Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.
My sister's boyfriend gave me all of his old comic books in the summer of 1970. Eclipso had been featured in DC's House Of Secrets in the early '60s; the character was a sort of Jeckyll and Hyde, as good-guy scientist Bruce Gordon transformed into the evil Eclipso whenever an eclipse occurred (an event I'm guessing is more commonplace in the DC universe than it is in our boring ol' universe). Shortly after reading these early Eclipso adventures, I read a Batman giant devoted to the women in the Caped Crusader's life; that giant included a few panels from The Brave And The Bold # 64, which told the tale of a spoiled hussy named Marcia Monroe. Ms. Monroe stole Batman's heart, but then jilted him, and teamed with Eclipso in some evil attempt to do evil things. Evil! Decades later, a talented musician--also named Bruce Gordon--decided to embrace his evil namesake; Bruce called his rockin' pop act Eclipso, and released a stunningly good pop record called Hero And Villain In One Man. DC's legal representatives then demonstrated their superhuman lack of any sense of humor, so Bruce changed his nom du bop to Mr. Encrypto, and shortened his first album's title to Hero And Villain. Mr. Encrypto released a second album called Secret Identity Crisis, and Bruce told me this weekend he's working on some new material right now. Whatever name he uses, Mr. Encrypto makes terrific records, so go buy 'em both: Mr. Encrytpo. Evil must not win!
EDDIE & THE HOT RODS
Another Phonograph Records Magazine discovery, though I believe I also read about them in Playboy. The 1976 Live At The Marquee EP was their initial jolt of rock 'n' roll greatness (with a smokin' cover of Bob Seger's "Get Out Of Denver"), but I probably didn't hear it, or the debut LP Teenage Depression, until much later. The Flashcubes covered "Get Out Of Denver" in their live shows--'Cubes guitarist Paul Armstrong credited Eddie & the Hot Rods, but introduced it as "a song Bob Seger wrote ten years ago, when he was still cool"--so that was my intro. The 'Cubes also covered an Eddie & the Hot Rods original called "Do Anything You Wanna Do," and that was sufficient motivation to pick up the Hot Rods' 45 of that incredible power pop tune. I soon added the Hot Rods' second album, Life On The Line, to my collection as well. I love Eddie & the Hot Rods, but The Flashcubes' version of "Do Anything You Wanna Do" is definitive.
Probably the TV series, starring Jim Hutton? I had heard of private detective Ellery Queen, and I'm sure I'd seen issues of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, but I may not have read anything until after the short-lived TV series debuted in the fall of 1975. But I adored that TV show, and that inspired me to seek out the books.
THE EVERLY BROTHERS
I was born in 1960, so I don't know of a world without The Everly Brothers. That said, I don't have any specific memories of the Everlys, either. We had the A Date With The Everly Brothers LP in the family record collection, with "Cathy's Clown" and "Love Hurts," but none of this made an impression on me in the '60s. It would fall to TV ads for oldies records in the early '70s to introduce me to "All I Have To Do Is Dream" well after the fact, but no matter; great pop music has no expiration date. I'm delighted that I had a chance to see an Everly Brothers performance at the New York State Fair many years later. My favorite Everlys track is "Gone, Gone, Gone," but there is just so much great stuff in their catalog, including some wonderful records they were making in the '80s. A world without The Everly Brothers? Not this world, not ever.
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