High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Means Fun (Part 6) ---------- Flings 'n Things

A curious phenomenon takes place around the start of summer.

According to the rules of dating etiquette outlined in pop songs, its perfectly acceptable for a guy and a girl to take a break from going steady and have a "summer fling or two." Some of my favorite songs explore that theme, and I would like to share them with you.

"Save Your Heart for Me" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys climbed the Billboard chart during the summer of 1965, reaching its peak in the top 5 in mid August.

Now, let me make sure that I got this straight. You're tellin' me that young lovers agree to go their separate ways during June, July, and August, with the understanding that they will both date other people. When the time comes, the unsuspecting others get kicked to the curb and the original boy and girl get back together and pick up where they left off. The plan sounds simple.

According to Jan & Dean, "It's as Easy as 1,2,3."

"It's as Easy as 1,2,3." is the killer bee on the other side of "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy"... of my favorite Jan & Dean songs and one of the most collectible picture sleeves of the rock 'n roll era. "You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy" is a lavish, multi-track opus that hit me like a tidal wave in May and June of 1965.

As a lifelong fan of horror and the grotesque, I got a kick out of this picture sleeve which shows the dynamic duo posing with friends (or is it fiends?) in an L.A. wax museum. I remember buying this 45/pic sleeve combo at Mailman's in Queensgate. Let's listen to my Pick to Click, "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy."

Jan & Dean also had summertime hanky panky in mind two years earlier.

From June of 1963, here's the killer bee side of "Surf City" entitled "She's My Summer Girl."

Summer love can be fleeting. It can ignite spontaneously in the rarefied atmosphere of a vacation getaway. Promises of forever are sometimes made but quickly broken once routine life resumes in the fall. All that remains of the whirlwind romance are bittersweet memories to treasure for a lifetime.

To complete my Summer Means Fun series, I bring you "Beach Baby," a mid-70s late summer classic by the Tony Burrows-led studio group called First Class.

Although Tony Burrows isn't one of the more familiar names in pop music history, his voice is heard on a number of bubblegum classics.

Burrows is credited as having sung lead on more hit singles for more groups than any other artist. In addition to fronting First Class, Burrows sang lead for several other prefab studio creations including Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, Brotherhood of Man and other one-hit-wonder groups.

"Beach Baby" is wistfully nostalgic and, at the same time, buoyant and exhilarating.

With its catchy melody and exquisite Beach Boy-inspired harmonies, "Beach Baby" is five minutes of bubblegum bliss, the ideal metaphor for an extended period of fun in the sun. But as the song’s lyrics concede:

Long hot days, cool sea haze, jukebox plays, but now it's fading away.

Remember Dell rats...
summer never has to end if you don't want it to.

Stay involved. Stay in the game.
Stay fit. Stay young. Stay alive.

Never grow up...never grow old!

Have a Shady day!

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