In my most recent post (“Earthblood . . . My First Literary Love“), I mentioned the summer of 1966 as being a special time for my friend Rick and me. We were both fourteen at the time. That was the summer I fell in love with Earthblood.
But we also loved finding obscure songs that we could discover and call our own. In my last post, I mentioned our #1 musical find that summer: the Kinks’ great B-side, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.”
But I suddenly remembered there was another song that we had discovered that summer and also fell in love with: “Beggars Parade” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Now, understand, we were not Four Seasons fans, not by a long shot. I actually disliked their mainstream stuff–like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” etc.
They sounded so five minutes ago and out of step with the great music that was exploding all around us. This was when the Beatles and the Stones and the Animals and the Kinks and the Who and the rest of the British bands had started their full frontal assault on our ears and airwaves.
But somehow, Rick and I had discovered that the B-Side of “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me”) was actually a subversive little number that no one, but no one was hip to. Hardly sounded like the Jersey Boys at all, which was a big plus to my ears. (btw, Haven’t seen the hit Broadway musical about them and don’t plan to.)
So, “Beggars Parade” became our second anthem that summer. It had a great melody and some kind of undecipherable protest “message” (which neither Rick nor I ever came close to figuring out)–all coming from the world’s corniest group! So we were in. And, best of all, no one else in the whole wide world knew about it. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who recalls having ever heard that song.
Anyone out there ever hear “Beggars Parade” before? And, even if you haven’t, what do you think of it now? Is it as cool as we thought it was back in our salad days?