culture and life itself.
I mean, you gotta love a music format that puts ‘Surfin’ Bird’ by The Trashmen on the same chart as a Henry Mancini song. There’s some good in every type of music, but you have to HEAR it first.
What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear it.
Let’s survey the trivia results…
Didn’t take long for the MASH question to be answered. Terry had it first: McLean Stevenson played a talk show host on ‘Hello Larry,’ which was around for about a minute in the late ‘70s. Kim got it also, a day later. Steve guessed WKRP in Cincinnati.
Yes, we have located the Gamble Store. Bill was first with Weiser’s Gamble Store at 1100 Main, owned by Larry Weiser. Edith had it correct, as well.
Thanks to Eldon for solving the ‘teen center on Main’ mystery. It was located for a few years right above Weiser’s Gamble Store, and run by Carl Soden, who later became director of the GB Rec Commission. Or maybe he already was at the time.
Randall answered the pastry question: yes, the oblong pastry with two names is the ‘long john’ (without filling) or the ‘Bismarck’ (with filling). Either way, it’s a winner.
In other business, Edith mentioned the Girl Scout House (discussed a few weeks ago here) did not burn down, as I had reported, but is still there as a private residence on the SE corner of 12th and Morton. Hmm, I remember a fire in that area, but maybe it wasn’t that place.
Steve gave us some info on the IOOF building (now an antiques store) at Williams and Forest. Yes, I’ve seen that entrance to their hall upstairs and have even seen folks coming and going there, but not for the last few years.
Just one ‘old’ question still available: What do Australian aborigines and Native Americans have in common? (Hint: it’s a genetic thing.)
New quizzers: what is unique about German Chocolate Cake?
The Chinese and Egyptians were both using these tools to get food for the family 2000 years ago. What tools?
Where in GB can you see a ‘ghost sign’ (barely visible) advertising a move theatre?
This early Motown hit was in the Top Five, both in 1961 and 1976, first by a group and 15 years later by a twosome. What’s the song? Extra cyber points if you can name the artists.
That ties the ribbon on it for this outing. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week ahead. See if you can stop the rain for a day or two.