“Only Sixteen” and “Lover’s Concerto”

I have to confess something: I feel pretty stupid right about now. This weekend I was listening to my favorite oldies station (94.7 WZZN-FM) around noon Sunday, and they played a version of “Only Sixteen” that I liked, and that sounded vaguely familiar. But it wasn’t the version I could hear in my own head, and I couldn’t quite place who the singer was, either. Turns out it was Dr. Hook, and it wasn’t half-bad. I made a mental note to seek it out on iTunes.

But this question was driving me nuts – who did the original? What singer was I hearing in my head? And I think I even have the original version on CD or an album? Who is it?! Why can’t I remember who this is?

Two days passed, and yesterday, suddenly this thought pops into my head: “It’s Sam Cooke! DUH! One of my favorite singers of all time. One of the greatest singers of all time. That Sam Cooke. The same Sam Cooke whose CDs and record albums I’ve owned and enjoyed for decades now. DOOFUS!

Oh. Right. Thanks.

Then last night I was listening again in the car, driving home from my middle son’s baseball game, and “Lover’s Concerto” by The Toys came on. This is just a great song, and begs to be played loud. So I did. There is something about the melody and the chord progressions on this song that I really like, and today I learn what it is: the songwriters, Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer, took a “classical finger exercise from Bach and put a Motown bassline to it” (link).

So ya got yer Bach, and ya got yer Pop. Any questions?

And the lyrics ain’t too bad, neither:

How gentle is the rain that falls softly on the meadow
Birds high up in the trees serenade the clouds with their melodies

Any pop song that starts with a line as great as “how gentle is the rain” is doing something right.

And as I was driving, and singing, and listening, and thinking, I had one of those moments where life stands still, and I am nearly overcome with the sheer and simple joy of being alive, and thankful for all the good things that have come my way.


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