13 September 2006

Oh, Roe Is Me!

We all remember The Beatles. And nobody's going to forget The Supremes.

But not everyone who made music at the dawn of time--or, you know, in the sixties--is so lucky. Some people get forgotten. They are to the counterculture decade what Breathe are to the 80s.

Who? Exactly.

But Breathe made some really great songs, people! And so did artists like Tommy Roe.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe everybody remembers 1960s pop-rocker Tommy Roe. However, I get the sense that he's sliding off the edge of history, landing in a dogpile that includes Melanie, The Toys, and Gilbert O'Sullivan.

For the time being, though, I'd like to put his name back in lights. Because Tommy Roe recorded one of the most perfect pop songs in history.

It's a little ditty called "Dizzy."

I can remember being 11 or 12 years old, riding back home with my parents from somewhere. For the sake of this story--and because it's probably accurate--I'll say we were riding back from Ryan's Steakhouse and Buffet.

As usual, the 'rents had enforced their Draconian rule that we listen to the oldies station, since we'd listened to "my" music on the way to our all-you-can-eat bonanza.

What they didn't seem to get was that Technotronic, Bell Biv Devoe, and Wilson Phillips weren't "my" music. They were everyone's. Sheesh. Parents, you know?

Imagine my surprise, though, when this song appeared on LiteMix 105 that I actually loved. It had this awesome drum beat, and these rapidly changing chords. It was music that sounded... current. Listenable. Almost as good as a Technotronic.

"What's that?" I asked.

And you could see it. You could see my dad just loving the fact that I liked an oldie, as if I'd finally gotten some sense. "That's 'Dizzy' by Tommy Roe!" he exclaimed.

And when we got home, he handed me an LP (yes, LP) called "12 in a Roe." It was a greatest hits collection that also featured snippets of Roe being interviewed about each song.

I listened to "Dizzy" several times, and I learned it went to Number 1 in 1969. I also enjoyed other Roe hits, including number 1 single (and Buddy Holly soundalike) "Sheila."

Since then, though I still contend that "Pump Up the Jam" really is music for everyone, I've wised up to the fact that oldies can actually be goodies.

"Dizzy" remains one of my favorites.

I still remember you, Tommy Roe. I still remember.

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