How Singing 60's Songs Affected My Romantic Teen Life
Here Are The Main 60's Singing Stars Whose Songs I Used To Attract Pretty Girls
Okay. I admit it. Call me a throw-back to the era of tie-dying, hard-rock music, sandals, and sunglasses. Call me, if you like, a faded-out, burned-down, “hippie,” and I won’t be the least bit hurt. You can call me all of these things and I won’t lift my tongue to argue with you for you would be right. For the most part, except the part of me being a “hippy.”
My hometown was so conservative, that Ricky Nelson was considered detrimental to society by our older folks. No, I was content, along with my other friends, who were starving to tune-in, turn-on and fly away with the great music and fads of the “Turbulent Sixties,” that we called ourselves, “Near-Hippies.” You have heard of “near-beer,” that sort of thing.
The “Turbulent Sixties,” were really not that turbulent down where I lived and still live in “sweet home,“ Hamilton, Alabama. The most turbulence we experienced was seeing a transfer student, with long hair, scruffy hippy clothes, named Mickey Mills, (from, (gulp, I shake to speak this name), California--home of the Drug Culture; Rock Music and long hair. Yeah, that state. My high school teachers and principal, God rest you, Mr. Joe L. Sargent, was so conservative that if your hair (speaking to the guys), just ‘kissed’ your eyebrow, you were called an instant troublemaker. A rebel rouser. A malcontent. And shunned by the horde (not hordes, for my high school, Hamilton High School, Hamilton, Alabama), of squeaky-clean, properly-dressed, and silent followers of anything “establishment,” and what “the man” said went for these poor, lovable friends of mine.
Us ‘near-hippies,’ didn’t put these kids of the system down, we accepted them for who they were while they, in groups of three, maybe five, gathered in the hall at break time--like blackbirds on a power line, whispered about us being a threat to the very American school system. Remember now. We were not ‘full-blown hippies, but near-hippies” so what threat? What rebellious attitude? Confidentially, we did think it was sort of cool to be in the company of Bob Dylan, Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman, the real radical-thinkers of our day.
Oh yeah. Each day brought new challenges for us “near hippies.” We would always walk with one eye looking over our shoulder for we never knew who might be after us and those Agriculture students can be pretty forceful. And the guys in that Ag class can as well. We were having a proverbial ball--sharing what “real hippy” information we had gathered the night before from WLS, Chicago or any FM rock station our $35.78 portable radio’s could pick up. It was a blast being a ‘near-hippy,’ one time I remember us ‘near-hippies’ forming a one-time ‘near-protest’ at our junior year, homecoming bonfire. Yeah, man. We showed up dressed like our mentors: the real hippies. We dressed in our dirtiest tie-died jeans, bandannas, and sunglasses. That was the only insensible part of our image. The sunglasses at night. I pulled mine off for my eyes were hurting.
Us ‘near-hippies’ were near-protesting the War in Viet Nam, just like the real hippies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and we were going to make a stand. When the bonfire reached a crescendo of flame--mixed with the enthusiasm of the crowd of mostly-cool teenagers from our high school, we raised our right hands when the Hamilton High School marching band played our school song. Thing was, no one seemed to know what we were doing there near the bonfire with right hands raised in the air. Guess they thought we were supporting the band. No one came up to us after the yearly big bonfire event and said, “Hey, cool! We are with ya’” Not a teen. Not a sigh of support. But we were not going down that easy.
The next day we did the ultimate in rebellion. Inside our lockers, we took magic markers and drew peace symbols all over the locker walls. And wrote the slogan, “Make love, not war” on the locker wall as well. That would show them who was not afraid of the American system. Even with this, the other teen friends, what teen friends we had, never bothered to pat us on the back, shake our hands, or nod in agreement. It was just like we near-hippies were opaque. Lifeless forms of humanity from some B horror movie from the 50’s, “I Was A Lifeless, Friendless, Teenager,” now showing at a theater near you.
But our God is a merciful God. As my ‘near-hippy’ days were now in high-gear, I was fascinated with another tool that the music of the 60’s gave me: Singing 60’s songs as a way to impress pretty girls. Single blond, brunette, redheaded girls. Girls who breathe. Walk under their own power. Okay. Any girls. I was literally like a ‘teenage (kid) in a record shop’ with this new-found magic to make the pretty girls become interested in me, a ‘near-hippy.’ I was almost guilty of how easy it was so simply sing a few hit, hot songs of the 60’s and in the blink of an eye, (okay. Honestly, sometimes with the speed of a bridge that lets up for ships to pass) the girl who listened to my singing was like a helpless, innocent jaybird gazing into the eyes of a king cobra. Need I say more?
Seemingly, I was the only ‘near-hippy’ guy who knew this powerful ‘secret weapon’ to gain points and possible dates with our high school’s (Hamilton High School, Hamilton, Alabama) more eligible and gorgeous girls--without doing one bit of manual, stressful labor. Just sing songs from our era’s hottest singers. And with that being said, I want to share with you now, and not for anyone to poke fun at me, the artists whom I used and their songs I sang to impress many girls who fell victim to my amazing 60’s crooning.
THE BEATLES . . .
“Help” - when I sang this song to pretty girls in the 60’s, some, out of concern, called the police.
“Hey, Jude” - girls mostly thought I was singing, “I’m Rude,” and walked away from me.
"Michelle,” - my most-potent weapon of song. It worked on girls named Michelle, not those who were named Janet, Barbara and Susan. I take that back. Susan wasn’t that choosy in men.
“I Want To Hold Your Hand” - sometimes worked. Most girls thought me to be a teen psychic.
JOHN LENNON . . .
“Imagine” - did just that to girls. They stood and only imagined going out with me.
“Mind Games" - confused lots of pretty girls. Me included. I gave up this song early on.
“Crippled Inside” - is what I would sing when turned-down by the girl I was singing into submission.
RINGO STARR . . .
“You’re Sixteen” - worked like a charm. On girls who were 18 and 19. It’s a law of nature that women always want to look younger as they age. The girls of 18 and 19 all were either drop-outs who smoked cigarettes, wore three layers of make-up, (which I didn’t turn away), or had criminal records. The sixteen-year-olds were few and far between and were highly-cautious.
“Yellow Submarine” - caused some girls to want to travel, but with another guy.
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE . . .
“Somebody To Love” - went over great. Girls who heard me sing this were all looking for someone to love. Except “I” was not the guy they were looking for, but I used this song a lot because I loved Grace Slick’s vocal range.
“White Rabbit” - no girls said, “awwww,” (like girls say when hearing about cute animals), they only grew angry when I couldn’t produce a cute, white bunny from underneath my coat.
BEACH BOYS . . .
“Help Me, Rhonda,” - was a great attention-getter for girls to look at me. Even girls named “Rhonda,” were confused at what I wanted them to help me with. Fact: Not many girls in Hamilton High School were music experts like my ‘near-hippy’ friends and me.
“Darlin’” - oh yeah! Now this particular song, DID gain me a date. Not two. But a date with a girl whose name eludes me, but I think we had a great night.
“Good Vibrations” - I spent too long explaining what Brian Wilson was really talking about in this song to make points with girls. But honestly, some girls were astonished at how I could sing all the parts of this song by myself.
CREAM . . .
“Sunshine Of Your Love” - girls thought I was a creepy pervert when I sang this song to them. You see, pretty girls of a rural background are not as ‘hip’ as the girls in bigger cities, and this rule applied to the girls in my high school in the 60’s. They did though, remain steadfast to hear this song. I am thankful that I wasn’t escorted from the school property.
“Crossroads” - Robert Johnson, blues icon, who allegedly sold his soul to satan at a crossroads in Greenville, Mississippi, for this song, would be proud. And ashamed. Proud that I used his song to get girls, and sad because none of them knew the words.
ROLLING STONES . . .
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” - pretty much became my personal theme song when seeking the company of pretty girls. Not many of these rural beauties (and I loved them), liked Mick Jagger because they were jealous of his lips being bigger than theirs. This was the main obstacle when I would belt out this song to pretty girls. And this song stayed with me as years rolled by and I found myself frustrated at being without female companionship. Wonder (to this day), if Jagger and The Stones ever appreciated my loyalty.
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” - had the girls rocking alright, but they would listen for a few minutes then tell me to ‘jump’ off a cliff for they didn’t like ‘hippy’ music.
STEPPENWOLF . . .
“Born To Be Wild” - I remember how it went down. I would approach a pretty girl. I would be dressed in tie-die jeans, tee-shirt with “End The War” wording, and huge, RayBan sunglasses like Steppenwolf founder, John Kay. I would sway back and forth doing “Born To Be Wild” and when I opened my eyes (I did this when I really got into a song), the girl would be long-gone. And it’s no fun, I tell you, to be ‘wild’ when you are all alone.
“The Pusher” - failed miserably. Not one pretty girl stayed around to hear the rest of the song after they heard God’s name in vain in the chorus. But one girl, a “Patty,” from a nearby town, Brilliant, Alabama, loved “The Pusher.” Even me singing this hit for Steppe wolf. She confessed later that she never knew what John Kay meant by defaming God’s name. She loved the ONE date we had.
OTIS REDDING . . .
“Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” - was, what I thought, to be a sure-fire date-getting song. Nope. I was a white guy failing-by-the-minute singing a great song by a great singer, Otis Redding. Not even the black girls in my school appreciated my love for Otis. I admit that I was pretty sharp when the whistling came up at the song’s end. The teachers who scolded me for making noise in the hallway didn’t think I was sharp.
MAMA’S AND PAPA’S . . .
“Dream A Little Dream of Me” - went over pretty good with some girls. But they had this one reoccurring remark, “I thought that Mama Cass was a woman,” as I would really let-loose on Cass’ melodic tone in this song.
“I Call Your Name” - I would sing this one to prove that I was really in love with the girl of that moment. Some shed tears while some wept. But not for their love for me, but for how my cracked voice made Michelle Phillips sound manly. I didn’t sing this song that much after I learned this heartbreaking fact.
JIMI HENDRIX . . .
“(Let Me Stand Next To Your) Fire” - came off as a troublemaker song. I had to really get in the girls’ heads to convince them that I only wanted a date with them, not to set fire to the Hamilton City Hall or Hamilton High School itself. Talk about a rough crowd.
“Crosstown Traffic” - was okay I guess. Some girls who had cars in our senior year only laughed as they drove away from me. You see, sometimes, to throw girls off, I would NOT sing to them in the hallways, but in the parking lot at our high school. Good thing the local police in Hamilton and I were good friends, otherwise, I would have been thrown in jail for causing a public disturbance.
“Voodoo Chile” - was way over the girls’ heads. This one really made me look stupid. But it gained me some laughs and a good buddy, a legendary ladies man, Donnie Clayton Burgett, a real guy, still around today, told me that one secret to get a girl is to first make her laugh then it’s easier to ask her out. Donnie was right. I got them laughing. At me. And turned-down a lot. But the girls were happy as they vanished from my sight.
HANK WILLIAMS, SR. . . .
“Move It On Over” - was the song I sang to the one-hundred percent rural pretty girls who were sitting in booths in our local teen hang-out, McCracken’s Dairy Freeze. They would look at each other, roll their pretty eyes, and giggle. That meant “get lost” along with their obvious display of ignoring me. Oh the café owner DID like Hank Sr., and didn’t charge me for my Coke on crushed ice.
“Lovesick Blues” - you guessed it. This song was on my lips SOME, not a lot, after what girls DID give me a date only to find one of the jock’s better looking. Now I could accept a split-end from the football team, but a member of the girls’ volleyball team! Thanks a lot, Hank.
HANK WILLIAMS, JR. . . .
“Family Tradition” - one of Hank Jr.’s biggest hits. I loved to sing this to girls who liked Hank Jr. This song didn’t get me any dates with them, for they all turned me down like a cheap sheet in a Motel 6 and said with a devilish smile as they walked away, “Kenny, you getting turned down by us girls should be YOUR family tradition,” and I guess this song became my family tradition in time.
“Born To Boogie” - didn’t do that well either because ‘these’ girls in my high school wanted the ‘whole package’--romanced with cards, gifts, and even a dinner (but our choices of ‘fine’ eating establishments to take girls was limited), kept ‘dancing with myself’ as I was not a successful Don Juan as my buddy, Donnie Burgett was. I guess that I was the impatient type--wanted to skip the cards, flowers, dinner and head straight to ‘make-out city.’ Now I learn this.
GILBERT O’ SULLIVAN . . .
Had only one hit song, “Alone Again, Naturally,” and now I am so ashamed, humiliated, but want to be upfront with all of my Hub followers and would-be Hub followers. I sang Gilbert’s one hit so many times that I sang myself into deeper, darker levels of depression at getting (some) dates with a girl or two, fall madly in love with them, and them do the same with me, and in a day or two, I would get “the” phone call. The call that all men--married or single dread to get. The call where the girlfriend or wife says the most-dreaded, feared and heart-crushing words spoken by any human being alive, dead, past, present or future, “We need to talk.” Seldom did these ‘talks’ go my way. It was either the girl had found a new scholastic interest, that was a mild way of letting me down easy for the girl finding a much-more-talented guy, who had money, car, prominent parents and a promising future in the banking industry. Not like me, a struggling ‘near-hippy’ with absolutely no talent when it came to singing.
Yes, if I were to meet Gilbert O’Sullivan today in 2011, I think that we would instantly be good friends for I would tell him just how much I appreciated him for writing his one hit song and how it gave me a new awareness for placing all of my confidence in JUST ONE GIRL, which I found out the hard, painful, depressing way, can lead to loneliness, low self-esteem and losing all interest to take singing lessons.
Maybe next time I will share with you, my talent for “Tap Dancing My Way To Romance.”