Monday, June 02, 2014


(Disclaimer: this post is just for fun).

Before file sharing, I-Tunes, YouTube, and the greater world of digital recording, my little reel-to-reel tape recorder was also the means by which I could record my favorite songs.  My sister handed it down to me when I was a kid. With this device, I produced five minute shows featuring audio skits, impersonations, and variety programs. I captured sound effects and theme songs in order to produce my own parodies and spin-offs of Star Trek, Emergency!, Adam-12, and more. It was a fun time. But I also tried to capture my favorite tunes. For hours, I would listen on my trusty transistor radio to my favorite station (KDZA, for all you southern Colorado natives old enough to remember).  My microphone would rest in front of the speakers, the tape reel cued up and ready.  As soon as the opening notes of a "must capture" tune would start playing, I hit record and remained absolutely silent while my electronic marvel recorded a song I would then be able to play and enjoy whenever I wanted.

The following are the top six songs that I attempted to record.  This list doesn't mean there weren't other songs I enjoyed.  It was tough to narrow down the favorites.  It also doesn't mean I necessarily succeeded in producing a recording for each song.  But for me, and perhaps for some of you, these songs will bring back memories.

My Eyes Adored You (Frankie Valli). 
Some of the best stories start with "There was this girl..." In second grade, that girl was Ida.  My crush on her wasn't so serious as to be debilitating, but when I moved to a different town, I found myself missing her.  And then I heard this song and it seemed to sum up all those feelings.

Ida and I later reconnected via snail mail and continued a friendly correspondence through junior high and high school, until some misunderstanding ended the communication. Yes, kids, before Facebook, there was still....drama!

How Do You Do (Mouth and MacNeal)
With most songs, I didn't stop to ponder the lyrics.  I can't even say I knew most of the lyrics. But my connection with How Do You Do is that my sister and I made up our own parody about two monkeys meeting each other.

      How do you do, uh, huh (shaking hands in rhythm to the song)
      I thought I saw na-na-na-na
     Just me and you
     And then we eat bananas (peeling bananas)
     Just like before... (I don't remember the rest)

What can I say...I was a bit of a dork back then.

The Night Chicago Died (Paper Lace)
As I said before, I wasn't always aware of the lyrics of each song.  But this one is special, in that I actually memorized the words.  And while I enjoyed the song on its own merits, I also had fun imagining the sound effects that could applied.

     I heard my momma cry (uncontrollable sobbing)....
     There was no sound at all, but the clock upon the wall (loud ticking sounds)....
     And the door burst open wide (loud crashing)....

Yeah, fun times

Old Black Water (Doobie Brothers)
Yes, poor innocent me didn't know what a "doobie" was until a few years later. But I enjoyed this song, with its easy going melody, harmony, and amazing acapella part.  C'mon, you know you want to hear some funky Dixieland, pretty mama gonna take me by the the hand (hand), take me by the hand (pretty mama).....

Frankenstein (Edgar Winter Group)
Even if you don't know the title of this instrumental, you would probably recognize some of the portions.  This song had hard driving guitars, drum duos, and special effects with synthesizers and amplifiers.  As I listened to it on the radio, I waited for the end part where it sounded like a UFO was about to land.

When I rediscovered the performance on YouTube, I found out the radio version was an abbreviated version of the song.  The original was 9-12 minutes (depending on the performance). And whenever I watch it, it seems as if Mr. Winter throws in something different each time.  That's talent.

Long Tall Glasses (Leo Sayer)
This was another song whose lyrics I remembered.  It was just a fun song about a guy who finds himself at a fancy dinner with only one requirement: you've got to dance like Fred Astaire.  As I sang along with my best voice, my family's attention was quickly diverted from my dancing skills.

What were your favorite songs growing up?  Did you try to capture a song off the radio?  Share in the comments below.