Five Songs, Part 42

I guess the jump-off point for this week’s Five Songs was nostalgia. And it had nothing to do with my Summer of ’71 post, which I had planned for a while.

It had to do with some lame, pop-culture commentary I read somewhere in the Webosphere last week about whether nostalgia, was ruining modern culture. And there is a point, I’ll admit — how much of our future are we not nurturing because of our romance with retro? — but I’ll argue that nostalgia in pop culture is no new thing. Case in point: one of my favorites from my parents’ youth. In 1946, in the midst of people getting go-go and gung-ho after the war and exploding in optimism toward the future, one of the year’s top songs was Sammy Kaye’s sweet ode to an anachronism: the kindly guy who would turn the gas streetlamps on and off.

And the Springsteen song? I blame Pat Dinizio. The Smithereens’ singer, a Facebook-posting fiend if there ever was one, put up a video of him throwing around the baseball with his fellow Jersey rocker and talking about Bruce’s Babe Ruth League days five years ago for an ESPN show called “Seventh-Inning Stretch.” And, of course, that evoked Bruce’s tale of nostalgia gone awry, “Glory Days.” But I was never crazy about the song, so I free-associated into another “Born in the U.S.A.” tune with a sad farewell to times past.

And I’ll shut up now. I might not have a future, so it seems, but that’s enough dwelling in the past for now. Enjoy yourself …

The Old Lamplighter — Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra (featuring Billy Williams)

Bobby Jean — Bruce Springsteen

Hanging on the Telephone — The Nerves

Yesterday Girl — The Smithereens

The Crusher — The Novas

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2 Responses to “Five Songs, Part 42”

  1. It's Drew! Says:

    Brilliant point about “The Old Lamplighter”. Nostalgia has been around forever, it’s just that we rarely remember people remembering. Hell, the first “oldies” LPs were coming out in the sixties.

  2. franoramaworld Says:

    And, come to think of it, I believe “Those Oldies but Goodies” by Little Caesar & the Romans came out in 1960 — the year before I was born. And that’s about the time the record-collecting hobby went nuts, as guys started scouring stores for records they couldn’t hear on the radio anymore …

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