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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Means Fun, Pt. 1: Spring Fever

Bruce Brown made a splash in

1966 with his documentary film,

The Endless Summer.

The movie followed a couple of surfer dudes on a safari around the globe in search of the perfect wave. As the
pair hop scotched from one exotic locale to another
(Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and
California) they managed to stay one step ahead of
winter’s chill. For those lucky guys the fun never had
to end.

The idea of an Endless Summer captured
my imagination back then. It has since
became a powerful metaphor for keeping
the spirit of youth alive no matter what
your age.

Do it, Dell rats! Just do it!

For those of us living in the northern hemisphere the warm weather has finally arrived! To help you spring into the Endless Summer of 2011, I'm kicking off a 12-part series called Summer Means Fun. All summer long I'll be sharing my favorite songs of the season and the special memories that go along with them.

What better way to begin our summer celebration than with a Beach Boys medley? Please disregard the graphics at the beginning and end of our first video. You won't be hearing Stars on 45. The medley is actually performed by Gidea Park, a Beach Boys/Four Seasons tribute band led by English singer/songwriter/producer Adrian Baker who sang with both American groups during his career.


"Beach Boy Gold" - Gidea Park (1978) 

Warm California nights, 

With the breeze blowin' in 

time for love to begin. 

Sunset walks on the beach that last till well after dark.....
I - am - so - THERE!  Here's little miss sunshine, lollipops
and rainbows,
Lesley Gore!

"California Nights" - Lesley Gore 
(April 1967, highest chart position #16) 

The greatest summer of your life might start while you're
still sitting in the classroom. As legendary masked surfers Jan and Dean explain, the catalyst could be the new girl in school.

"The New Girl in School" - Jan and Dean
(April 1964, highest chart position #37)

Let's keep things rolling along with a rousing piece of pop from Philadelphia songbird Diane Renay, the perky, bubbly little lady with the powerful pipes.

Although Diane Renay was a solo artist, her recordings are categorized as girl group. Unfairly dismissed in some circles as a one-hit-wonder, Diane was one of the best female vocalists of the girl group era.

As was the case with many other domestic artists and groups, Diane's career suffered collateral damage from Beatlemania and the ensuing British invasion. Diane Renay
is best known for her most successful recording "Navy Blue."

"Navy Blue" - Diane Renay
(March 1964, highest chart position #6)

A pop classic, "Navy Blue" deserved to be #1 in the land. Instead, it got bogged down at #6 on the Billboard chart.
In the wake of the Beatles phenomenal success, the deck was stacked against recording artists like Diane.

In 1964, the U.S. pop charts became infested with Beatles. At one point in April, the Liverpoolians held down all 5 of the top positions on Billboard:

1) “Twist And Shout”
2) “Can’t Buy Me Love”
3) “Please, Please Me”
4) “She Loves You”
5) “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

Later that same month, the Beatles heaped on two more top 10 hits: “Love Me Do” and its flip side, “P.S. I Love You.“
The Beatles' dominance of the mass media, the record charts and radio playlists had many American born teen idols and old fashioned doo-wop style vocal groups entering Pleas of Nolo Contendere.

As much as I liked "Navy Blue," it was Diane Renay's less successful follow-up single, "Kiss Me Sailor" that really blew me away. It’s another example of the sparkling clean Brill Building production style that I love. “Kiss Me Sailor” is an expertly crafted song, with the diminutive thrush delivering even more vocal punch and pizazz than she did on “Navy Blue.” Breaking into the top 30 in May of 1964 with no less than 8 songs by UK artists forming a glass ceiling above her, Diane's "Kiss Me Sailor" was one of the top feel-good songs of the decade!

"Kiss Me Sailor" - Diane Renay
(May 1964, highest chart position #29)

Love springs eternal.

It's as perennial as the grass.

Springtime brings young lovers out of the woodwork and out of the house. Jumping ahead in time to the spring of 1966, here's one of Jerry's kids, Gary Lewis, with a WSBA Land favorite..."Green Grass."

"Green Grass" - Gary Lewis & the Playboys 
(June 1966, highest chart position #8) 

Don't go anywhere. 

We're just getting started. 

More great summer sounds 

are just ahead in Part 2! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Good Morning Shady and I am so glad that Blogger is cooperating at least on your site. A couple of my friends I had to side step because it wouldn't let me comment.
    I am loving this new series and you started off with one of my favorites the Beach Boys and some of scenes were true "eye candy" as well as great tunes. Leslie was also one of my favorites as well as Jan & Dean. Sadly I don't recall Diane but was so glad you added her in with her great voice. I am afraid it was tough on most artists when the Beatles were going strong. It's going to be a good summer so stay cool and have a great thursday my friend.

  2. Odie - I'm glad the Blogger gremlins didn't strike here yet and I am very thankful for your visit and comment. I'm pleased to know that you enjoyed the Beach Boys medley by Gidea Park. Diane Renay is a favorite of mine and we'll be hearing from her again. Happy Thursday to you, good buddy!

  3. The beach boys tunes really epitomize summer for me. They make me wanna grab my board and surf a gnarly wave except I cant surf and do not own a board :) I enjoy Kiss Me Sailor immensely. Thanks again for turning me into a song that will now be included in heavy rotation in my home.

  4. Amber Blue Bird - The surf rock craze of the early and mid 60s made every kid across the U.S.A. feel like a beach boy, even those in land locked Midwestern states. I am particularly impressed that you embraced my Pick to Click, "Kiss Me Sailor." It's the ginchiest! Thank you very much for being here for the start of my summer celebration, Amber, and don't touch that dial - keep it tuned to SDMM!

  5. Dear Shady - forgive me for being late, but you know about the problems, but hey, everything seems to be okay now. It was so disappointing not being able to comment on friends' posts. Well, it might be dull and dreary here in Devon (although we are forecast a lovely sunny day tomorrow!) but summer has arrived here at The Dell! Loved hearing all these summer tunes, especially The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Jan and Dean. I had never heard of Diane either. Keep them coming dear friend, as it will really help to put us in a nice sunny mood!

  6. Thisisme - Very happy to hear from you, dear friend. You've had your share of foul weather and blogging challenges in recent weeks. Let's hope all that's behind you now and that the 11th will be sunny and bright. Please stick around for lots more fun in the Shady in the months to come!

  7. Some fantasic songs, Shady, for ushering in spring fever. Who couldn't love hearing the Beach Boys medley? Jan & Dean's "New Girl in School" was special. How well I remember Diane Renay's "Navy Blue" and loved her "Kiss Me Sailor". "Green Grass" was a great song of Gary Lewis & the Playboys, one I remembered. Speaking of spring fever, I can't remember a spring when I did not think of Tennyson's words: In the spring a young man's thoughts lightly turn to thoughts of love. Thank you for your hard work on this blog!

    (just now was able to respond to comments on my blog)

  8. Hi, Cindy! I wasn't aware that the Blogger bugs had invaded your computer along with so many others. I just came from visiting your blog and reading your follow-up replies. One of the things that makes you so special is the consistently high quality of your comments here and on your own blog. You are a woman of both style and substance and that's a very impressive combination. Have a wonderful evening in Tennessee, dear Cindy!

  9. In California Diane's two songs were big hits, at least for me. They got lots of air time and I just loved them.

    New Girl In Town says, "She's such a gas." That term didn't catch on! I liked Jan and Dean and loved Lesley Gore. That was a very cute video for Gary Lewis. I always liked his songs, they brought a smile to the heart.

  10. Belle - I hope to keep your heart smiling for the next three months. Both Lesley Gore and Diane Renay were very popular in my region as were all of the girl groups and the California surf, sand, sun and hot rod songs that you'll be hearing in my 12-parter. Thank you very much for joining the fun, dear Belle, and have a wonderful evening in Western Canada!

  11. Shady, just a brief note to say you're reminding me of times I mostly spent in Jacobus, sometimes in front of the gas station with whoever drifted around, and many times spent with the local town girls. This is to say I was still in a small town, pre-soul state of mind, before I started spending a lot of time in York. You're taking me back to simpler times, and for now I'll just kick back and enjoy the ride! I didn't know Diane Renay had a follow-up to "Navy Blue" or that she was a Philly girl.

  12. Ron - Yessir! Diane Renay Kushner is a South Philly native and was only 17 when she recorded her smash hit "Navy Blue" which was composed by Bob Crewe and Eddie Rambeau. "Navy Blue" is Diane's signature song and "Kiss Me Sailor" is my personal favorite of hers, but she made several other excellent albeit non charting records including one that many critics call her career best. I'll be presenting that song later this year. Thanks so much for your comment, Ron, and take care in Tulsa town!

  13. Summer has been in my neck of the woods for quite some time now, and it's only going to get hotter.

    Great playlist!

  14. Ashton - You're right, my friend. Summer arrives much sooner in 'Bama than in other parts of the country and the world. Yet, compared to Florida, you're living in the great white frozen north. It is said that in Florida spring unofficially begins in January. Temperatures in the 90s are now becoming the norm and from here to eternity (November) daytime temps in the 80s will be rare and considered refreshingly cool. Thank you for coming by and sampling some songs, dear friend Ashton, and have a great holiday weekend!

  15. This music is making me wish the weather outside were nicer so I could go to the beach for a picnic!

    Until then, I can only dream
    Have a great weekend!


  16. Emma - I've got to wonder what's going on over there in the UK. My English friends have been complaining about the wet, chilly weather and now I'm getting the same report from you in Ireland! It's hard for me to imagine it since I've been baking in the Florida sun for months on end! I hope this music allows you to escape to your imaginary beach until such time that you can enjoy a real one! Thank you very much for visiting, Emma, and have a fabulous weekend!

  17. Thank you for the lovely comment!
    Yes I know Amber Tamblyn, she's a very talented actress, I watched her in Joan of Arcadia before I knew Russ Tamblyn was her father.
    Two of my aunts live in Florida so I'm always getting teased about the weather I'm missing out on, but it does make me appreciate our short Summers all the more!

  18. Hello again, Emma! I neglected to mention that Amber also played a prominent role for several years on the popular daytime drama General Hospital, playing Emily Quartermaine. I find it fascinating that several of my blog friends have revealed a passion for Twin Peaks lately. I don't know what's behind this latest wave of interest but I am delighted by it! Thank you for your follow-up, Emma. You are a dear friend!

  19. Oh, how I love this new series you've started, Shady! Befor I ready your next post, I'm going to make sure that I'm out on my back deck, fruity umbrella drink in hand! It's going to be a great summer!

  20. Joan - Some like it hot and if you're one of them I have a summer filled with great music and memories. The gang's all here so please come back often and join the party! Thank you very much for your comment, dear Joanie, and have a terrific holiday weekend!

  21. I really love your summer series and your blog. It is a bit funny I found your blog via Southhamsdarling who lives in another country and we are in the same state. I look forward to enjoying more of your summer series and congratulations on your award.

  22. Doreen - Hello and welcome to my blog! I am delighted to know that dear Thisisme is a mutual friend. I visited your blog and am in awe of all that you are accomplishing in your life there in Delaware County. Although I live in Florida now, I left my heart at the Shady Dell in York, PA. The music and media of Philly and Baltimore were also an important part of my youth and are often referenced in my posts. I'm glad you joined the fun in time to catch Part 1 of my series. Please stick around and let me add some smiles to your summer. Thank you very much for your kind comment, Doreen, and have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  23. Hi Shady - came across your blog via my friend Diane. Beach Boys really resonates with Summer :) Thank you so much for sharing. I was born in the late 60's but do like the music :)
    Have a great Sunday

  24. EvaMarie - Hello and welcome to SDM&M! I am delighted to have another friend from Dublin come over for a visit. I am quite aware of the dreary weather you endured during the month of May. I am confident that my summer sounds will brighten the most dismal of days. Thank you very much for your kind comment, EvaMarie. Please visit again soon!

  25. i loved that post,probably because i love summer?! that seems to be a very strange summer in italy for rain and cold but i think that beatles' songs will help me feeling as i was at the seaside! particularly "twist & shout" makes me think about holidays i don't know why


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