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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Means Fun, Part 6: Hometown Hanover Heroines Meet the Legendary Masked Surfers!


York, Pennsylvania... 

June 27th, 1964, 1:13pm 


Now I remember. 

It was 1:14pm. 

I was floating on a raft in my backyard swimming pool listening to my favorite radio station, WSBA, when a new song began to play. It had such a fresh, exuberant sound that I quickly paddled over to the deck to be closer to the radio. These are the words that met my ears: 

School is out and we're glad that we passed
Summer time is here at last 
There's so many things that we wanna do 
And we can do them now that school is thru

Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh-oh-oh-oh 
It's summer time 'cross the U.S.A.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh-oh-oh-oh 
From San Francisco to Philly, PA.

Boasting bright, sparkling
clean Brill Building production and angelic girl group harmony,
the song sounded like it
was being performed by
the cheerleading squad at
a high school pep rally.
With a melody derivative
of the Jan & Dean hit
"The New Girl in School"
but with a different theme
and lyrics and a high energy
beat, "It's Summer Time U.S.A."
by the Pixies Three was simply

Recorded by a trio of young women from nearby Hanover, Pennsylvania, "Summer Time U.S.A." played in heavy rotation on the Mighty 910 and dominated the airwaves for the rest of the summer.

The Pixies Three made such a splash with "Summer Time U.S.A." that I practically found myself asking, "John, Paul, George and who?"

"It's Summer Time, U.S.A." - Pixies Three 
(July 1964, highest chart position #116) 

“Summer Time, U.S.A.” was an East Coast hit but it failed
to attract much attention in other parts of the country. It never dawned on me that the kids mentioned in the song's lyrics, those living in L. A., Frisco, and Chicago, might never have even heard the song.

This Pixies Three record is an example of the split play phenomenon as well as the killer bee phenomenon. The original A side, “The Hootch,” flatlined when nervous radio station program managers put 2 and 2 together and got 5. Since “hootch” is a slang term for hard liquor, the Einsteins in the suits surmised that the song promoted underage drinking. If they had bothered to listen to the lyrics they would have realized that “The Hootch” was actually a new dance craze supposedly reaching our shores from Liverpool.

While some stations yanked the Pixies record completely off their playlists, savvy stations like WSBA flipped it and began to push “It’s Summer Time, U.S.A.” In doing so, another killer bee was born. For decades, "Summer Time U.S.A." has been one of my all time favorites. Recently, “The Hootch” has also grown on me to such an extent that it is now officially my Pick to Click!

"The Hootch" - Pixies Three (July 1964, 
uncharted A side of "It's Summer Time 

That fabulous Pixies platter is a coin toss 
that you simply can’t lose. Both sides rule! 

The biggest hit for the Pixies Three was another summer song, "Birthday Party," which jumped on Billboard in August
of 1963 on its way to a 9 week chart run and a top 40 finish.

"Birthday Party" - Pixies Three 
(September 1963, highest chart 
position #40) 

The last Pixies Three record to make the Billboard Hot 100 was "Gee," a cover of a 50s hit by the Crows. The Pixies version rocks big time, yet it lasted only 3 weeks on the chart and climbed only 13 rungs up the ladder.

"Gee" - Pixies Three 
(April 1964, highest chart position #87) 

Up next, my favorite surf rockers Jan and Dean with the song that inspired this series of summer themed posts.

It's Jan & Dean's version of the Fantastic Baggys' song "Summer Means Fun," one of the tracks on Jan and Dean's Little Old Lady From Pasadena album.

"Summer Means Fun" - Jan and Dean 
(July 1964) 

Now listen to the more robust, full bodied sound created by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and singer/producer Terry Melcher (Doris Day's son) on the Bruce and Terry version of the song. It's my Pick to Click!

"Summer Means Fun" - Bruce and Terry 
(August 1964, highest chart position #72) 

As Jan and Dean discovered, summer can be a whole lot funner if you hook up with Honolulu Lulu.

"Honolulu Lulu" - Jan and Dean" 
(October 1963, highest chart position #11)

In June and July of 1966 it was pop ting-a-ling here comes that popsicle man, a tasty tune that just missed the top 20.

"Popsicle" was the first Jan & Dean single released after
the devastating car crash that derailed Jan Berry's career and left him with permanent brain damage.

"Popsicle" - Jan and Dean 
(July 1966, highest chart position #21) 




Have a Shady day!


  1. What a fun ride it was this morning Shady. The Pixies are also cuties but sadly not a group I remember all that well. I sure enjoyed listening to them this morning so all was not lost. It amazed me how much better that "Summer means fun" was with Bruce & Terry. Smooth & wonderful. And Honolulu Lulu, even if you didn't like the music you could enjoy the pictures. Another awesome job my friend and a great start to our week. Stay cool.

  2. Odie - I'm glad you like The Pixies Three, one of my favorite girl groups. The gals are still making records and still delighting audiences with concert appearances. I'm also happy to know that you like that Bruce and Terry version of "SMF." Sadly, Terry Melcher, Doris Day's only child, died in 2004 after a long illness. Thanks for checking in, Odie, and have a great week!

  3. Hi there Shady. I'm afraid that I never heard of The Pixies Three over here in England. It's funny how some groups/artists just did not seem to get heard over here, but I enjoyed listening to them today. Jan and Dean I can always listen to of course. It bring a little bit of summer to this part of England which isn't having much luck with the weather at the moment!

  4. Gawgus - My goodness! What's going on with the English weather? If summer doesn't get started soon the snows of winter will be flying once again! I've had nothing but summer weather for months now and I'm getting tired of it. Thank you for doing some song sampling at my place, dear friend, and have a safe and happy week ahead!

  5. Shady - Bum! That was ME, thisisme, and NOT Gawgus things. I just sit down at my laptop, check my blog lists and make a comment, but of course, you know who, is logged in as her. I shall have to be very careful in future my dear friend!

  6. Thisisme - You and G-T have been swapping identities so often that I can't tell who's who! (LOL) Well, that's quite alright, my friend. Just tell the birthday girl that she owes me a comment. I'm glad you saw my reply because I am baffled by the run of bad weather you've been having and I was wondering if it is typical in your part of the world or a fluke. Thanks for setting the record straight and enjoy your family gathering for as long as it lasts, dear Thisisme!

  7. I had never heard of The Pixies Three (love that group name btw) but I will now mandate that their song Birthday Time be played at every one of my birthday parties

  8. Amber Blue Bird - It is so mandated, my queen, and hence it shall become the law of the land! I'm glad the Pixies tickled your fancy and I invite you to stay tuned for more fun and frivolity all summer long! If you're like me these songs make you feel like you're FIFTY again! (LOL) Thanks for coming by and have a fab week, dear friend Amber!

  9. Thank you so much once again for the kind words! I have never heard of any of these groups, I love the name The Pixies Three, so adorable! Here's hoping that Summer really does mean fun for it's remaining weeks!

    Emma x

  10. Emma - Thank you very much for the kind words. It means so much to me when you devote time to visit and experience the soundtrack of my youth. I wish you blue skies and happy days all summer long with Donnacha by your side. It's a great time to be young, my dear friend!

  11. I'm glad to hear the Pixies are still singing and recording. They are such fun to listen to. I've always loved "Summer Means Fun" but didn't know it was recorded twice. I actually enjoyed them equally.

  12. Belle - Actually, "Summer Means Fun" was recorded thrice. A few weeks ago I presented the original version by the Fantastic Baggys. In this post I added the covers by Jan & Dean and Bruce & Terry. It's funny, but the version I grew up hearing most often in PA was Jan & Dean's. I never heard the Bruce & Terry rendition until recently when I did research for this post. Thank you for dropping in, dear Belle, and good night to you wherever you are!

  13. See you're still hanging out at 442 Glenwood Avenue. Snyder's Pretzels are #2 on your Hanover export list still. Still like their "Gee" best, their other songs too. "Honolulu Lulu" still a fine lady, Terry & Bruce's version of "Summer Is Fun" is definitely more polished. (I assume you know, but Terry Melcher was A&R man at Columbia Records when Charlie Manson took his guitar and songs there to get recorded. Terry turned him down, and it was Terry's house that the LoBianco's were renting when Charlie exacted his imagined revenge. He didn't know Terry wasn't living there at the time.) "Popsicle" refreshing, reminding me over cool summer days at Zimmy's and other pools. 105 today in Tulsa, with heat index of 111, worse humidity than Pa. Thanks for the cool sounds, Shady!

  14. Hi, Ron! There are many interesting stories related to Bruce and Terry and I'll have another one coming up in a few weeks. I'll also be posting more of their great surf sound recordings. Florida's hot spell and drought have finally been broken by a persistent rain pattern. Thanks for your comment, Ron, and we'll be looking for your next blog feature any day now. Hey, that would make a great song title!

  15. Is it I or is it This that is the question...?!?! Although it sounds like I'm repeating myself, I hadn't heard of the Pixies either ;)

  16. G-T - Hello, birthday girl! (I think!) For all I know it could be ALFRED who posted that comment! (LOL) The Pixies Three were not well known beyond the East Coast of the USA and therefore it is quite understandable that neither you nor your mum heard of them over there. Thanks for stopping by, dear friend, and have a safe trip back to Paris!

  17. Oh, how I love The pixies! Not only were they phenomenal singers, but such cute, well dressed gals as well. I can see why you were instantly smitten upon hearing Summer Time in the U.S!

    A few days ago I watched my rented version of Secretariat from the library and you were right... it was incredible! I love how you told me to immaluate Diane Lane in the movie... because I find myself wanting to be quite like her. Strong minded and smart. Not one to back down, but one to have inner confidence. Thank you ever so much for the movie recommendation!

  18. Oh, Lauren, it makes me so happy to know that you watched Secretariat, enjoyed it, and took note of the way Diane Lane's character conducted herself! Confidence, determination and a winning smile open many doors for you and help you to reach your goals. Thank you very much for taking my advice about the film and for letting my hometown Hanover heroines sprinkle some Pixie dust on you!

  19. I really love those Pixies Three! Shady, I liked your pointing out that the kids in LA, Frisco and Chicago probably never knew they were referred to in the song, "It's Summer Time, USA. You also cracked me up with the phrase, "Einsteins in the suits", when you wrote about the controversy concerning "The Hootch". I'd never heard that expression before. ;~D I agree with you, Bruce and Terry's version of "Summer Means Fun" was my favorite one, too. "Popsicle" was fun to listen to and I smiled when they mentioned Popsicle crafts. A bit of trivia: Popsicle is a registered trademark.

    A great blog post, Shady, looking forward to hearing from the lil old gal from Pasadena!

    Go Shady Go!

  20. Cindy - My dear friend you leave such great comments! It's always a joy to hear from you. When you consider all of the sex and violence, drinking and drugging that goes on in today's movies, TV shows and music, it's hard to believe that the censors were ever worried about the squeaky clean Pixies Three. I spent years corresponding with Midge, Debby, Kaye and Bonnie, the four women who rotated in and out of the group, and I can tell you that they remain decent, wholesome women to this day. Thank you very much for listening to and appreciating the songs that were a big part of my youth and have a great evening in Tennessee, dear Cindy!


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