My ol’ Daddy would whistle through his teeth and air drum the beat of “Big Noise from Winnetka” when Bob Crosby and the Bobcats ticked it out of the HiFi. We lived in the village of the same name then and would howl “my” song on the way to Granny’s in Chicago. Wacker Drive would spin butterscotch headlights passed us while we belted this anthem — positively presaging the Rolling Stones on Main Street. Years later Bette Midler would make the definitive version keeping the core lyrics…
“I am the one they call the bi-I-I-I-g noise!
I am a living work of art!
I just flew in from Winnetka, daddy-o!
I’m gonna blow this joint apart!..
I got my high heels I don’t need no wheels”
One January night, maybe whistling, skidding head on altered this reality. By way of exchange, California freeways would wave below my VW. Open top singing along with the tinny radio that crackled about the very Duece Coups that roared into the Valley dodging between Santa Ana winds and flaming sunsets.
Harmonious Beach Boys … They were so much more like the flannel covered dudes that I dated than the suited Stones and The Mod Beatles. Our local stars probably never bored out their engines or put “competition clutches” in there cars. But, they sang about the beach where my sister slung hamburgers.
Decades later, my little town blues,” the mountains of freeways would melt away. Liza Minnelli and Luciano Pavarotti would preform the best “New York, New York.” This was, after all, a love song that everybody knew and sang about their unabashed crush – the city of Disco nites and Wall Street days..pizza and champagne.
Eventually, Mp3s were invented and all the songs including these of glided onto the Ipad that I took to Guatemala. Music, life and language have all changed for me … Now, I dance with the Mayans and sing about the Rey del Quiche.