The kids know the question will come. The radio volume is up, the song plays, the lyrics get belted out….
Everybody have fun tonight – everybody Wang Chung tonight!
She’s a brick – house. She’s mighty-mighty. Letting it all hang out!
Take it … to the limit … take it … to the limit. Take it. To the limit. One more tiiiiiiiiime …
It’s our thing, to guess who sings the song on the radio. It’s evolved. My girls know the songs. They know the lyrics.
They know I’m going to ask, “Who sings this, girls?”
The girls take their regular jabs – Johnny Cash! Hootie and the Blowfish! Jesus Jones! Journey!
They’re starting to remember now, though. Wang Chung. The Commodores. The Eagles.
I hope when I’m not around, they’ll play among themselves. Quiz their mom and grandma. Show off someday in front of a date. “Fleetwood Mac! The Who! Johnny Hates Jazz! INXS! Elvis!”
Once, every man with a high voice was Michael Jackson. They now ask me to sing the one Jesus Jones song we ever hear, for clarity. They someday will ask if this is Genesis or just Phil Collins, Matchbox 20 or just Rob Thomas.
(It’s a guess. I have a 50/50 chance.)
My dad started this. Saturdays meant something delicious on the grill, a game on the TV, and Super Gold on the radio, tunes that would waft through the summer air as if they should have been blared from the dashboard speaker of a GTO or ’56 Belair or ’72 Dodge Dart.
Buddy Holly! The Spinners! Cat Stephens!
Grace asks for “cowboy music” when it’s us two. We’ll hear Kathy Mattea, Alabama, or Rascal Flatts, and intersperse a “yeeeee-haw!” now and again for effect. (Her sisters have no appreciation for the beauty this).
Marie found inspiration in Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” as she swayed back and forth in the backseat of my car, and soaked up the empowerment of “Who’s That Lady?” as we made our way to the playing grounds for our soccer match.
I want the world to know … got to let it show …
Elise keeps me current on the hitline stuff. I can’t rest on my laurels of knowing anything by Chicago, Level 42, or Belinda Carlisle. I’d better know The Script. Fun. Cher Lloyd.
It makes sense. I’m the kid named after a Three Dog Night song, “Eli’s Coming.” The dude who sang “Across the Universe” by the Beatles as a lullaby to his girls.
It’s not all ballads and love songs. I’ve been chastised by fellow motorists when they discover that’s AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” my daughters air-guitar to. I’ve heard my youngest chirp up in the middle of Wal-Mart:
It’s a quarter after one
I’m a little drunk
and I need you now!
(Thanks, Lady Antebellum.)
The worse came when I played that 50/50 chance with Grace and a little Charlie Daniels Band. What are the chances this particular station would play the unedited version of “Devil Went Down To Georgia”, on this particular day?
Sure enough, Charlie Daniels spit out the insult of the devil. The five-letter, female dog one.
It was 99.7 The Fox, after all. “Son of a gun” doesn’t fly with many classic rock listeners.
Maybe she didn’t notice. The proof came at dinner, with one defining proclamation.
“B*tch,” Grace declared, hardly looking up as she forked her green beans. “That’s what the cowboy man singing that song on the radio said.
Busted. I immediately went into damage-control. How could I politely explain why you’d hear the term at a dog show and be unfazed? Or, pretend she said ‘ditch,’ and diligently chomp my own broccoli?
Yeah, I should have countered, “But who sings that??”