Monthly Archives: February 2012

Turning 5, and feeling a little older

(There was a different post intended for today. It still begins the same way.)

To mark the fifth anniversary of AM, Then FM, we’ve gone back to the photo that graced the top of the blog as it landed on browsers in the last week of February 2007. The boy in that picture is our son, Evan.

Evan was 9 when that picture was taken in Duluth, Minnesota, in September 2004. He’s 17 now, yet he vividly remembers our long-ago trips to Duluth.

What are your vivid memories from when you were 9? Mine came rushing back earlier today with the news that Davy Jones of the Monkees had died.

When I was 9 in September 1966, “The Monkees” were must-see TV on early Monday nights on NBC. Mostly, it was for the skits and jokes and gags that would be the catch phrases at school for the week to come.

Eventually, though, the songs became the tidal wave that carried everyone along. So many friends — and friends’ sisters, mostly — had Monkees 45s. You heard them everywhere. Today, I’m amazed that I came to know so many Monkees songs without having camped out in front of the radio for hours.

Beyond the songs, I most vividly remember my Monkeemobile model. This one.

Somehow I managed to put it together. Eventually, though, it got played with, as all models do. One day, the flimsy supports on that low-slung roof folded up like an accordion. Just like that, my Monkeemobile was a convertible, just another tricked-out GTO headed for Model Demolition Derby.

I also vividly remember drawing the Monkees’ guitar logo. This logo.

We called it freehand drawing — sketching a copy from sight, and never tracing — and I did a lot of it. Sports logos, mostly, but I did this one, too. A couple of years later, I did the Woodstock logo, which was just a different kind of guitar.

The Monkees’ music belongs to everyone. That was apparent from the tremendous outpouring of memories on Facebook, on Twitter, on the blogs and in seemingly every corner of the Web today.

The Monkeemobile with the collapsed roof, the freehand drawings, those memories belong to me.

As do the memories of being just a couple of rows from the stage when Davy Jones brought his solo act to Green Bay back in the fall of 2010. We sat there, marveling at his charm and energy, and digging all those great Monkees songs.

Reading today that Davy Jones had passed away at age 66, my friend Glick said:

“66, my butt. He was never more than 24.”

He certainly seemed that way. The years just washed away, for him and for us.

In five years of writing this blog, the Monkees have been featured here just once. I apologize for that oversight. It was almost exactly four years ago that a Monkees song appeared in a throwaway post called “Sunny pop goodness.”

Davy Jones sang it.

“Valleri,” the Monkees, from the Colgems 7-inch, 1968. This is the single edit, which fades at the end. An alternate version, with a more distinct finish, was released on “The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees” in 1968. It’s out of print.

Davy Jones sang these, too. Neil Diamond wrote them.

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” from the Colgems 7-inch, 1967. This was the first time Davy Jones had sung lead on one of the Monkees’ singles.

“Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” from “More of The Monkees,” 1967.

All three cuts are available digitally on “The Best of The Monkees,” a 2003 release.


Filed under February 2012, Sounds

Weighing in on Valentine’s Day

Love songs are a rather subjective thing.

Mine may not be yours. Yours may not be mine.

So on this Valentine’s Day, a day when the good folks over at Popdose have put together a fine list of nominations for the 100 greatest love songs of all time, here’s a different take.

If you are of a certain age, you may remember the actor Victor Buono reciting his comic poems on “The Tonight Show,” slaughtering Johnny Carson every time.

So on this Valentine’s Day, a love poem from Victor Buono.

“Skinny Poems For Fat Lovers,” Victor Buono, from “Heavy!” 1971. Also available digitally.

Those memorable readings on the Carson show seem like just yesterday, but the big man has been gone for 30 years now.

Victor Buono always played and seemed older than he really was, perhaps because of his size. When this LP was released in 1971 — many of his most memorable TV and film performances already behind him — he was just 33.

Speaking of which … Victor Buono = King Tut = Batman = the Batusi.

From early March 1967, dig it!


Filed under February 2012, Sounds