Monday, October 11, 2010

Hey Schoolgirl

Puppy love used to have a soundtrack.

This is an innocent little flirtation about a young "crush" that, in a situation that seems rare in Simon's later work, is mutual.

The boy makes the first move, and daringly whispers-- during class!-- that he'd like to meet up with this young lady after "after school."

She agrees, but is demure. Her school day is over an entire hour and a half later. If they are in the same classroom, they must be in the same school and even the same grade... how is her school day so much different? Does she have after-school activities? Detention? (Heaven forbid.)

She then puts him off three times more. "Maybe when we're older, then we can date" seems like a very big put-off. Her excuse about homework taking her "hours" would only mean he'd have to wait hours, not years until they are "older."

And then the vague "Someday we'll go steady" seems a timeframe of months, perhaps years again.

But each put-off is equalled by a come-on: "Let's wait" means later, yes, but not never-- as does "So don't you fret/ Ooh, not yet."

At this point, our poor young fellow might be forgiven if he feels "played" or "strung along," what with such mixed messages.

But then, just as suddenly, the girl changes her mind, and with a sense of purpose commits herself: "I'm gonna skip my homework, gonna cut my class/ Bug out of here real fast."

Our young Romeo could not be happier, with the situation or with himself: "Now we're going steady... You're mine/ I knew it all the time." Sure he did.

Still, what was it about him that won her over? His brazenness in approaching her during class? His confidence in suggesting a date before he even knew her name? His doo-wop influenced pick-up line: "hoo-babaloo-chi-bop"? The fact that once he made his overture, he hung back, letting her come to him?

We'll never know for sure. But this extremely early song does remain one of the few songs in Simon's portfolio about a successful relationship. Is such a thing possible only when the participants are as uncomplicatedly innocent-- or as obliviously confident-- as children?

This is the one song from the Tom and Jerry, pre-S&G, days that the duo still performs.

They were still in high school when, with this song, they found their first taste of success. It was their first professional recording, cut in 1957. It sold 100,000 copies and cracked the Top 50 (#49, but still).

It even took them to the performance show of their time-- long before American Idol, MTV, Star Search or even Soul Train-- called American Bandstand. New artists took turns playing their hits, teens danced, and Dick Clark hosted the proceedings. (The TV show central to the plot of Hairspray is based on this show.)

When he introduced them, Clark asked them where they were from. Garfunkel admitted to being from New York, but Simon falsely drawled that he was from Macon, Georgia. This fib was, perhaps, in an attempt at authenticity... or at not wanting to be out-authentic-ed by the act that they were to follow: Jerry Lee Lewis, performing "Great Balls of Fire."

Next Song: I Wish You Could Be Here

No comments:

Post a Comment