Juice notes: A Trio of Teen Tragedies

Since the computer at Authorsden doesn’t like taking extended summaries and descriptions of my work, I’m afraid I’m going to have to write a separate article on my last few submissions, starting with my poem about three “Teen tragedy” rock songs which were big hits in 1964-65, the year I was in the fourth grade.

I first got the idea for this piece while listening to a local poet (Linda Reising) read about seeing J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers perform “The Last Kiss” in concert, which got me to reminiscing about where I first heard it. Ms. Reising wrote about keeping time to the song while wearing an Anette Funicello hairdo and about the real-life tragedy which later befell the singer (J. Frank Wilson died at the age of 49). I didn’t go into that over much in my piece, but I did do some reminiscing about it and first hearing it, while riding in my parents’ 1961 Ford Fairlaine while going to pick up my sister from her ushering gig at the Peoria Players’ production of Take Her, She’s Mine one October night in 1964.

There was a spot on the old game show I’ve Got A Secret, where a celebrity guest accompanied the Shirelles in a performance of “Leader of the Pack” dressed like a biker and at the end he came out looking like he’d been banged up the crash. For some reason, I thought it was Robert Merrill, a longtime star of the Metropolitan Opera, but according to the YouTube video notes, the male singer-James Dean lookalike was Robert Goulet (actually, that sounds more logical). I didn’t see the opening for that particular telecast (Celebrity guests on IGAS would often open the show with “I’m so-and-so and I’ve Got a Secret!!”).

Sorry to give Dickie Lee’s “Laurie” just one line, since it was a beautiful song, but know, space considerations. I had heard it a few times and one night, it actually made me cry. Not wanting to have to explain that a sad love song-ghost story made me cry, I made up a story about I don’t know what and that’s what I told my parents.

I know this a little more long-winded than the usual AD introduction, but what can I say? Thanks for putting up with me.


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