This one was a struggle...that is, trying to get my head around a phenomenon — boy bands — that never can be fully explained or understood but is elemental to popular music, a phenomenon abounding with paradoxes but also truisms, a phenomenon that routinely elicits the most extreme reactions, both positive and negative.
That I could get through that previous paragraph, well, I’m relieved because this blog is now a third of the way done. And it’s about this week’s episode of Let It Roll.
I made a list of all the important women in my life who liked, listened to or witnessed in concert a boy band or boy bands, and I realized it included all of them . . . starting with my mom, whose response to the boy band taking America by storm in 1964 emerged as me, dressed as one of those boys in the band, for the first Halloween I can remember. (Think: Tiny sullen Beatle, not real excited about mom’s clever idea to dress me like one.)
This experience served to illustrate one of those boy band truisms — that is, if you’re male, someday you’re going to be annoyed by a boy band.
In spite of their Saturday morning cartoon, which became my first real exposure to those lovable mop tops, I would continue to distrust those Beatles and anyone resembling them for the next two years, until the first Monday of January, 1967. That night at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, after one more daily slog through first grade, I lit up a Pall Mall red and turned on my family’s television set.
What came next rocked my 6-year-old world, both literally and figuratively.
There was a new boy band in town, its name was the Monkees, and for the next 10 years to the month, I would attempt to grow my hair longer, millimeter by millimeter, in a land war with my dad (guess who was annoyed with a boy band then!)...and that was just the beginning.
To be continued. . .
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.