Friday, June 27, 2008

HeadSong Friday: Sweet Caroline

When I was nine years old, my sister took me with her to San Francisco. My mother had died the previous winter, and my darlin' sister, in her early twenties looking for fun and adventure, had to take me on her trip to the big city. She was going to visit friends, then we'd travel to San Bernardino to see mom's brother and our cousins. It was a HUGE trip for me: my first airplane trip, my first visit to a large city, and I got to take twenty whole dollars with me to spend any way I wanted. I tried to buy my sister a suede fringed purse that was all the hippy rage, but she made me take it back. So I think I spent it wisely on bubblegum, and a Leo mug, which I still have, and is still so very far out. The bubble gum came in handy when we were catching a trolley car and this fat woman pushed me out of the way so she could get on and sit down before I could get on, and I managed to sneak a huge wad out of my mouth and under her corpulent behind. My sister was so proud of me.

Anyway, two songs have always reminded me of that trip - "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" by Dionne Warwick, and "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond. We'd hear them in the backseat of the car that someone else was driving while we were on our way to the zoo, or Fisherman's Wharf, or Sausolito. God, even typing this brings a lump to my throat. That was the trip that made me thirsty for culture, for diversity and the buzz of life that you can only get in the city.

So why not put one of those on my HeadSong list? Well, just because I didn't do it today, doesn't mean that I never will. But today it had to be Sweet Caroline. For Father's Day, we got Charley two new Neil Diamond cd's (12 Songs and Home Before Dark, both of which are fantastic), but it left me itching to hear the old stuff, the stuff I came of age to. The first concert I ever attended was Neil Diamond in 1977 (or was it '78?) with my friend Deonne Poe and her parents. He wore a puffy sleeved shirt, much like the one in this video, and he looked on the big screen like my high school crush, Steve Leatham. Oh, Steve. Where are you now? He had that black hair and those sparkly eyes, and mmmmmm dreaminess.

ANYWAY. Sorry. How many tangents can I fit into this HeadSong post? Don't get me started, people. Where was I? Oh, yes, Sweet Caroline. The reason I went with this one is simple. Joe-Henry got to pick today. He's been on a Neil Diamond kick with us, and this one is his favorite. And he just got back yesterday, and he's yummy, and he makes me smile. And he watched this video with such rapt attention, I just know it's going to be the first song on his first cover album.

Good times never seemed so good.


Kari said...

What a sweet memory! (Oh, no pun intended.) My father used to play "Forever in Blue Jeans" for my brother Kyle and I when we were little, little, and he would spin us around the room, and I can't hear that song today without choking up either.

Best news though? Last Monday I ordered tickets to see ND at Madison Square Garden in August. Now I will happily sit there and cheer while thinking of my father, and you.

Kari said...

Um, now that I think about it, "Forever in Blue Jeans" seems like a sort of lyrically inappropriate for children, but I don't suppose we had any idea about that back in the 70s. And I don't really think my father was paying attention, either. Thus my memory remains unsullied :)

anniemcq said...

Oh, now I'll be thinking of you and your dad, spinning around the room whenever I hear of that song! And I'm going to be begging for tickets for my birthday (he's coming to Portland September 22!). It's not Madison Square Garden, but hey, I'll take it!

I, Rodius said...

Playing poker with firemen in their 20's last night. The musical selections were Outkast and Rage Against the Machine... and Neil Diamond? I guess his appeal is universal.

Lolabola* said...

what a great post!

he's coming here too. I just joked about it with someone and then suddenly realized I really want to go.

Donna said...

Aaah. 'Scuse me whilst I run down to Vital Statistics and change my name to Caroline. That is the most awesome video of that song. I tried to see him in December of my freshman year of college and we were foiled by a freakishly dangerous ice and sleet storm. I still have the unused tickets. So you can imagine my joy years later when we finally got to see him in the round. It ROCKED! I would pay to see the man even now.

We had a free weekend of movie channels a while back and some obscure Starz channel had The Jazz Singer on. I DVR'd it and locked that sucker so it can't be easily deleted. I had forgotten how good the songs were and the oozingly good chemistry between him and Lucy Arzaz.

12 Songs is fun, especially Delirious Love. I feel so close to you now Annie, knowing that we share not only a deep and somewhat disturbing passion for ND, but also a frighteningly similar philosophy of housework. Smooches!!!

Donna said...

Jeez, ArNAZ, Arnez, how the heck do you spell it???????

anniemcq said...

Oh, Donna! Soul Sistah! C'mere and give me a hug!

Anonymous said...

oh oh OH.

Good stuff.