To Gilligan or Not to Gilligan

You know what’s wrong with kids these days? I’ll tell ya what’s wrong with kids these days!

When I was a kid, every­one I knew was famil­iar with the aria “Votre toast je peux vous le ren­dre” from the opera Car­men, aka “The Tore­ador Song” (skip ahead to 1:12):

No, we weren’t opera buffs. Bear with me a sec.

Car­men is an unusu­al opera, giv­en that its libret­to was orig­i­nal­ly in French.

Here are the orig­i­nal lyrics in French:

Toréador, en garde! Toréador!
Et songe bien, oui,
songe en com­bat­tant
Qu’en oenoir te regarde,
Et que l’amour t’attend,
Tore­ador, l’amour, l’amour t’attend!

And here’s a rough Eng­lish trans­la­tion:

Tore­ador, on guard!
Tore­ador!
Tore­ador!
And con­tem­plate well!
Yes! Con­tem­plate as you fight!
That a dark eye is watch­ing you,
And that love is wait­ing for you,
Tore­ador! Love, love is wait­ing for you!

My friends and I didn’t have the first clue about Car­men, much less opera in gen­er­al. We just knew a frag­ment of the aria with (at the time) mild­ly risqué alter­na­tive lyrics; a few years lat­er we knew the aria with some oth­er amus­ing lyrics we saw on TV.

You are now about to date your­self with one of three reac­tions:

  1. You’ll rec­og­nize the aria by its qua­si-risqué Eng­lish lyrics
  2. You’ll rec­og­nize it by the fun­ny TV lyrics, or
  3. You don’t rec­og­nize it at all, in which case I would tell you to get off my lawn, but you already got bored and are watch­ing pim­ple-pop­ping videos or some­thing instead.

Here are the mild­ly risqué lyrics:

Tore­ador!
Don’t spit upon the floor!
Use the cus­pi­dor!
That’s what it’s for!

That’s not very naughty, you’re think­ing. But this was a long time ago, when any­thing with even the most oblique ref­er­ence to any­thing scat­o­log­i­cal or burps or farts or spit­ting or what­ev­er was hys­ter­i­cal­ly fun­ny because they’d get you in trou­ble.1

Now, here is the TV ver­sion I men­tioned: It occurred in an episode of Gilligan’s Island titled “The Pro­duc­er.” In “The Pro­duc­er,” a film pro­duc­er crash-lands on the island, so the cast­aways cre­ate a musi­cal ver­sion of Shakespeare’s Ham­let.

As one does.

So they cob­ble togeth­er a mashup of var­i­ous oper­at­ic frag­ments with (sort of) the plot of Ham­let. In this case they mashed up Lord Polo­nius’ speech to Laertes (and here are the fun­ny TV lyrics I men­tioned ear­li­er):

Nei­ther a bor­row­er nor a lender be
Do not for­get! Stay out of debt!
Think twice, and take this good advice from me:
Guard that old sol­ven­cy!
There’s just one oth­er thing you ought to do:
To thine own self be true!

(Skip ahead to 3:30 in the video):

Shock­ing­ly, Gilligan’s Island did­n’t rack up lots of awards. But “The Pro­duc­er” snagged a spot on TV Guide’s list of the top 100 TV episodes of all time.

“The Pro­duc­er” reminds me of some of the best mate­r­i­al from Warn­er Broth­ers’ car­toons or Sesame Street: They can pro­duce high-qual­i­ty, hilar­i­ous enter­tain­ment that both chil­dren and adults love. Not because it appeals to a low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor with fart or poop jokes (don’t get me wrong—well-executed fart or poop jokes can be a plea­sure sub­lime).

No, it’s because they can appeal to chil­dren at their lev­el and adults at their lev­el2 (I could get into a sim­i­lar com­par­i­son of The Rab­bit of Seville, or “What’s Opera, Doc?” (same here), for instance, both of which should have won Nobel Peace prizes).

Like every gen­er­a­tion ever, today’s kids think they invent­ed every­thing cool—sex, f’instance. Or more specif­i­cal­ly in this case: Memes.

A meme is a lit­tle snip­pet of a cul­tur­al fad or joke all the cool kids know. But kids these days didn’t invent memes. They just dumb­ed them down.

Memes these days are some idiot on Dr. Phil say­ing “Cash me ous­side; how bow dah?” Or a gamer scream­ing “Leeroy Jenk­ins!” as he gets all his team­mates killed. Or dab­bing, or Nyan Cat, or Grumpy Cat, or Ceil­ing Cat Is Watch­ing You Mas­tur­bate, or Philoso­rap­tor or Tide Pod Chal­lenge or a zil­lion oth­er things.

Many of these are rib-crack­ing fun­ny, but they don’t go any­where. They’re a mile wide and an inch deep. Flash­es in the pan.

If you vis­it Know Your Meme and search for pop­u­lar memes, you’ll find ref­er­ences to a fun­ny line in a show or amus­ing acci­dent or bizarre news sto­ry that caught the public’s atten­tion: DAMN, Daniel!; Oh, wait: You’re seri­ous? Let me laugh even hard­er!; Ermagerd! Gers­berms!—stuff like that.

And since the Inter­net has giv­en most peo­ple the atten­tion span of a hum­ming­bird on crack, I guess that’s noth­ing to sneeze at.

But again: They don’t go any­where. With memes, the name of the game isn’t to suss out where they came from and who start­ed it and where they got the idea from and oth­er inter­est­ing triv­ia. With cur­rent memes, the goal is to acquire pho­to­graph­ic mem­o­ry of the words or pho­tos accom­pa­ny­ing the meme so you can toss them out there online so every­one will chuck­le at how smart you are.

And how does one acquire this ency­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge? Sim­ple: By stay­ing online and plugged in 24/7/365.

While No. 1 Son and The Chow­der were grow­ing up, Best Half worked Sat­ur­days for a few years; a bit lat­er I worked as a free­lance con­trac­tor with super-flex­i­ble hours.

I had the priv­i­lege of spend­ing many price­less hours with my kids at muse­ums, book­stores, the library and so on.

But some­times when I was busy with con­tract work, we hung out at home and watched movies. For Christ­mas one year, First Sis­ter gave me a set of all the Warn­er Broth­ers car­toons ever made; I already owned all of Mel Brooks’ movies on DVD as well, along with most Mon­ty Python movies, and the unri­valed kings of spoof movies: Zuck­er, Abra­hams and Zuck­er, pro­duc­ers of Air­plane, Air­plane II, Top Secret! and the Naked Gun flicks.

Memes are the cul­tur­al equiv­a­lent of triv­ia quizzes. These days “spoof” movies are just strings of loose­ly relat­ed triv­ia fac­ti­cles, but tru­ly great spoofs are more than triv­ia quizzes. If you want to pro­duce tru­ly great spoofs like Blaz­ing Sad­dles or Air­plane!, you have to love the genre you’re spoof­ing, love it enough to turn it inside out in a way true afi­ciona­dos of West­erns or dis­as­ter movies will rec­og­nize instant­ly.

Old-school memes like The Tore­ador Song are fun­ny and viral, yes, but if you get inter­est­ed in where they come from, you won’t see info like “This meme start­ed when Ben­der the robot said ‘Oh, you were seri­ous? Let me laugh even hard­er’ on Futu­ra­ma.”

That’s what I think, any­way. YMMV. Get off my lawn.

John Denver Was an Alien and He Accidentally Killed Himself and All I Got Out Of it Was This Boring Childhood

I owe John Den­ver a debt of grat­i­tude, and not just because he did us all a favor when he acci­den­tal­ly killed him­self in a plane crash.

No, wait. That’s entire­ly too snarky and cyn­i­cal, even for me. Den­ver was an amaz­ing song­writer, musi­cian and per­former; real­ly he was. Let’s just say my rela­tion­ship with him was a bit rocky1 for a few years.

Our sto­ry begins with Den­ver’s birth: John Den­ver was his stage name; his giv­en name was Hen­ry John Deutschen­dorf Jr., and he was alleged­ly born in 1943, in Roswell, New Mex­i­co.

Based on his giv­en name and place of birth, there are only two pos­si­ble con­clu­sions that can be drawn:

  1. He was a Nazi, and smart enough to get out of Ger­many a few years before his com­pa­tri­ots, change his name, get a fake birth cer­tifi­cate, but not hide in South Amer­i­ca, or
  2. He was an alien who got strand­ed on Earth, like E.T.

I’m firm­ly in the alien camp, and here’s why: No Nazi could release 33 albums of award-win­ning music with­out a sin­gle tuba or accor­dion appear­ing in any of his songs.

And maybe he died in a plane crash. Or maybe it’s like Elvis in Men in Black, and he just went back home.

But as fur­ther proof I offer his album cov­ers. About half of them were, I believe, cod­ed dis­tress sig­nals to his home plan­et. He was try­ing to “phone home,” to coin a phrase.

No, real­ly. Check out these high­lights:

John Denver Sings, 1966:

Looks like a col­lage of Most Want­ed mug shots. But Den­ver was still learn­ing how to mim­ic humans; it’s pos­si­ble he thought Most Want­ed meant Most Pop­u­lar.

Take Me to Tomorrow, 1970:

What’s he doing here, stalk­ing the Unabomber? It sure looks like he’s peek­ing into the Unabomber’s cab­in. And that soul­less, blank stare could have belonged to Jef­frey Dah­mer.

But the title’s the clinch­er: Take Me to Tomor­row. Yeah; that’s an alien ask­ing the Unabomber if he can build a time machine or maybe a warp dri­ve engine.

Whose Garden Was This, 1970

Some peo­ple can get away with bare-chest­ed por­traits. John Den­ver was not one of them. Espe­cial­ly not when his scrawny, pale geek chest was super­im­posed over some ancient rel­ic look­ing a lot like the alien ship in Indi­ana Jones and the King­dom of the Crys­tal Skull.

Aerie, 1971

Den­ver cud­dles with his pet vul­ture and watch­es the sun­rise. He appears to be shirt­less again.

Or giv­en the album title, maybe it’s an eagle and they’re sit­ting in the eagle’s nest. Which would make Den­ver an eaglet.

This is get­ting creepy.

Farewell Andromeda, 1973

Def­i­nite­ly a cry for help. He’s star­ing off into space with a bunch of ghost ani­mals sit­ting on his hat, and some­where along the way he stole Kirk Dou­glas’ chin.

But now we at least know which galaxy he was from.

Den­ver released some new mate­r­i­al over the next ten years or so, but most­ly he coast­ed on great­est hits and hol­i­day albums, until…

One World, 1986

Neptune’s nose nuggets! What the hell is he doing? Stand­ing on the sur­face of the Sun?

(Now we know where James Cameron got the idea to kill both Ter­mi­na­tors in a bath­tub of melt­ed steel at the end of T2: Judge­ment Day.)

Hav­ing now proven John Den­ver was an alien, lemme loop back to the part about how I owe him a debt of grat­i­tude.

In Sep­tem­ber 1975, Den­ver released Wind­song, the cov­er art of which looks most­ly human. The tracks did include a cou­ple of alien hints, such as “Look­ing for Space” and “Fly Away.”

In Wind­song, Den­ver also sang a song to a boat. Not a song about a boat; a song to a boat. It was titled “Calyp­so,” which was also the name of a boat owned by famous oceanog­ra­ph­er Jacques Cousteau (not to be con­fused with the bum­bling detec­tive in the Pink Pan­ther movies).

Yep—“Calypso” was a love song to the boat of the same name, com­plete with nau­ti­cal sound effects: seag­ulls, waves, bells ring­ing, cab­in boys get­ting bug­gered, crew mem­bers puk­ing over the rail; all that fun stuff.

First Sis­ter and Mom had both been hope­less­ly in love with Den­ver ever since he released Rocky Moun­tain High, but Mom went thor­ough­ly insane over “Calyp­so.” She want­ed to lis­ten to “Calyp­so” All. The. Time.

I can’t crit­i­cize her for that; we’ve all got­ten obsessed with a song or album and played it around the clock. It’s eas­i­er when you’re stoned, but still. I was 12 that fall; I liked John Den­ver too, but not quite at the Beat­le­ma­nia lev­el Mom and First Sis­ter did. Thing 1 and Thing 2 liked him too, but with­out any scream­ing or faint­ing.

Mom had bought the album, but she also bought the sin­gle for “Calyp­so.” It was the B side of “I’m Sor­ry,” which you should con­sid­er dra­mat­ic fore­shad­ow­ing.

Like this, except ugli­er.

And every morn­ing when Mom roust­ed us all out of bed to get ready for school, “Calyp­so” was already on the record play­er in the liv­ing room. (Remem­ber the huge TV-radio-record-play­er con­soles pop­u­lar at the time?)

She would put the sin­gle on the turntable, put the lit­tle arm doohick­ey in the mid­dle so the record play­er played the sin­gle over and over, wake us all up, then bus­tle around like a Step­ford wife, hum­ming and singing and fix­ing break­fast so cheer­ful­ly it tempt­ed me to stick a fin­ger down my throat, barf on my break­fast, and claim I was sick so I could go back to bed.

It wasn’t just the abom­inable cheer, though. It was “Calyp­so.” I liked the song at first. But it usu­al­ly took every­one about 45 min­utes to get up, have break­fast, apply teeth­breesh and get out the door. Dur­ing which time “Calyp­so” played at least a dozen times.

After a cou­ple days of this, I hat­ed wak­ing up, I hat­ed “Calyp­so,” I hat­ed John Den­ver, I hat­ed Jacques Cousteau, I hat­ed Jacques Cousteau’s stu­pid boat, I hat­ed the record play­er, and I hat­ed break­fast. My sis­ters didn’t seem to mind the song, but I have the atten­tion span of a squir­rel on crack, so it didn’t take long for me to get tired of “Calyp­so.” I didn’t want to ruin it for every­one else, so I didn’t say any­thing.

I’m not sure how many days we break­fast­ed to “Calyp­so”; maybe four or five. But one morn­ing, 10 min­utes into yet anoth­er “Calyp­so” marathon, Dad got up, went into the liv­ing room, opened the record play­er lid, and scut­tled “Calyp­so” with that glo­ri­ous teeth-on-edge SKVRRRRYK! sound of a record being ter­mi­nat­ed with extreme prej­u­dice.2

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkWWLpfYDkw[/embedyt]

Dad came back into the kitchen, grabbed his lunch box, kissed Mom and wished us all a good day, and left for work as my sis­ters and I sat open­mouthed in shock.

Mom and Dad weren’t per­fect; they dis­agreed or argued occa­sion­al­ly. They nev­er had any seri­ous dra­ma or the kind of fights that make the kids hide under their beds. If any­one had said they want­ed to lis­ten to some­thing else, Mom would have been hap­py to put on some­thing else. She isn’t the self­ish type of per­son who wants what they want, but doesn’t care about any­one else. She loved “Calyp­so” and found it joy­ful and uplift­ing and she want­ed every­one else to feel joy­ful.

And Dad rarely raised his voice, much less lost his tem­per or start­ed break­ing things.  He’d obvi­ous­ly had his fill of “Calyp­so,” but I think he was just being ornery and sil­ly when he stopped the record.

I do know he didn’t scare any of us; we were just gob­s­macked, and it took about 3 min­utes for the inci­dent to become a fam­i­ly joke: Some­one would turn on the TV or ask Mom or Dad per­mis­sion to play a record; the rest of us would yell, “Not ‘Calyp­so’!”

So yeah, John Den­ver got a lot of air­time in our house.

A few years before The Calyp­so Inci­dent, a song on one of Denver’s alien-art albums caught my atten­tion: It was Farewell Androm­e­da, and the song title was “Please, Dad­dy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christ­mas).”

It’s from the per­spec­tive of a lit­tle boy whose Christ­mas mem­o­ries were of Dad­dy com­ing home at mid­night Christ­mas Eve and pass­ing out under the tree, or his mom smil­ing brave­ly and shoo­ing the lit­tle boy upstairs as his dad arrived home, laugh­ing and hol­ler­ing drunk­en­ly; the impli­ca­tion being Daddy’s going to be smack­ing Mom­my around a bit.

Here’s an odd thing: I thought the song was hilar­i­ous. I was 10 and when the song played I thought it meant Dad­dy was up too late assem­bling gifts and fell asleep under the tree. I pic­tured Dad­dy as a lov­able doo­fus, not a vio­lent alco­holic.

There’s an old say­ing, rumored to be a Chi­nese curse: “May you live in inter­est­ing times.” It almost sounds like a bless­ing until you think about it. Thanks to World War II, for exam­ple, the 1940s are far more inter­est­ing than the 1950s.

I had no frame of ref­er­ence with which to under­stand “Please, Dad­dy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christ­mas)” because my child­hood was not interesting—no vio­lence, no alco­holics, no abuse. Noth­ing inter­est­ing at all.

I’m bor­ing, but that’s not a bad thing. Some­times bor­ing is good.

I guess it’s not John Den­ver who deserves that debt of grat­i­tude.

I still won­der if he was an alien, though, what with all his bare-chest­ed weird album cov­er art.

There’s a posthu­mous col­lec­tion of his best music that came out in 2004, 7 years after his fatal plane crash. It’s even titled as such: John Den­ver: Defin­i­tive All-Time Great­est Hits.

This offered a price­less oppor­tu­ni­ty to define his body of work and career, to shape his lega­cy once and for all, so here’s hop­ing they chose cov­er art that avoids the weird­ness of some of his ear­li­er albums, and—

Oh for fuck’s sake! Real­ly?

A Hell of a Band

This post is about a song by The Right­eous Broth­ers. I don’t know if they real­ly were right­eous, but I do know they weren’t broth­ers, so I guess I report, you decide. If you’re the churl­ish tl;dr type who can’t wait till the end of this post to hear the song, it’s down at the bot­tom, but if you skip the whole post like that you can’t be my friend or come up in my tree fort any­more.

If you’re under 45, chances are the only time you’ve been exposed to the Right­eous Broth­ers was in the movie Ghost, or pos­si­bly in Top Gun.

In Ghost, The Right­eous Broth­ers’ “Unchained Melody” plays while Demi Moore is sculpt­ing a vozz, and Patrick Swayze sits down behind her and the vozz gets ruined and they get slimy wet clay all over them­selves.

In Top Gun, The Right­eous Broth­ers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feel­ing” plays on a juke­box once or twice, along with the fight­er pilots singing “Great Balls of Fire” and Ken­ny Log­gins singing “Dan­ger Zone” and the pilots play­ing half-naked vol­ley­ball and fly­ing around real­ly fast and in gen­er­al slosh­ing buck­ets of sweat and testos­terone off the screen and all over the audi­ence.

The Right­eous Broth­ers were were a huge­ly suc­cess­ful white crooner/extremely white doo-wop duet in the late ‘50s and ear­ly ‘60s. And since this post is about The Right­eous Broth­ers, I’d like to talk about The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly.

The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly was a TV show about a fic­tion­al musi­cal fam­i­ly loose­ly based on the real musi­cal fam­i­ly The Cowsills, who not only had a hit with the song “Hair,” from the musi­cal with the same name, but also got me very con­fused when was a kid, because it seemed to me that if a cow has sills, it should also have win­dows.

So any­way, The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly was nei­ther a fam­i­ly nor a band. It was a TV show with a bunch of actors pre­tend­ing to be a band that didn’t exist, except they did kind of exist because you could go to Wool­co or Sears and buy 45 RPM sin­gles labeled The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly, even though the songs were per­formed by David Cas­sidy with a band of gener­ic musi­cians, which con­spic­u­ous­ly lacked a 10-year-old bassist and a 7‑year-old drum­mer.

My dad hat­ed The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly. He also hat­ed The Jack­son 5, The Osmond Broth­ers, The Car­pen­ters, the Mon­kees, The Right­eous Broth­ers, and Bob­by Sher­man (who, on a side note, orig­i­nal­ly leased the cus­tom-built Boe­ing 720 that Led Zep­pelin used and was seen in the 1976 film The Song Remains the Same, which was about a Led Zep­pelin con­cert in New York City in 1973).

Dad did not hate any of these musi­cians for their music. As far as he was con­cerned, they were just noise. Dad was like Bob’s wife, who worked at Bob’s Coun­try Bunker in The Blues Broth­ers and who, when asked about what kind of music she liked, replied, “Both kinds: coun­try AND west­ern!”

What Dad hat­ed was their faces. He also hat­ed 3M, the com­pa­ny that pro­duced Scotch Tape, and the mag­a­zine Tiger Beat.

Cowsills and God?

Tiger Beat pro­filed young musi­cians and actors as long as they were safe-look­ing rel­a­tive­ly short-haired guys (which is why Led Zep­pelin and Alice Coop­er and The Doors nev­er appeared there­in).

Scotch Tape sold the tape my sis­ters used when they scis­sored Tiger Beat into con­fet­ti once a month in order to tape head­shots of that month’s dreami­est teen idols all over their bed­room doors, then rip them all off to tape up the head shots from the next month’s issue, which was rapid­ly strip­ping the fin­ish off the doors.

After school one day my mom asked me to go fetch her cig­a­rettes from her room. The cig­a­rettes were on her night­stand; as I picked them up I glanced at a 45 RPM sin­gle next to the cig­a­rettes. It was a sin­gle by The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly titled “One Night Stand.”

I was 9 and not too sharp on the sub­tler nuances of gram­mar and spelling, so when I saw the sin­gle “One Night Stand” on the night­stand, my first thought was Why would any­one sing a song about a piece of fur­ni­ture? 1

So I grabbed the sin­gle, along with the cig­a­rettes, and asked Mom why The Par­tridge Fam­i­ly had a song about a night­stand, which led to an awk­ward, unsat­is­fy­ing expla­na­tion about how a one night stand was when two peo­ple went to go see a movie togeth­er, but then decid­ed not to see any more movies togeth­er.

I nev­er did find out why the sin­gle was on Mom’s night stand.

Fast for­ward two years to the sum­mer of ’74. I was 11 and had vague­ly fig­ured out that a one night stand was a very brief romance, and the rea­son the guy and the girl didn’t want to see any more movies togeth­er was because they didn’t like kiss­ing. Pre­pu­bes­cent me under­stood that, because girls were yucky and kiss­ing was stu­pid.

We vaca­tioned in Col­orado that sum­mer. The Right­eous Broth­ers had just released a song titled “Rock and Roll Heav­en,” and it was get­ting heavy air­play, at least once an hour all the way there, all day every day we were there, and all the way back.

If you’ve nev­er heard “Rock and Roll Heav­en,” it’s a trib­ute to the lega­cy of musi­cians who had passed on, includ­ing Jimi Hen­drix, Janis Joplin, Jim Mor­ri­son, Jim Croce, Bob­by Darin, and Otis Red­ding.

I did­n’t get most of the ref­er­ences oth­er than Jim Croce and Janis Joplin; “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” had been a big hit the pre­vi­ous year. Joplin had appeared on the Tom Jones vari­ety show, which my mom loved (and I snick­er a lit­tle bit now, but at least she did­n’t throw panties at the TV).2

I also rec­og­nized the ref­er­ence to “Light My Fire,” but I’d seen Antho­ny New­ley singing it on a vari­ety show and I thought it was his song.

I loved “Rock and Roll Heav­en” on its own mer­its; still do. But what made it so cool at the time was the cho­rus:

If you believe in for­ev­er
Then life is just a one night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heav­en
Well you know they got a hell of a band!

Part of it was the puerile thrill of some­one on the radio singing the word “hell,” which was still mild­ly naughty, but what made the biggest impres­sion was that for the first time I can remem­ber, I con­nect­ed with lyrics that used a sim­i­le to touch on a much deep­er truth: Com­pared to eter­ni­ty, life is short. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short. And maybe some­day those who touched our lives but have since passed on—well, maybe some­day we’ll see them again. And in the mean­time we can remem­ber them by cel­e­brat­ing their lives and lega­cies.

MTV didn’t exist in 1974, but thanks to Mid­night Spe­cial and Amer­i­can Band­stand, you could occa­sion­al­ly see a music video or live per­for­mance of hit songs.3

I didn’t know “Rock and Roll Heav­en” had a music video until the oth­er day, when I stum­bled across it on YouTube. And just like that, a song I hadn’t thought of for more than 40 years was back, with all the influ­ence and emo­tion it gen­er­at­ed back then.

So I now present to you, all the way back from 1974, The Right­eous Broth­ers’ “Rock and Roll Heav­en.”

Time trav­el can be bru­tal, though: In this case, try not to think about how unbut­toned shirts and bell-bot­tomed leisure suits and lapels wider than your shoul­ders were once unbear­ably cool.

Dur­ing our ’74 sum­mer vaca­tion, Dad found “Rock and Roll Heav­en” annoy­ing, even though The Right­eous Broth­ers weren’t Tiger Beat mate­r­i­al, and he kept tun­ing to some­thing else when it came on. I would yell, “Turn it back on! I love that song!” from the back seat.

Made him grouchy but it was worth it.