I sing one line, and he sings the next
Reminiscing about an era when I wasn't even born, but know so well
"Think of all the hate there is in Red China," he sings
"Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama," I continue, echoing the anti-war 60s ballad Eve of Destruction
And what about "Stepping Stone," he asks?
"You're trying to make your mark on society, you're using all the tricks you used on me," I sing without hesitation, the verse coming easily to my mind even though it's been years since I even thought of it
"She asked me why, why I'm a hairy guy
It's not for lack of bread, like the Grateful Dead..."
and we laugh at the lyrics I have always loved
"Do you know the rest of the songs from Hair?"
I didn't think I did but get them after 2 lines, the names instantly springing to mind, "Three Dog Night... Easy to Be Hard," and Acquarius, of course, but let's not forget Oliver's Good Morning Starshine, tripping over each other to give this information, singing out of key and but delightfully so, singing over each other, but making up for glee what we lack in being in tune
It's delicious because it comes so easily, it's delicious because I don't need to think about it, I don't need to analyze it, and I don't need to be afraid of it, of saying the wrong thing or am I right, I just savor the delightful memories on my tongue that I am priveleged to share with someone else who also delights in them. Talking 60s music may be the only time I'm not afraid. What a gift, but how sad as well.
Why can't the whole world communicate in the language of 60s music?
There is no social anxiety, no fear, no weight of the world on me when I am talking 60s song lyrics
There is just that sweet delight that I don't want to ever go away, and that rare connection, reminiscing about an era in which I wasn't even born, with people born many years before me, but who make so much more sense than people in my demographic usually do.
I never thought, that day when I flipped local oldies station 100.9 WYNZ on at age 13, that my passion for 60s music would become the one thing that would sustain me even as an adult. I never thought that those song titles, artists and words would be the good thing, the one not-scary thing that would stick in my brain after a lifetime that has been far harder than it should have been.
"Young Girl, you're much too young for me" and "Have you got cheating on your mind" become the elixir that can bring life back into me, both when I was 13 and still 18 years later at age 31, ten years after most oldies stations have stopped broadcasting oldies. The language of hope, nostalgia, pleasure, the only thing that I have found to compete with the language of pain that so often overtakes me.
Who ever thought I'd sing "You and me and rain on the roof," years after I lost my Loving Spoonful CD.
60s music was the only thing I could take pleasure from when I was an isolated teenager who had no idea how to relate to the world around her, and thank goodness, it remains the same nearly twenty years later. These tie-dyed memories, revived courtesty of the patrons of a hot dog stand in downtown Portland.
He Didn't Believe Me
18 hours ago