While in high school I became fascinated by Marianne Faithful, a British singer with long blonde hair and a mesmerizing voice. Her 1964 debut album, simply titled Marianne Faithful, was the first 33-rpm record I ever purchased. I wore it out listening to “As Tears Go By” (the first song written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger) and “What Have They Done To The Rain.” Both songs are still on my iTunes playlist!
In 1962 Gene Chandler’s “Duke of Earl” became my song. I’d stroll through the halls of Kalida High singing, “As I walk though this world nothing can beat the Duke of Earl….. Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl!” Everyone in town knew this was Ron’s song. Yep, it’s still on my playlist too.
Long blonde hair on women was the rage in the mid 60s. Long-haired, blond Mary Travis of Peter, Paul, and Mary, also intrigued me. But my secret passion during my sophomore year was a fellow student named Gloria. I was severely intrigued by her – and her long blonde hair. I saw her almost daily in the cafeteria. For a couple months, I dreamed of her day and night! But I never met her or even said hello! I was still pretty innocent (in many ways) and definitely didn’t have the courage to ever initiate a conversation. Plus she was in her junior year — no chance!
It didn’t help that the Shadows of Knight released their hit song, “Gloria” that year. The lyrics never mentioned her hair, but I was certain it had to be long and blonde. How shallow could a guy be! Wonder what ever happened to Gloria? Don’t really want to know. But in the end, I did find my blonde – sort of.
My music appreciation did expand in later years. Jan and I are both enthusiastic bluegrass fans, and we are blessed to live in the midst of bluegrass heaven. There are dozens of bluegrass concerts and jam sessions within 60 miles every month. Two local bands, Steep Canyon Rangers (sometimes accompanied by Steve Martin) and Balsam Range, have won many of the top bluegrass awards.
Ironically, my absolute favorite song is Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. Many years ago I began collecting various renditions of this marvelous piece. One of my favorites is on steel drums. If I have trouble sleeping I play, Michael Maxwell’s soothing album “The Elegance of Pachelbel.” In my active career, I conducted 100s of workshops for a broad array of audiences. I usually included some variation of the Canon somewhere in the program, often with an appropriate slideshow.
Some of my professional musician friends, wryly refer to it as the “Dreaded Pachebel’s Canon.” I think they view it as somewhat simplistic and not sufficiently challenging, and probably over-requested.