There always has been music at the pool.
There certainly was in the summer of 1976.
We hung out at the pool where our friend Herb worked. The ladies loved Herb, so it was good to be his pal. Hello, Valerie. Hello, Pam. Herb dated Pam. We also hung out at the other pool in town, the one where plenty of good-looking girls worked. Hello. Laurie. Hello, Lisa. My brother married Lisa.
Our local FM rock station usually was blasting from the speakers at the pools. When I think of the pool where Herb worked, I think of Peter Frampton. When I think of the pool where the good-looking girls worked, I think of John Miles.
I’m back at the pool these days, working out rather than hanging out. The FM radio is still playing at the pool. Problem is, it’s loud enough to keep the lifeguard company, but not summer of 1976 loud. So you hear only bits and pieces of the tunes while doing laps.
There clearly was a soundtrack for those summer days wasted at the pool. But is there a soundtrack for working out at the pool?
“All Right Now” by Free came on the radio at the pool today. Always a good tune but played nowhere loud enough. It was followed by Journey and then by Paul Simon. Buzzkill, even with the volume low.
Guess I’ll have to keep a soundtrack in my head, starting with …
“Underwater Chase,” Al Caiola, from “Sounds For Spies and Private Eyes,” 1965. It’s out of print.
Spy music from one of the great instrumental guitarists of the day.
“Hold Back The Water,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive, from “Bachman-Turner Overdrive,” 1973. The LP is out of print, but the song is available digitally.
The going gets good at 2:25, when a long guitar instrumental bridge kicks in. There’s a variety of styles, including some nice wah-wah guitar at 3:40. This was the flip side to BTO’s fine first single, “Blue Collar.”
Live LPs usually aren’t my thing, but this cut is smoking. My friend JB explains, in one of the finest comments ever left here, after I wrote about this tune a couple of years ago:
“The difference between the studio version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and the live version from ‘Made in Japan’ is the difference between somebody telling you about the famous fire at Montreaux and actually finding yourself in the middle of it while it’s happening.”
So, any other suggestions for a soundtrack for swimming laps? All of these tunes have “water” in the title, but don’t feel obligated to have them in yours.