Shooby dooby dooby, dooby doo wop wop

There’s a stretch of motorway, from the bottom of the big hill at Lapstone to Spaghetti Junction near St Marys, where I can pick up Vintage FM 87.6 on the car radio.  It lasts for about 12 minutes before it crackles out of coverage.

I discovered Vintage FM by accident.  It’s a community radio station with a very narrow geographic band, and they call it “the music you grew up with.”

It’s mostly, though, not the music I grew up with.  I’ve blogged before about my musical awakening ( “Memory jolts” ). This music was going on when I was too young, and nowhere cool enough, to latch on to pop.  At home we had Burl Ives and Perry Como on the radio, and daggy 78s on the phonograph.

Vintage FM mostly plays music from the fifties and very early sixties.  It’s too distant, or too unhip, to be played on those hits-and-memories stations, which never seem to reach back beyond 1980.

I’ve developed a mild addiction to that fifties music via Vintage FM, but I can’t quite tell you why.  What is so compelling about the Chiffons?

“One fine day, you’ll look at me
And you will know our love
Was meant to be.
One fine day-ay-ay
You’re gonna want me for your girl.”

There’s not a whole lot of sophistication to it, and each song only goes for about two and a half minutes.  But maybe it’s the simplicity, the comforting naivete, that’s so attractive.  Or the shooby doobies, or the sha la las.  When you listen to that music, the fifties sound so much less complex, so alluringly innocent.

Look, I know they weren’t really the good old days.  I’ve been catching up on the first series of Mad Men, which gives another view entirely of 1959-60.  The conservatism of the time was stifling; women were treated generally as inferior; attitudes to sex were repressive;  religious dogma could still flourish.

But sometimes it’s nice to give yourself an illusion of a time when, in your formative years (I was 6 in 1959), life was just that little bit easier to understand.

Plus, in that 12 minutes on the M4, you can get in at least 4 of those two and a half minute songs; and really, who wouldn’t want to sing along with Dion and the Belmonts:

“Each night I ask the stars up above:
Why must I be a teenager in love?”

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