Wayne Hinshaw: Still looking for an echo
By Wayne Hinshaw
For the Salisbury Post
Doo Wop singing legend Kenny Vance sings a beautiful song, “Looking For An Echo,” that carries a wheelbarrow full of memories and thoughts for some of us carrying a certain age.
“We were singing oldies then when they were newbies,” Vance sings. “Today when I play my old 45s, I remember when… . Now, we have turned into oldies. Looking for an echo that we almost found.”
Recently, a music critic on NPR said today we create a lot of “fast food” music with no feeling in the songs. The music is disposable — produced, performed and disposed of.
That is a harsh thing to say about today’s music, but I’m afraid there is some truth buried in those two sentences. The old music of the 1950s and ’60s carries a heavy load of emotional memories for many. Everyone had some song that has memories and dreams magnetically clinging to the words — a special moment experienced in their young lives or a special girl or boy that meant a great deal to them as they grew into maturity.
I would like to share with you a few comments from the internet that have been contributed by listeners to meaningful songs they remember from the period.
Dusty Springfield’s song, “Yesterday When I Was Young,” has the lyrics, “The game of love I played with arrogance and pride, and every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died.”
A listener writes, “What a nice thing to say about love, and what a terrible experience to have married a brutal bully.”
Another writes, “I was a young girl when I met my 18-year-old boyfriend who became my husband of 50 years, then he died and I would sell my soul to go back to the night we met and do it all over again. All I do now is sit and cry for what I have lost.”
Here is a comment about the musical group the Ronettes: “I even remember what the Ronettes wore at the Rock and Roll show in the ’60s, but please don’t ask me what I ate for dinner. I just don’t remember.”
Another reminisces, “I’ll be 74 years old my next birthday, but this music makes me remember when I wore a younger man’s clothes.”
Yet another recalls, “So glad I grew up in this time, born in 1948, had the greatest music ever, the songs really meant something.”
In 1959 The Fleetwoods sang “Come Softly to Me.”
A woman comments, “I was a young black girl when this song was on the radio. Remember I had a small blue transistor radio at the time and I would just lay out under the stars in my backyard and let these songs take me away to another world. Such precious memories. I sometimes wonder what ever happened to that young carefree girl I once knew.”
The song reminds another, “It has always had a special place in my memories even as I grew older. The neat thing about this song is that it has that sense of innocence and intimacy of young love.”
The Cascades sang, “Listen to the Rhythm of the Rain” with the lyrics, “The only girl that I care about has gone away … along with her she took my heart.”
One recalls this memory, “Wherever you are now, I know you are happy. You always play the Cascades when we are young in 1969.”
The Penguins sang, “Earth Angel” with the lyrics, “Will you be mine. I’m just a fool. A fool that is in love with you. Love you forever and ever more.”
Two comments: “I was 12 when I first heard this song on the radio. I am 73 now.”
“This is dedicated to the one I love. That was in 1960. I was 15 and so was he. We went steady until 1963, married and had three daughters. He was my one and only love.”
One writes that The Skyliners sang, “Since I Don’t Have You.” “It was played at my prom. After that we all went for an overnight beach party. Four days later, I got my draft notice. So I’ll never forget this song.”
George writes, “I met my wife at the roller skating ring in 1964. She was 16 and I was 17. They played all the oldies. We loved the music and loved to dance at the high school dances. There will never be music like that again in the ’50s and ’60s. Me and my wife were together for 49 years. She passed away last year, but the memories of my wife and the music of our generation is all I have left.”
The Danleers’ song “One Summer Night” got these comments: “Thank you, God, for letting me be born in 1956.”
“The music, the people, the times were so much more happier then… beautiful song!”
“Our wedding song.”
Remember “Over the Mountain (Across the Sea)” by Johnnie & Joe on the Dick Clark American Bandstand TV show on Feb. 18th, 1960, singing their 1957 song?
“Can’t believe I still remember all the words! Great, great times, way better than kids have today. Love it!”
“I danced in the kitchen with my much missed husband to this one.”
“If you were lucky enough to grow up with this song… You were lucky like I was… What a amazing song from 1957.
In 1958, The Chantels sung the song “Maybe” with the lyrics, “Maybe if I pray every night you will come back to me… Maybe.”
One remembers his dad when listening to the music in the car radio. “I’m 34 and I remember when I was little my dad used to listen to this in the car, and sometimes he would cry, and I would laugh thinking how could this old song make a grown man cry. He is gone, and now as a man, I listen to this and cry, thinking of times long gone.”
Stop and think about the music of your youth. Whatever age, whatever the years, whatever the reasons, the songs of your youth always are imprinted in your memories and lives. Just maybe, forever.
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