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April 04, 2013 8:10 am

MY LOUSY WORLD: Music’s golden gum era

Written by Doug Blough

I couldn’t disagree with Laura Nevins more. Normally music-savvy, what, pray tell, does she find “crappy” about these pure-gold lyrics? “Chewy, Chewy, Chewy, Chewy…always got a mouthful of such sweet things to say-ay; Chewy Chewy Chewy Chewy … Chewy’s full of sugar and I love her that way. Ahhh … ooh I love to kiss her, love to hold her, love to miss her, love to scold her, love to love her like I do; Ooie little Chewy, don’t know what you’re doing to me, but you’re doing to me what I want you to…”

Sappy, maybe. Happy, for sure — but crappy, never! Chewy soared to No. 16 in 1968 for a reason. Musical beauty is in the ears of the behearer, but how could anyone not behold dearly the lyrics of  another Ohio Express classic: “Yummy, Yummy Yummy, I got love in my tummy, and as silly as it might seem; the lovin’ that you’re givin’ is what keeps me livin’, and your love is like peaches and cream. Kinda like sugar; kinda like spices; kinda like, like what you doooo … kinda sounds funny, but love honey; honey, I love youuuu. Yummy, yummy yummy…”

Nothing short of poignant, but try and tell Laura that. She contends those songs were “among the worst offenders…” She even hates “Sugar … ah Honey, Honey; you are my candy giiirl, and you got me wanting you, ” by a group I feel changed the music landscape, The Archies. Yes, those same Archies that sang the hauntingly beautiful “Bang-shang-a-lang,” and even though they were basically cartoon characters, that in no way precludes musical virtuosity.

Those great songs were integral components (not “offenders”) of a golden era of music called “Bubble Gum” that Laura just doesn’t “get.” Yet Laura and her musician fiancée, Mike Voss, play sweet music with his popular band, “The Unforgiven.” But I do forgive Laura her Bubble Gum blindness, for she knoweth not what she heareth.

Mike also performs in a two-man band, the BusKings, with Brett Spaulding, and they crooned a moving rendition of the great, “Lay Your Head Upon my Pillow” at the Holiday Inn one night. So it’s not like he and Laura are opposed to the oldies, it’s just that they stubbornly reject the best part of it.

For instance, Tommy Roe’s “I went to a dance just the other night; saw a girl there, she was out of sight; I asked a friend of mine who she might be. He said that her friends just call her Sweet Pea. Oh, Sweet Pea, come on and dance with me; come on, come on, come on and dance with meeee; Oh Sweet Pea; won’t ya be my girl; won’t ya, won’t ya, won’t ya be my giiirl?”

I hate to give the ending away, but after standing in line for his dance, the gent “…finally got to whisper sweet words in her ear; convinced her that we oughta get away from there. We took a little walk, I held her close to me…and underneath the stars, I said to Sweet Pea: ‘Oh Sweet Pea, I love you can’t you see…”

Bubble Gum songs usually ended happily, unlike later genres that so often ended in bad breakups, if not worse. You might remember the Dixie Chicks murdering and dismembering an unpleasant fellow named Earl. Come on people: killin’ is never the answer. Just turn and walk away (Renee) if it’s not working out. Sure it’s “Kind of a drag, when your baby don’t love you; kind of a draaag, when your baby’s been untrue…” but it’s always better to wish bad things on an ex than to actually perpetrate it.

Again my man, Tommy Roe sang, “Hooray for Hazel, she put me down; hooray for Hazel, she made me her clown. Hooray for Hazel, she’s up to her tricks; hooray for Hazel, she’s getting her kicks.”

The wounded sap is just biding his time, because “Hazel only does things she wants to do; she’s spoiled and she’s rotten and she knows that she’s cute. Hooray for Hazel, she still gets her way, but there’s a time a-comin’ we’ll be able to say: ‘Hooray for Hazel, there’s tears in her eye; hooray for Hazel, she knows how to cry. Hooray for Hazel, she’s meek as a dove; hooray for Hazel, she’s begging for love.”

It’s liberating to celebrate the demise of the one that done you wrong, so “Hats off to Larry; he broke your heart…”

Again with the food theme, 1910 Fruitgum Company sang, “Goody, goody gumdrops…my heart is doin flip flops; Gee, what love can do…I’m gonna shout it from the rooftops, Goody goody gumdrops, with a girl like you…”

Have you ever wanted to profess a love from the rooftops? I have, and it’s only coincidental that I’m a roofing contractor. If you’re too young to have ever heard these songs, I implore you to go Google. Trust me: Once you go Bubble Gum, you’ll never go back!

5 comments

  • Comment Link April 05, 2013 3:42 pm posted by nan Temyer

    Ha Ha Doug, good one, it takes me back to the Jerome firehall dances.

  • Comment Link April 05, 2013 3:45 pm posted by Nan Temyer

    PS: back then the only "new kids on the block" were the Beatles and the Rolling stones.

  • Comment Link April 06, 2013 1:32 pm posted by larry

    doug my youngest daughters middle name is renee after that song my oldest middle name (lorraine) was from uriah heep song sweet lorraine

  • Comment Link April 06, 2013 5:36 pm posted by Frank Rozek

    Funny as always Doug but I have to agree with Laura. These songs will definaty go into my list of must miss music. Over the years you introduced me to many classics that I really liked but these songs aren't among them. If this is what Bubble Gum music was then I think I'll chew sugarless.

  • Comment Link April 14, 2013 10:02 pm posted by Phoebe, Billings, MT

    You know how to pick them! When you choose those mentioned songs, does it happen to be on an empty stomach? Perhaps when you listen to music you should apply he same plan as you should while grocery shopping: don't shop/listen hungry. . . . . Loved the column!

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