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210802 August 2, 2021


End of the Innocence

Innocence: Simplicity; absence of guile or cunning; naiveté.
Censor : To examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

The End of the Innocence
Tommy Towery
LHS '64
Since we have been visiting songs of our times I thought I would take a look at the top songs of today for a comparison. Believe me, they are nothing like the ones we had in our day. The song above is about the end of the innocence and I believe our generation might represent that. The number two song in the Top 100 Billboard for this week is a song called “Good 4 U” and includes use of the “F” word and a sexual suggestion about some act the singer wants done to someone.  I can only imagine what our English teachers would have thought about the “4 U” usage instead of “For You.” And believe me, the use of the “F” word in a song played publically would have sent the censors of our day up the wall. You can look it up on youtube if you want to hear it.

I decided to go back and re-visit some of the songs of our time which had “dirty” words in them which we were not allowed to hear, and how they were altered to be played to the general public on the radio back then. We all know we relied on WAAY radio, 1550 on your AM dial, for our musical muse. Here are some reflections on some of the songs we heard played back then, and how the verses were altered from the way they were played later.

Greenback Dollar

First of all, we were not alowed to hear someone say “damn” in our songs. It was just left out in the Kingston Trio’s hit “Greenback Dollar.” It went, “And I don’t give a (Guitar Strum) about a Greenback Dolalr.” It reached number 16 on the Top 100 chart. Later versions included the word “damn” in the song.

A Boy Named Sue

Another cesored song was “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. The term "son of a bitch" in the line "I'm the son of a bitch that named you Sue!" was bleeped out in the Johnny Cash version both on the single and the At San Quentin album, and the final line was also edited to remove the word "damn". Both the edited and unedited versions are available on various albums and compilations. The term "son of a bitch" was edited to "son of a gun" or altogether bleeped out in some versions. When performing the song live in later performances (such as in April 1970 at the White House and in 1994 at the Glastonbury Festival, for example), Cash would himself utter a bleep-censor sound in lieu of the word. The unedited version of the original San Quentin performance is included on later reissues of the “At San Quentin” album and on Cash's posthumous “The Legend of Johnny Cash” album. 

Brown Eyed Girl

    One version of "Brown Eyed Girl" includes nostalgic lyrics about a former love which were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations. A radio-edit of the song was released which removed the lyrics "making love in the green grass," replacing them with "laughin' and a-runnin' hey hey" from a previous verse. In opening this song in an audio editor, I can actually tell from the clicks where the verse was changed. I and some other classmates prefered the “making love” version. There was a lot of green grass behind the new Huntsville Stadium back then!

Tie me Kangaroo Down, Sport

    In the United States in 1963 many listeners loved to sing along to "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport." It is a song written by Australian singer Rolf Harris in 1957 which became a hit around the world in the 1960s. Though we sang along, few of us knew that one of the verses included a racial slander. Personally, when I heard the verse “Let me Abos go loose” my ears told me he was singing “Let me elbows go loose.” I always wondered why all the other verses were about freeing birds and animals and that verse was about a body part. It was only recently I looked up the lyrics of the song and found it said “Abos” and not “elbows.”The fourth verse caused some controversy in 1964 because of its use of the word "Abo", an offensive slang term for Aboriginal Australians. The lyrics of this verse (not found on Rolf Harris's official website) were as follows:

Let me Abos go loose, Lou
Let me Abos go loose:
They're of no further use, Lou
So let me Abos go loose.

    The stockman thus emancipates his indigenous offsiders at his death, because they are "of no further use" to him. This verse does not feature in 21st-century versions of the song and, in a 2006 interview Harris expressed regret about the racist nature of the original lyrics. Where the version to which we listened went from “koalas” to “Abos” to “platypus ducks,” the censored version goes straight from “koalas” to “platypus ducks” with no mentionn of “Abos.” So actually we were listening to the uncesored version of the song, and only when it was decided it was not politically correct the verse was removed from the song. You can still hear many stations playing the version which includes the contrioversal verse, even though it is now considered racial.

    Following songs in later years became increasing more liberal in their use of profanity and sexual suggestive thoughts as the end of the innonence became more profound.

The Stripper

 Naughty-But-Nice in 1962
John Drummond MD
LHS '65

    "The Stripper" was an instrumental song composed by David Rose in 1958, but not released until 1962.  It has a jazz influence with prominent trombone slides.  Rose wanted to release his new  composition "Ebb Tide"  on the "A" side of a 45 rpm record.   At MGM,  a random office boy was assigned the task of finding an obscure song for the record's flip side.  He rummaged through some old tapes and found "The Stripper"  to place just as a filler for the "B" side.  As all of us LHS grads know, it became a huge hit.  In July 1962,  Billboard ranked it at #1.  Also, BB listed it as the #5 most popular song of 1962.

    This naughty-but-nice song was featured in numerous movies and TV shows, including "The Full Monty",  "The Scarecrow" and two Monty Python skits.  Perhaps its most clever use appeared in the  hockey film "Slap Shot," starring Paul Newman.  He was the player/coach of  the Chiefs, a sorry down-and-out minor league professional hockey team whose major talent was fighting the opposing team on the ice rather than scoring goals.   During an especially violent melee the actor Steve Guttenberg, rather than join in the fisticuffs, skates  in a wide circle around the rink, slowly removing parts of his uniform bit by bit.  The crowd loves it, and the players suddenly stop fighting each other, mesmerized by his bizarre performance.

    Perhaps the best-known and most-remembered use of "The Stripper"   was in a long-running TV commercial for Noxzema shaving cream.  While a young, handsome and athletic fellow is shaving his cream-covered face, a beautiful young blonde woman breathes into his ear, begging him to:  "Take it off.....Take it ALL off!."   (Trivia bonus:  the blonde was Gunilla Knutson, a Swedish model).   Each downward razor stroke was accompanied by a throbbing "BUM-ba-dum" note.  I think Joe Namath appeared as one of the shavers.

    As a trumpet player in the LHS Marching Band, I remember us performing "The Stripper"  as part of at least one football game halftime show.  I would like to say that the band and majorettes bumped our hips to the music, and perhaps we did (at least during band practice) but it is doubtful that Mr. Foley and/or Mr. Hamilton would have allowed that risque bit of showmanship in 1962.  Tommy and I would appreciate any recollections from bandmates about this memorable halftime performance, or any others.

        Memphis, TN - This is a song infested issue this week. I can only hope you are viewing it on a device which allows you to hear all these great songs. Thanks again to Craig Bannecke for his Diver's Test Car suggestion and to John Drummond for his continued support in our musical memories. I have added a generic "Music" survey to which you can comment on any aspect of our musicall past. 

    As we enter August I can't help but think back about all the past reunions we have enjoyed in this month and how hot most of those days were. Hopefully we will soon have this COVID-19 life behind us and we can once again make plans for another great class(es) reunion.

Slow Song Selections

Sleep Walk

Sleep Walk

    Jeff Fussell, LHS ’66, says, “Without a moment's hesitation "Sleepwalk" by Santo & Johnny came to mind. It was (and in my opinionm reamains) the quintessential last dance song. It's still one of my favorites to play.” “Sleep Walk" is an instrumental tune, prominently featuring the steel guitar, written, recorded, and released in 1959 by brothers Santo & Johnny Farina. "Sleep Walk" entered Billboard's Top 40 on August 17, 1959. It rose to the number 1 position for the last two weeks in September and remained in the Top 40 until November 9, 1959.

Talk To Me

Talk to Me

    Escoe German Beatty, LHS ’65, selected her slow song as “Jimmy Gentry singing "Talk To Me" usually at a Bradley's dance.” This was my own second choice, and I can remember how much I loved holding a girl close and dancing to this song. It was one of my favorites. If you ever attended a dance at Bradley's or any other place where "The Continentals" (as they were called at the time) played, just take a moment and close your eyes and listen to this song. Whose memory fills your thoughts?  While I don’t have Jimmy’s version, this is the version done by Sunny and the Sunglows. It was released by Tear Drop Records and was their biggest hit. Sunny & the Sunglows were from San Antonio, Texas, which broke into the Billboard Top 100.

Song Comments

Automobiles In Which We Got Our Driver's License Responses

    Here are the makes and numbers of responses of cars in which we took our driver’s license test.

Buick 2
Chevorlet 6
Dodge 1
Ford 6
Mercury 3
Plymouth 2
Pontiac 1

    There were no foreign cars and no large Cadillacs driven by  any of the responders for their test.

    The year modles ran from 1946 to 1966 with the most popular year being 1956 with five total replies.

    The oldest car driven was a 1946 Ford Super Deluxe and the newest one was a hot 1966 Pontiac GTO

    One respondant wrote: “I drove our family station wagon. A 1959 (AMC) Rambler V-8 with the push button automatic transmission mounted on the dash to the left of the steering wheel.  It was a nice car and handled well but it was bulky and parallel parking was a chore but it was what was expected of you on the test.”

    Barb Biggs Knott, LHS '66, sent in a photo and wrote: "If you can tell me what this model this car is, I can answer the latest survey question on the Traveller. This is the car I took my driver’s test in but have no idea what it was. For some reason I always thought it was a Ford Fairlane but now I don’t know."
    (Editor's Note: I identify it as a 1962 Ford Fairlaine.)

    Jim Bannister, LHS '66, "I took my drivers test in Gadsden, AL before moving to Huntsville. My car was a 1956 Chevrolet Belair 2 door hardtop. It later became known by my LHS buddies as "The Mean Green". The test that I took included included hand signals, parallel parking, and a three point turn around. I remember how gruff the State Trooper giving the test was, made me feel that I had failed. A funny story: My Grandmother didn't start driving until she was well into her sixties. During her first driving test, the State Trooper got so scared that he jumped out of the car half-way through the course and walked backed to the courthouse."

Elaine Hubbard <>
Mon, Jul 26, 7:54 PM (5 days ago)
to me

        Elaine Lucas Hubbard, LHS ‘66, "Tommy, thank you for all you do to keep us Lee Family in touch with each other.  As we grow older, it's important to maintain a connection to our pasts and reflect on how that shaped our futures. You have published this story before - maybe 2015 or so - but I wanted to share it again since we're on a roll for how all of learned to drive and survive the testing process.

    Our 1955 Buick, portholes dotting the sides, was my learning-to-drive car.   If you call backing in and out of our driveway or shifting from Park to Low or Reverse on a PRNDL at age 12 “driving”.   Later, practice driving was in our 1958 Oldsmobile station wagon, christened “The Tank”, and generously adorned with chrome.  Did I say chrome?  Bumper to bumper, shiny metal gleamed.  Even the handle of the portable transistor radio was chrome.  That car felt safe. 

    Real Driving, according to my father however, required shifting gears, and as my driver’s test approached, Dad was determined to teach me Real Driving.  In a borrowed ’57 Plymouth, 3-speed on the column, within the weekend safety of Lee High’s parking lot, he began Lesson One.  “Push in the clutch, pull down on the lever, press the accelerator……slowly.”  Bump.  “No, slower”.  Grind.  “Push the clutch in, then change the gear, easy now”.  Bump and grind again, then crunch.  Despite his frustrated hollering, somehow I got the hang of it.  Lesson Two:  fathers should never try to teach daughters to drive a stick shift.

    Having a birthday five days after Christmas is a pain.  Having the (nearly) last birthday among my already 16-year-old classmates was agony.   I had one day to make up for lost time – New Years’ Eve.  My mission was to become a licensed driver immediately after turning 16 and before the New Year.  Memorizing the handbook was fun:  road signs and rules, even the ancient left hand signals –arm out straight for left turn, 90 degree up for right turn, 90 degree down for stop.    The Written Test would be a piece of cake.

    But which car to drive for the Dreaded Driving Test?  The borrowed Plymouth stick shift still performed for me its bump, grind, and crunch -- sounds less than ideal for showing off one’s automotive skills.  On the other hand, The Tank required two full spaces on the parallel parking trial run and parallel parking was a formidable requirement of the Driving Test.  You had to nail it.  Suddenly, the car-choice dilemma evaporated with the trade-in of The Tank on a 1963 Buick LeSabre with its power everything and ever comforting PRNDL.   An old lady car, my brother Vern grumbled.  He loved that Oldsmobile.

    The Birthday arrived and the next day Vern drove me downtown where the driver’s tests were given.  He parked the LeSabre across Eustis Avenue at the Church of the Nativity’s Ridley Hall, tossed me the keys and set off for a movie.   An hour later, I had passed the not-so-piece-of-cake Written Test and faced the Dreaded Driving Test.

    Mr. State Trooper motioned for me to get into the driver’s seat while he silently eased into the passenger side.  “Just turn right at the corner”, he barked.  PRNDLing to L, blinkering for a right turn, we set out on my big adventure.  He seemed bored.  Maybe having to accompany a nervous teenage girl in an old lady car was not his idea of New Years’ Eve fun.   Hey, it was only noon, I was on a mission and didn’t care about his party plans.

    “Turn right again”, he ordered as we approached Gates Avenue.  A block?  I’m going to go around the block?  That’s all?  Piece of cake.

    The light turned green just as we pulled up to Franklin Street.  You know how, when the light turns green, and you’re 4th in line behind the first car that won’t go?   It’s like they’re expecting an engraved invitation or a particular shade of green.  “Hm.  Emerald”?  “No, really, it should be something between Pistachio and Lime”.  Well, since this light was exactly the right shade of green for me, blinkering another right turn, I eased through the intersection.   Piece of cake.

     Then it happened.  She ran the light.  Not me.  The old lady coming from my left.  My quick stomp on the Buick’s power brakes nosed Mr. Trooper into the dash.  Dang, I thought, though didn’t say it.  Having already blurted something extremely unladylike, the lesser swear word was unnecessary.  “Not your fault”, he murmured.  “Just keep it turning”.   Expecting him to leap out any second in pursuit of the vanishing traffic violator, I crept toward the courthouse square.  Instead, he nodded toward Ridley Hall.  I turned right again, pulled into the reserved space, PRNDLed to P and waited.  Time to parallel park, right?  Wrong.  Idling, he merely signed my test form, grinned, and quickly hopped out.  Happy New Year!

     Mission accomplished, I drove home for another piece of birthday cake.  Vern must have walked home.

    (Editor's Note: I did what was probably a stupid thing to do when I went for my test. I had learned to drive in the family's 1953 Ford Custom with a manual three--speed on the column shifter. Right before I was going to take my test Gene Bales, a friend of my brother Don, said I needed to take the test in an automatic and not a manual shift, so he lent me his red 1963 Chevy Impala. It was a much larger framed car than the Ford but I was talked into using it. The only problem I had was when we were about to turn left back at the testing center and I was stopped at a red light. Well, traffic was heavy so I decided to sit there until I had a clean shot at turning. I sat there for three lights before I finally pulled out into the middle of the intersection and completed the left hand turn when the light turned red. I was sure I was going to get dinged on the move, but instead I was surprised to hear the examiner say, "If you had sat through one more light without turning I was going to fail you." His last words to me was "Go park the car and come back in to get your license and be careful.")


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Football Photo

Paula Kephart Smith

LHS '65

    Sorry, I didn’t see this one to answer about the football players. Number 52 on the front row was Dwight Kephart, my first husband, who passed away in 1996. If you already have identified, just ignore this. Hope it helped- Thanks for your continued work about LHS!

Subject:    Anniversary
Rick Markley
LHS '66

    Rick and Kathy Markley would have been Class 0f 1966 celebrated their 50th Anniversary on July 31, 2021.

Subject:    Jim McBride Memories
David Mullins
LHS '64

    Jim got all the names correct. 60 ' Team picture of all of these crazy kids brings back so many. Not the least of which was we played without face masks. Of course we were too stupid to know better. Those were the days. So many of our friends are no longer with us unfortunately. 

Subject:    Great songs
William Meyer
LHS '66

    Thank you for being our DJ. There was a whole lotta making out to those songs.LOL.



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