Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Song for Getting Away

Weekend Assignment #65: Dedicate a "summer song" to someone in your life. Could be a happy song for someone you like, a "kiss-off" song for someone you don't, or a romantic song for someone you want to know better. Point is, it has to be summery, and you have to intend it for someone.

Extra Credit: Ever have a song dedicated to you? What was it?  - J.S.

If you're here for a celebration of sun, surf and the music of Brian Wilson, you've come to the wrong place.  The genius behind the Beach Boys wrote some great songs, no question, but Tucson has no surfing, no beaches, and no California Girls - well, maybe some California girls, but what is that to me?  In Tucson, summer isn't something to be celebrated with the top down on your classic convertible, or by putting your board in the back of a Woody and heading down to the shore.  The closest thing to a Woody I see around here is a PT Cruiser with fake wood grain panels.  Tucson summers are to be dreaded, and endured, preferably in a nicely chilled room with a virgin Pina Colada or, if you insist, a frozen Margarita with salt.  I don't do alcohol, but that's definitely the summer drink around here. 

The only fun part of summer in Tucson is the really wild thunderstorms at the height of the monsoon, usually about 5 PM on a July afternoon.  Just hope that nothing technological gets fried when the lightning takes out the power in your neighborhood.  It's been raining off and on tonight, but that's just a tiny appetizer for the storms that should be rolling in within the next three weeks or so.

So what's the right song for summer in Tucson?  Well, last year I wrote extensively about Rain by the Beatles, in connection with Tucson's rainy season.  But this year I'm taking a different approach.  What's the best way to cope with summer in Tucson?  Why, by getting the heck out of town, of course!  So the following two chord road trip anthem is dedicated to my beloved husband John, in the hope that later this summer we can head out to California for a few days, going "faster miles an hour...with the radio on."  It's an early song by the wonderfully eccentric Jonathan Richman, whom John and I saw in concert back in Columbus in our Rockarama days.

I'm not sure about the legalities and proprieties, but I think this is allowed:  a link to a 90-second streaming song sample, courtesy of AOL Music, Last Call Records and Singing Fish.



the modern lovers - live at the longbranch

RoadrunnerClick to Play

Beserkley Years - Roadrunner
audio 01:34

Search powered by: Singingfish

with the radio on!

going faster miles an hour - at night
Well now
Roadrunner, roadrunner
Going faster miles an hour
Gonna drive to the Stop 'n' Shop
With the radio on at night
And me in love with modern moonlight
Me in love with modern rock & roll

Buy the song!  Buy the album!  I also love Pablo Picasso and the song about the new bank teller, which may or may not still be available.  But Roadrunner is especially appropriate for the drive from Tucson to Southern California along I-10 (or I-10 to I-8 for the southern route).  The desert crossing is best done at night. Part of the song references an entirely different part of the country, but we'll just ignore that part, unless, of course, it happens to be your part of the country. 

The other summer song I would dedicate here (on the principle that I almost never tell just one story in these Scalzi assignments) is Don Henley's The Boys of Summer. That one is dedicated to my friend Howard. We met and were "just friends" at Syracuse University in the 1970s. He's a baseball fan, a sometime sports writer and a copy editor. Back in the day, he used to try to get me to go to Syracuse Chiefs baseball games with him. I kind of wish I had, now. He came for a visit a couple of years ago, saw Tucson's great old ballpark (Hi Corbett) and fan-unfriendly new one (Tucson Electric Park--and yes, we've done that joke, thank you).  He even went to the BOB (Bank One Ballpark) with us to see the Diamondbacks. Baseball players are often called the Boys of Summer, of course. The aging narrator of the song is looking back at the past ("voice inside my head says don't look back, you can never look back") and remembering a woman. And that's all the explanation you're going to get on this one.

No, nobody's ever dedicated a song to me, but I've gotten some requests played on the radio.  When I was in high school, I used to ask a certain WOLF disc jockey to sneak in a Beatles song every Tuesday night while I babysat.  In the early 1990s, my favorite non-Beatles requests include Jerry Lee Lewis's Great Balls of Fire and Ray Charles' Georgia on My Mind.  One day I had these two songs and Unchained Melody on my mind, all of which were heavily featured in a couple of Quantum Leap episodes.  I didn't get around to calling in a request to Cool 92.9's Alan Michaels (remember, this was over a decade ago, when Cool was cool) before he played all three songs!   A few weeks later the Cool playlist changed.   Alan wasn't allowed to play those great songs for a while after that, darn it!



ryanagi said...

Roadrunner! Good one...I remember that song.

pixiedustnme said...

Now you're really making me miss Tucson....well except for the summer heat, the big bugs, the rocks for lawns......

deabvt said...

Great post!

kissofvanity said...

Great entry.  I love 'The Boys of Summer'.  :)


sinnermeetevil said...

madmanadhd said...

Excellent post and you always find such awesome photos to accent the words. I must agree that somehow the Beach Boys just don't fit here in MN. But when I lived by the Atlantic it made a bit more sence although not much surfing where I hung out. Thanks for the sample of Roadrunner, made me want to hear more! Man I haven;t seen Quantum Leap for soooo long! No cable here and the reception is crap but whenever I get to a hotel I seek out a station that will carry Sci Fi like the Learp. Thanks for the reminder.
Here's my weekend assignment:

windascoop6 said...

Great songs! I really love "The boys of summer"

sassydee50 said...

Karen~Great and thorough entry. :-) Good luck on surviving the summer in Tuson. I almost croaked at the Phoenix airport in May; I could swear they had no air conditioning! Sassy (Deb)