Friday, February 12, 2010

Golden Oldies

I come from a kind of musical family -- my father was a horn player in college and later did pick- up gigs on weekends -- he favored Big Band Swing. He tried to teach me how to play the trumpet when I was eleven or twelve, but he didn't have any patience and I got tired of hearing No, no! Not that way!

My mother liked country music and early rock. Some of the songs I can remember hearing as a tad included: Solomon Burke's Lavender Blue. Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust. Glenn Miller's In the Mood. Gene Vincent's Be-bop-a-Lula. Elvis Presley's version of Hound Dog. The Diamonds doing Little Darlin'. A slew of fifties rockabilly, and about the time I was ten, the Coasters doing Yakety Yak. All simple stuff and most of it off blues progression, just speeded up. Once we got a television, we could watch Your Hit Parade -- sponsored by Lucky Strikes -- and see the groups doing the stuff we heard on the radio.

Because of the miracle of the internet, which sometimes deals in matters greatly arcane, I can find the lyrics to a lot of these old songs. So I searched out the lyrics for Yakety Yak, and was amused at how, fifty-odd years on, the generation gap between parents and teenagers hasn't really changed much:


written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

performed by the Coasters

Take out the papers and the trash

Or you don't get no spendin' cash

If you don't scrub that kitchen floor

You ain't gonna rock and roll no more

Yakety yak (don't talk back)

Verse 2:

Just finish cleanin' up your room

And sweep the dust out with that broom

Get all that garbage out of sight

Or you don't go out Friday night

Yakety yak (don't talk back)

Verse 3:

You just put on your coat and hat

And walk yourself to the laundromat

And when you finish doin' that

Bring in the dog and put out the cat

Yakety yak (don't talk back)

(instrumental, same pattern as verses)

Verse 4:

Don't you give me no dirty looks

Your father's hip, he knows what cooks

Just tell your hoodlum friend outside

You ain't got time to take a ride

Yakety yak (don't talk back)

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