Saturday, November 5, 2011
“As love is reality,
When you are near to me, I am in ecstasy
I'd swallow the pain and pride
Baby, I just can't hide all that I feel inside”
It’s feeling as if this may be a proper moment in time to lighten things up a bit here at “… and several butcher’s aprons.” The recent bountiful barrage of caustically controversial political pieces thankfully, remarkably and thrillingly, increased readership by almost twenty-fold. However, the sudden exposure to a much larger audience also brought with it responding streams of invectives heretofore not experienced. We learned, through this multiplied and more open interaction with the virtual universe that, for example, nycityman is “vile,” needs to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror, and is a writer whose talents are neither worthy of posting nor reading (the comment that most cut me to the quick, but admittedly, it is a quick in need of some minor cutting.) In certain quarters, I’ve been portrayed somewhat as a left-wing answer to Glenn Beck, and although I’d prefer Jeff Beck, I actually think that’s kind of fantastic in the sense that it’s very satisfying that someone is not only paying attention but is motivated enough to strongly comment and critique - whether it be of a positive or negative nature. But, for the present, a change of pace - return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear (Hi Ho Silver, away) to a calmer time, a more peaceful time, a time of love and joy, and a time of going to San Francisco wearing flowers in your hair – as we revisit “Saturday Song Selection.” We’ll play a memorable, beloved ditty, have some good-hearted merriment with birthday acknowledgments, and an enjoyable, innocent time will be had by all - suitable for readers of all ages and all political persuasions – sans preaching, pontificating and proselytizing. It’s been a long time, now I’m coming back home. I’ve been away now, oh how, I’ve been alone (wait - now there’s a great song, and although not the subject of this “Saturday Song Selection” it will be posted here as an extra added attraction.)
The Roots of The Grass Roots
Perhaps this is one of those bands of the classic rock era whose name you may just vaguely recognize. Maybe you can even recall one song of theirs, but more likely you can’t actually name any of them. Then you scan Sirius, happen upon an oldies station, and soon are singing along to one of the many Grass Roots hits you never before credited to them – “Midnight Confession,” “Wait a Million Years,” “Two Divided by Love,” “Temptation Eyes,” “Sooner or Later“… on and on (though not “On and On,“ the Stephen Bishop standard.) Some impressive facts - from 1967 to 1972, The Grass Roots set a record for being on the Billboard charts 307 straight weeks. They’re one of only nine bands that have charted twenty nine or more Top 100 Billboard singles. They have sold over twenty million records, and have earned one platinum album, two gold albums and thirteen gold singles.
Considering their admirable achievements, their origins and history are a little unusual. In essence, the Grass Roots began as a fake assemblage – like the Archies, the New Kids on the Block or the 2012 Republican Presidential candidates - at first, not much more than a dream someone once had (or in the case of that GOP roster, a nightmare.) Songwriters, Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan were charged by Dunhill Records to compose some folk-rock songs, the burgeoning musical trend at the time. They penned a few and recorded them with studio musicians. Hits emerged and unexpectedly they had to put together an actual group to assume the mantle of the record label owned moniker, The Grass Roots. Initially, The Bedouins, an already existing band did the Clark Kent to Superman-like transformation and a pop-rock saga began. Yet the Bedouins lasted in this new incarnation for but for a short time and another group, The 13th Floor, replaced them to become the most successful, most stable line-up of what was to be an ever-evolving congregation. In total, 33 different members have passed through the Grass Roots, an organization as flexible, malleable and changeable as Mitt Romney’s convictions – nycityman is anxiously awaiting his opportunity. Among the many Rooters was Creed Bratton, now stretching his talents to portray Creed Bratton on “The Office.”
Saturday, November 5th Birthdays
1963 Tatum O'Neal - The youngest Academy Award winner in history, at age 10, for “Paper Moon,“ as daughter of Ryan O’Neal and ex-wife of John McEnroe, also the unfortunate recipient of the “Worst, Most Repugnant Men in Any Woman’s Life” honors. A relationship with the recently deceased Moammar Gadhafi would have been a step in the right direction for her.
1947 Peter Noone - Obviously his name wasn’t Herman and he really wasn’t a hermit, so for a career and persona built on maliciously contemptible, ugly and deceitful lies and obfuscations, designed to deceive millions of gullible young people throughout the world - a very likeable guy with a healthy catalog of hit songs to his credit. As a child he also acted in the eternally running British drama, “Coronation Street.” Eyewitnesses report that Mrs. Brown’s daughter was not nearly as lovely as consistently insisted on by Noone.
1941 Art Garfunkel - Primarily known through much of his career as “and Garfunkel,” a tradition later continued effectively by “and Oates,” his individual recognition grew with his Golden Globe nominated performance in “Carnal Knowledge.” He was, of course, half of the greatest duo of the rock music era, blessed with a distinctive and amazing voice and, most importantly, born in Queens, part of nycityman’s five borough domain.
1940 Elke Sommer - German-born actress and 1960’s and 70’s hot number, possibly best remembered for being the object of an unpleasantly aging Bob Hope’s distasteful film and TV lechery. The lustful “tiger-growl” just isn’t as comical or charming with the vibrating dentures.
1912 Natalie Schafer - The late Ms. Shafer appeared in 17 Broadway plays and dozens of Hollywood features from 1941 to 1989 and yet she is known solely for a role she played in a bad TV sitcom that lasted a mere 3 seasons - “Gilligan’s Island,” Author of the autobiography, “Cutely Refer to Me as Lovey One More Time and I Can’t Promise I’ll Be Accountable for My Actions with this Ice Pick… Dear,“ she and co-star, Jim Backus are personally responsible for the way every comedic actor has chosen to depict a wealthy person for the last four decades.
1911 Roy Rogers - We’re wishing happy trails to the “King of the Cowboys” wherever he may now be. Star of 100 films as well as a radio and TV series that ran a combined 15 seasons, and an inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame; with “Queen of the West” wife, Dale Evans, he founded and supported numerous children’s charities. No joke here, it’s Roy Rogers, he was an icon and sometimes it’s good just to learn.
This song transports me back to childhood summer days and WABC radio. Although, it’s really just run of the mill, standard 60’s pop, it has greatness, and even if you’ve never heard it before see if you can stay still while listening. Presenting the Grass Roots with that love song of exaggeration, “Wait a Million Years” -
And as promised, and previously alluded to, a special “Saturday Song Selection” bonus - the Beatles and “Wait.”