The first time I ever saw Elvis was on a big band TV show where he not only blew my mind, but when the girls started screaming, I knew that I was gonna be a guitar man. Hell, even John Lennon said that it was Elvis who’d influenced him, and without Elvis he claimed, there’d be no Beatles.
Can you imagine what kind of show must be going on up in Rock & Roll heaven? Hey, when you’ve got Elvis, John, George, and Michael, along with Hank Williams, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Croce, Bobby Darin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison, and Freddie Mercury, all waiting in the wings to go on, it’s almost worth dying or so you can to catch the concert live.
Unfortunately, I probably know more about all these folks than I do my own family. In fact, I know nothing about my great grand parents and what I know about my folk’s parents is that my grandfathers were from England, (Vince and Johns) and both my grandmothers were Scottish. (Hunter and Sutherland) On my Mom’s side, my grandfather who was an engineer, actually stopped his train to chat up my grandmother whom he’d spotted picking flowers in the middle of a field in Scotland.On the paternal side of things, my Dad’s father (pictured above) married his 17-year-old piano player so she could tour europe with his band. However, when they weren’t busy playing, they must have been busy playing around because they managed six kids of which my father was the youngest. Speaking of my Dad who was orphaned as a child, what I wouldn’t give to be able to read a journal that he had written about his life. So with that in mind, may I present the story of mine.
It all began in Winnipeg
but we moved around a lot
Melbourne and Sydney
were the first of our many stops.
Two years in Australia
then we were off to Vancouver
Now it’s back to the prairies
to a town they called Swan River
Next it’s back to Winnipeg
for the birth of my baby brother
We lived in my grandpa’s house
’till my folks bought another.
Hooked up with a friend named Barry
and we played a little ball.
Loved his Sister’s strange music
plus she was a living doll.
Then there came that special day
when I began to scheme
About how make music and women
more than just a dream.
I can still see that day when my whole life turned upside down. I was at my friend Barry’s house practicing for the upcoming little league tryouts. My Dad thought that my trying out for a baseball team was a complete waste because a couple of years earlier when he tried in vain to teach me how to play catch he finally gave up in disgust. However, not only did I make the team, but, I also made the elite “Dream Team” which played our final game of the season at the beautiful Goldeye Stadium where my Dad saw me play for the first time.
Anyway, enough of all that glory stuff, let’s get back to that warm spring day when I was about to discover that would have my undivided attention for the rest of my life. After Barry and I worked up quite a sweat, we decided to head inside for some water. Once inside, I couldn’t help but notice the blonde goddess standing next to the record player who was swaying her hips to some very strange music. I was completely mesmerized.
The goddess turned out to be Barry’s seventeen-year-old sister who was listening to one of the first Rock & Roll records ever made. The tune was called “Crazy Man Crazy” by Bill Haley and his Comets and as I watched her sway, I had no idea that women who looked like her and the music that she was listening to would soon rock my whole world.
In those days, radio didn’t play any Rock&Roll so when Patti Page decided to record, “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window,” my friends and I were done. We were so f**king ready to rock even though we had no idea what rock was.
I recently found a rare copy of “Crazy Man Crazy,” and whenever I play it, I can still see Barry’s sister’s hips swaying back and forth, back and forth, back and …