Sunday, April 8, 2012

Walk Like a Man (with very tight shorts)

Oh my oh my, the things you find on YouTube while looking for something else! After watching a searing episode of Mad Men tonight (it took the first 2 episodes for the current season to really get off the ground, but my scalp was on fire throughout this one), I heard the end theme, was shocked all to hell and had to see if it was a real song. It was called He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss), sung by a group called The Crystals (Da-Doo-Ron-Ron and a few others). The song seemed to echo all the convoluted sadomasochistic dynamics of this sphynx of a show. I was astonished to find out that Carole King wrote the words and that the song was essentially censored for decades and got no air play.

But then one thing led to another, and then this bit of '60s orgiastic glee fell into my lap. It's from an afterschool teenybopper program of the early '60s called Where the Action Is. I remember it. "It's so neat to meet your baby where the action is." The camera pans across the crowd (and who's the guy with 2 broken legs? I don't know), and we see glimpses of Mark Lindsay - wasn't he Paul Revere or something? - and the Supremes, complete with hair bands, kind-a-like I useda wear. 

The dancing deserves its own post, but I'll sum it up by saying that it resembles a vast parade of Scandinavian sweaters, with a lot of blonde hair flying around. Someone (Alexander Pope?) once described dancing as the vertical expression of a horizontal wish. This especially applies to The Jerk, which is what they appear to be doing. Or else they have forgotten their medication. Picture them on the floor in pairs; need I elaborate?
But then comes the main act, which for some reason takes part high on a balcony as if the group is infected with something catching. The Four Seasons kicked ass and were even sexy in a real low-class, skunky kind of way, a knife in your shoe way. Frankie Valli is a god. I forgot what a fox he was, even with his greaser attitude. Who else can sing "walk like a man" in descant soprano and get it across? Most of their hits came out when I was prepubescent and really had no idea what any of it meant. That Cole Porter song "I've Got You Under my Skin" was especially nonsensical to me. Under my. . .?

I had no idea then of the itchy hot screamy jump-off-a-building sensations that were soon to surge through my endocrine system, changing me forever (and I confess that it is not over and that they still surge today). I know now that sex is essentially an itch you cannot scratch. It's like saying, I'll eat this meal here and be done with it, be "full". A musician friend of mine once said that all music is about sex, the essential drive, whatever that is. The pollen-ruptured flower pistil exploding in slow motion, the follicle-stimulating hormones spurting and spraying like something out of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Music tries, it really does, and sometimes it almost gets it. But what is "it"?


  1. My step is the Funky Chicken. I won't even try to guess what Pope would call that. (You sure it wasn't Tom Wolfe?)

  2. T. S. Eliott, maybe (or Tom Robbins). I remember doing the Pony in Grade 7 in the gym. No one was interested.

  3. Oops, never thought of the double meaning of "doing the pony". Egad.