Write Your Own Column: Music Memories with Andy

By By Jeane Richardson
Special to the Gazette

In my coming of age years in the 1960s, the kids in my family were consumed by the “new” music — rock and roll.

By 1964, I was becoming a teenage girl and, like most teenage girls in America, I was excited by the new music groups.

We were there in 1964 when the British Invasion started. For weeks, all we heard was “The Beatles Are Coming!”

We all loved the Beatles and I remember watching them on the Ed Sullivan Show together. My older sister was sick, and we moved the TV into her room and all gathered round to watch. We hadn’t even had the TV for very long. I think one of our neighbors got a new one and gave us their old one, just in time for the Beatles.

The Beatles weren’t the only band that interested me. My brother Andy and I were fans of Herman’s Hermits, the Turtles and the Monkees.

I remember every Friday night we watched the Monkees on TV. The Monkees actually introduced music videos to the world. Their entire show was continuous music videos.

But before the Beatles and the rest, there was the Four Seasons. I grew up with the Four Seasons and never stopped loving them and their music.

My younger brother, Andy, always says I had a great influence on his early interest in music. Five years younger than me and the closest to his age, I am sure that is the case. As I think back, we have shared a lot.

So it was especially poignant that my brother took me to see Jersey Boys Friday night… opening night.

I LOVED the Four Seasons. Every time they came to Charleston, I went to see them, either with my girlfriends or, if I was dating someone special, he would take me. Once my girlfriends Sharon and Marsha were with me and we kept screaming for them to do “C’mon Mary Ann,” and they finally sang it! I think they sang it just to shut us up!

One time they were coming to town and they were giving autographs at one of the car dealerships on the West Side.My dad was painting the house, but he stopped and took my brother and me down to Five Corners to get their autographs.

He got two and I got two. Later my dad came back to pick us up and that night I went to their concert. Andy remembers that better than I do, because he remembered that at the autograph session, Bob Gaudio had a goatee.

One day, I had been at the pool all day with a girlfriend and was burned to a crisp. But I WAS going to that concert that night!

My boyfriend came to pick me up and he had bought me a new record of the Four Seasons. We had to listen to that before we left. While I was at the concert, I was very uncomfortable from the sunburn, but I still had the time of my life!

When my oldest sister was an airline stewardess, The Beach Boys were on her flight. They gave her a key chain from a New York night club and she gave it to me. I clipped it to my purse, but someone at school stole it.

When the Beach Boys played at the Sternwheel Regatta, I went with my brother and we were absolutely crushed in the crowd on the Boulevard.

The summer of 1998, there was a concert at the Municipal Auditorium called the Teen Idols Tour. That tour featured Davy Jones, Bobby Sherman, and Peter Noone.

Those singers talked about their lives since they had been big stars. I think Bobby Sherman had been a paramedic. The lead singer from The Turtles was also included and he had written songs for a lot of the cartoons including Strawberry Shortcake.

Of course, my brother took me and we had a blast singing the oldies and reminiscing. He bought me the CD and I still love playing it. It brings back such good memories of my youth and also good memories of my brother and how thoughtful he is to me and all of the kindnesses he has always shown me.

My brother took my older sister and me to see Paul McCartney in Columbus, Ohio, several years ago. We had seats so high we almost needed oxygen, and looking down on the stage, I said, “He looks like a little beetle down there.” My brother has been to see Paul many times, but it was a real thrill for my sister and me.

One summer, Andy was going to take me to Olive Garden for my birthday, but he took me to the hospital instead. After that, whenever he wanted to take me to dinner, I always told him I “didn’t want to go to the Olive Garden… that last visit wasn’t much fun!”

So when Jersey Boys was being advertised, he called me and told me to reserve the 20th for him…we’d have dinner and a movie.

I thought we were going to be late, but we got to the theater with two minutes to spare. Then we had to sit through about 45 minutes of previews before the movie started!

The movie was GREAT! We would whisper back and forth about things we remembered about the old days. Sure enough, as the story in the movie turned to the late ’60’s, there was Bob Gaudio, with a GOATEE! Andy and I glanced knowingly at each other and shared a laugh. We had such fun! I laughed. I cried. I reminisced. It was a wonderful night.

It was about 9 p.m. when we got out of the theater. We went for dinner at the Cracker Barrel. (No Olive Garden!) We talked about so many things we had done together. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night with my brother.

Thank you, Andy, for sharing such great memories with me!

Jean Richardson is a resident of Dunbar who enjoys writing. Several of her articles have been featured in the Write Your Own Column section.

If you’d like to submit an article for consideration, send it by email to social@wvgazette.com, with Write Your Own Column in the subject line.

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