31 December 2009

Doo Wop Dialog[ue]: 14

(M/Dover, New Jersey)

Tony, the source you couldn't identify where there is a group on the corner who sees a girl walk by and jumps into an acapella rendering of Gloria when she passes is the beginning of a play called Blood Brothers. Pet Clark starred in it on Broadway, and it was extremely fine.

Regarding the idealized versus the actual in that era. Having lived through some of it (the later part), I can only say that it was only in retrospect that one could recognize that it was indeed a fleeting moment in time. At the time, it was as if each of us had all the time in the world, and there were infinite "girls next door" with pony tails and warm lips.

The record hops, or dances at the local High School Auditoriums were amazing Friday and Saturday night events. They actually turned the lights way down low, if not virtually off, in order to give the right atmosphere for the lovers/dancers. Teachers rarely acted as more than shadowy chaperones just there to keep an eye out. And it wouldn't be unusual to actually walk up to a girl, say hi, ask her to dance, and have an instant new girlfriend! Compared to today, isn't this an amazing description of a high school dance? The DJs were local radio personalities, and if a record was number one on the charts, you might hear it four times that night. This was a very peaceful scene usually without any fighting, except once in a while, two guys would be after the same girl, and something would break out after the dance.

And speaking of after the dance, well, legends are made of those nights. Autumn nights under the stars, parked at the beach with the moon shining down with your favorite girl sitting beside you in the middle of the car seat, because bucket seats were just not in vogue then. Doo Wop tunes swimming around in your head, all excited because your girl had her hand on your leg the past ten minutes you were driving. A moment frozen forever when you managed to actually kiss your dream girl. A trip to the moon, by simply brushing your lips against those of another. Back to the music......There's a moon out tonight...sounded like it never sounded before when circumstances such as those framed its playing on your favorite AM radio station. Forget about limited bandwidth, and static. The music jumped out of the speakers anyway, and became a living entity attaching itself to your brain for the rest of your life.

Special music for special times? You bet. A Golden Era of Rock n' Roll? You bet. But not when you were living it at the time. It was just another weekend night out having a good time. Who knew how very special those days and nights would become as the world would change and romance would diminish on those terms. Of course, romance did not die, just changed form, reflected by a culture that was more self-oriented, and weighted toward individual success as a barometer of attraction.

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