Most every morning I wake up with one tune or another running through my mind. The other day it was, of all things, I’ve Got You Babe, by Sonny and Cher. Where it came from, I have no idea, but later in the day it was the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. This got me to thinking about some of the songs that ring from my past.
When I was in grammar school, we used to have a record player going during lunch in the cafeteria. (It wasn’t a boom box, or even a stereo – it was a record player.) A few of the students lent the use of their collections of 45’s to keep us all entertained. 45’s, for those who don’t know, were vinyl disks with a single song on each side. One could go into any Five and Dime and find a display of the top 100 “hits” of that week, determined in some magical way (presumably sales) by the local music station, in our case WABC. I also listened on the little transistor radio my grandfather gave me one Christmas when he felt sorry for me because I was sick on Christmas day.
The tunes we listened to were disparagingly called bubble-gum music by my more “sophisticated” older brother. There were songs like Jam up and Jelly Tight, with words like “yummy, yummy, yummy I’ve got love in my tummy”; Love is Blue: “Blue, blue, my world is blue. Blue is my world now I’m without you”; Macarthur Park: “Someone left the cake out in the rain… I don’t think that I can take it, ‘Cause it took so long to bake it, And I’ll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo”; I’m a Believer by the Monkeys; They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!, and Wipeout.
I had a cardboard case for keeping my collection – I still have it somewhere. If it wasn’t 10 degrees outside I would go dig around in the garage for it. It’s a rather paltry collection as I didn’t have a lot of spending money to throw around in those days. (Some things never change.)
During our last weeks in that school, our music teacher had us listening to some of those songs, and we had a great time being embarrassed and laughing at ourselves. We sang If I Had a Hammer, and Blowin’ in the Wind at our eighth grade graduation, accompanied by me and my friend Karyn on guitars. Don’t be too hard on us – our teachers picked them.
I stopped listening to so much popular music in high school, and switched to Christian pop, but those early songs, silly as they may be, represent an innocent, pleasant time of life. Therefore I’m not altogether unhappy when one of them comes to mind.