Letter to the editor
Banned in Boston and Chicago, too!
June 15, 2011 - Back in the late 19th century, Boston city officials had the authority to ban books, movies, or plays that were deemed objectionable, and they often banned books that contained foul or sexual language. If one reviews some of the trash that today is masquerading as music, it's too bad we can't revisit that ban!
How many times have we heard a song nominated for an award that is being performed on TV when words have to be "bleeped"! I suspect some of us recall the 2005 Oscar For Best
Song from the movie Hustle & Flow—that being, "It's Hard Out
Here For A Pimp."
That song was certainly a far departure from previous Oscar
winners such as: "Evergreen" from A Star Is Born; "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic; "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from The Lion King; "Raindrops Keep Fallin'" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; and, of course, the classic, "Moon River" from Breakfast At Tiffany's.
Having now ridiculed the junk that has infiltrated the music industry, I have to confess that I, too, many years ago, succumbed to the temptation to listen to a questionable song when, in fact, it had been banned. Let me explain.
Back in the '50s, the Everly Broth ers recorded a #1 hit entitled, "Wake Up Little Susie." Here are just a couple of verses that incensed parents:
"Wake up, little Susie. We've both been sound asleep, wake up and weep The movie's over, it's four o'clock and we're in trouble deep
Whatta we gonna tell your mama
Whatta we gonna tell your pa Whatta we gonna tell our friends when they say "ooh-la-la"
The movie wasn't so hot, it didn't have much of a plot. We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot Wake up, little Susie".
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, "Here is the rest of the story." Seems back then, I was attending school in Chicago, and, in fact, I was studying for the priesthood. When the Everly Brothers song was released, Chicago Cardinal Stritch banned the song for all Catholics, stating that no one should listen to the song on the radio nor buy the record. (Which for you youngsters reading this column was a 45-rpm record with a large hole in the middle.)
Somehow one of my classmates had a copy of the song smuggled into the monastery. We then took turns sneaking nto the furnace room where we had installed a record player and listened to "Wake Up, Little Susie." All was well until someone had a twinge of conscious and squealed to those in charge of the monastery. The fallout was such that you would have thought we had brought in contraband cigarettes or a sixpack of beer, both of which were obviously frowned upon. Oh, how times have changed! I'm sure parents today would welcome their offspring listening to "Wake Up Little Susie" as opposed to having their minds warped by listening to "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp"!
As you can appreciate, our seminary world was closely guarded. No newspapers, radio, or TV. In fact, the only TV we could watch was the G.E. College Bowl, which was on every Sunday night. And, no, it wasn't a football game—two teams consisting of four members each from competing colleges answered challenging questions to score points. The team with the most points received a trophy at the end of the program. I recall that the sponsor was "20 Mule Team Borax," a laundry detergent, and Ronald Reagan was the spokesperson.
And in so far as movies while in the seminary, we watched Arsenic and Old Lace every year and any movie with Humphrey Bogart, such as The Maltese Falcon and, of course, The African Queen, because one of the characters was a nun! So smuggling in a copy of "Wake Up Little Susie" was a major coup! By the way, Phil Everly just turned 72 on January 19 and his brother Don is 74—that sure makes me feel older than I really
But let's face it. The best song titles come from country music. Here are just a few that are parent-suitable and, frankly,
tunes that will bring a smile to your face: "How Come Your Dog
Don't Bite Nobody But Me?"; "I Bought The Shoes That Just
Walked Out On Me"; "I Guess I Had Your Leaving Coming"; "If
The Phone Doesn't Ring It's Me"; and my favorite from the
movie Smoky and the Bandit 2—"Let's Do Something Cheap
and Superficial." Wonder how Cardinal Stritch would feel about
Well, time for a nap with the strains of Sinatra playing in the
background. That's as superficial as I get these days!