“Come here quick and look at this little boy singing!”
That’s exactly what my mother said to my father in the year of our Lord 1969 as she watched a 10 year old boy with his brothers singing up a storm on TV! Surely you’ve already guessed who she was talking about right?
And with that…
Welcome to 1969 baby! The year that man first stepped foot on the moon, or so they say! Truth be told, the old folks around these parts still have their doubts 😉
In the music world, the year 1969 brought us the 10 year old that I just mentioned; Michael Jackson. He and his brothers were the cutest party of five to ever hit a stage.
Even today, most folks will agree that it’s nearly impossible to fathom all of the ways in which MJ influenced music, dance, style and entertainment. And to think, his mother and my folks came from the same little patch of southern woods.
At any rate, here are my jams for the year that closed out the 1960’s!
I Want You Back by The Jackson 5
I don’t give a damn where I was or what I was doing, when I heard the intro to this song I started screaming! God help you if you were anywhere in the vicinity. Eyewitnesses will tell you that I repeated my version of the Michael Jackson spin until the song ended.
Believe it or not, all these years later, I still respond just about the same way. Only now, I spin three fourths the way ‘round—one time.
Someday We’ll Be Together by Diana Ross and The Supremes
Yeah, by now Ms. Diana had acquired top billing!
Based on personal experience, I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t remember this song. For me, it is very special because my mom, who passed away a few years back, used to sing it when I was little.
My loves, it is very difficult for me to listen to this one now so I simply opt to admire it from afar.
My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder
Honestly, I think that every girl has dreamed of being the topic of this song.
Incidentally, from what I understand, Stevie’s mother was also from the same place that MJ’s mom and my folks are from. I know, right?
Hot Fun In The Summertime by Sly and The Family Stone
This song is one of my favorites of all time! The piano intro is so haunting; it hits me smack dab in the middle of my brain’s wistful zone; but strangely enough, I love that!
I live for the way Sly likens summer days to a magical lady that appears at the “end of the spring” and goes away before the “first of the fall.” What a powerful metaphor! When I listen to this song, I imagine ‘her’ twirling in and out of my life, bringing and taking happy summertime memories with her.
“…and everythang is cool!!!”
Baby, I’m For Real by The Originals
If you want to write a love song, use this one as your template.
Okay, true story, when I was taking Taekwondo, I met a girl whose father was a member of The Originals. She confided that she never really mentioned it because most people were unfamiliar with the group. Well, needless to say, I was NOT unfamiliar so I must have asked her a thousand questions about her dad’s experiences. During our conversation, I shared that ‘Baby, I’m For Real’ is one of my favorite songs. She laughed and said, “I think dad was the one who sang the part ‘I see the little tears in your eyes about to fall, you are wondering if I’m for real….” To that, I screamed with delight! What are the chances?
Anyway, nowadays I can’t help thinking of her whenever I hear that song.
What Does It Take by Junior Walker and The All Stars
There is no way that you can listen to the sax in this song and sit still. If you have any amount of soul in your body, you will at least sway! “I’m gonna blow again for you!”
Baby Baby Don’t Cry by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Ladies you know how it is when your man done messed up and you got somebody else in your ear talking all sweet. Nobody does the ‘sweet talk’ thing better than Smokey! His soft angelic voice can atone for any man’s prior relationship devilment. Believe it or not, devilment is a ‘real’ word that means exactly what it sounds like it might mean.
Hey fellas, when your lady cries and it’s your fault, you might need to heed the words of this jam. The last thing you need is a dude like Smokey sweet talking your baby.
It’s Your Thing by The Isley Brothers
This jam is so funky that even old folks were singing it! Most of ‘em probably didn’t realize that it advocates free love! Ha Ha! It’s hilarious to me that really good music can make you sing lyrics that are diametrically opposed to everything that you believe you stand for. Truly, I say to you, the funk here cannot be denied.
Now if you think this jam was tight, wait until I post “My Jams: ’73.” That’s when we start studying math and how them three younger boys added themselves to the original Isley brothers! I’m talking about Ernie, Marvin and Chris y’all!
Well folks, I really hate to say goodbye to 1969 because it was a very special year for me! I’ve told you my favorites from the last year of the stormy sixties. What are your ’69 favs?
****Coming up Next Thursday: My Jams: ’70