Wild & Rocking Bob

 

If you are a student wishing to derail my lesson, just ask me about the Challenger, or the Battle of Stalingrad, or the 1986 World Series. Thereafter I will be interrupted only by the bell.

Regarding Game 6, I speak with great warmth (in the 18th-century sense) about the unjust vilification of Bill Buckner. You never hear much about Bob Stanley’s lead-losing wild pitch. Unless, of course, you ask in my classroom.

Now then. Last summer I ordered Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! by Bob Stanley (not him), and still haven’t finished the d–n thing. If ever there were a book that needs embedded videos or Star Wars-style holograms or whatever we can do these days, this is it. I can’t get through a chapter without putting the book down to look up some song, and then another, etc, and since I know that’s how it’s going to be, I won’t pick it up unless I’ve got a solid block of time, and, oh… tempus fugit.

The book – what I’ve read of it, anyway – is a masterpiece. If you think you know a lot about pop music, Mr. Stanley will likely reveal to you horizons of ignorance. Who knew:

  • the Everly Brothers “hardly ever cut a bad record and are maybe the most underrated act of their era.”
  • “It’s impossible to overstate the Shadows’ importance.”
  • this song:

Lest the above give you the impression it’s all pop arcana and sweeping statements, I am here to tell you Mr. Stanley writes engagingly and excellently:

  • “The problem was that Dee-Lite forgot to write another good song. People were willing for them to release something even a fifth as good as ‘Groove Is in the Heart’ but it wasn’t forthcoming. It was a real pity.”
  • “Who are your favorite pop group? It’s not easy, is it? I could plump for the Beach Boys, but there’s always the difficulty of loving Mike Love. The Who? Far too patchy. The Pet Shop Boys? They didn’t know when to quit. The Bee Gees? Oh, too much to explain… the Beatles would be a hard one to argue with, but so would…” [One million pounds if you guess correctly! Conditions apply.]
  • And this isn’t from the book, but rather his tribute to Cilla Black, who died last week. It’s typical of his descriptions, and lovely: “You can hear the cake mix on her fingers.”