“….Is the Word”

Fill in the blank in my title for this post and you’ll have a good idea of where I’m going. And you can thank The Jersey Boys, the latest movie to re-visit the days of music past. And bring the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to an entirely new group of listeners.

We’ve been playing The Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in rotation as one of our in-store plays at the bookstore and when we do, one of two things usually happens: a teen or twenty-something female walks in and says “You’re playing The Jersey Boys, right?” and seems confused for a moment when we smile and say something like, “No, this is the original Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. You know, the show was based on them.” Or someone, and here age and gender don’t seem to matter, walks in and says, “Do you have anything by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons? I just saw Jersey Boys and loved it! Have you seen it? You need to.” When we have the CD(s), we find them for the customer…but it doesn’t take much to deplete our stock. One bright note? We finally have the movie soundtrack in stock as well as the original cast recording.

My point? Every so often this generation of music-lovers, whether they love Maroon Five or Birdy, Sarah Brightman or Alfie Boe, feels the tug of the music that went before. If you listen, you can hear the influence of Chuck Berry on The Beatles, Bob Dylan on folk and protest songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, even the classic tenor of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. But more importantly the music itself resurfaces thanks to movies, Broadway’s new crop of musicals, even Pandora.
Grease brought back the doo wop and rock of the early sixties coupled with the now almost extinct Drive-In and high school hangouts…bowling alleys, drag races, and young love. The music was fantastic for those of us who’d been there back in the day as well as our kids. Eddie and the Cruisers with a young Tom Berenger and Michael Pare as members of a band making the transition from oldies to hard rock showcases some great music written by John Fogerty. Dark Side is still one of my favorite tracks from this one. Hair and the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night brought an entire generation into the late ‘60s with music influenced by the times and earlier artists but still unique. Today Broadway offers everything from Sweeney Todd to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and the latest Rap musical based on the writings of Tupac Shakur. In between we can discover both old and new music in movies, television series, and the plethora of radio (yes, radio) stations, FM, online, Sirius, the aforementioned Pandora, and iTunes.

Me? I was extremely fortunate to have parents who believed in music. I’ve listened to everything from Big Bands to Ragtime to Elvis to whatever artist is playing right now in the coffee shop where I write. I love it all, sing along as much as I can when I can, look for ways to hear it live. I cannot imagine a world without music and melody. And neither could Plato…“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” What about you?

PS. Mae will be back…she got sidetracked on her way home by a late-night Second Line on Frenchman’s Street, but never fear. Mae dances whenever she can but never forgets where she needs to be.

second line


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