Do you remember Hullabaloo,
Upbeat, Shindig and Ed Sullivan too?
Do you remember rock'n'roll radio?
("Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio" by the Ramones)
1964 through 1966 must've been a great time to have been a teenager! Viet Nam War aside, it just seems that that era was filled with fun for any 16 year old guy or girl. TV had the best shows for teens - Shindig, Hullabaloo, American Bandstand, Where The Action Is, and, locally here in Detroit, Robin Seymour's Swingin' Time - all featuring the greatest bands and singers of the rock and roll era, groups like Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Shangri Las, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, Freddie and the Dreamers, Petula Clark, Sir Douglas Quintet, the Yardbirds, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Johnny Rivers, the Supremes...oh man! the list goes on and on...and the kids dancing.
And the groups smiled when they sang!
I am fortunate enough to own hours and hours of clips from the above mentioned shows - some shows in their entirety, others are full clips of the complete songs. And what fun they are to watch. Every so often I like to pull them out and throw 'em on the DVD and sit back and take my mind back to when I was a child. Although I wasn't a teen then, I do remember watching these shows on the tube - blessed with older siblings, you know.
I am also lucky enough to have about 30 hours of local radio broadcasts of the same period - WKNR, WXYZ, CKLW - cool teen commercials and all ("Things go better with Coca Cola things go better with Coke;" "Any home can have a soda fountain now with Great Shakes New Great Shakes;" "You can have that summer look all year long with Summer Blonde by Clairol;" " 'I can't say bacarruda' - 'You mean Barracuda, man!' "). And the excitement the DJ's had while announcing the songs and contests. Radio has not been anywhere close to this era since.
As with the classic teen TV shows, every so often I like to throw on a tape I have of mid-60's radio while cruisin' on the expressway or taking a drive by the lake.
My 17 year old son mentioned to me while watching Hullabaloo recently that he wished it was still like that for kids his age today. He said too many of the contemporary groups are too angry, and many like to use language he prefers not to hear.
And then, of course, there's the sensual dancing that no one under the age of 21 should have to see should they choose not to. Even dancing for the younger pre-teens can be a little too outrageous, as far as I'm concerned.
But, there I go, being a prude!
It's a shame that things have changed so much that innocent fun has either been taken out of the picture or there is a new definition of the word.
Well, I'm glad I have the old shows and clips when I find myself needing to get away - yes, it's true, I don't always go back 150 years when I time travel. Sometimes I only go back 45 years!