And now for something completely different.
I don’t normally indulge in pop-music nostalgia, but… I recently happened to run across the first of the two songs embedded below. I remembered it clearly, and it reminded me of the second one, which had a somewhat similar theme.
Strictly speaking, both songs were before my time — I was still in my “latency” period back then, but the older boys were listening to those songs and singing along with them, so I remember them well. If I had been an actual testosterone-infused teenager when these tunes were being played on the radio, they would no doubt have had the same heart-wrenching impact on me that they did on the boys who were a few years older.
The first song is “Patches”, by Dickie Lee. It was recorded in 1962:
The second tune, “Rag Doll” (1964), is by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It has a similar theme, but omits the suicide motif:
There was no one like Frankie Valli. He sang like a gelding, but he could really belt it out.
The two relevant lines are:
“My folks say no, and my heart breaks inside.”
“My folks won’t let me ’cause they say that she’s no good.”
“Folks” meaning “parents”, of course. Two parents, a mother and a father. And still married. How odd!
The issue in both cases is the difference in social class between these lovestruck blades and their young fiancées, who are from impoverished circumstances. The parents — who are able to foresee the tragic results of such matches — refuse to let their sons go through with the nuptials.
Just think: the young men that the singers conjure up — who are presumably of legal age — can’t marry their sweethearts because their parents forbid it.
What world was that? Was it in a galaxy long ago and far, far away??
These songs were recorded between 1962 and 1964, just 55-57 years ago. I can remember the period clearly. But it might as well be the Middle Ages.