Bookends at fifty: Simon and Garfunkel, “America” (1968)

(Above: What was Frances McDormand's line from Almost Famous?) Fifty years ago today - April 3, 1968 - Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel released the LP Bookends. This was one of the first LPs that I recovered from my parents' stash upon finding that they had more than just 45s in a box. (I touched … Continue reading Bookends at fifty: Simon and Garfunkel, “America” (1968)

“L’amour est bleu” and other mellow sounds: The Billboard Hot 100, February 17, 1968

(Above: The song at Number One, as I remember it looking....) Fifty years ago this week Paul Mauriat's "Love Is Blue" was the number one song in the country.  About three years after that it became my earliest memory of a phonograph. I've shared a picture before of my mother holding me next to our … Continue reading “L’amour est bleu” and other mellow sounds: The Billboard Hot 100, February 17, 1968

Rest in peace, Fats Domino: “Lady Madonna” (1968)

Word circulated yesterday that Antoine "Fats" Domino, regarded by many as one of the godfathers of rock and roll, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Fats was a survivor in the literal sense of the word.  When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, Domino remained in his 9th ward home, riding the … Continue reading Rest in peace, Fats Domino: “Lady Madonna” (1968)

MOR music: Bobby Goldsboro, “The Straight Life” (1968)

(Above: Bobby, trying to hide against a wall.) Students of 1960s culture often forget that there were, in fact, old people alive at that time, and that they were consumers in their own right.  While much of the "50 years later" type pieces spotlight teenage music preferences, there's a lot of other stuff that gets … Continue reading MOR music: Bobby Goldsboro, “The Straight Life” (1968)

But if you try sometimes: The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (1968)

(Above: Alex's funeral in The Big Chill, which many people picture when they hear this song.) I was fifteen years old in 1984 when my family rented a copy of The Big Chill. We loaded it into the ginormous VCR that sat atop the television, dragged the cable for its remote to the couch, and … Continue reading But if you try sometimes: The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (1968)

How terribly strange to be seventy: Simon & Garfunkel, “Old Friends” (1968)

(Above: Mom showing me how the phonograph works, circa 1971.) My parents turn seventy this week.  To be precise, my father does: my mother passed away before turning 59. In my family, you either live a very full life or a very short one. My grandmother (Dad's mom) also has a birthday today, and is … Continue reading How terribly strange to be seventy: Simon & Garfunkel, “Old Friends” (1968)

Lost local hits (Grand Rapids, MI): The Fredric, “The Girl I Love” (1968)

(Above: The Fredric, circa 1967). In an earlier post I wrote about the phenomenon of the local chart hit, a product of a bygone era when local radio programmers had sway in adding songs to the playlists of their radio stations. It was a phenomenon I investigated in writing my dissertation to see if the … Continue reading Lost local hits (Grand Rapids, MI): The Fredric, “The Girl I Love” (1968)