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.
JAN & DEAN
In the mid-'60s, "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" was a song that everyone on my block knew, like it was a part of the landscape. I remember playing on my neighbor Steve's swing set one day, and my friend Willie singing (in a falsetto) I'm the little old lady from Pasadena! Close enough, Willie. I don't remember any of Jan & Dean's other hits contemporaneously--knowledge of "Surf City," "Dead Man's Curve," and even Jan & Dean Meet Batman would come much, much later--and I didn't hear them singing "From All Over The World" until I caught The T.A.M.I. Show on a cable broadcast outta Canada in the mid-to-late '70s. Jan & Dean have never been nominated for induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
I knew "Somebody To Love," which was a big hit on the radio in 1967. I saw the Airplane lip-sync the song on American Bandstand. I may have made disparaging remarks about the length of the hair on those boys--I was an unenlightened 7-year-old--and I may have fallen in love with this vision of loveliness called Grace Slick. In the pages of Marvel's Not Brand Echh humor comic book, I giggled at the comments of a window-washer (who looked suspiciously like Ringo Starr) hailing the arrival of Stuporman by exclaiming, "Look! Up in the sky! It's a gooney bird! It's a Jefferson Airplane!" As a young teen in the '70s, I would fall hard for "White Rabbit," and borrowed my brother Rob's copy of the Surrealistic Pillow LP for further enlightenment. Never developed a taste for the Starship, though.
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