I jointly dedicate my song today to my nephew David’s wife, Alyson Forde, who lives in the area of Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. Alyson is my brother Patrick’s daughter-in-law. It is Alyson’s birthday today.
I also jointly dedicate my song today to my great-niece, Kennedy Rose, who lives in Birstall, Batley, West Yorkshire with her parents, Michael and Amanda. Kennedy Rose is the granddaughter of my brother Michael and his wife, Denise. It is Kennedy Rose’s birthday today also.
Finally, I jointly dedicate my song today to my Facebook friend and artist whose work I greatly admire, Adele Doxy from Huddersfield. Adele also celebrates her birthday today.
Today’s song is ‘A Teenager in Love’. This song was written by Doc Pomus and partner, Mort Shuman. It was originally recorded by ‘Dion and the Belmonts’ and was released in March 1959. The song reached Number 5 on the Billboard pop charts. In May 1959, the three different versions of song held positions in the British Top 20, the other two versions being by Marty Wilde and Craig Douglas. The song is considered by many music critics to be one of the greatest in rock and roll history.
The song was covered in 1965 both by ‘Bob Marley and the Wailers’ and by Lou Christie. It was also covered by ‘Simon and Garfunkel’ in 1970 in their final show as a recording duo at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, New York City. Others to cover the song included: The Fleetwoods: Helen Shapiro: Connie Stevens: Sha Na Na, along with many others.
I remember my teenage years well. I was always a hopeless romantic who fell in love with every good looking young woman I ever dated, but as I never had the slightest intention of ever settling down into marital domesticity with any of them, my relationships during my teenage years would usually last a couple of weeks before I ended them. Such frequent break-ups never caused me any heartache, but there were occasions when the boot was on the other foot, which never sat easily with my pride.
On those few occasions when the girl in question ended with me before I had the opportunity to end it with her, my heart reacted with such intensity of feeling that it literally did feel as though it had been broken in two; never again to be mended.
You see, a sequence of important phases would always be negotiated in all my teenage relationships which both served my immediate needs of gratification and my long-term intentions of remaining single until I attained the age of thirty at the earliest.
Initially, I would find a girl who attracted me. Next, I would ensure that I asked her out, and usually by the end of our first date, I would have fallen madly in love with her, with an intensity of feelings that would have been too strong for Romeo and Juliet to cope with. By the second date, she would have usually started to become besotted by me. Whenever I noticed this emotional bond start to develop, I would take fright and usually end it speedily; believing if I didn’t end the relationship before the week was out, that I’d soon be in danger of being wed before I was twenty, let alone thirty!
Were that to happened, I knew that I could forget about my dream of ever travelling to Canada and America when I reached the age of twenty-one. In short; I valued my freedom too much ever to allow myself to get and remain emotionally attached to any young woman, however attractive in look they were or whatever else they offered as an inducement to settle down.
That, however, was not the norm for teenagers in the late 50s. These were the days when most young men and women would be married by their age of majority (21 years old) and it would not be unusual for young married couples to be parents twice over before they were 23 years old.
The late fifties reflected the tail end of pre-war values which had prevailed for the best part of a century. It was a time when the main aspiration of a young woman was to find herself a respectable young man to marry and start a family with before she was considered ‘to have been left on the shelf’. As for the type of occupation to fill in the few years between leaving school and getting married, young women from the working-classes would be content to work in a factory, the mill or a shop, while those who felt a bit above themselves would try to be a typist or train as a hairdresser for five years. As for the possibility of university entrance, such was left to the grammar school and private school pupils who came from the wealthier middle and upper classes of society and who tended to live down south and never up north!
Being a teenager in the late 1960s, however, was so much different than being one today is. The 1960s ushered in the age of rock and roll, free love, cannabis and the contraceptive pill. In America, hippy communes were popping up all over the place and it was not unusual for teenagers to become members of all manner of cults. Where books were read by young people, out went the reading of classical literature and in came literary musts like the unexpurgated edition of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ in 1960, after the watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books failed. There was also compulsory reading material like ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ in 1969 and ‘the Female Eunuch’ in 1970. The former book by Philip Roth was filled with masturbation scenes that risked ‘one burning in hell’ whilst the latter, Germain Greer’s book was the forerunner to the Women’s Liberation Movement that mushroomed across the ocean and led to ‘the mass burning of bras’
Nowhere was it fashionable any longer for young men and young women to dress like their parents, hold the same values and life expectations as their parents or be like their parents in any shape or form. The young were now part of an ‘all round’ group in society whereas their parents were simply regarded as being ‘squares’.
Over the successive decades of the 80s and 90s, the gender, the looks and the mannerisms of male and female became so intermingled that it would take a university degree today (of which 50 per cent of the population has one), to be able to distinguish between Adam and Eve. No longer could it be assumed that just because it wore a dress or a pair of trousers, walked in a pair of high heels or mules, it was a male or a female? Whereas today, whether one is heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, trans-sexual or any other kind of sexual, the only thing that remains common between man and woman is that sex will always have a valuable part to play.
To tell the truth, I’m glad I’m not a teenager today in 2019. It would just be too confusing.
I jointly dedicate my song today to three people; each of whom is celebrating their birthday.
First is my nephew David’s wife, Alyson Forde of Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. It is Alyson’s birthday today. Happy birthday, Alyson. Uncle Billy and Sheila x
I also jointly dedicate my song today to my great-niece, Kennedy Rose, who lives in Birstall, Batley, West Yorkshire with her parents, Michael and Amanda. Happy birthday, Kennedy Rose. Enjoy your special day. Great uncle Billy and Sheila x
Finally, I jointly dedicate my song today to my Facebook friend and artist whose work I greatly admire, Adele Doxy from Huddersfield. Thank you for being my Facebook friend, Adele. Have a smashing birthday. Bill x
Love and peace Bill xxx.