[Dion. Photo probably taken in the 1960’s. Source: Mancrushes.com]
If you ask me, far too many words have been written about the hidden meanings and subtleties of Bertolt Brecht’s Mack the Knife or Pirate Jenny. Granted the Weimar Era in Germany (1918-1933) were pretty wacky times. But lyrics like: “You gentlemen can watch while I’m scrubbin’ the floors…”, are not all that existential. I love Puccini and I think Nessun Dorma is the aria for the ages, but does it rate being a theme song for the World Cup? It’s a song about sleeping which triggers the yawn reaction. Right?
One could write an interesting article about the sub-text of Fly Me to the Moon by Old Blue Eyes, but it probably doesn’t rate a tome or even a Master’s Thesis from Ball State University.
Some of you will say that the Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan penned some interesting songs. I’ll give you a point or two for bringing him up, but really, can you stay forever young? No. You’re born, you age and then you die. Nice sentiment, though. And, you must admit, Lay Lady Lay borders on the pornographic. While I’m on this individual, there’s Rainy Day Woman 12 & 35. What is that all about? What kind of title is that? It reminds me of foul weather and a questionable number of females. My readers will surely bring up the fact that I mention Mr. Dylan in not a few blog posts. That’s only because someone gifted me a fifty-seven pound book of his lyrics. I use it as a paper weight on the desk where I write these stories. But, speaking of a master of songwriting, we must include Meatloaf (please don’t email me about the fact he had a wonderful songwriter who gave him the gems that made musical history. Yes, I’m thinking of Bat Out of Hell and the deeply felt and tender ballad I’ll Do Anything For Love But I Won’t Do That. The words are positively sublime bordering on the sacred and just beside the transcendence of pure art. I won’t even mention the song that did more for teenage sexual education than a semester of Health & Hygiene taught by the school nurse. I’m talking, of course, about Paradise By The Dashboard Light. (It’s really a song about baseball disguised as a teen lust ballad. Some claim there are deeper meaning in this song, but I only write G-rated blogs.
I know there are a few of my readers who will be asking: What about the Beatles? Well, what about them? The team of John Lennon and Paul McCarney did, I admit, write a few interesting ditties like A Day In The Life (but we all knew Paul was dead anyway) and I Wanna Hold Your Hand, a true tune about friendship among the post-adolescent crowd.
But I digress.
I really intend to breakdown a song that…well…a song that is for the ages. I’m referring, of course to Dion’s Teenager In Love.
Unlike Pavarotti, who was born in Modena, Italy on October 12, 1935, where so few singers have originated. Dion (born Dion Francis DiMucci) was born only four years later in The Bronx, where all the doo-wop singers hailed from.
I’ll skip over his early life and his later life (when he became very religious) and concentrate on his middle years which probably should include some of his later younger years when he became something of a “Pop Star”.
When I was a teenager I went to the Touring Dick Clark Show at the EJ Rec Center in Johnson City, New York. He wasn’t there that night. Neither was Fabian or Frankie Avalon (but that’s a different blog for a different time).
I think I saw Jimmy Clanton sing Venus In Bluejeans and Johnny Maestro may have sung Sixteen Candles, but I don’t remember. (Another vague and maybe false teen memory was that my brother, Dan, stood at a urinal next to Bo Diddley in the Rec Center’s Mens Room).
~ ~ ~
I will keep you waiting no longer. Here is my analysis, line by line, of Dion’s monumental hit Teenager In Love:
Each time we have a quarrel [precurser to a failed marriage?], it almost breaks my heart [note ‘almost’]
‘Cause I’m so afraid that we will have to part [Co-dependency?]
Each night I ask the stars up above [suggestive of psycho-active drugs]
Why must I be a teenager in love? [the ultimate philosophical question]
One day, I feel so happy, the next day, I feel so sad [clearly a bi-polar disorder (manic-depressive)
I guess I’ll learn to take the good with the bad [passive/aggressive sado-masochism]
Repeat second verse
Repeat third verse
I cried a tear for nobody but you
I’ll be a lonely one if you should say we’re through [common threat used by abusive partners]
Well, if you want to make me cry that won’t be so hard to do [Hmmm. S-M again?]
If you should say goodbye, I’ll still go on loving you [not realistic because he hasn’t yet met the blonde named Taffy in the apartment down the hall]
Repeat second verse
Repeat fifth verse
Repeat sixth verse
~ ~ ~
Well, there you have it. I hope I’m leaving you with some food for thought and something to chew over in your mind. And to think that dozens of volumes have been penned on the analysis of Bob Dylan’s work. There once was a guy who would go through Dylan’s trash (when the singer lived in Greenwich Village, New York. I wouldn’t even know where Dion’s trash can is so it’s not like I’m a crazed fan or something.
For next time, I’m taking notes on Melanie. I will be dissecting her seminal song, I’ve Got A Brand New Pair Of Roller Skates And You Have A Brand New Key.
Have a great month of May and remember it’s my birthday. I’m one year younger than Melanie and eight years younger than Dion.