Do you have a favorite song? Is it a new song or an oldie but goodie? What happens to you when you hear it? Are there tears or feelings that are brought on by the song? I ask you this because my sweet bride and I just returned from a quick trip to San Diego and we listened to the radio just about every one of the 811 miles we went in two days. I had to visit a customer down there and since I’m leaving for Chicago early Monday morning I figured I would try to see him before I left. I needed a co-pilot and my lovely bride said she would keep me company and even share the driving. She said that she just wanted to help me and I believe that, but since our granddaughter is going to San Diego State down there it gave Lorraine a chance to say hi.
If you are wondering why I am so curious about your favorite song I should mention that one of the very best things that I ever did was have satellite radio put into our cars. Don’t you just hate it when you are traveling and have trouble finding a station you want to listen to? With satellite you can find your kind of music or whatever and listen to the same program all the way to your destination. Disclaimer: I do not work for nor am I an agent associated with satellite radio. In fact I have had my problems with them but things are going pretty good right now.
Anyway, Lorraine is a fan of musical theater. I’m pretty sure that’s because she was very much involved with the Western Stage. Me? I’m a stone blues fan. If it’s not the blues then it has to be old rock and roll. Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, George Therogood, you know, the older guys. Oh I listen to ladies too they just have to be from the era where I started paying attention to the music playing on the radio. So you can see where we might have problems deciding on a radio station that would please both of us.
On this trip we were listening to Jimmy Buffet. He is one singer we both like but even he gets a little tiresome. We didn’t have many hills or glades when I was young. The Central Valley is pretty flat. Oh, we could park on the bank of a reservoir and watch the stars but that was pretty much the whole deal. Anyway, that’s my story. However, there is one guy who can bring tears to my eyes every time I hear him sing. I bet you know this guy too. Elvis Presley, The King! I can still remember the first time I ever heard him sing. There had never been a song played on any radio station that I know of like “Hound Dog.” That was a long way from his best song but it woke up the world!
My Angel used to ask me why I was so crazy about Elvis. She is younger than me and was not taking notice when Elvis came on the scene. In case you are wondering why I loved Elvis so much, at the time he came out with “Hound Dog,” you should know the No. 1 song on the radio was Pat Boone, singing “Love Letters in the Sand.” That sort of mushy stuff was the extent of the music for teenagers. I wasn’t quite a teenager at the time. I needed another year before I became the terror of all parents, a teenager, but I sure knew what I liked and I liked Elvis. Lot of folks didn’t like him though. I won’t go through all the names the adults called him but they were sure he was the beginning of the end. The devil incarnate! They would take his records out on the street and run a steam roller over them to illustrate their unhappiness.
I gave you that little history lesson because as we rolled through the San Joaquin Valley, there isn’t much to see so we were having a great time listening to the radio. Then there was a lull and Lorraine said she was tired of the Calypso style so I told her to change the station to No. 19. “Who is that?” she asked just as she tuned the radio. “My idol,” I told her. At that very moment Elvis started singing, “How Great Thou Art.” If you ever want to perk up your day listen to my man sing that song. To be honest you probably couldn’t tell if we were happy or not. Tears were rolling down our cheeks as he sang. It was powerful. So then we had music we knew all the words to. It actually was the highlight of the trip. Well, except for seeing my granddaughter. You know Elvis was the reason the radio became so important to all the kids and adults too. He was a clean cut happy guy that loved his mother and wasn’t shy about telling folks either. He actually changed everything about radio.
So if you don’t have a favorite song or artist, listen to some of Elvis’ songs. Songs that were popular over 50 years ago. They are just as powerful today. So that’s my advice column for this week. If you have any questions, just send an email to the editor of this fine periodical and he will forward them to me. Until then I hope you listen to something that will cheer up your day as much as Elvis did last Friday for me.