Friday, August 18, 2006

The 1961 Hit Parade

In the car, getting late in the evening, driving down I-70 through Maryland near the end of a long family drive.

Turned on XM6, the sixties station. They were doing a countdown, I guess of this day/week in 1961. The DJ was managed to mispronounce Warren Spahn's name (Spahn won his 300th game this week that year), but no matter, the music won out. They were doing the top 16 of 1961.

Coming in at #16: Ike and Tina, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine." I don't know the last time I heard someone other than Springsteen do this song. Nor did I appreciate just how faithfully Bruce imitated Tina's voice. This put me in a good mood.

#15: The Chordettes doing "Never On Sunday." Now, everyone knows the melody to this one. But I don't recall ever hearing it with the words. Nor did I ever really put a context to Bruce's "Never On Sunday" comment in the "Blood Brothers" video. Now I'm smiling, big time: I think I know what Burce was doing that summer, approaching his 12th birthday -- he was all day at the beach with his radio.

After a couple more, on comes Fats Domino. "Let the Four Winds Blow." This is near spooky. Fun and spooky. And we're not done.

Checking in at #10 is Elvis with "Little Sister", did Bruce ever do that one? No matter, I always liked that one. Then at #9, none other than Gary U.S. Bonds with "School's Out."

What a list! And here I had always thought that the '60's didn't *really* start until The Beatles recorded "Please Please Me" a couple years later.

A bunch of numbers higher up on the charts were dud, but there was one big curiosity: At #4, The Highwaymen doing "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore." Bruce supposedly recorded "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore" for "The Seeger Sessions," though I guess there are no plans to release it.

Would that 11 year olds today be able to learn from the hit parade like that!

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