My homework done, I was listening to WLS, as legendary a radio station in Chicago and its surrounds as KMET was in LA. Dick Biondi was the dee jay, the musical tour guide.
There was only one radio in our country house, so I couldn’t sequester in my room to listen and learn dance steps – nor could my family escape the volume. My mother allowed this avocation until my father got home. Who cared about the siblings?
I’ll never forget my tedious attempts at transcription of “Louie, Louie.” I now wonder why we all cared.
Just as I wonder that we all knew to sit in front of the TV on February 9, 1964 to watch the Ed Sullivan Show. “Woo!”
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the single “Quarter to Three” by Gary US Bonds. Everything about the record: the crowd noise, the saxophone, and the restless energy moved my musical soul like no other – until the Beatles, of course! I couldn’t believe that I was the only one among my peers who loved it! Perhaps I thrilled at the song because I knew I’d never experience a party that raucously alive – nor jive until quarter to three in the morning.
Imagine how thrilled I was when Gary US Bonds and his Roadhouse Blues Band scheduled a concert at a local venue, The Coach House, just 25 miles south of our home. August 2004, I will never forget.
But joy plummeted at the road house entrance on the long-anticipated night. The show had been cancelled due to limited ticket response…disbelief, sighs, and sad body language. We began the trudge to our parked car.
Then I noticed a guy seated on the VIP smoking patio nearby. He smiled benignly and lifted his forefinger, sort of laying in alongside his nose, like Santa before he rose up the chimney in the famous holiday poem.
An instant later, the bouncer at the entrance swept us into the concert hall with a Vanna White arm movement – JOY revived.
It seemed that Joe the long distance trucker had wanted to see the group play his favorite song, too – and he paid their minimum for the night.
It was a miracle – yes! We were officially friends of Joe. We were in for one of the best party nights of our life!
We rock-and-rolled and whoopdy-dooed. We bought Joe and others drinks, danced, and sang along, none of the crowed seated the entire night – that ended with “Quarter to Three!”