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Garry Hubble is a regular in our Ask the DJ section at BBHQ....

I was reading some stuff the other day on music from around the 1960's. (I'm just starting on a newly published biography on Janis Joplin -about the fifth I've read on her.) And it got me thinking (as things like that invariably do.)

If you're tracing the history of "protest" songs, they were originally works by folk singers. Try looking up some of the 'folkies' from the late 50's and early 60's such as: Pete Seeger; Peter, Paul, and Mary; Joan Baez; Joni Mitchell; Odetta; the Mamas and Papas and so on.

Don McLean, who wrote "American Pie" (don't get me started on that Madonna cover- I've got both her first two albums, but her version of "the day the music died" sucks harder than a vacuum cleaner, as do ALL dance music remakes of classic songs....... but, hey, I'm nearly 40, set in my ways, you know the story!)

Where was I? Oh yeah, Don McLean. He started off with Pete Seeger performing in travelling shows that toured the eastern parts of the U.S.

Seeger himself took the words from the first verses of Chapter 3 from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament and made a song out of it. The Byrds recorded it and made it famous. That song is "Turn Turn Turn."

There's a Song Lyric section in the BBHQ website. One of the more subtle protest songs is "Little Boxes." It was written by a lady by the name of Malvina Reynolds and was recorded, I think, by Pete Seeger. It deals with rampant urban sprawl and the impersonality and dehumanisation of modern society.

Perhaps the most influential folk musician isn't known as a folkie; and that's Bob Dylan.

Protest songs weren't put onto mainstream records until 1961. They didn't chart until 1962. And most of this stuff was Dylan's.

Peter, Paul, and Mary didn't write too much of their own stuff. (John) Paul Stookey's "Wedding Song" is a spectacular exception to this, and is still used in a lot of wedding ceremonies today. PP&M covered a lot of Dylan's songs.

Dylan recorded an album using an electric guitar (I forget which album) and drove the "true" folkies nuts. They said he'd sold out to rock'n'roll, and he lost a lot of his folk fans. But he gained a lot more rock fans to replace them.

Joan Baez has a voice that's so clear she could almost fake it as an operatic soprano. She started out as a folkie like Don McLean, touring the countryside singing about current issues: racism; pollution; censorship; and so on. Being very beautiful helped gain media attention. Joan also drifted towards rock with the rise of the hippy movement, and performed a rousing set at Woodstock in 1969.

With rock'n'roll taking a solid grip on musical tastes, they became the natural vehicle for protest songs. There was now the Vietnam War to sing about, too.

You could also explore the role played by women during the early years of rock, being a young lady yourself.

The bio on Janis Joplin I'm currently reading is titled "Scars of Sweet Paradise: the Life and Times of Janis Joplin" and is written by Alice Echols. Try to get a hold of it from your library, if you can, but I'll summarise a few of the relevant points from the dustjacket blurb and the introduction- which is all I've read, so far- and put in a few comments of my own:

Janis Joplin...... the "skyrocket chick" of the sixties, the woman who broke into the boy's club of rock and out of the stifling good-girl femininity of postwar America.

.... rock and roll's first female superstar.

There's the story of Janis Martin (another Janis), who had a couple of Top 10 hits with "Will You, Willyum" and "My Boy Elvis" in 1956 -the same time Elvis Presly started out. Although she had a love of R&b and rock, her record company, RCA, pushed her towards country music.

Elvis was made to appear as a boy from the "wrong side of the tracks": his sneer; his too-long dyed hair; and that pelvic thrust! The morality of the times could not allow a female equivalent.

This was the era of fluffy sweaters and bobby sox. Fifties girls were supposed to be sexy, not sexual. Good girls didn't! Or if they did, it was hushed up to save the family from scandal. No Social Security system supporting unwed and single mothers then!

The girl groups of the 60's are remembered by the name of the group only in so many cases. The Dixie Cups, The Chiffons, The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Supremes.......and so many more. Diana Ross is probably the only one who survived that particular phase- and that only by force of her own talent and tenacity.

Tina Turner is another female artist who had to fight hard to establish herself, but her beginnings are R&B, not popular music. And Annie-Mae Bullock (Tina's real name) definitely WAS sexy- and still is at 60 years of age!!

Rock gave women more freedom of expression, but they were still nowhere near as prominent as the men (and still aren't over 30 years later.) One of the others who stands out is Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane (which became Jefferson Starship, then just plain old Straship.) But, then again, Grace was a "babe": she starred in several advertisements, and only really gravitated towards singing as a career by trhe company she kept. She had no real initial passion to be a rock star.

Three major figures of 60's rock died within nine months of each other: Jimi Hendrix; Janis; and Jim Morrison.

Hendrix is continually played on hard rock stations today.

The Doors, too, as well as being played on the more "golden oldies" MOR stations. Oliver Stone made a major motion picture out of Morrison's career that starred Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan. (The fact that so much was left out, and that which was included is sometimes factually incorrect are not germain to this point.)

Janis' career died virtually the day she did: alone and lonely in a cruddy hotel room in Hollywood of complications from a heroin OD around 20-to-2 in the morning of October 4th, 1970. You may hear "Me and Bobby Magee" every so often, or maybe even "Mercedes Benz," but that's it. And those two songs are both entirely unrepresentative of the body of Janis' recorded work.

The 60's saw the major advanves of Feminism (with a capital as well as an uncial 'f'); Women's Rights; and so many other issues relating to the position of women in our society.

The music industry did not match these advances, as I've outlined above.Feminist music was not popular in the charts. I'm trying to rack my brain to recall any. "I am Woman" by Australian singer Helen Reddy shot to the top of the charts in 1973/4. Yoko Ono wrote "Woman is the Nigger of the World" and recorded it with her husband John Lennon in a band known as the Plastic Ono Band, but that's only memorable for the controversiality of its title.

Researching it for an essay may, however, prove a difficult exercise. Naomi Woolf, a noted American feminist writer, does mention it kinda sorta in passing in one of her more recent books- I think it's "Promiscuities," but it's been a few years since I read it.

The "myth" surrounding Woodstock:

Almost from the time it wound up- with Hendrix jamming the "Star Spangled Banner" as volunteers walked around picking up trash on the fourth morning- Woodstock started gaining the reputation of being the zenith of the Hippy movement. Everything was perfect- the ultimate expression of "Peace, love, and mung beans, Man."

The reality is somewhat removed from this, however: it was cold; there wasn't enough food; there weren't enough bathroom facilities; it rained (endangering the lives of performers and stage crew alike); there were too many bad drugs; the performers fought with one another; some of the performers had fits of pique threatening not to perform; the organisers dictatorially laid down the conditions under which performers had to submit in order to appear on D.A. Pennebaker's film and the album of the event; some bands did apalling sets (others, however, were outstanding); sound reproduction was woeful for many in the audience; ............. I could go on, but enough is enough. Read up on it for yourselves.

I've also read four or five different biographies on Janis Joplin (has it really been thirty years since she and Hendrix died?) They all quote the same, or similar, reference sources; and they all interviewed the same people who allegedly really knew her. Yet the person presented to us as "Janis" in each book could lead you to believe that the author is talking about someone different in each instance.

Again, the art of reading is very much in decline, but I urge you all to frequent your nearest bookstore, or public or college library and source these things out for yourselves- don't just take my word for it or, worse still, wait for it to come on PBS.

I also urge you all to join Scot, Anthony and me in writing down reminiscences on life from the 50's through the early 70's (don't just let hmc and the others in the BBHQ bunker be the only ones to get their tuppence worth.)

Spread the word on BBHQ- if you like, tell all your friends. This is a first rate site now, but it can get even better if we all put a little effort of our own in. you don't need to be a Rhodes Scholar in journalism- and most PCs have spellcheckers, at least. I can't promise something every week, but I'll try.

Look forward to hearing from you ALL!!!!


There was a request on the Peanut Gallery page for a recipe for Saltwater Taffy.

I put up a couple of URL's to sites, but good-ole AOL is having a bit of trouble recognising them.

I've cut-and-pasted them to this email for those who are still having trouble downloading them yourselves.

To save a plagiarism charge, I'll be a good student and quote my sources. They are, respectively:


Shore Saltwater Taffy

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
fool coloring and flavouring

Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir in the corn syrup, butter, water and salt. Cook the mixture over moderate heat until it reaches 254 degrees Fahrenheit on candy thermometer or until a few drops in cold water form hard balls. Remove the pan from the heat, add a few drops of food coloring and flavoring of your choice. For a batch this size you can use 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/4 teaspoon flavoring oil and about 3 drops of food coloring. Pour the taffy onto a buttered platter. Cool the taffy until it can be handled comfortably, about two to three minutes. If it gets too cool, you can warm it in a 350 degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Form it into 1 or 2 balls. Liberally butter your hands, and pull the lump of taffy until it is about 15 inches long. Now double it up and pull again. Repeat until it is light in color and firm enough to hold a shape. Stretch it into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter and snip off 1 inch bits with oiled kitchen scissors. Wrap each piece in wax paper.

NOTES : Pulling taffy is an old fashioned art and served as amusing entertainment as well. Taffy pulling parties rewarded its particiapants with sweet treats as well as fun memories. Solo taffy makers permanently attached taffy hooks to their kitchen walls. Jersey saltwater taffy comes in a myriad of flavors like cherry, rum, vanilla, mint and chocolate. This is a basic recipe that begs for the addition of your favored extract.


Salt Water Taffy

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup honey
few grains salt

Mix dry ingredients. Add water and honey. Cook to hard ball stage (265 - 270 F). Pour into well-buttered pan. Cool. Pull until porous. Cut in 1-inch pieces.


Growing up as a kid here in Australia, I'd hear characters on TV shows talking about all sorts of manufactured foodstuffs, candies, and sodas that we just don't get here. We'd have some things in common, such as Mars bars, Picnics, and so on; but with a small population, we really couldn't support such a wealth of teeth-rotters and sugar-coated artery-cloggers.

Interestingly enough, with the globalisation of just about everything we can now buy Hershey chocolates, Orio cookies, and so on.

ph: 0408-862-125

Things go better with Coke! Did any of you do that trick at school where one kid would bring in a "baby" tooth and you'd put it in an eggcup of Coke? Leave it for a few days, and the tooth would have dissolved into a slimy mess!!!!

Mereckons this'll be similar for Pepsi and other sodas!!!

A 355 ml can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar and around 50 m/grams of 1,3,7-trimethyl-2,6-dioxopurine ("caffeine.") Diet Coke has no sugar, but half-again the caffeine- just to "hook" you onto it!

Try the URL, below, to find out about the world's most insidious drug!!! Hey, you have to be at least 18 to (legally) buy alcohol and tobacco products in this country (not to mention the totally "illegals"); any 5 year-old can buy a can of soda! And just how many of the little darlings running around on a cola buzz get diagnosed as ADD or ADHD, and get stuck on mind-numbing medication so they aren't a distraction at school or home!!!

Think about it!!! There's a thesis in here somewhere, I think- or at least a research paper.

Recent comments on the gallery detail the kinds of things we did as kids, and the games we played. (A couple of months earlier the general topic revolved around what our tastes in music are like now- and that can be a topic to expand on later.)

Someone mentioned playing "scissors, paper, rock." I grew up in the late 60's and 70's- mostly in Australia. We played that game, too. Added to it was the pencil: pencil wrote on paper; rock crushed pencil. Then there were two variations. The first was that scissors cut pencil. And that's fine.

The second was that scissors and paper were a stalemate: pencil couldn't write on scissors; and scissors weren't tough enough to cut the pencil. Growing up as a boy, this made a deal of difference. When we played this game in earnest, it wasn't just to decide the outcome of some question, like; "do we play football, or go to the movies?" It was a test of one's manliness and superiority over his classmates!!

"Scissors, paper, rock" was a game unto itself, played by two combatants. The hands would be thrust out one, two, three- with the third time revealing our choice. If there was a winner, he would then have a free shot a punching the upper arm of the loser. (Another variant was that the winner took his first two or three fingers and would slap them against the inner side of the loser's forearm.)

As you can doubtless realise, an entire school lunch hour spent doing this had the potential to leave some pretty bruised and sorry kids- or with more stripes on your forearm than on a Naval Commander's dress jacket! Adding an extra outcome that meant neither kid got hurt was a blessing.

Another "boys" game we played in Australia and New Zealand- and haven't heard reference to from American sources- was "knuckles." Rather than being purely a test of psyching your opponent out, or out-thinking him, knuckles is a game of strength and reaction speed.

Two kids would square up. The clenched fist of one hand would be placed flush against the fist of the other kid. The kid who started off as "it" would have to break contact by raising his fist and bringing it down across the top of the other kid's. If he made contact, he stayed "it" to try and hit the other kid again. If he missed, the other kid became "it" and had to try and hit the first kid across the knuckles as hard and as many times as *he* could- kinda like the way service changes sides in volleyball and badminton.

This game was obviously dominated by the kids with the strongest hit and the fastest reactions. There was also a rule in some instances where you could psyche your opponent out by wiggling your fist like you're about to strike- but it didn't count as an attempted strike if you didn't break contact.

On reflection, the pain factor must have made some contribution as well: that stinging hand would undoubtedly have clouded your thinking and thereby dulled your reaction times!

But whatever games we played, it didn't really matter. They all had a common thread: we made most of that fun ourselves. Whatever we had as toys were invariably utilitarian, and quite often multi-functional.

Any relatively flat section of grass would become a football field- with garbage cans as goalposts, and a couple of sweaters as boundary markers. If it was hilly you had a battle ground- trees and bushes serving as redoubts; your own troop encampments at either end- in short, your own Battle of the Bulge!

With many of today's kids, if a toy doesn't come in a thousand different colours, make noise enough to wake the dead, and/or inflict cyberdeath at 1000 paces, it just aint nowhere!

Another switcheroony is marketing. When I was a kid you could buy a toy just like the character you saw on TV. Now they market the range of toys, and *then* they start scripting a cartoon series around it!

The question begs of itself: What next?!?

Apparently Coke is the most popular soda worldwide. (There was a fleeting rumour that Pepsi had overtaken Coke in the U.S.A. recently, but I'll have to check my sources. That may just be wishful thinking on behalf of PepsiCo.)

I remember reading 15-20 years ago that if you were to add up the sales of all the other sodas made worldwide- from the stuff they only sell in one city, right through to Pepsi, Sprite, Fanta, and all the others that sell just about *everywhere*- you still didn't reach the figures Coke were pulling in!! Approximately 350 million litres- that's 92.4 million U.S. gallons- of Coke are sold each day in over 195 countries!

The drink almost the entire planet knows started out life just over a century ago. An Atlanta, Georgia pharmacist by the name of Dr. John S. Pemberton concocted a sweet, caramel-coloured syrup in a three-legged brass kettle in his backyard (Man, the stuff you find keying two words into a search engine!!!) in May, 1886. Jacob's Pharmacy was the world's first retail outlet- Pemberton carried it there himself in a jug.

Whether by intuitive design, or sheer luck, the syrup was combined with carbonated water to give a "delicious and refreshing" drink that could be had for the princely sum of a nickel a glass.

Frank M. Robinson- Pemberton's partner- suggested the name Coca Cola, as he thought "the two C's would look good in advertising." He also penned the stylised flowing script of the name that is still in use to this day.

In his first year of operation, Dr. Pemeberton sold 25 gallons of his syrup. It was sent out in distintive red wooden kegs- a colour that has remained an instantly associated image with Coke. Gross sales were $50. Pemberton spent $73.96 on advertising, thereby realising a loss- and probably the only one in the company's history.

Pemberton was bought out in 1891, and by 1895 Coke was being sold in every state in the country. It was bought out again in 1919 for $25 million and, the last couple of years notwithstanding, Coke has gone from strength to strength.

The logo and the colour scheme aren't the only things to have remained contant with Coke. The recipe hasn't changed- remember NEW Coke!?! (As an aside, there's an urban myth here in Australia that what we're actually drinking Downunder *IS* the New Coke recipe. So to all you "Yanks" coming here for the Olympics- you have been warned!) Only a handful of people know only a part of the recipe for Coke, and in its entirety is believed to be the strongest, longest, and best kept secret on the planet. You can surf the 'Net and find out how to blow a small country of the face of the Earth by mixing bird poop and kitchen cleaning aids, but you wont find out how to make Coca Cola!

Robert W. Woodruff became President of The Coca Cola Company in 1923- and remained at the helm for over six decades!

As I said, they tried to change the recipe, and look what happened. Look up newspapers from the time and see just how many inches of column space was given to the issue- and the other issues it displaced from the headlines!

Now here are a few things maybe the manufacturers of the world's largest selling soda DON'T want you to know:

Pour a can of Coke (or Pepsi, or any other cola) into your toilet bowl. Leave for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid removes stains from vitreous china.

Dip some crumpled-up aluminium foil (every other country in the world spells "aluminum" that way) in Coke and use it to remove rust spots from chrome bumpers.

Coke will also remove corrosion from car battery terminals.

A cloth soaked in Coke will loosen a rusty bolt after only a few minutes. This may put WD-40 outta' business. (Last summer there was a moquito loose in my bedroom. I didn't have any Raid, so I sprayed it with WD-40. Didn't kill the little sucker, but it stopped that awful buzzing sound!!)

Coke will dissolve a nail in about four days.

Coke will remove road grime from your windshield.

Add a can of Coke in with your normal washing detergent and wash your clothes as normal. The Coke will act as a stain loosener.

Apparently Coke distributors have been using their own product as an engine degreaser in their trucks for over 20 years.

Bake a ham with a can of Coke in the baking tray to tenderise the meat as it cooks. When it's done, mix the Coke with the drippings for a scrumptious, albeit sweet, brown gravy. (Black pepper, garlic, oregano, and so on will take some of that sweet sting off of it, though!.......... Did someone call "dinner"?) As an acidic solution, see below, Coke- as well as fruit juices such as papaya, and red wine- will serve to lyse or rupture the cell membranes in meat, thus rendering it easier for us to chew. That way a cruddy steak soaked overnight before it's BBQ'd can melt in your mouth like a filet mignon. Don't believe me........... try it!

Back in the early 1980's, a Coke employee in the U.S. was fired for walking into work drinking a Pepsi. The union protested. Management refused to reverse the dismissal order. The union went on strike, bringing production to a standstill in the east of the country. The employee was rehired. (Also, apparently Ford had a ruling that any employee driving any vehicle not produced by FoMoCo had to parked at the back of the plant- where it couldn't be seen from the roadside!)

Apart from citric acid, Coke also contains phosphoric acid. With a pH of 2.8, it is widely used as an industrial solvent and cleaner. It is nearly 16 000 times more acidic than water- of which we are 80% composed. Is it any wonder some of us get gastric reflux drinking this stuff on an empty stomach?

And as an acid, Coke can be used to neutralise chemical burns from alkaline substances, such as oven cleaner. Ask your doctor, though, if he recommends flushing your eye out with Coke after you've turned the Mr. Muscle can the wrong way around!

Again, all this stuff is out there on the WWW. To echo one of hmc's essays: good thing, or bad thing? It's your choice, I just write this stuff. Without it, though, my life would be meaningless.

I thank you all,


I remember when I was a kid, that any adult had it over any kid. If you were misbehaving and your parents weren't around to deal with it, any other adult could give you a clip around the ear!

I admonished a child the other day for messing around with my computer equipment (Golden Rule # whatever: Don't touch things that don't belong to you) and I was promptly told in no uncertain terms where to get off! This child was no more than 8 years old!

My response to that is not to give the child a whooping, but to take to the parents. A child, after all, is the proverbial blank slate, or sponge, or whichever euphemism you choose, and can only respond in the manner in which it has learnt from observing those around it that have power of influence: id est its parents, and its peers (themselves the product of the influenses of their parents.)

Australia is not as bad as the U.S. in terms of gang violence, drugs, and so on- but we're heading that way. History shows that the collapse of just about every single society has been preceded by the collapse of its morals...... witness the Roman Empire.

To paraphrase whoever said it first: "Those who do not learn from history are condemmed to repeat it."

The rot must stop here, with us! I'm about as liberal in a lot of my attitudes as you are likely to get, but I think it's time we introduced a few Draconian measures to start dealing with the problem(s).

The main stumbling block is our politicians. When not in power they crow about how the degenration of society is all the fault of the incumbent government (irrespective of whichever parties are involved, and in what order,) but don't have the huevos to enact proper legislation when they get voted in on a platform of moral standards, because they may offend somebody?

I'm truly at a loss to come to any real conclusions as to a proper solution to the matter. How do the rest of the Boomers who visit this site feel?


This has been flying around the Internet for a while:

Where Did It All Begin?

Let's see...I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school-the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore.

Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning.

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to "do it" anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the "fun" they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that's another great idea.

And then some of our top elected officials said that it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

And then someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said we have no problem with that.

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet.

And we said they're entitled to their free speech. And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages homosexuality, rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Therefore, now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with... "we reap what we sow."

July 18:

Hey, we've got less than nine weeks to go to the Olympics!

Any of you coming Down Under to see them? Or are you going to sit in front of the TV and watch from your sofa?

Australia has to be, without doubt, the best country in the world (THAT oughta get at least a few of you going!) We've got just about every positive any other nation has, but very few of the negatives.

You should, however, be made aware of a few little idiosynchracies about Australia and Australians (or "Aussies"- and that's pronounced as a 'z', not an 's'- as we refer to ourselves.)

The following originates from the U.S., and may inject a little humour (there's that dang-cursed English spelling again!) into your day!


The Confusing Country

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the girting sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they still call it the "Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory, they can't spell, either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other land masses and sovereign lands are classified as either continent, island, or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia are the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep.

It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However, there are curiously few snakes, possibly because the spiders have killed them all. But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on) under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the Odd) that are more dangerous. The creature that kills the most people each year is the common Wombat. It is nearly as ridiculous as its name, and spends its life digging holes in the ground, in which it hides. During the night it comes out to eat worms and grubs.

The wombat kills people in two ways: First, the animal is indestructible. Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds muscles that outclass Olympic weightlifters. At night, they often wander the roads. Semi-trailers (Road Trains) have hit them at high speed, with all 9 wheels on one side, and this merely makes them very annoyed. They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away. Alas, to smaller cars, the wombat becomes an asymmetrical launching pad, with results that can be imagined, but not adequately described.

The second way the wombat kills people relates to its burrowing behaviour. If a person happens to put their hand down a Wombat hole, the Wombat will feel the disturbance and think "Ho! My hole is collapsing!" at which it will brace its muscled legs and push up against the roof of its burrow with incredible force, to prevent its collapse. Any unfortunate hand will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the Wombat to simply bear down harder. The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their crushed hand as the wombat prevents him from seeking assistance. This is considered the third most embarrassing known way to die, and Australians don't talk about it much.

At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus, estranged relative of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel, and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all 'typical' Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.

The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants. First, a short history: Some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and lot of them died. The ones that survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in, and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.

Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north. More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in Autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them died.

About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since. It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say) - whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended Holiday and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises. They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and the Aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.

There is also the matter of the beaches.

Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world. Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock, and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders. However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk.

As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst, and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful, and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger, unless they are an American. Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick.

Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.

Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land "Oz," "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth." The irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not under any circumstances suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt. Religion and Politics are safe topics of conversation (Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield. The only correct answer to "So, howdya' like our country, eh?" is "Best {insert your own regional swear word here} country in the world!."

It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt' you, and on your first night, and take you to a pub where Australian Beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul-taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes. Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and waive off any legal difficulties with "It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub.," to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage, and noting how strong the beer was. Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.

Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.

Typical Australian sayings:


"It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

"She'll be right."

"And down from Kosciusko, where the pine clad ridges raise their torn and rugged battlements on high, where the air is clear is crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze at midnight in the cold and frosty sky. And where, around the overflow, the reed beds sweep and sway to the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide. The Man from Snowy River is a household word today, and the stockmen tell the story of his ride."

Tips to Surviving Australia:

Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason whatsoever. We mean it.

The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.

Always carry a stick.


Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and good in a fistfight.

Thick socks.

Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.

If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.

Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.

See Also: "Deserts: How to die in them," "The Stick: Second most useful thing ever" and "Poisonous and Venomous arachnids, insects, animals, trees, shrubs, fish and sheep of Australia, volumes 1-42"

I've just had a great idea for a movie plot that I'm busting to share with you. Assiduous effort could see a script written, casting, and commencement of shooting by mid-Fall, with a northern Summer, 2001 release date.

Sylvester Stallone- who could probably use the gig- reprises his Oscar-winning role in "Rocky Part whatever-the-last-one-was-plus-one"! Yes, Sly won an Oscar. I have no issue with that. As an Australian who is part the product of the "cultural cringe" we experienced in the early part of this century (YES this is still the 20th Century, NO I'm not going to get into an arguement here about why it is), I am drawn to the struggle and eventual victory of the Underdog.

Other actors would be playing their original roles. Talia Shire would be Adrian. Someone who should know better than to look over my shoulder while I'm typing reckons Adrian died in one of the sequels. If this is the case, this is not a problem. Bobby Ewing spent an entire season dead, until Mr. Lorimar waved a big enough carrot under Patrick Duffy's nose in a desparate attempt to stop the precipitous dive in Dallas' ratings. The sudden reappearance of the youngest of the Southfork boys was reduced to a nasty dream his wife had.

Resurrecting Burgess Meredith's character could prove a little more challenging, however. Natalie Cole sang "with" her dad- nearly 30 years after he went to that great sound-check in the sky. Or perhaps we could have one of those inverted twists of irony, and have the part played by Hoffman or De Vito or whomever it was that played the Penguin in the Batman movie.

What about new characters? I alluded to Pamela Ewing above. What about Pamela Lee? She could be the bottle-blonded-block-busted-microskirted manager a la the WWF/WCW. That'd rope the kids into the box office- and probably a goodly proportion of their dads, too! Throw in Tommy for good measure, and you've got that whole American Beauty thing going for you as well!

(In regard to American Beauty: We know what Hershel thought about it, what about you lot- the acting talents of Spacey and Benning notwithstanding? I did Psych in university, and I reckon there's enough issues in that "fillum" to keep an entire building of shrinks in new couches, golf clubs, and trips to the Bahamas for life!)

But back to Rocky. I've even written the opening scenes. Balboa's been conned into a comeback- just like George Foreman. Training like a man possessed in the gym, he gets a call saying Adrian needs him home *urgent*.

Our hero pounds the pavement as hard and as fast as his age-weary legs can propel him. He arrives at his front door near death. His loving wife is in the kitchen preparing the evening meal.

R: Yo, Adrian. The guys is the gym said you wanted me home.

A: Sure do.

R: That it was urgent.

A: Aha.

R: Then what is it, baby?

A: Look at this Rocky. Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

R: Yo, don't you know that trick never works!!!

The BBHQ Joke of the Week ends with something to the effect of "we don't write this stuff, so don't blame us!"

I *did* write this, and I *am* to blame for it. But just hang around awhile, and see if you hear it from somewhere else!!



Only six more weeks to go! Then three weeks after that, all the crud over incompetence and bungling by SOCOG, rampant overspending of Olympic budgets, workers demanding (and getting!) quadruple pay rates for having to work during that time, and so on, will all be over.

Here's a little something in a lighter vein from the official Games site:

Bizarre Olympic Questions

Here are some of the questions that were asked of the Sydney Olympic Committee via their Web site, and answers supplied where appropriate.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much beer you've consumed...

Q: Which direction should I drive - Perth to Darwin or Darwin to Perth - to avoid driving with the sun in my eyes? (Germany)
A: Excellent question, considering that the Olympics are being held in Sydney.

Q: Do the camels in Australia have one hump or two? (UK)

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: What's this guy smoking, and where do I get some?

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face North and you should be about right.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Americans have long had considerable trouble distinguishing between Austria and Australia.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.


One my favourite songs is Kyu Sakamoto's "Sukiyaki." The lyrics are by Rokusuke Ei and the melody by Hachidai Nakamura.

The real title of the song is "Ue O Muite Aruko," which in English roughly translates as "I Look Up When I Walk." When the song was originally released in 1963 it was a smash hit in Kyu's native Japan, and it was decided to release it in the West.

However, it was deemed that it would be too difficult for us Westerners to pronounce its Japanese name, and the translation was also deemed inappropriate as it conveyed little meaning. What was needed was something that we could instantly relate to as being Japanese, without any reference to WW2. Thus came the title we all know it by: "Sukiyaki." Sukiyaki is, of course, a beef and vegetable dish which is cooked at the table in a steamboat of beef broth.

[Another trivial aside is the Bridgestone Tyre Company (and topical, given the latest news on their product recall.) What an utterly 'British' sounding name Bridgestone is. The company is, as you may have guessed, Japanese. Post-WW2 saw Japan copy a lot of Western products, and many of them were of inferior quality. To save being tagged with this label, the company named itself after something very un-Japanese.]

"Sukiyaki" was Kyu Sakamoto's only hit in the West, but at home he was regarded by many as being the "Japanese Elvis." Kyu died August 12th, 1985- one of the 520 passengers aboard a JAL 747 that crashed into a mountain near Tokyo (incidentally the largest death count for a single craft accident.)

It is also believed that Rokusuke Ei wrote the lyrics based on personal experience- having had his heart broken by actress Meiko Nakamura.

The song has had several cover versions chart around the world: Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen were the first in 1963; A Taste of Honey followed in the mid 70's; and 4PM in the 90's.

Following are the original lyrics and translation, followed by A Taste of Honey's version and 4PM's.


Ue O Muite Aruko

ue o muite aruko
namida ga kobore naiyouni
omoidasu harunohi
hitoribotchi no yoru

ue o muite aruko
nijinda hosi o kazoete
omoidasu natsunohi
hitoribotchi no yoru

shiawase wa kumo no ueni
shiawase wa sora no ueni

ue o muite aruko
namida ga kobore naiyouni
nakinagara aruku
hitoribotchi no yoru

omoidasu akinohi
hitoribotchi no yoru

kanashimi wa hosino kageni
kanashimi wa tsukino kageni

ue o muite aruko
namida ga kobore naiyouni
nakinagara aruku
hitoribotchi no yoru



I look up when I walk so the tears won't fall
Remembering those happy spring days
But tonight I'm all alone

I look up when I walk, counting the stars with tearful eyes
Remembering those happy summer days
But tonight I'm all alone

Happiness lies beyond the clouds
Happiness lies above the sky

I look up when I walk so the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone

Remembering those happy autumn days
But tonight I'm all alone

Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars
Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon

I look up when I walk so the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone



A Taste of Honey

It's all because of you, I'm feeling sad and blue
You went away now, My love is just a rainy day
I love you so, how much you'll never know
You've gone away and left me lonely

Unintentional memory Seemed to depart to me
Of love that's true
That one day turned my gray skies blue
But you disappeared
Now my eyes are filled with tears
I wishin you were here with me

Stop this love that I have for you
Now that you're gone I don't know what to do

If only you were here, You'd wash away my tears
The sun would shine and Once again you'd be mine
But in reality, I know it will never be
Cause you took your love away from me, .(.repeat this line)


4 P.M.
Album: Now's The Time

It's all because of you, I'm feeling sad and blue
You went away, now my life is just a rainy day
And I love you so, how much you'll never know
You've gone away and left me lonely

Untouchable memories, seem to keep haunting me
Another love so true
That once turned all my gray skies blue
But you disappeared
Now my eyes are filled with tears
And I'm wishing you were here with me

Soft with love are my thoughts of you
Now that you're gone
I just don't know what to do

1-If only you were here
You'd wash away my tears
The sun would shine once again
You'd be mine all mine
But in reality, you and I will never be
'Cause you took your love away from me

Girl, I don't know what I did
To make you leave me
But what I do know
Is that since you've been gone
There's such an emptiness inside
I'm wishing you'd come back to me

Oh, baby, you took your love away from me.

September, 2000 -

G'day from the Olympic City!

The whole world has its eyes on us right now....... Unless you're watching NBC, then you're 12 hours late! You've just gotta be cranky about that, huh!?!

The most successful song of the 1960's was the Beatles' "Hey Jude." But what does that really signify, apart from the fact that it sold by the truckload?

The general concensus of opinion puts Don McLean's "American Pie" in the supreme position of 'most significant song of the Boomer era' (It sits atop the BBHQ Top 100). Written in 1971, it comes after all the creative experimentation of the late 60's, and before the development of the styles that dominated the 70's. (1970 and '71 were pretty "dead" years from a creative point of view.)

So much has been written over the last 29 years of the "underlying meaning" of the lyrics, but it basically acts as a sociological chronicle of the years 1959 to 1970. 1959 (February 3rd, to be precise) is "the day the music died," when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper were all killed in a light plane crash.

The success of "American Pie" lies not in a catchy tune or chorus, but its actual lyric. The words themselves, and what they relate to, have a powerful emotional attraction for Boomers.

I was born in 1961, and didn't start listening to music independent of my parent's tastes until 1973. I have no socio-cultural connection with "American Pie"- or to most 60's music for that matter. (I'm also Australian, and although our cultures are very similar in many respects, there are fundamental differences.) All the references in the song lyric that emotionally tie people to specific places and events aren't there for me. In other words, the song does not *speak* to me, personally.

The upshot of the preceding paragraphs for your purposes is to look specifically at the years your parents were in their mid- to late-teens, and early twenties. If they're in their late 40's and early 50's now, you're looking at the late 1960's. The major influence on music at that time was the West Coast.

L.A. had the slick, polished, and professional bands like the Mamas and Papas. San Francisco, on the other hand, had a rougher, more amateur approach. From there came the seminal "Hippy" bands: Grateful Dead; Jefferson Airplane; Quicksilver Messenger Service; Big Brother and the Holding Company (from where came Janis Joplin); and so on.

The Blues fused with Rock'n'Roll. Acid rock was fuelled by LSD, heroin, speed, marijuana, and lots of alcohol.

Major record companies that had failed to capitalise on the "birth" of rock in the mid-50's were determined not to miss the boat again. Hippies became Big Business- a factor that doubtless led to its bastardisation, degeneration, and downfall as an ideal.

Social values were sent on a roller coaster ride. The staid and conservative, ultra-safe society that was fostered by post-War prosperity, and consumerism as an art-for-art-sake, was set on its ear. Unprecedented levels of education led the younger generation to question ALL the core values their parents stood for.

(I must include here that this is the dominant history- "white" America!)

To intellectualise this from an American viewpoint, this period of time is possibly reducible to one representative song; and that is Jimi Hendrix' cover of the "Star Spangled Banner" from his set at Woodstock in 1969. Let me outline some of my reasons for this:

Along with "mom and apple pie," the "Star Spangled Banner" stands as a representative of the above-mentioned traditional core American values. No matter how much society changed, or in what direction, these values held (and *still hold*) currency.

It is Old Glory- the U.S. flag, and all that *it* stands for: namely the notion Americans have that they are the dominant force of all that is good in the world (Superman fights for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way!) (Sorry, had to get a little parochial dig in somewhere!)

Hendrix turns a song that is sung by right-minded civic groups across the nation into a towering, seering cacophony of guitar riffs and feedback- a musical chaos to reflect the social upheavel of Vietnam, the Sexual Revolution, &c., &c.

Woodstock is seen as the zenith of hippy culture. This, however, is somewhat of a fanciful myth (as I mention earlier on this page.)

Hendrix' roots are Blues and R&B.

His solo reputation was made in England. Perversely he can be viewed as an "Invasionist"- coming back to stamp his name at Monterey, along with Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and others.

In a *GROSS* oversimplification, drugs- the liberator of the creative mind- killed Hendrix, Joplin, and Jim Morrison..... and so many others besides.

Hendrix was black- one of the first to be accepted by whites en masse in his own time (compare Little Richard, Chuck Berry, &c., &c). This represents the breaking down of social and cultural barriers: young adults saw through the hypocrisies and bigotry of their antecedents (although the struggle for equality for women was still a few years away!)

I could go on....................

All that having been said, one of my favourite songs from the 60's is "Macarthur Park." As I've mentioned, the 60's don't *speak* to me as I was too young. But the combination of a rock concept fused with a classical score is simply outstanding........ many find it nauseating in the extreme. I am also lucky to have met Jimmy Webb, who wrote and composed it, on two occasions now.

What will pass for my favourite song of the 70's is an Aussie song "Evie- Parts 1,2,&3." Eleven-and-a-half minutes of hard rock bliss. As an international hit, I'd probably give the nod to "Bridge Over Troubled Water"- even though Paul Simon hates the final verse, and only wrote it as time ran short to record a track for the album that it ended up being the title track to.

A little reading wouldn't go astray- but I'm sure you've already done that! One reference I can highly recommend for it description of the advent of late-60's music is "Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin" by Alice Echols, which was published last year.

To paraphrase a couple of euphemisms: each generation is the product of the one before it; and the sins of the father get visited upon the son. As trite as they may sound, they provide a real pointer for the direction in which any meaningful research into topics of social anthropology must logically begin.

Like it or not- and as a patriotic Australian, I don't- the U.S.A. is the dominant force not only in world economics and military power, but in socio-cultural spheres as well. This came about principally after WW2. There was a prolonged period of economic growth and prosperity in the U.S.: conspicuous consumption arose in earnest at this time, with a lot of (white) Americans buying a new car every second year. The rampaging march of technology brought forth a seemingly endless line of new consumer goods.

The rest of the First World continued to suffer privation for years after the War: we had food and gasoline rationing in Australia right through 1947; similarly the British; parts of the former DDR (East Germany) still weren't rebuilt four decades after the cessation of hostilities!

All of this comfort and luxury lead to political and social conservatism and complacency in America. This "reality" was shaken by the erupting of the Cold War, Civil Rights, Womens Rights, and Environmental issues. Issues were presented to a complacent populace first of all by the folk singers. Bob Dylan isn't the only one- nor was he the first. Try searching out Pete Seeger, Joan Baez (who actually brought Dylan to the attention of the establishment by singing some of his early works), Buffy St. Marie, and many others. A good starter would be an encyclopaedia of rock music to get a rough background- try Brock Helander's books on the music of the 50's and 60's (the titles of which escape me for the moment.)

American music got swamped by the "British Invasion" in 1964, but came back with the hippies and the movement out of San Francisco in '66/'67. Seminal outfits include Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Toss in Hendrix and the Doors for good measure.

What you have here is a pot pourri of songs and images ranging from the innocence and quirkiness of "flower power" like "Hair" and "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things," to the stark Vietnam reality of songs like "For What It's Worth," "Eve of Destruction," and "The End."

You say you want to focus on "Then and Now." A lot of 60's lyrics have little or no appeal to today's youth. It's not as though the words have lost their meaning, it's because they have no frame of reference: there's no Vietnam; no Ronald-Reagenesque "Evil Empire"; hash, dope, and acid are now a social scourge- not a mind expanding mechanism; and so on.

The idealism of the "hippy" movement was largely a capitalist-driven phenmoenon. It came crashing down at the very end of the 60's after Woodstock and the murder of the black guy by Hells Angels at the Rolling Stones' Altamont concert.

At Altamont the audience weren't stoned, they were far beyond that. Keith Richard was forced to play the rest of "Under My Thumb" with a gun in his ribs as Meredith Hunter's life was extinguished right in front of his (Keith's) very eyes.

Serious consumption of drugs snuffed the candle of so many of the leading youth culture figures of the late 60's and early 70's: Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Tim Buckley (Jeff's father), and so on. It also burned out so many others: try the Beach Boys for starters.

A good overview of the last part of the 60's is given by Alice Echols in her book "Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin." It's also the most coherent biography of Janis I've read, as it ameliorates or cuts out most of the sensationalism and bullshit (excuse the 'french') that surrounded her brief life.

As I've stated elsewhere, and also hmc has done on the "Ask the DJ" b/b under your enquiry, no ONE song can encapsulate all that the 60's were- and what they mean thirty-plus years later. For me, a potent pointer could be to show the video of Jimi Hendrix performing "Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock.

Hendrix is on stage on the fourth morning of a three day festival. Most of the people have left- and left behind a mountain of trash squashed into the muddy quagmire caused by such a large crowd moving around a field in heavy rain. The set shows people picking up trash and discarded belongings.

The hippy ideal is advanced in the soundtrack album and D.A. Pennebaker's film, but the backstage issues highlighted serious shotcomings- such as fighting artists, no bathroom facilities, no food, and bad equipment. The film of Hendrix's set (and the text that accompanies the recently released CD of same) bring a lot of this into sharp focus.

The most recognisable symbol of all things American are "Old Glory" and the national anthem. The sanctity of these get turned on their ear in a maelstrom of crashing guitar chords and feedback. To paraphrase our friend Bob Dylan, the times certainly were a changin'; irrevocably and irredeemably it would seem.

The most potent indicator as to the decline in sexual morality would be to listen to the Beach Boys "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

The BBHQ Feature Album is "Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," by Simon & Garfunkel. If you were fortunate enough to see them in concert in 2003, I do not have to sell you. The concert was terrific! This album collection includes 55 songs, plus their new recording, "Citizen of the Planet," and one of the songs sung by the Everly Brothers during the concert. The DVD was recorded during their concert in Madison Square Garden in 2003. For any S&G fan, this is a must have! But then, you knew that already, didn't you?  Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)

The BBHQ Feature Book is “Bobby Rydell – Teen Idol on the Rocks.” This is a “behind the scenes” story of one of the boomers’ first rock n’ roll stars. Told in the first person, Bobby chronicles his short ride to the pinnacle of fame and fortune, his glide through the 70s and 80s, and how he nearly lost it all. Relax; it has a happy ending. Bobby was (and is) a “normal” Philly guy... with an absolute love of music and an amazing gift. For any fan of early rock n’ roll, it’s a wonderful story. And yes, Bobby Rydell is still on tour, playing to boomer fans all over the world. Click here for a closer look at the book.

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