Our 12 part, 3 month long
Summer Means Fun series
concludes with a final frantic
flurry of songs dealing with
summertime love affairs!
Last time in Part 11 the Beach Boys were licking their wounds over a cheating gal named "Wendy." Jan and Dean found themselves in the same boat (surf board?) in a teenage lament entitled "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy."
"You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" is my favorite Jan and Dean song, a lavish, multi-track opus that hit me like a tidal wave in the spring and summer of 1965. The picture sleeve that came with the 45rpm record is one of the most distinctive and collectible of the rock 'n roll era.
As a lifelong fan of horror and the grotesque, I got a kick out of this pic sleeve which shows the dynamic duo posing with frightful friends in a Hollywood wax museum.
"You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy"
- Jan and Dean (July 1965, highest chart
Playing identical cousins on her hit television sitcom, prodigious actress Patty Duke was literally beside herself! Like many other child stars on TV and in the movies Patty soon branched out into
a recording career. Patty's most successful single was her first one which finishing in the top 10 during the summer of 1965.
The theme of Patty's hit record is a common complaint among teenage girls that have boyfriends who are the strong, silent type.
If it's a game I don't want to play it...
and if it's goodbye why can't you just say it?
Whatever ya do, bucko...
don't just stand there!
"Don't Just Stand There" - Patty Duke
(August 1965, highest chart position #8)
In June of 1965 the Beach Boys found a cure for their "Wendy" woes. Help came in the form of a girl named Rhonda and the song shot to #1 in the land.
"Help Me, Rhonda" - Beach Boys
(June 1965, highest chart position #1)
What's the best way to get over a girl? Get another girl! After all, the one who broke your heart is not the only starfish in the sea. That's the reasoning put forth in a groovy song co-written by Paul Simon along with Bruce Woodley of The Seekers. In July of 1966 "Red Rubber Ball" became a smash hit for the Cyrkle, barely missing the #1 spot on the Billboard chart.
"Red Rubber Ball" - Cyrkle
(July 1966, highest chart position #2)
Few acts have duplicated the Beach Boys sound as well as Bruce and Terry. Bruce Johnston joined the Beach Boys after recording under a number of pseudonyms, including The Rip Chords with partner Terry Melcher. Melcher, a fine singer and record producer, was also famous as actress Doris Day's only child. Doris outlived her son. Terry died in 2004 at age 62 after a long battle with melanoma. Listen to the authentic West Coast sound created by Bruce and Terry on their evocative recording "Look Who's Laughing Now."
"Look Who's Laughing Now"
- Bruce and Terry (1964, uncharted)
With a nod to my new friend Bouncin' Barb I'd like to wrap up my 12-part Summer Means Fun series with a pair of songs that bring back fond memories of vacations in Myrtle Beach.
I always waited until after Labor Day to head South of the Border to the Grand Strand of South Carolina where I spent the last two weeks of summer. The chill in the air that was already making jackets necessary back in Pennsylvania was nowhere to be found in balmy, palmy Myrtle Beach at that time of the year. Mid September felt like mid July all over again!
I already confessed my passion for Gino Giants. I developed a similar craving for foot long hot dogs served at a snack shop in Myrtle Beach. The place had a jukebox and this late career disco hit by Archie Bell played every day while I munched on my foot long dogs. (Yes, plural - I ate at least two foot longs for lunch every day, sometimes three. Body surfing works up quite an appetite!)
"I Could Dance All Night" - Archie Bell
and the Drells (August 1975, highest
chart position #25 R&B)
Summer love can be fleeting. It can ignite spontaneously in the rarefied atmosphere of a vacation getaway. Promises of forever are sometimes made but quickly broken once routine life resumes in the fall. All that remains of the whirlwind romance are bittersweet memories to treasure for a lifetime.
No song conveys that message better than "Beach Baby," the second of my Myrtle Beach memory makers, a mid-70s late summer classic by the Tony Burrows-led studio group called First Class.
Although Tony Burrows isn't one of the more familiar names
in pop music history, his voice is heard on several well known bubblegum classics.
Burrows is credited as having sung lead on more hit singles for more groups than any other artist. In addition to fronting First Class, Burrows provided lead vocals for several other prefab studio creations including Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, Brotherhood of Man and other one-hit-wonder acts.
Listen now as Tony Burrows and First Class perform "Beach Baby," the #1 song on my Best of Myrtle Beach play list.
"Beach Baby" - First Class (September 1974,
highest chart position #3)
"Beach Baby" is wistfully nostalgic and at the same time buoyant and exhilarating. With its catchy melody and exquisite Beach Boy-inspired harmonies, "Beach Baby" is
five minutes of bubblegum bliss, the ideal metaphor for an extended period of fun in the sun. But as the song’s lyrics concede:
Long hot days, cool sea haze, jukebox plays,
but now it's fading away.
Remember Dell rats...
summer never has to end...
not if you don't want it to!
Stay in the game.
Never grow up...
never grow old!
Have a Shady day!