It’s only words and words are all I have…by Emily Smart

How many people do you know who don’t like music? I’m guessing that would be none. Everyone likes some type of music from rock to pop, classic to jazz. Music has been on my mind quite a bit of late. This could be something to do with the fact that I have now got my stereo on a shelf surrounded by my CDs. Hitherto, said music machine had been in a box packed away, and then balanced rather precariously on a sofa in the lounge, which is neither safe nor advisable in a household of children and animals.

I took my five year old son for his first drumming lesson yesterday. I can hear what you’re thinking already; however, the boy has demonstrated that he has rhythm and he likes making a lot of noise – surely pre-requisites to becoming the next Ringo Starr? I left my son with Richard, part-time pirate (children’s entertainer rather than stealing bounty on the high seas), part-time muso, part-time teacher and owner of a practice studio. A lovely man absolutely covered with tattoos and piercings (I sound like my mother). He has come highly recommended by a friend, just in case you’re starting to worry.

I came back half an hour later to find a small boy grinning from ear to ear, with an L on one hand and an R on the other, counting bars of four whilst hitting out the time to a Verve song with Richards’ ‘sticks’. Richard enthused a lot about music and told me that he teaches deaf people to drum – ‘it’s the vibrations’, and by the time I had left, I was in love with him and his love of music.

This brings me somewhat tenuously onto my own love of music. I grew up in a household where music was important. My dad’s ‘party tapes’ were the stuff of legend at many a cul-de-sac knees up. My mum loved The Beatles while Dad blared out The Stones. Music was always there, either somewhere in the background or more than likely at the fore – we even had a Welsh male voice choir round one night, but that’s another story.

I like loads of stuff, an eclectic taste gained from friends, brothers, lovers, partying, discos, driving in the car, going to concerts and shows, the list goes on. Recently, I’ve started singing stuff – in the shower, hoovering, picking up the dog poo in the garden etc, rather than performing at the London Palladium – and have realised that lyrics can be really bizarre, stupid, funny and nonsensical. With this in mind, I am planning to write a few posts on songs that make me  ask ‘Did they really just say that?’

First up for review is that timeless classic ‘Bobby’s Girl’. Recorded by Marcie Blane and released in 1962, and covered in the UK by Susan Maughan, this proved to be a big hit. I was going to select an extract for you, but frankly, it’s too good not to include the whole lot:

(You’re not a kid anymore)
(You’re not a kid anymore)

When people ask of me
What would you like to be
Now that you’re not a kid anymore
(You’re not a kid anymore)

I know just what to say
I answer right away
There’s just one thing
I’ve been wishing for…

I want to be Bobby’s girl
I want to be Bobby’s girl
That’s the most important thing to me…

And if I was Bobby’s girl
If I was Bobby’s girl
What a faithful, thankful girl I’d be

Each night I sit at home
Hoping that he will phone
But I know Bobby has someone else
(You’re not a kid anymore)

Still in my heart I pray
There soon will come the day
When I will have him all to myself…

I want to be Bobby’s girl
I want to be Bobby’s girl
That’s the most important thing to me…

And if I was Bobby’s girl
If I was Bobby’s girl
What a faithful, thankful girl I’d be
What a faithful, thankful girl I’d be

I want to be Bobby’s girl
I want to be Bobby’s girl
I want to be Bobby’s girl

Brilliant isn’t it? Here’s the version I know by Susan Maughan with some rather ‘funky’ slides http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEcTOOIp8nk.

The lyrics of this song do for feminism what Hitler did for racial equality. Did poor, misguided Marcie Blane have no better job prospects or career aspirations than to be the girlfriend of Bobby? Why would she be so thankful? I think Bobby had the right idea finding himself another girl, this one sounds like a bunny boiler to me.

And just what were career officers telling girls in the early sixties? I don’t recall my careers teacher offering me the option to become Bobby’s girl when I was at Sixth Form College. Why, not? What did I get? Uni, poly or work. Why couldn’t I be Bobby’s girl? Was it because he was taken? Was she better looking/taller/trendier than me? I’ll never know will I? Damn you Bobby, and thank you Seville Records for the missed opportunity.

For the record (so to speak), according to information gleaned on the World Wide Web, Marcie Blane graduated from Queens College (USA), got married (not sure whether she wed a Robert or not), had two children, and went on to enjoy a whole new career working in education. We can only hope that she was faithful and thankful.

 

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