31 December 2009

Doo Wop Dialog[ue]: 41

(M/Dover, New Jersey)

I was foolhardy enough to take on Gloria, and have come out unscathed, thankfully. Who in his right mind would try to explain something of such grandeur?

One would think I should have learned a lesson in all this. You hit the target once; thank your lucky stars, close up the kit, and go home.

Ever a glutton for punishment I will proceed, coerced internally by the desire to communicate and possibly illuminate heretofore dark recesses of our collective sensibility.

The Five Satins. In The Still Of The Night. I can hear the groans now.

Why has this song attained the number one position on New York Oldies Sation WCBS FM, out of all the voted favorites, year after year? Answer really is quite simple. Magic. Two syllables. Big explanation.

Enter the teenage domain, circa mid to late fifties. A new culture emerges, with dungarees (not jeans), ponytails, "hops", frenetic DJ patter, shoo bop a loop on your radio as you drive to school in your customized hot rod, and the birth of Teenage Love. Parents thought that a contradiction in terms. If you were teenage, how could you love? If they only knew!

If you were lucky enough to find the right, daring, partner, you might find yourself driving your car deep into a brush, wooded area, far from prying eyes of others, and the police. Roll down the windows, move to the back seat, and let the magic begin. Moonlight, wind rustling the trees, the scent of nature in the air. Welcome, you have arrived at our destination, you are now In The Still Of The Night.

Is there anything more pleasurable than being with someone you are overpoweringly attracted to, and have that response returned in kind? Shoo doo, shoo dooby doo, in the still of the night, I held you, held you tight...cos I love you so, promise I'll never, let you go, in the still of the night. (An empty promise, at best.)

Remember that night in May? The stars were bright up a-bo-aa-aa-ove. I hope, dun dun, and I pray, dun, dun, to keep your precious love.

Well, before, the li-i-i-i-ght, promise I'll never let go of you tight, in the still of the night.

The words are simple, the arrangement and performance so sublime, replete with honking, almost, but not quite off key, sax bridge. There is a message in two parts. The actual event, of being with your lover in a private romantic place, and the remembrance of that eventful (hopefully) night under the stars.

I remember that night in May. May! School is just about over, and the restless summer is about to begin. The junior and senior prom where this song played, year after year, captured a moment in time so perfectly for so many of us.

Well, before the light. ..as we all know, morning must come, in spite of our wishes. Light representing not just the end of the night, but the awareness that this magical moment might not endure the harsh scrutiny of life after high school. In spite of it being almost unearthly in the early hours of a May morning, the ominous pangs of reality are lingering, just outside our current level of consciousness. Boy and girl, almost man and woman, mind dancing and showing an exchange of caress, kiss and force. Moving pleasurably toward an inevitable conclusion, but taking seemingly hours to get there.

Harmony of the most divine order, shared intimately by two, at their prime physical time of life, with intense affection being the bond that will make this a lasting memory.

In the still of the night is not just a physical place. It's a spiritual place, where the hush before the morning's light is captured and shared with your love. It's a very guilty pleasure. One that may never be repeated. A magic moment, reflected perfectly by an awkward sax break, simple, unpolished lyrics, and an almost amateurish performance. Teenage Love in a teenage world. Our parents just never had a clue, or else they never would have allowed that song to be playing in their daughter’s room after midnight.

1 comment:

  1. Check out the out-takes of ITSOTN for more insight into the creative process...