My song today is ‘Sheila’. This song was written and recorded by Tommy Roe in 1960. The single reached Number 1 in the United States on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart in September 1st, 1962. It remained in the top position for two weeks and peaked at Number 6 on the ‘U.S. Billboard R&B Chart’.
Roe originally conceived the song as being called, ‘Frita’, based on a girl from his high school days. The song was auditioned to a record producer from ‘Judd Records’, and while the response was enthusiastic, it was suggested that the name be changed. By coincidence, Roe's Aunt Sheila was visiting, which inspired the final title of ‘Sheila’. The original version of the song was recorded by Roe for Judd in 1960 but failed to make an impact on the charts. The ABC recording of the song is done in the style of the Liubbock sound which was made popular by ‘Buddy Holly and the Crickets’ in the late 1950s. The strumming pattern, tempo, and chords (both songs are in the key of A) bear a particularly strong resemblance to the Crickets' ‘Peggy Sue’, and Roe's vocals are similar to Holly's. The song became the title track of Tommy Roe's debut studio album, ‘Sheila’ in 1962.
In 1969, Roe was presented by the ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ with a gold record for accumulated sales of over one million copies.
There is very little I can say about this song, apart from the fact that my wife and love of my life is called ‘Sheila’. The song was initially released when I was 19 years old, going on 20. It was in the hay day of my romantic adventures as a good-looking teenager brimming with self-confidence (especially in the area of female conquests). I must confess that over my lifetime (including every romance and female relationship I ever experienced), not once did I come across a woman called ‘Sheila’ who stirred my imagination and took my fancy before 2010 in Haworth.
I first met Sheila in Haworth during one cold December day of 2010. We had arranged to meet up for a coffee in a café on Main Street after having had a few conversations on the internet. Our combined interest in Relaxation Training initially proved a sufficient reason for the two of us to risk a face-to-face encounter. At the time, for my part, I felt that it might lead to a dalliance with a merry widow who looked very fit (she is a Yoga Instructor) and who was fourteen years younger than me.
It only took us a few meetings together for each of us to realise ‘that something significant had happened in our lives and that something was going on’. Within two weeks, Sheila professed her love for me. I am not saying that she had loving feelings for me before I had them for her (although she probably did), merely that she was the first to express them. Anyway, we married in Haworth on my 70th birthday on November 10th, 2012, and the rest is history.
Three months after our marriage, I was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer, and despite developing three cancers and one lymphoma since 2013, and having two nine-month periods of chemotherapy, plus twenty sessions of radiotherapy, plus having another eight operations (six of them for cancer removal during the past 14 months).
I truly tell you that since I met Sheila in 2010, I have never been happier in my life. Our first seven years of marriage revealed to me how lucky a person I was that we met. My illness has strengthened our relationship, moving from the physical and emotional that it always was to include the spiritual dimension also. Indeed, I cannot believe how fortunate I was to find such love towards my later years in life, and when it was not being sought for, to have it dropped from the lap of the Gods and the heaven above. I do not believe there to be a man alive who is as much-loved as Sheila loves me.
I have extolled Sheila’s virtues so often for readers of my Facebook page that there is no need for anyone who knows her or knows of her to hear them again. Instead, I will merely inform you of the result of my recent research into the name of ‘Sheila’, because, as an ardent believer in fate and destiny playing a big part in all our lives, I do not believe in ‘chance encounters’, particularly where the meeting and marriage between heavenly soul mates are concerned.
The literal meaning of ‘Sheila’ is derived from the Latin Caelia, which is a feminine form of the Roman clan name Caelius, meaning ‘heavenly’, or ‘of the heavens’. So far, nothing unusual or which wasn’t expected by me! I have always assumed my Sheila to have been heaven-sent.
A second meaning of the name ‘Sheila’ is to be found in the Irish form of the Latin name, ‘Cecilia’, who is the patron saint of music. Sheila literally translates to ‘pure and musical’. Sheila comes from a family who do not come any more musical and includes, one opera singer, two classical singers, two accomplished violinists, a flutist, and a concert pianist. They all performed at our wedding. I never realised when we first met that within two years, I would be marrying into the British equivalence of the ‘Von Trapp Family’.
Just in case any of you are wondering, any comparison or distinction between my name ‘William’ and my wife’s name ‘Sheila’ is nothing to write home or sing about. I love you, Sheila Forde, and as the Australians would say, ‘you will always be my Sheila!’
Love and peace Bill xxx