Friday, 1 January 2010

Doo Wop Dialog[ue]: 65

(M/Dover, New Jersey)

As I grew to understand a little bit more about the attraction between the sexes, I noticed that I was beginning to feel a pull toward certain girls.

At twelve years old I discovered the "Canteen" a municipal project aimed at keeping the kids off the street after school. It was a hang out that sold cokes, and dogs and burgers. There was a jukebox with the volume turned up loud, and they turned the lights down so the juke box glowed even at four in the afternoon. There was a wispy blond girl named Barbara I knew from one of my classes. She was a year older than I was, but I got my courage up and asked her to dance when You by the Aquatones came on. What a great dance song! We danced, she put her cheek next to mine, and pushed close to me just like it was the most normal thing in the world to do. Which it was. I just didn't expect it. She thanked me when the song ended, and we parted. I don't think I ever danced with her again, and just said hello in the school halls.

That kind of thing was rather common then. A girl would show intimacy when she felt comfortable with a guy. Today, that kind of casual flirting would be thought of differently. Songs I remember from those dark afternoons include Quintones, Down the Aisle of Love, and Book of Love by the Monotones. Everyone stomped around when the latter came on, having fun in an entirely innocent manner.

Twelve turned to the true Teenage Years, thirteen, let's celebrate. Today I am a teenager! A true milestone. A true teenager. Now they really are singing all those songs about ME! A member of the club, a card carrying, doo woppin' teenager. What a great moment!

Junior high turned to actual high school. Roy Orbison was the guy churning out love song after love song that related to our lives. I go out with The Crowd. A Blue Angel is in love. Only the Lonely know how I feel. I'm Hurtin. Uptown. Our Summer Song. Love hurts. What beautiful music to dance to at teen parties, to celebrate a birthday or just to get together. Again, even in someone's living room, the lights were turned down, and the dancing was intensely close and erotic. The G-Clefs I Understand was the goodbye song of my first love. An intensely personal rendering to the strains of Auld Lang Syne. I Understand. Just How You Feel. Let Bygones be Bygones, but Remember, I'll Always Love You. I'll Always Love You. (Spoken Verse): And If You Ever Change Your Mind, My Dear, Come Back To Me, I'll Be Waiting Here, I Understand. A little too much understanding here, I think. But what a trip that song was. Beautifully Sad. There seemed to be a sense of beauty in that sadness. A kind of elevated longing that made you feel alive, even though you were in pain. To feel the pangs of hurt as you saw your love walking holding hands with someone new. Teenage Angst at its best.

Could it have been the same without the music? No, the music really did complement the activity, was more than just a soundtrack. Actually became part of the actual Film Of Life. In the motion picture, Mean Streets, the music was an integral part of the film. Simply wouldn't have been half as effective, if the music hadn't been there to puncture, illuminate, and illustrate the action of the characters. And so it was with the music of our time. How many of you made your ''Teen Age Vows Of Love" during similar circumstances?

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