After introducing my daughter to the glories of cake left in the rain with the 1970s version of “MacArthur Park,” we had a discussion in the newsroom about favorite songs from our youth.
I learned there are times you should keep your past to yourself, lest you be labeled odd.
For instance, should you really ever tell people — even close friends or spouses — that you can still remember all the words to Michael Jackson’s “Ben?”
I recently found a recording of the song on YouTube (did you know you can find anything there, even rarely heard recordings like the theme song from the old children’s show “The Banana Splits” and Paris Hilton songs?)
I played “Ben” for Shannon, who’s 15:
“Ben, the two of us need look no more;
we both found what we were looking for…”
I said to her: “You’ll never guess who he’s singing about.”
From her more contemporary standpoint, Shannon guessed: “Some little kid?”
But no, this was Michael Jackson of the 1970s — hip, cool and still black. He was singing, I told Shannon, about a…rat. “Ben” was the theme song for a horror film.
I guess when you listen to songs about “lovely lady lumps,” an ode to a friendship with a rat doesn’t seem so odd.
My coworkers who are a tad younger have been caught rolling their eyes at ’70s music, as if those Black-Eyed Butter Bean people are so-o-o-o much better. So when I had the opportunity to take one of our young reporters I’ll call Jennifer Hill — mainly because that’s her name — on a road trip to an Alabama Press Association convention, I gathered all my CDs from the ’70s.
On the trip with me were 20-something Jennifer, Shannon and one of her teen friends.
- Kelly Kazek
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