Bob Greene is a well known writer and author who has written numerous books. I try tor read most anything he writes.
At various times for about a fifteen year period he went on tour with the 1950s' rock-n'-roll duo, Jan and Dean, playing and singing back-up in their band. Sounds like the thrill of a life time to me. I once saw them, him, playing at a street fair on a hot August summer night when I was visiting old friends in Frankfort, Indiana where I had first taught and coached.
One Saturday afternoon Greene got a call from one of the members of the Beach Boy's band telling him they were going to be playing a show where Greene was living at the time in Chicago. Greene, like so many of us, was a fan of the Beach Boys. The last time Greene had run into Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Love had asked what songs he was singing with Jan and Dean. When Greene told him "Little Honda" Love said, "You'll have to sing that song sometime with us." Greene said he could tell Love was not kidding.
Fast forward - the Beach Boys are playing the Navy Pier in Chicago and Greene was told, "Be there." Greene said he stood in the wings as Love had instructed him to do just before they went on stage, "We're going to encore with 'Honda" so you be ready to come on stage to sing and play this song with us. You will be front and center stage when we do this number."
"I barely remember walking to the microphone, which a stagehand had placed directly at the front next to Love. I could see all the faces in the audience, but could only hear myself. It all went by so fast, I never wanted it to stop."
When We Get to Surf City - Bob Greene
Greene said he could not conceive of what had just happened. Nothing could have been more unfathomable to him than what he had just experienced singing with the Beach Boys. Then he said something came over him and he knew he had to talk to this certain someone. He said he knew there was only one other person on this earth that would really understand the importance of what he had just experienced. Only one other person in the whole world.
He went straight to a phone and called his oldest and best friend back home in the town he grew up in Ohio, Jack Roth. As teenagers Jack was the one who first brought the Beach Boy records to Greene's house for them to listen to. Jack was with him the first time they saw the Beach Boys in person. "He was the only person in the world who would know and understand what this really meant."
Recently I stopped by the grave of an old early childhood days friend; something I often do. He and I had known each other since we were about ten years old. I stayed a while and reminisced about some things from the past the two of us shared. You know, he would've been the only one that knew and understood things from those times and events we experienced together. Like Greene with his friend,
"I had to talk with that someone who would know and understand."
"Who else could I share with what once was in the lives of the two of us?"
It's a sad day when there is no one else around that remembers what once was in yours and their lives.
January 8, 2018