Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dance to the Eurobeat, Billy Joe McAllister, Because School's Out

Summer's off to a sodden, strangely cool start, even for northern Illinois. It was 50° F. this morning, and so chilly last night that the heater actually kicked in. But temps look to be up around normal by tomorrow.

Time to knock off posting for a few weeks. I'll pick it up again around the Summer Solstice, when I should have one or two new things to describe.

Time to link to a summer song. But which one? There are a lot of choices. Can't find a decent version of "Summer Wind" on YouTube, so that's out. I posted "Summertime" last year, so not that again, as fine as it is.

Though it doesn't actually mention summer, the relatively little-played "Twisting by the Pool" seems right, so here it is (embedding disabled). Funny, despite how British the subject is, evoking Mediterranean holidaymaking, and despite beach holidays ranking fairly low among my vacation priorities, the song still conjures up summer for me. Maybe that's because it's cracking good fun. Hard to go wrong with Dire Straits in their heyday, anyway.

Yet summer isn't all sunny funny beach days, either. Each season has its own distinct vein of melancholy, and summer's no exception. Few songs convey that like "Ode to Billy Joe."

Again, summer isn't mentioned explicitly. But it's June 3 in Mississippi, in what must be pre-air conditioning days. I'm not sure people would have been chopping cotton so early in the year, but let's call it poetic license. The heat just oozes from the enigmatic lyrics, and not a happy heat, either. It's only an accident of history that I don't spend my summers in the fields of Mississippi.

To avoid ending with melancholy, one more summer song, and one that actually mentions summer: "School's Out" by showman, golf enthusiast and friend of Groucho Marx, Alice Cooper.

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