Saturday, August 17, 2019

From The Pen Of Peter Paul Markin- Out In The Jukebox Saturday Night-With The Platters "Only You" In Mind

From The Pen Of Peter Paul Markin- Out In The Jukebox Saturday Night-With The Platters "Only You" In Mind  

Recently I, seemingly, have endlessly gone back to my early musical roots in reviewing various compilations of a classic rock series that goes under the general title <i>The Rock ‘n’ Roll Era</i>. And while time and ear have eroded the sparkle of some of the lesser tunes it still seems obvious that those years, say 1955-58, really did form the musical jail break-out for my generation, the generation of ’68, who had just started to tune into music.

And we had our own little world, or as some hip sociologist trying to explain that <em>Zeitgeist</em> today might say, our own sub-group cultural expression. I have already talked about the pre 7/11 mom and pop corner variety store hangout with the tee-shirted, engineered-booted, cigarette (unfiltered) hanging from the lips, Coke, big sized glass Coke bottle at the side, pinball wizard guys thing. And about the pizza parlor jukebox coin devouring, playing some “hot” song for the nth time that night, hold the onions I might get lucky tonight, dreamy girl might come in the door thing. Of course, the soda fountain, and…ditto, dreamy girl coming through the door thing, merely to share a sundae, natch. And the same for the teen dance club, keep the kids off the streets even if we parents hate their damn rock music, the now eternal hope dreamy girl coming in the door, save the last dance for me thing.

Needless to say you know more about middle school and high school dance stuff, including hot tip “ inside” stuff about manly preparations for those civil wars out in the working class neighborhood night, than you could ever possibly want to know, and, hell, you were there anyway (or at ones like them). Moreover, I clued you in, and keep this quiet, about sex; or rather I should say “doin’ the do” in case the kids are around, and about the local “custom” (for any anthropologists present) of ocean-waved Atlantic “watching the submarine races.”

Whee! That’s maybe enough memory lane stuff for a lifetime, especially for those with weak hearts. But, no, your intrepid messenger feels the need to go back indoors again and take a little different look at that be-bop jukebox Saturday night scene as it unfolded in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Hey, you could have found the old jukebox in lots of places in those days. Bowling alleys, drugstores (drugstores with soda fountains- why else would healthy, young, sex-charged high school students go to such an old-timer-got-to-get-my- medicine-for-the-arthritis place. Why indeed, although there are secrets in such places that I will tell you about some other time when I’m not jazzed up to go be-bop juke-boxing around the town.), pizza parlors, drive-in restaurants, and so on. Basically any place where kids were hot for some special song and wanted to play it until the cows came home. And had the coins to satisfy their hunger.

A lot of it was to kill time waiting for this or that, although the basic reason was these were all places where you could show off your stuff, and maybe, strike up a conversation with someone who attracted your attention as they came in the door. The cover artwork on this compilation that I am thinking of just now shows dreamy girls waiting for their platters (records, okay) to work their way up the mechanism that took them from the stack and laid them out on the player. There is your chance, boy, grab it. Just hanging around the machine with some cashmere-sweatered, beehive-haired (or bobbed, kind of), well-shaped brunette (or blond, but I favored brunettes in those days) chatting idly was worth at least a date (or, more often, a telephone number to call). Not after nine at night though or before eight because that was when she was talking to her boyfriend. Lucky guy, maybe.

But here is where the real skill came in. Just hanging casually around the old box, especially on a no, or low, dough day waiting on a twist (one of eight million guy slang words for girl in our old working class neighborhood) to come by and put her quarter in (giving three or five selections depending what kind of place the jukebox was located in) talking to her friends as she made those selections. Usually the first couple were easy, some old boyfriend memory, or some wistful tryst remembrance, but then she got contemplative, or fidgety, over what to pick next.

Then you made your move-“Have you heard <em>Only You</em>? NO! Well, you just have to hear that thing and it will cheer you right up.” Or some such line. Of course, you wanted to hear the damn thing. But see, a song like that (as opposed to Chuck Berry’s <em>Sweet Little Rock and Roller</em>, let’s say) showed you were a sensitive guy, and maybe worth talking to … for just a minute, I got to get back to my girlfriends, etc., etc. Oh, jukebox you baby. And guess what. On that self-same jukebox you were very, very likely to hear some of the songs from that compilation I am thinking about. Here are the stick outs (and a few that worked some of that “magic” mentioned above on tough nights):

<em>Oh Julie</em>, The Crescendos (a great one if you knew, or thought you knew, or wanted to believe that girl at the jukebox’s name was Julie); <em>Lavender Blue</em>, Sammy Turner (good talk song especially on the word play); <em>Sweet Little Rock and Roller</em>, Chuck Berry (discussed above, and worthy of consideration if your tastes ran to those heart-breaking little rock and rollers. I will tell you about the ONE time it came in handy sometime); <em>You Were Mine</em>, The Fireflies; <em>Susie Darlin’,</em> Robin Luke (ditto the Julie thing above); <em>Only You</em>, The Platters (keep this one a secret, okay, unless you really are a sensitive guy).

No comments:

Post a Comment