L is for Leader of the Pack

Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and George Morton wrote the #1 hit ‘Leader of the Pack’ for The Shangri-Las, which they recorded in 1964 on their album of the same name.  This song is about accepting differences and it contains a story about a conversation which takes place between Betty and her two unnamed friends.  Betty just got engaged, but she is not as happy as she should be because her parents are complaining about her choice of male friends.  Her father insisted that she should dump Jimmy and the obedient daughter, she dumped him.  Jimmy is shocked when he hears that she won’t see him anymore and he rides off on the rainy night.  We hear a cry, “Look out” along with some fast-drumming sounds and you realize that there was a crash and now it is all over for the leader of the pack.  Tears and sadness follow.

The bad boy in this song is not just a guy who rides a bike, he’s the head of a motorcycle pack, however this biker bad boy is probably a far cry away from being an actual Hells Angel.  This is just my opinion, but one that I derived from watching Mary Weiss sing this song, as she doesn’t look like the kind of girl that would want to become a Hells Angels mama, because of this innocent teenage quality that she exudes.  I picture her as the type of girl that is fascinated by danger, and she probably owns a leather jacket, because it looks good on her.  However, her standards demand that she date a clean-cut, sociable guy, maybe one with a Honda and not a Harley.  This leads us to an important question that must be answered if we want to understand this song, and this is, “Is a pack a club, or is it a gang?”  This guy is the leader of the pack, but is he just some wimp that is in a motorcycle club and he enjoys going out on rides with his good friends, or is he a really bad boy, like some type of outlaw?  The answer to this question is revealed when Betty says that she met Jimmy in a candy store, so this guy turns out to be the leader of a motorcycle club, as it doesn’t seem realistic for a Hells Angel to go into a candy store to pick up chicks.  The other thing is that Betty’s two friends both seem to know Jimmy, so he is most likely a local.

Her dad didn’t want her to date the biker and Betty is probably blaming herself for Jimmy meeting his doom after crashing his bike on the wet road.  As the song fades out Betty declares that she will never forget Jimmy and then she says, “The leader of the pack – now he’s gone”, letting us know for sure that Jimmy died in the crash.  The spoken dialogue that takes place in this song is what makes it so interesting.  This song has it all, doomed love, class divisions, teenage rebellion, the generation gap, parental opposition and tragic death condensed into a three-minute single.  I don’t think that Betty was intentionally trying to cross a line by getting involved with Jimmy, a boy from the wrong side of town, she probably just didn’t see things the same way that her parents did.  All it took was one smile from the leader of the pack, and Betty was hooked on him.  Betty takes Jimmy to her home to meet her parents, but that didn’t work out so well, because they felt he was not suitable for their daughter.

Music producer George Francis “Shadow” Morton was noted for writing and producing two big hits for the Shangri-Las, ‘Remember (Walking in the Sand)’ and this one, which he wrote with Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry.  ‘Remember (Walking in the Sand)’ was another tragic breakup song and Morton was looking for a follow-up to that hit.  He had a motorcycle and was part of a motorcycle gang in his youth, so he, Greenwich and Barry decided to use that as the theme.  Together, they came up with the rather dramatic story, being sure to name the characters in the lyric (Betty and Jimmy) which allows the listener to form an attachment with these characters.  Death has often been featured as a theme in music, but Jimmy dying seems so unnecessary, making it all that more dramatic for the listener when they learn about the circumstances of his violent end.

The Shangri-Las were made up of two pairs of sisters (Elizabeth & Mary Weiss and Mary Ann & Marge Ganser).  These Andrew Jackson High School girls were based in the Cambria Heights section of Queens and they had already found Top 5 success with their previous song.  In April 1964, their parents had to sign the record contract with Red Bird Records for their daughters, as these girls were all still minors.  Mary was 15, Betty was 17, and the Ganser twins were 16.  They started out singing in school talent shows, and initially, the girls performed without a name.  But when they signed their first deal, they began calling themselves the Shangri-Las, after a Queens, New York restaurant.  These clean-cut cuties singing about their crushes, quickly rose to become one of the most important acts of the “girl group” era.  A top NYC radio disc jockey named Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, went to see the Shangri-Las at a talent show after hearing about them from listeners.  He was impressed with their tough and strong image, and he felt that they displayed angst and showed rebellion.

By the end of 1964 The Shangri-Las were an established act.  They performed with the Beatles, a Fall 1964 tour with the Rolling Stones, R&B artists such as The Drifters and James Brown (who, according to Mary Weiss, was surprised to discover the girls were white).  Cashbox magazine listed them as best new R&B group and they became a fixture on the Murray The K shows at the Brooklyn Fox from 1964-66.  They also promoted Revlon cosmetics by singing, “Natural Wonder, how pretty can you get.”  In March 1965, they toured the UK with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Herman’s Hermits, Del Shannon, and others.

Mary Weiss may have been a little bit more concerned about school than the 3 other girls in the group, or maybe because she was the youngest member in the group, she stayed in high school taking classes at a for young professionals in Manhattan, while the others were required to make personal appearances which required them to leave high school.   Shortly before the Shangri-Las went to the UK for their tour in, Betty Weiss dropped out temporarily, leaving the group as a trio. The remaining trio (just Mary Weiss and the twins) circulated at the group’s peak in popularity and beyond, which made many people think that this group was a trio.  Betty rejoined the group in mid-1965, and the group appeared as a quartet once again until the start of 1966 when they permanently became a trio with (MaryAnn and Margie leaving at different times and replacing each other, until the demise of the group).  The group alternated between touring as their own band and gigging with some of the local area bands.  Other groups that they played with were the Sonics, a garage rock band from Tacoma, Washington, as well as the Iguanas, a garage rock band from Ann Arbor, Michigan featuring a young Iggy Pop.

Queens, New York, was a rough neighborhood and although these girls appeared to be reserved, modest, and shy while they were up on stage, they all probably knew some things about how they could protect themselves from growing up in this environment.  Rumors about supposed escapades have since become legend, and Mary Weiss attracted the attention of the FBI for transporting a firearm across state lines.  In her defense, she said that someone tried to break into her hotel room one night and she bought a pistol for protection.  Whatever truth these stories may have, they were believed by fans in the 1960s, and they helped cement the group’s bad-girl reputation.  According to Weiss, that persona helped her to fend off advances from musicians while she was on tour.

Billy Joel claimed that he may have probably played the piano on this song when he was very young, but girls weren’t at the session while he was playing.  At the time, he wasn’t in the musician’s union because he was about 14 or 15 and he said that he never got paid, and he thinks that this was his very first recording session.  He seemed to be clearer about being on the piano player on their song ‘Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand)’ which became a hit first, but was actually recorded a little bit later.  Billy thought that Shadow Morton, was a strange guy, because he wore a cape in the studio and he felt intimidated hoping that no one would find out that he wasn’t in the union.

According to Jeff Barry, they used a real motorcycle to create the sound for the revving engine.  Shadow Morton sometimes talked about how they wheeled the motorcycle into the studio to record it, but Barry explained that they attached a microphone to a long cable and recorded it on the street outside the New York City studio.  The bike was a Harley Davidson owned by Barry’s engineer, Joe Venneri. Fortunately, Venneri’s Harley was not used to create the crashing sound, as that was a sound effect.

Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let’s ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
By the way, where’d you meet him?

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That’s when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

My folks were always putting him down (down, down)
They said he came from the wrong side of town
(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)
They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That’s why I fell for (the leader of the pack)

One day my dad said, “Find someone new”
I had to tell my Jimmy we’re through
(whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?)
He stood there and asked me why
But all I could do was cry
I’m sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack)

He sort of smiled and kissed me goodbye
The tears were beginning to show
As he drove away on that rainy night
I begged him to go slow
But whether he heard, I’ll never know

Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!
I felt so helpless, what could I do?
Remembering all the things we’d been through
In school they all stop and stare
I can’t hide the tears, but I don’t care
I’ll never forget him (the leader of the pack)

The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone

Cat That Got the Cream

Chloe had a very good day and now she is ready for a nap.  She is very fond of cream, and since most mammals’ drink milk directly after birth, drinking milk is natural for them to lap up.  Unfortunately, cats are lactose intolerant and they should not have any dairy products after their breastfeeding period has ended, so even though she likes it, we never give her cream.  They are attracted to milk and cream, because they are able to sense and smell dairy products, especially the fat and protein.  Cats have evolved to sleep for long periods throughout the day, which stems back to the period when all cats were wild and they needed to sleep in the day in order to conserve their energy, so they could hunt at night.  House cats may not need to hunt, but they still carry the instinct to sleep, so they can prepare to hunt.  Cats love to snooze because it’s in their genes and they may spend anywhere between twelve to sixteen hours in a day taking cat naps.

Written for Stine Writing – Poetry, Positivity, and Connecting!, Simply 6 Minutes hosted by Christine Bialczak.

K is for Kind of a Drag

The Buckinghams had a #1 hit with ‘Kind of a Drag’ in 1967, it sold over a million copies and went gold.  It was written by Jimmy Holvay and it was the title track of their debut LP, which managed to scrape a #109 placing on the Billboard 200 album chart.  Holvay wrote four other songs for The Buckinghams and he was a friend of the theirs from Chicago.  Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, in the mid-1960s Carl Giammarese (lead guitar, vocals) was playing with Nick Fortuna (bass) as members of the Centuries.  Later the duo was joined by Miccoli (keyboards), Jon-Jon Poulos (drums), George LeGros (vocals) and Dennis Tufano (vocals), they became a sextet and were now playing as the Pulsations.  They gained popularity while they were still in high school, but LeGros was drafted and they became a five-piece band.

Their break came when they won a “Battle of the Bands” contest sponsored by a Chicago WGN-TV show, All Time Hits, and they were awarded a 14-week gig on the show.  With 1965 being the height of the “British invasion” period, the show wanted the band to have a more British-sounding name.  A young security guard that worked for the TV station gave them a list of names he thought might work for them.  On that list, the band chose The Buckinghams, not only because it sounded British, but there was also a fountain in Chicago called Buckingham Fountain in Great Park.  That security guard would remain a friend of the group for the rest of his life.  Miccolis was fired after ‘Kind of a Drag’, and he was replaced by Larry Nestor.  Nestor’s stint with the band was short-lived, and Marty Grebb (keyboards) came in to replace him the following year.

Their first manager/co-producer, Carl Bonafede, signed them to Chicago’s USA Records.  They worked with big band musician Dan Belloc as co- producer, and arranger Frank Tesinsky who created their horn sound, which became a signature of the Chicago horn sound identifying them as The Buckinghams.  Their first records were covers of hit songs.  They did James Brown and the Famous Flames’ ‘I’ll Go Crazy’, The Beatles’ ‘I Call Your Name’, The Hollies’ ‘I’ve Been Wrong Before’, some Kinks ‘Don’t Want to Cry’, and the Zombies ‘You Make Me Feel Good’ which sold fairly well in the Chicago area, but the band needed a national hit to cement their reputation.  They found what they needed in ‘Kind of a Drag’, which sold more than a million copies and went to #1 on the national pop charts.

Columbia Records offered the group national label distribution, and the band chose James William Guercio, who’d written Chad and Jeremy’s #1 hit, ‘Distant Shores’, as their new manager.  The Buckinghams recorded 12 singles that dominated the AM radio airwaves.  With new management and a major label, the Buckinghams recorded and released many more hits in 1967, becoming one of the best-selling groups in the 1967 and were one of the more successful sunshine pop bands to come out in the 1960s.  In 1967, Cash Box Magazine named them “The Most Promising Vocal Group in America”, and they set off a chain- reaction of demand nationwide in record stores.  In 1967, Billboard Magazine named them “The Most Listened to Band in America.”  The airwaves were brimming with The Buckinghams’ latest tunes, and TV audiences got to see them on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, The Joey Bishop Show, and American Bandstand.  The Buckinghams were playing to capacity crowds in arenas and festivals, sharing the bill with Gene Pitney, The Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Neil Diamond, America, Tom Jones, The Hollies, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, and The Who.  Thousands of teenage girls waited at concerts to rush the stage and rip clothing for souvenirs, which made The Buckinghams became part of American teenage culture overnight.  Their faces were splashed onto national magazines, posters and album covers with a look and style that helped define 60s pop rock.

The Buckinghams recorded in Columbia’s New York and Los Angeles studios, in between more than 300 tour dates, having 3 chart hits at one time on 2 different labels.  The band were pop superstars for about a year and a half in 1967-68, and then three things happened which changed everything for them.  First the music industry changed from a time when singles dominated the industry to the time when the album started to rise of in the late 60s and early 70s, and since The Buckinghams were known as a singles group, this spelled their downfall.  When the 45-rpm disc was the most common format, artists felt obliged to keep their songs to an industry prescribed three-minute mark, and this also suited the AM radio format.  As FM picked up popularity and the singles acts started dying off and the album-oriented bands took over.  The Buckinghams were not alone in this, as many of these single-orientated acts never had hit records again.  The second issue was a trumped-up drug charge where band members Nick Fortuna, Marty Grebb and Jon-Jon Poulos were arrested in August of 1968 in Spirit Lake, Iowa, specifically possession of narcotics (only marijuana was found, and it was in possession of the group’s roadies).  Also arrested on drug charges were the group’s tour bus driver and three roadies.  All seven were held overnight in the Dickinson County Jail and released on $2500 bond the following day, just in time for them to make a concert appearance.

The third thing that attributed to their decline in 1968 was the image of their music being described as wistful, with their biggest hits being full of teenage love and not showing an understanding of what love really is.  They were also not as cool and seemed to be out of touch unlike the hipper bands of the day.  When America’s youth turned their attention to the Vietnam war, and festivals like Monterrey Pop and Woodstock, The Buckinghams were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Some say they suffered from what is sometimes called the Chicago Curse, meaning that they starting out as a well-intentioned Chicago cover band and ended up playing pop drool.

The song featured the powerful vocals of Dennis Tufano and a punchy, distinctive brass soul-styled horn section, creating the foundation of the “Chicago Sound” (aka taking a pop-rock track and plastering horns all over it).  Guercio steered them in an awful pop direction, drowning the band in horns and strings and giving them crappy songs to record.  The group managed to survive a while, but after cranking out three albums in two years, they faded along with other happier pop groups.  They were always a bit more soul-oriented than other pop groups due mainly to Dennis Tufano’s strong vocals and Jon-Jon Poulous’s interesting drumming.

Their original song ‘Kind of Drag’ written by The Mob’s Jim Holvay gave the group considerable national exposure, but no one anticipated the demand, as the single rocketed to #1 across the country becoming a million-seller going gold.  Jim Holvay was a founding member of The Mob, the first rock band to perform at a Presidential Inaugural Concert & Ball.  The Buckinghams churned other hits, however, when the band’s subsequent singles didn’t do well, they broke up shortly afterwards.  After 1968, their fortunes changed this time and the group went from having four Top 20 hits the past year, to only managing to score a lone Hot 100 hit via the single.  They spent several years on tour, sharing the stage with Carole King, Bread, and Cheech and Chong so after they went through a string of personnel changes, having issues with their management as well as each of the members wanting to go in different directions, the band split up in early 1970.

In 1968, Guercio took his experience from The Buckinghams to become a staff producer for Columbia, where he signed the group The Big Thing, who were renamed, Chicago and he also crafted Blood Sweat and Tears’ #1 album.  With guidance from The Buckinghams’ drummer, Jon-Jon, as their new manager, the rock duo of Carl and Dennis were signed to Ode Records by legendary producer Lou Adler.  Grebb went on to play with Chicago related bands like Lovecraft and The Fabulous Rhinestones.  In 1980 the band, minus Jon-Jon Poulos, who had unexpectedly died of a drug overdose earlier that year, suffering heart failure brought on by heroin use just five days before his 33rd birthday, got back together for a reunion show that was sponsored by the Chicago radio station WLS.  They began touring again, while the group members maintained their solo careers.

Marty Grebb ended up touring with Bonnie Raitt, Leon Russell, Chicago, Eric Clapton, and Dave Mason, until he passed away in 1980.  Giammarese found his solo voice and launched a productive career as a studio singer for national TV and radio advertising producers.  Tufano followed his heart to California, and found home base in film/TV work.  Nick Fortuna immersed himself in rhythm and blues, playing gigs across Chicago, with groups including Music Power ‘69, Jimmy V and the Ambassadors, and Baby Huey and the Babysitters.  Fortuna later started his band, Crystal, with Billy Corgan Sr., and other talented musicians.

After performing in several select dates in Chicago, Tufano left for good, leaving Giammarese and Fortuna the only remaining original members.  The duo and a newer influx of members continue keeping themselves busy by going on the oldies “package tours” playing with the Turtles, the Grass Roots, Micky Dolenz, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and Mark Lindsay.  In 2004, they released a CD with The Cyrkle Take 2.  In the new millennium, the Buckinghams continued to release albums of new material, as well as several compilation and live recordings, the latest being Up Close: CD and digital downloads in 2010.  Giammarese and Fortuna are the only original Buckinghams who have still been active up to the present.

In the 1993 movie Hot Shots! Part Deux, Charlie Sheen playing the dazed Topper Harley said, “That’s right, Cindy.  It’s twenty three minutes past the hour, and now here’s the Buckinghams with ‘Kind of a Drag’ –“.  Please don’t ask me why he said that, because he said a lot of crazy things in that movie.  In 2009, The Buckinghams had the honor of being invited to once again headline the entertainment for the Bipartisan Illinois Agricultural Ball for the inauguration of President Barack Obama for the Presidential Inauguration festivities.  Later that year, The Buckinghams were honored to be selected as new inductees into the 2009 class of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

Kind of a drag
When your baby don’t love you
Kind of a drag
When you know she’s been untrue

Oh oh, listen to what I’ve gotta to say
Girl, I still love you
I’ll always love you
Anyway, anyway, anyway

Kind of a drag
When your baby says goodbye
Kind of a drag
When you feel like you want to cry

Oh oh girl, even though you make me feel blue
I still love you
I’ll always love you
Anyway, anyway, anyway

Oh, listen to what I’ve gotta say
Girl, I still love you
I’ll always love you
Anyway, anyway, anyway

Exploring Weirdness

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?
I guess nobody needs more than one blow up doll, so that would be pretty weird having two of them, unless you let the air out of one and save it just in case your original inflatable girlfriend springs a leak.

Have you ever gotten a really bad haircut?  Do share!
My last haircut when I tried cutting my own hair turned out to be a disaster and I wrote about it in this post What Was I Thinking.

Isn’t Disney Land and Disney World (and all the variants) just a people trap operated by a mouse?
I have no idea where this question came from, but Disney is much more than an iconic mouse.  Sure, Mickey and Minnie draw in customers, but all of the rides are nothing more than control systems and I actually applied for a job to program the rides.  I didn’t get the job, but I always thought it would have been fun to work there.  Thus, Disney Land and Disney World are operated by people not mice.

What if Batman got bitten by a vampire?   What would happen?
I have no idea, but this question did make me smile.

What do you want your final words to be if you could choose?
Only the good die young.

Gratitude Section
I am happy that all of my April A to Z posts are written.

Written for Melanie’s sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World.

The Skerry

The small rocky island was too small for human habitation, it contained no trees and it didn’t even have any small plants.  Susan said to Cheryl, “We are both in a non-exclusive relationship with the same man and if this is ever going to work out, we must try to get along with each other.  If we both want to remain committed to him, we need to learn how to deal with each other.  I am his wife and he is the father of my children, but I want him to be happy and if that means that I have to share him with you, well I will do whatever I need to keep him.  I guess we are like Eskimo sisters, but I have no desire to join in any group sessions with you two.”

Cheryl said, “I wish that Ted would have picked a better place to drop us off, but I know that we must talk and I guess we have plenty of privacy out here.  I know that Ted loves you Susan and he tells me that all the time, but now I am also carrying his child and I am going to remain part of his life.  We just need to set up some boundaries, so we don’t get on each other’s nerves.  Ted said that next week I will be moving into his house and maybe you call it your house also, but I will be calling it my house, as it will become my home.  The story that he will be telling everyone is that I am the live-in maid, but get this straight, I have no intention of being a maid.  I will keep my bedroom clean and I will also do some chores around the house, but I won’t be taken advantage of.  We can decide who will cook and which one of us will do whatever, and I will be eating dinner with Ted every evening, so you can join us or not.  As far as those group sessions that you mentioned, that will never happen, although I will allow Ted to spend romantic time with you when he desires.  I think that can work for both of us, but it may be difficult for our children.”

Susan said, “We will work out a schedule, but we also have to keep an eye on Ted all the time, as I let him stray once, and I am at fault for this predicament, but who is to say that he won’t try it again, as Ted is one horney bastard.  It does not take much to get him sexually aroused and it would be painful for me to see him in your arms, so we also need a dress code for the common areas of the house and kissing should be off limits when the three of us are all together.  Ted loves it when I kiss his lips when he comes home from work and I enjoy doing that, so I would hate having to end that.  Ted loves to see me walking around the house in flimsy outfits and when I am dressed like that, he can’t seem to take his hands off of me and I just love it.  I know that my life has to change, but I don’t want it to change for the worse.  I am willing to share my husband with you, but I don’t want this to be a hardship for either of us.”

Cheryl said, “I knew that Ted was married when I started fooling around with him and he has always been honest with me.  Thousands of men cheat on their wives behind their backs and I had no idea that I was going to fall in love with Ted.  I just found him to be so sexy that I was happy he was paying attention to me and I seriously doubt that he will be doing any more straying with the two of us taking care of his needs now.  I don’t think it will bother me all that much if I see you with him, so we differ on that account and I am OK if you want to wear sexy outfits for him and greet him with a kiss.  I am certain that I will be able to deal with that, because I know that I am the other woman and that you will always be his wife.  I don’t mind being the other woman and I can wait my turn to be with him, but I don’t want a dress code, as you are not my mother and I figure that all is fair in the common areas of the house, so if I get in the mood to make advances toward Ted, I am going to go for it and I won’t be following any stupid rules.  If you don’t enjoy watching us, then I would suggest that you go to another room.”

Susan said, “I read that it is incredibly hot watching your husband getting what he wants from another woman, but it seems like it would also be incredibly awkward.  I know that we love each other and that he has not lost interest in me and under the right circumstances this could end up being an enhancement of our sex life.  I think this would only work for me if it was a one-night stand, which is clearly not the case for us.  I have always had an exhibitionist streak in me and I guess that I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to watch Ted and I making love.  You could sit on a chair and be quiet, but I am not suggesting that you join in.”

Cheryl said, “I have never had any voyeuristic tendencies, so watching Ted and you making love is not something that I am particularly interested in, but you do have a smoking hot body and I understand why Ted wants you.  It might be nice seeing Ted being satisfied by another woman, so I guess there would be no harm in trying it, but if it makes me horney than I am jumping Ted’s bones and I will get physically involved, as soon as you two are done and maybe even while you are still on the bed.  I am sure that Ted would enjoy me watching you two together and I love listening to the way that he moans and I guess that it is possible that I could pick up a trick or two from watching both of you in bed.  I am certain that watching you would be arousing, watching your breasts spill free after he unhooks your bra, and listening to you moan while he gropes you.  I don’t want Ted to think that I am boring and I imagine it could be a pleasurable experience for all of us.  If you want to explore your exhibitionism, then I will give voyeurism a try.”

Susan said, “To tell you the truth Cheryl, the sex life that I have with Ted has been off the charts ever since he told me about you.  I’ve never experienced anything like this before in the bedroom, and he is constantly telling me how much he loves having sex with me.  I should probably thank you for what you have done to my marriage.  I have been having all of these fantasies lately and I can’t stop thinking about him being with another woman.  My best friend told me that her husband cheated on her, and this fired up a spark in her marriage that had been dead for a long time.  She found herself sexually attracted to him again and it renewed their sex life and it seems like this has done the same for me.  When Ted confessed the affair that he was having with you, I made him tell me all of the details.  I felt strange at first that him being unfaithful to me was getting me off and I started wondering if there was something wrong with me, but then I realized that there’s nothing wrong with having thoughts and also with consenting adults doing certain things, so as long as I keep having these intense orgasms, there is nothing wrong with that.  I am not going to let you being with my husband make me feel insecure about myself.”

Cheryl said, “The one thing that really attracted me to Ted was hearing him tell me how much he loved you and how he was looking forward to coming home to you when our love making was ending, as that just made me know what a decent person he was, for taking his marriage vows so seriously.  I knew that I could never take your place and I thought that you must have been the coolest wife on the planet when he told me that you knew about our affair.  Knowing that you were allowing your husband to have sex with another woman was a lot better than having him sneak around on you, and I respect you for that.  Ted told me that you figured he would get tired of me and maybe that is why your sex life improved.  We will have separate bedrooms, but it is inevitable that all three of us will end up doing things together.  I am glad we are having this conversation and I am sure that things will work out for us, but when did Ted say he was coming back for us, as I am getting hungry and I have to take a leak.  He should have picked out a better spot for us to discuss all of this, but I think that we are off to a great start.”

Susan spoke, “This went much better than I expected it would and Ted told me to phone him when we were getting along, so I will do that now.  I remember the last time that I was pregnant and I felt like I had to pee all the time, so there is no reason for you to be shy, just let it out, so you don’t strain your kidneys.  I am sure that you have gone pee in front of somebody before, but if you like, I will turn around away from you.  Ted told me all about your sexy lingerie and that made me up my game and I really enjoy wearing pretty things for him.  It is too bad that we aren’t lesbians, as that way Ted would have to wait for us, instead of us waiting for him all the time.”

Cheryl said, “Are my panties turning you on Susan?  I have never thought about being a lesbian and I wouldn’t even know how to start.  I guess that I could explore being bisexual, if you were willing to teach me how to do that.  I have had thoughts about being with a woman, but I never had the courage to act on any of that.  It is not like I don’t find it intriguing, but I never found a sexy, open-minded women before that I wanted to talk with about this.”

Susan replied, “This started out being all about keeping Ted happy, but I find it titillating seeing girls kissing other girls and watching girl on girl porn, but like you I don’t have the courage to discuss this with anybody else.  I guess the cat is out of the bag now and we could probably try kissing each other.  Ever since I saw Madonna give that wet kiss to Britney Spears, I have wondered what it would feel like to kiss another woman.  Let’s start off with a kiss and see where it goes.”

Susan and Cheryl started kissing and then Ted came back and said, “It looks like you girls got things worked out and wow this is so hot watching you two going at it.  I could go away if you need more alone time, but I think it would be best if we all just went back home now and left this skerry and finish whatever you two have going on in the bedroom.  I am one lucky man to have two such understanding women in my life.”

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #113.

J is For Just My Imagination

The Temptations had a #1 song with ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)’ that was recorded on their 1971 bestselling Sky’s The Limit fourteenth studio album.  The guy in this song is one step away from becoming a stalker, but mostly he is harmless, as he understands that his desire for this girl exists only in his imagination and in reality, she doesn’t even know his name.  He sees her everyday walking past his window and he gets romantic ideas about her, imagining that she will run away with him.  In his mind, she is the perfect girl for him and he sees them getting married, living in a house together and raising their (two or three) children.  At night he prays that she will not meet another man or fall in love with anybody else but him.  He is never going to forget this imaginary love, as he continues to hope that his fantasy will come true.  This guy is suffering from the halo effect, because he has created such a positive impression about this girl that nothing else will ever influence his opinion of her.

‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)’ was written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield and Motown CEO Berry Gordy brought them together in 1966 to work on recordings for The Temptations.  The team is probably best known for their hit ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, which became a big hit for a number of artists.  Motown producer and composer Norman Whitfield often worked with lyricist Barrett Strong and they wrote this song together a few years before it was released.  Whitfield directed the career of The Temptations, and managed to introduce new ideas and he had full creative control over their psychedelic sound period, but when he thought it was time for them to change direction, so they could stay on top of the charts, he pulled this soft, reflective, peaceful, narrative song out of the mothballs for them to record and it became the third of four #1 hits by the Temptations and it became one of the group’s biggest hits ever.  Motown achieved 79 records in the top-ten of the Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 1969.  Following the events of the Detroit Riots of 1967, and the loss of key songwriting and production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland that year over pay disputes, Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles.  After Motown quit Detroit for Los Angeles in 1972, Strong left the company, returning to singing via a contract with Epic Records, then he switched to Capitol Records, and Whitfield also bid adieu to Motown in 1973.

Eddie Kendricks who was an original member of the group sang lead vocals on this track, and this was his last single with them, as Kendricks left for a solo career soon after the song was released.  It was also the last song for another original member Paul Williams, who remained on salary as an advisor, but was plagued with personal problems, being separated from his wife, owing back taxes, being under treatment for alcoholism as his health deteriorated.  He committed suicide in 1973 at age 34.  The other members of The Temptations of this recording were Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams and 11 members of The Funk Brothers played the instrumentation on this song including guitarists Dennis Coffey and Eddie Willis.  Other personnel on the track included Bob Babbitt on bass, Jack Brokensha on vibraphone, Jack Ashford on marimba and Andrew Smith playing drums.  The strings and horns by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra were overdubbed later.

The Temptations were originally called the Elgins, and they were formed in 1961 from the coupling of two vocal groups together that were based in Detroit, those being the Primes, who were originally from Alabama, and the Distants.  That same year they signed with Motown and for the first several years of their career, Smokey Robinson was the Temptations’ primary producer and song writer.  In mid-1966 Shelly Berger was hired by Motown to manage the Temptations and Supremes.  Billboard magazine ranked the Temptations #1 in their most recent list of the Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of All Time, and in November of 2019 because of the soul group’s success since the 1960s, with the ensemble having tallied a record 16 #1s on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart (which began in 1965) and 14 leaders on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (which dates to 1958), including its longest-leading hit single, the eight-week #1 ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ in 1966.  The act scored 43 top 10s, including having at least one in each decade from the ‘60s through the ‘90s.  Billboard named them one of The 125 Greatest of All Time Artists.  Rolling Stone magazine named them among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in September of 2020, the editors of Rolling Stone commented that the Temptations are “Indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the Modern Era,” and they listed the group’s 1973 Anthology album among the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”  The Temptations were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by
I say to myself you’re such a lucky guy
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true
Out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me
But it was just my imagination
Runnin’ away with me
It was just my imagination runnin’ away with me

Soon we’ll be married and raise a family (oh yeah)
A cozy little home out in the country with two children maybe three
I tell you I can visualize it all
This couldn’t be a dream for too real it all seems
But it was just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me

Every night on my knees I pray, dear Lord, hear my plea
Don’t ever let another take her love from me or I would surely die
Her love is heavenly, when her arms enfold me
I hear a tender rhapsody, but in reality she doesn’t even know me

Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me
No, no, I can’t forget her
Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me
Just my imagination runnin’ away with me

What a Day

I believe in the magic of the young girl’s soul, just like I believe in the magic of rock ‘n’ roll, but right now I would like to take a little daydream.  ‘Daydream’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful is a lazy, laid back celebration of love on a summer’s day which originated with John’s attempt to rewrite the Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, though it turned into something quite different.  John was trying to imitate the straight eighth rhythmic pattern (with what he refers to as a shuffle being “isn’t all the way expressed”) of Motown songs such as ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ and ‘Baby Love’.  He attempted to grab something out of this song and he ended up with something that became very much his own.  The Lovin’ Spoonful were the opening act touring with the Supremes in November of 1965, when John was inspired to write this lovely tune, so the genesis of this song occurred while touring with the Supremes.  It seems that just like the way Sebastian was influenced by the Supremes, The Beatles admitted to being inspired by John Sebastian’s song when they wrote ‘Good Day Sunshine’.

John Sebastian had no idea that ‘Daydream’ would have such a long shelf life, as at the time, he was only focused on the next few months.  They were trying for, a Top Ten record, and everything else was unexpected.  This song marries a carefree guitar lick to a yawning slide guitar which created a gorgeous tribute to laziness.  In between his harmonica licks, John whistles along with the song’s melody.  1966 was their golden year, as the Spoonful had 10 A-sides which would eventually reach Billboard’s Top 30, with the first seven singles climbing into the Top 10, including such standards as ‘Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind’, ‘You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Nashville Cats’, and the immortal ‘Summer in the City’ and these songs still remain relevant today.

‘Daydream’ started this whole New Vaudeville Bandwagon in the late 1960s of which The Beatles picked up on and showcased on their Sgt. Pepper album, largely because Paul always had a thing for show tunes.  ‘Daydream’ did precede the big hit novelty tune ‘Winchester Cathedral’ by the New Vaudeville Band in 1966.  People enjoy music that makes them feel good and the irresistible vibe in ‘Daydream’ not only set the tone for a groovy summer, but it also inspired many songwriters and recording artists to catch that same emotional sentiments.

There were also a lot of hippies around at this time who probably enjoyed lighting up a joint, smoking it while listening to this song and then fading off into a daydream and it might have even been better if it was a Tuesday afternoon and then throw in some Donavan.  I don’t think that this song is about drugs, but it is about happiness and drugs make some people happy, so I can see why some people try to make this connection.  The only thing that is remotely close to a drug reference in this song is the phrase “new-mowed lawn”, which some stoners might have thought was about grass.  Maybe I should write a post about how when people get high, they tend to misconstrue things.  If you look at the lyrics and are familiar with the lighthearted theme, it’s obvious that he is crazy about this girl who he refers to as his bundle of joy, or his sweet thing.

This love-struck guy heads outside to take a walk deciding to blow off the whole day feeling that time is irrelevant when he decides to be in the sun.  He is oblivious to things that are going on around him and he may be just spaced out by the beauty of this day, when he falls on his face while walking on somebody’s new-mowed lawn.  His mind wondered and his attention shifted away from the task of controlling his feet, as his mind entered a place that was entirely his own, yep, he was havin’ a sweet dream and in fact he had been dreamin’ since he woke up this day.  His girl is with him in this daydream, because she’s the one that who can give him this wonderful feeling.

It seems that time has been passing me by him often, but he doesn’t want to concern himself with any trivial matters, as he feels that tomorrow will bring in better times.  He thinks that somebody should throw a pie in his face to wake him out of this daydream.  If you decide to let the daydream go on to have a life of its own, then this type of daydream will last you long into the night.  You enjoy your dream, but you are still uncertain where it took you, so tomorrow at breakfast you may shake out of it, or this daydreaming might last for a thousand years.  Today is a great day for a daydream, it was custom-made for a daydreaming boy, especially one that wants to be lost in a daydream.

It sounds so nice, unplugging yourself from reality, losing contact with the outside world, detaching your brain from all of your current external tasks, and allowing your attention to drift off into a more personal and internal direction.  Daydreaming is a universal human experience and that is why people will always be able to relate to this song.  Daydreaming shouldn’t be looked at as being a waste of time, as it is more like a gateway to creativity, being a problem-solving tool that could help you to realize your potential.  People may say that daydreams are scatterbrained and unfocused moments, but daydreaming is actually helpful as it keeps your life’s agenda in front of you, and it often reminds you of appointments that are coming up, it can be used to rehearses new situations, make plans for the future and it recollects your past experiences, maybe hoping that you will learn from them.

Musically, ‘Daydream’ is a typical blues song that’s not too complex, and it shows that Sebastian in a good mood.  Everything comes together to make this one of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s best songs.  Most of the top early folk-rock acts sprang from California, but the Spoonful were based in Greenwich Village, and they honed their chops at the Night Owl club and practiced in the basement of the Hotel Albert before their breakthrough to a nationwide audience with ‘Do You Believe in Magic’.  Unlike many top folk-rockers, who (like the Byrds) were largely and wholly ex-folkies recently converted to electric music, the Lovin’ Spoonful matched two folkies with two rockers, helping the quartet make the transition with rapid confidence.

While the Spoonful’s inclinations typically tended to produce a more rootsy sound, this 1966 single ‘Daydream’ made people want to glide along on their feet having a nice time, but never reaching the point of where somebody would start table dancing to, as this would take too much energy and that would wreck the daydream.  ‘Daydream’ carried this old-fashioned feel, which was enhanced by the harmonica and whistling.  This song is like a tasty desert that is supposed to be enjoyed on a summer day.  John Sebastian is the godson of actress Vivian Vance, who played Ethel Mertz in the classic TV series I Love Lucy.  In 2000, the Lovin’ Spoonful were duly recognized for their trailblazing efforts as they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  John Sebastian was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.

What a day for a daydream
What a day for a daydreamin’ boy
And I’m lost in a daydream
Dreamin’ ‘bout my bundle of joy

And even if time ain’t really on my side
It’s one of those days for takin’ a walk outside
I’m blowin’ the day to take a walk in the sun
And fall on my face on somebody’s new-mowed lawn

I’ve been havin’ a sweet dream
I been dreamin’ since I woke up today
It’s starrin’ me and my sweet thing
‘Cause she’s the one makes me feel this way

And even if time is passin’ me by a lot
I couldn’t care less about the dues you say I got
Tomorrow I’ll pay the dues for droppin’ my load
A pie in the face for bein’ a sleepy bull toad

And you can be sure that if you’re feelin’ right
A daydream will last long into the night
Tomorrow at breakfast you may prick up your ears
Or you may be daydreamin’ for a thousand years

What a day for a daydream
Custom-made for a daydreamin’ boy
And I’m lost in a daydream
Dreamin’ ‘bout my bundle of joy

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is to find a song with a single word in the title.

The Singularity

No this is not about black holes, as it is Song Lyric Sunday and this week we are going for vert short titles.  Did you know that that the probability of a hit song having a one-word title is two and a half times greater now than it was in the 1960’s and the average number of words per song title has also substantially declined?  I did not create this prompt so I could write about the Grateful Dead song Truckin’, as I have already written about that one.  I just thought this might be fun and challenging for everyone and I am hoping to get to listen to a variety of music today, so let’s all keep it short and sweet this week.  I think that there a lot of songs with a girl’s name that would fit into this one-word title theme but next week’s prompt is songs that have a girls’ name, so make sure that you save something for that.

Last week we had Cherry Blossom Festival, and everyone was supposed to choose a song that contained one these the time related prompts Blossoms/Cherry/Flowers in either the title or the lyrics.  This week the single word song title prompt, and the song that you choose must contain only one word in the title.  Take some time to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this music challenge, and even better, read as many of them as you are able to as you will probably find many enjoyable songs and it is quite possibly that you will learn a thing or two.  Share your music with others and post a video, try do some research and let everyone know something about the song that you post.  Tell everyone why you like the song, whether it was a hit, or what you think the song is about.  Show the lyrics, let’s all listen to our favorite songs and explore some new music.  Try to find a song that fits the prompt, then write your post and create a pingback, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:
• Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it contains the prompt words or not.  If it does not meet the criteria, then please explain why you chose this song.
• Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.  Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be.
• Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
• Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
• Ping back to this post or place your link in the comments section below.
• Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
• Feel free to suggest future prompts.
• Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about The Lovin’ Spoonful song ‘Daydream’ today.  Next week, I will be writing about the song ‘Sorry Suzanne’ by the Hollies.  The upcoming prompts will be:
April 18, 2021 – Songs that have a girls’ name in it which starts with an S suggested by Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing, think about Sloan, Saffron, Samara, Sandra, Sally, Shoshana, Sybil, Selma, Sherry, Sherly, Shana, Sharona, Shinead, or anything else that fits
April 25, 2021 – Arrivederci/Bon-voyage/Ciao/Farewell/Goodbye/Hasta la vista/Sayonara/Shalom
May 2, 2021 – Fix/Make suggested by Amy, aisasami
May 9, 2021 – Heaven/Hell suggested by Amy, aisasami

Where Did These Come From

It only takes a little bit of lace to ruin a marriage.  My wife was furious when she found these panties in our bed.  She held them up and said, “I am willing to listen to what you have to say about this, but it better be good.  I want to know if you are cheating on me, or if you have another explanation of how these mystery panties which are clearly not mine ended up in our bed.  I understand that every case of infidelity is different and it’s important not to judge without hearing someone’s story.  There are only three reasons why a girl might leave a lacy memento behind and either she couldn’t find them when she left, or she’s claiming you as hers, or she’s giving you a sexy souvenir to remind you of that hot night.  Tell me the real story.”

I replied, “Oops, I cheated.  I really didn’t really mean to, but the opportunity was there and I couldn’t resist, it sort of just happened.  I am sorry that you found that, but ever since the intimacy disappeared in our marriage and you lost interest in having sex, well I have needs, but I still love you.  I never meant to cause you any pain, but I am actually glad that you found out, as I felt terrible keeping things from you.  I made a conscious choice and there is nobody to blame but me, but it seemed like you were turned off to me and when the opportunity for me to be unfaithful arrived, I figured that since I was unsatisfied with the way our marriage was going, I was going to do it.  I hope that you are satisfied with my answer.”

My wife said, “Of course I am not satisfied, as you left out all of the details, and you never told me how the panties ended up in our bed.  I would like to know who the panties belong to, was it a one-time thing, or are you seeing this woman on a steady basis.  Why would you have sex with this woman in our bed, like couldn’t you go to a hotel, or do it at her place?  What would our neighbors think if they see you sneaking this woman into our house, when I am not home?  I understand that you have needs and that I have been ignoring them, but you must be more discrete about your affairs, as I don’t want to become a laughing stock.  You are free to do whatever you like with your mistresses, as I don’t need your loving and I lost that loving feeling a long time ago.  I still love you and I don’t mind giving you a kiss on the lips, as that makes me feel sexy, but that is as far as I want to go.  As far as I am concerned, adultery is not a deal breaker, so tell me everything that happened.”

I said, “It started out innocently enough with a woman named Cindy at work when we were assigned to work on the same project and those are her panties that you found.  She is married and she caught her husband wearing her panties one day at her house and since then she has been viewing him as a sissy.  They have been married for ten years and he wanted her to participate in his kinky fetishes, but she said that is not her style.  She broke down crying one night over dinner when we were on a road trip, telling me all about her problems.  I figured that it was only fair if I shared some personal details of our relationship with her and I told her how you have lost interest in having sex, not that the sex we had was ever that good in the first place.  I told her how you never liked me to see you naked and that you would only pull your panties off under the covers.  She thought that was weird and said that I was missing out on the best part of sex.  After a few drinks at dinner, I walked Cindy back to her hotel room and she invited me in, and I mean like she really invited me all the way in.  It is not a one-time thing as we have been doing it for several months and the sex is awesome.  On my last trip, I told Cindy that I left some papers at our house and said that I needed to get then for the meeting and she came inside with me and one thing le\ad to another and we ended up in bed.  I can’t explain why she left her panties behind, but if you like, I can call her and ask her.”

My wife said, “Yes please give her a call and ask her to come over for dinner and tell her to bring her panty wearing husband with her, as that is turning me on.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.