My song today is ‘Sealed with a Kiss. This song was written and composed by Perter Udell and Gary Geld. The original recording of ‘Sealed with a Kiss’ was that by the ‘Four Voices’ which was released as a single in May 1960 without becoming a hit. It first became a hit in 1962 for Brian Hyland. Jason Donovan had an international Number 1 hit with the song. In 1962. Brian Hyland covered the song and it became a top 3 hit. It reached Number 3 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart, and also on the ‘UK Singles Chart’. ‘Gary Lewis & the Playboys’ covered the song in 1967 on the album ‘Gary Lewis Now!’ Their cover version of the single reached Number 19 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100 ‘chart.
A third Top 40 ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart version came in 1972 when Bobby Vinton released his interpretation as a single. It reached Number 19 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100 Singles’ chart. This version also placed high at Number 2 on ‘Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Chart’. Vinton's recording was used in both the trailer and the end credits of the 2007 horror film ‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane’. In 1989, Jason Donovan released a cover version as the fourth single on 29 May 1989, from his debut album, ‘Ten Good Reasons’. His version went straight into the ‘UK Singles Chart’ at Number 1 and stayed there for two weeks, also reaching the top in Finland and Ireland.
The lyrics are from the point of view of one of two lovers who have had to part ways over the summer. The narrator promises the lover who has had to leave that he will send his love and dreams in daily letters "sealed with a kiss". The two also bind each other to a pledge, under the seal of a kiss, that they will reunite in September.
As a lifelong historian in my leisure time, I am aware of all manner of sealing agreements and understandings, which make them both legally or morally binding to the parties concerned. I suppose that the foremost seal is the ‘Seal of State’, the signet ring of the monarch. This is an ancient form of a jewelled signature that was officially used to stamp a unique design into wax on a document. The sealing of the wax informs the person receiving the document that the message remains intact and that the document has not been opened and seen by unintended eyes. The King’s signet ring throughout history had carved precious metal or stone on the top called an ‘intaglio’. The King’s ring had the power to confirm majestic laws and was also used to send fort royal edicts, to give or change commands.
All agreements (as opposed to regal command, dictator’s edicts, or parliamentary legislation), involve ‘consent’ in one of its recognised form. Types of consent include implied consent, expressed consent, informed consent, and unanimous consent.
In my Grandfather’s time, an agreement between two parties which signified that an understanding for a business transaction had been mutually arrived at might include a legally signed document known as a ‘bill of sale’. In the lower, social class of society, business agreements would have been sealed by the mutual spitting on the right-hand palm and the shaking of hands; a practice that Romany horse traders still use in this century. In my father’s day, all that was required to signify agreement was the shaking of hands by two men. I am 77 years old now and I grew up in an age when ‘my word was my bond’. This was a time when not keeping one’s word brought ‘shame’ upon the defaulter and their family name.
Today, a person’s ‘Last Will and Testament’ requires the dated signature of the deceased and usually one witness to testify as to the signatures of the will being genuine. Donating one’s organs after death( did until a 2020 change in legislation), also require the written consent of the donor. Even affecting a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ end-of-life wishes usually requires a signed document by the person themselves in advance to be valid. (Please note, however, that a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ was placed on my medical file several years ago when I was in the hospital and close to death without the knowledge or consent of myself and my wife!) I only found out accidentally after the event and was shocked to discover that no consent of the individual or next of kin is legally required under certain circumstances and that a senior ward nurse or doctor can effect a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ on their own authority. I must point out, however, that ‘normally ‘the hospital medics would not do this without the individual or their next of kin’s knowledge, BUT THEY LEGALLY CAN!
Marriage and divorce require signed signatures and even the registering of births and deaths do.
However, the greatest seal that I have ever waxed lyrical about is the ‘Seal of Love’; the kiss between a couple that signifies the closeness and specialness of the relationship shared. Whether one is dating for the first time, or in a prolonged courtship, or is having a love affair, or is in the throes of passion during a highly charged physical relationship, or is simply giving each other a brief peck on the lips to tell your partner of forty years, ‘good night: good morning: I’m just going out for half an hour’: or ‘I love you’, a kiss seals the loving sentiment sufficiently.
I have always considered kissing to be the twin messengers of love and tenderness. I have always viewed kissing as being the first and last way a couple connects. I have always believed that when you stop kissing, you stop emotionally connecting. I was not surprised to learn that even the lowest of ‘streetwalkers’, and even the most expensive high-class prostitutes will do everything and anything for a price, with the one exception of, ‘kissing their John’. Prostitutes know the essential difference between ‘sex’ and ‘love’ and recognise ‘kissing on the lips’ to represent emotional closeness and personal commitment, whereas kissing any other part of their client’s body represents nothing more than ‘the business of sex’.
When I was in my late teens and was at my most romantic, I equally enjoyed being alone in the company of a woman as much as I enjoyed being with a bunch of male friends, drinking, dancing or fighting with rival gangs. I could never understand how any chap could love any sport more than kissing a beautiful young woman. Given the opportunity of playing ‘footsie’ with an attractive woman secretly under a restaurant table or kicking an old ball around a soccer pitch, I’ll choose the romantic peccadillo all week long! As for the wearing and use of all body perfumes and ‘smellies’, if you ever wondered where you should apply scent on your body, the best answer that I know is wherever you want to be kissed!
Having had my fair share of lover's summers, I am now in the autumn of my life, and at a place where my kisses are reserved exclusively for my wife, Sheila. Yet, I remain a creature of habit and am still a man who is filled with romantic gesture, word, and action. These days, however, I do not shoot from the hip (as I once did), were I to come across a beautiful cowgirl who calls me out for a ‘showdown’. Today, I am frequently prone to misfire, and even when I do manage to shoot on target, I fire my bullets with less velocity in the heat of the moment.
Kissing has, and always will retain my wholehearted seal of approval. If ever soul met soul on lover’s lips, that is what the kissing experience meant to me when I first kissed my beautiful wife, Sheila. But if you want to know how my first passionate kiss with Sheila was, even at the age of 68 years when I first met her (she was 14 years younger than me), I would need to get romantically poetic to adequately describe the sense of feeling and emotion it stirred in me.
Okay then, if you insist, I will tell you about the first time me and Sheila kissed, but only if you promise to keep it to yourself.
First, I would have to say that the experience blew my mind, shattered my senses, and left me breathless; to the point that I still do not know what hit me ten years later! As to whether the earth moved when Sheila’s lips made her move on mine, all I can say is that it was a seismic experience of sensuality that no tsunami could ever drown. I would say that it was a kiss that made the ground beneath my feet tremor; it was a kiss that shook the stars from the sky and made each one fall into my lap of good fortune. It was a kiss that levelled mountains and made me feel every inch of a giant of a man as I looked up to the new woman in my life. It was a kiss to make angels faint, Gods sway and mere men swoon kin ecstasy. It was a kiss, so passionate and so powerful in its effect, that it knocked the earth off its orbit of sexual gratification and made the world turn perpetually on an axis of love. As long as we told each other at every opportunity how much we loved each other, and demonstrated our love in everything we did, Sheila and I knew that our loving world would forever spin in mental, physical and spiritual harmony until the day we died.
That is how I would describe mine and Sheila’s love for each other. That is the love the first kiss we ever shared represented.
Love and peace Bill xxx