Stupid songs: Just sing away
Recently, as Kathy and I were driving to New Jersey, we picked up a Worcester radio station, WCW, or something like that, that was playing oldies, and on came a live version of “You Were Mine” by the Fireflies.
It brought back this memory of the time I was slugged by Pat, as in Patricia, Somers.
I was 16 or 17 and one night, my friends Steve and Kenny and I dropped by Pat’s house because it was the kind of place you could always drop by, especially when her parents weren’t home. This night, only Pat and her younger sister Geri were there.
I remember only two parts of this evening, the first involving Kenny:
The radio was on and he decided it would be just a great idea if he got Geri to dance with him. She didn’t want to. He pushed it. She resisted. He pushed it some more. She resisted some more. He seemed to like that because he tried to kiss her. She responded by slapping his face. We laughed. Kenny cocked his fist. We stopped laughing and Steve grabbed him from behind. Geri left the room. Kenny shrugged.
It was about that time that “You Were Mine” came on the radio, the studio version. Pat started singing along and dancing a bit by herself. Steven watched and so did I. Steven just watched but I watched in amazement, confused that someone would sing along, and even DANCE to, such a stupid song.
Here’s the opening lines:
“You were mine at the time, and the feeling was devine. You were mine. You were mine. You were really, really mine. And I know that our love was a love of true love.”
And what the heck does “love of true love” mean? Really. Is it for emphasis? Love of true love, to differentiate it from love of false love? Then it isn’t love. It’s either love or it’s not.
I said nothing. Pat kept singing and dancing, even to these lines:
“Like a bird on the wing, when it knows it’s early spring. You were mine. You were mine. You were really, really mine. And I know that our love was a love of true love.”
My God, they sang it again! “Love of true love.” Kill me now.
“Like a bird on the wing, when it knows it’s early spring”? Yeah? Really? That symbolizes love? A bird knowing the seasons? But break it down more: You were mine BECAUSE (that’s the implication) that bird knew the season. So, if the bird had been really stupid she wouldn’t have been “mine”?
When the song was BLESSEDLY over, Pat said, “I love that song.”
Now here was a perfect time for me to just SHUT UP. But I was 16 or 17, a smart mouth and of course I did exactly the wrong thing.
I said, “But it’s a stupid song.”
Pat looked at me.
I said, “No, really. Listen to the words. It’s a stupid song.”
And, of course, I started to explain, much as I have explained it to you. When I got to the part about the fortunately non-stupid bird (fortunately for the singer), Pat stomped over to me, hauled off and threw a right. I ducked, but she caught me on the top of the head. She cocked her fist again and Steve jumped in AGAIN (as he had with Kenny) and grabbed her.
I said, being stupid, “But Pat! It’s a stupid, STUPID song.”
Steve had trouble holding her back.
At that point, Kenny and I decided it might be a good time to leave. Steven stayed, perhaps to console Pat. It was his way.
So this all came back to me when that song came on the radio on our trip. I think it was from one of those PBS Bring-Back-The-Now-Really-Old-Groups specials that are over-orchestrated, because back in the early 1960s, groups hardly ever recorded live shows and I don’t think the Fireflies had more than that one song anyway.
And I STILL think it’s a stupid, STUPID song. I just can’t get around that bird and what its knowledge of spring has to do with someone belonging to someone else. And “You were mine?”
As in “You are my possession?” Yes, friends, back then, that’s how guys thought. You were MINE. Or, better, you ARE mine. You BELONG to me.
Yeah, back in those days, possession was nine tenths of the concept of many songs. “I’m yours” or “You’re mine” were favorite phrases, which probably led to a lot of kids growing up to be possessive idiots.
It’s reminiscent of a line Frank Sinatra spoke to, I think, Gina Lolabrigida in a movie the title of which I forget:
“I want to keep you barefoot and pregnant.”
What? And Gina’s character didn’t haul off and slug him? Nope. But you know what? To show you what a COMPLETE idiot I was as a teenager, I actually tried that line on my girlfriend of the moment and you know what she did?
She hauled off and slapped my face.
And it wasn’t even Pat Somers.
So I learned two valuable lessons as a teenager:
1. Never come between a dancing, singing teenage girl and a stupid, STUPID song she loves no matter how STUPID, STUPID the song is.
2. Not every teenage girl wants to be like a really dopey, apparently prideless movie character.
So, you got a stupid song you love? Sing away. I’ll say nothing (not even if it’s stupid, STUPID Barry Manilow or Fleetwood Mac.)
And you know what? Any women who WANT to be kept barefoot and pregnant belong in the movies because in life, as far as I can tell, they’d be no more interesting that “Like a bird on the wing, when it knows it’s early spring. …”