|Vancouver Province May
For the record
older generation has been saying for a long
time that it was happening; but I never
believed them before. It's true, though.
The hit parade of America has
finally and literally gone to the dogs.
It's evident in the songs of the past couple
of years, and this year especially.
THE CANINE population is swiftly
gaining control of the music business.
Patti Page started the whole
thing with her recording of "Doggie in the
Window" that sold like 10-cent cotton candy at
Bill Haley, seeing a good thing
when he saw it, established a trend with "Two
Hound Dogs." It sold well, so he
followed it up with "Hot Dog, Buddy
Buddy." Not much reference to man's best
friend in the latter selection--but it's there
IT WAS ELVIS Presley, though who
really put the pooch in there to stay.
His big contribution to the
advancement of man's furriest friend was, of
course, his "Hound Dog." By merely standing
up, banging away on a guitar, and rotating his
hips in the general manner of a flea-ridden
terrier. Elvis immortalized for all and
sundry the canines of America.
And, like all good performers,
with the "beat" number out of the way, the
Pelvis brought in the "tear-jerker"--"Old
Shep." I wish I had a penny for every
tear shed over Elvis' faithful old sheep dog.
ALL THIS DOG-worship was not the
beginning, though; it is the end result of
something that Frankie Laine started years
Looking for a tune that was a
little different, Laine recorded "Mule
Train"--and it became a hit in the worst
way. The fact that he had a gold mine
didn't occur to him st the time, but when he
sang "The Call of the Wild Goose," he knew.
It was nature that was doing
it. One might even call it a "natural"
evolution of the hit parade. Whatever it
was, it was worth money.
SONG WRITERS dug out their
bird books and their encyclopedias in their
search for new material. It was about
this time that birdwatching became a
fashionable enterprise. But back to the
Mary Ford's "Humming Bird" became
a hit over night, and then Patti Page brought
out "Doggie in the Window." That's when
Mother Nature threw up her hands in disgust
and let songsters do as they wished.
Animals held the spotlight for
awhile, with such as "The Average Giraffe,"
"Milk Cow Blues Boogie," and of course Bill
Haley's "See You Later Alligator."
WITH HALEY'S "Alligator" they had
switched from straight bird-and-animal
releases into the more varied forms of
wildlife--and the thing bloomed past all
Harry Belafonte and his calypso
friends introduced tarantula spiders and
bananas--both of them strides forward from the
point of view of the naturalist. All
restraints had been loosed with the arrival of
insects and plants. Mother Nature hid
her ancient head in shame.
After that it was all over for
anybody who didn't like nature.
"Butterfly," "Tiger Lily," "The
Flea Hop" -- the selection was endless. But
what about the fishes? It seems the
piscatorial element has been sadly (or
possibly not-so-sadly) omitted.
When they come out with a record
called "That Golden Haired Goldfish of Mine,"
that's when I stop listening to records.