Wednesday, May 30, 2007

counting 'em down, SoCal style

I just got back from a very relaxing and fun holiday weekend visiting H in Southern California. And because we hadn't been able to see each other for three months, he planned a jam-packed agenda of events that included:
  • seeing Wicked at the Pantages Theater (which had most of the original Broadway cast and was EXCELLENT all around)
  • feasting on the juiciest dumplings at our favorite hidden gem (well not so hidden if you consider the 40 min wait every time we go), Din Tai Fung
  • barely making into an Upright Citizen's Brigade Improv show (featuring MC Chris-- who knew Nerds could be so very dirty?!) because the line was so long
  • catching glimpses of the HOLLYWOOD sign and the Walk of Fame in person (they look just like on tv, but less shiny)
  • afterpartying in a sweet house in Hollywood
  • playing a very close miniature golf game (I lost by one stroke, but have vowed to avenge my honor next time on my own turf)
  • getting cheeseburgers at In N Out (I had to resist yelling "ANIMAL STYLE!" when we ordered, not because I wanted grilled onions but because I think that's hilarious.)
  • hanging out with his folks and trying to come up with something new to talk about (they've already seen all my stories here)
  • delaying departure because the original Planet of the Apes was on the History Channel, followed by discussion about Charleton Heston's actual vs. rumored acting prowess.
You may know that everything is very spread out in Los Angeles. So we spent a great deal of time cruising around the freeways in H's little red car listening to music. Even though he picked up a Tim Armstrong (punk ska) CD and I got a Bebel Gilberto (breezy bossa nova) at the magic music store, one thing he and I share is an appreciation for the Golden Oldie. I can only assume he got his from his parents. I cultivated mine during the heyday of Glam Rock: When everyone else in fifth grade was headbanging to "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Pour Some Sugar on Me", I was chillin' to "I Only Have Eyes For You" or "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man." And while I can appreciate the big-haired screaming a little more today, it's only in small doses. Stop judging me.

The Oldies radio station in L.A., K-Earth, was celebrating 35 years on the air with a list of 350 top oldies of all time, and we caught snippets of it all weekend. Now, I've heard top-countdowns in this genre many times; they'd have number one songs like "Let it Be" by the Beatles, "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys, "American Pie" by Don McLean, "Respect" by Aretha Franklin or "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. It's never clear who's responsible for compiling these lists, but K-Earth said this particular one was "as voted by YOU!" so I was even more curious as to how people in SoCal rated the greats.

During the countdown, H and I kept turning to each other in disbelief. Granted, back when I listened to them, "Oldies" consisted of music from the '50s and '60s. Today you'd have to listen a long long time before you'd hear "Earth Angel" or "My Boyfriend's Back" because "Oldies" are now mostly from the '60s and '70s. It doesn't bother me; these days Stevie Wonder gets airtime again.

We were surprised that neither the Beatles nor the Beach Boys (maybe Californians are tired of them?) made it higher than number ten and only two of the songs I had heard at number one on other lists even made it into the top 20. It was 2 a.m. (4 a.m. for me) when we caught the end of the countdown driving back from the party, and even though we were falling asleep we stayed in the car to finish out the list. I was disappointed. None of my guesses made it, but by that point I don't think I would have been happy with anything they had chosen.

Normally I'd be tempted to brush it off by saying something like Geez, Californians have messed up taste, but one of them has chosen me so of course we know that's not true. Maybe they're tired of all the same songs always getting top billing, or maybe the use of some of them in commercials or soundtracks boosted their street cred? Maybe the tally was flooded with bored disc jockey votes? It's anybody's guess. Issues about order aside, I got to hear a bunch of songs I forgot I liked while being driven around in good company. Who could ask for anything more?

Oh, in case you're wondering, here is the list.


Lia said...

The visit sounds like it was great; lucky you! I love Wicked, too. I think everyone does.

That list is disappointing; I agree. I can't tell my mom about this, because she'd probably have a coronary to hear that the Beatles didn't make the top ten. Sacrilege!

jazz said...

sounds like you crazy kids had a lovely time!

and i was ALL about the beach boys when i was younger...

naechstehaltestelle said...

I am a huge fan of the mini golf courses. Thanks to a series of lackluster dates during my high school and college years, I have honed my skill so that I'm deceptively good. I generally like to hustle everyone.

Guyana-Gyal said...

One oldies I'm longing to hear is that song about all I need is the air that I breathe...I don't remember who sang it.

Oh, then there's one by the Byrds I think, turn turn turn...

I loooove bossa nova. Imagine, I live so close to bossa nova land and I've never visited.

Librarian Girl said...

Glad the west coast treated you right!

The Stormin Mormon said...


So how did you like it? It's been a friends favorite musical for the longest time, and I still haven't seen it. (Perhaps that's something I'll do in NYC.)

Alexandra said...

looooove oldies! but yes, from 50 and 60s please! earth angel will always make me think of back to the future-

Jon said...

I live in Southern California, and I also listen to K-Earth, but I do not recall being consulted about this so called list. I wash my hands of it's mostly mediocre nature.

I can vouch for In-N-Out though... small menu, but fantastic cheeseburgers... for those who like cheeseburgers;)

Becky said...

um, there's only ONE van morrison song, and lovin'spoonful didn't even crack the top 200! bullshit.

omar said...

Almost all of the oldies I like are original Motown-era songs (60's - 70's). All I know is that "What's Goin' On" is not Marvin Gaye's best song.

Malnurtured Snay said...

I recently read "Wicked." Interesting, but I can't imagine how they turned it into a play.