Those of us born between 1955 and 1960 are the “Tweeners”. I think that’s what Eddie Van Halen called us. Brian Setzer is also a Tweener. We were too young for Woodstock and the Hippie thing in the 60s. We did get to admire Jimi Hendrix, but we were to young to go se him. Then we were too Old for the 80s/MTV generation. So we really don’t have a musical trend that guys like me, Eddie and Brian really fit into. I guess Metal could be our sound, but it was a niche sound. Brian went retro and did Rock-a-Billy. But then he formed his Orchestra and won Grammy awards with the 23 piece Brian Setzer Orchestra. Raul Malo from the Mavericks is a tweener and he actually did a few albums that fell into the “Tom Jones”/”Elvis Movie songs” genre. Now he’s back with the Mavericks doing country rock. Or Tex-Mex music.
One thing us tweeners do not have is a certain loyalty to a certain era or genre. I grew up listening to Glenn Miller as well as Elvis. Then when the Beatles came over, I sort of went with the Dave Clark Five because “They ROCKED”. But now I find myself in love with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Oh to have been one of Bogey’s drinking buddies. That’s how the Rat Pack started. Lauren Bacall called Humphrey Bogart’s drinking buddies, his Rat Pack, and it stuck. Dean Martin just use to call Frank and Sammy “The guys”. I hope their music never fades away.
Since I moved to Nevada, I’ve been haunted by the ghosts of Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr. and of course Elvis. Somewhere in Vegas I’m sure Wayne Newton is still entertaining. But there was a whole generation of beautiful Music that got kicked to the curb by “Race” Music/Rock and Roll.
As a Musician, I could sit and watch Jimmy Stewart play “Glenn Miller” in the Glenn Miller Story which starred some of our country’s greatest Iconic musicians from Louis Armstrong to Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa. Back in the 1930’s our country was opening a new present called pop music. Musicians were becoming popular.
As a Musician, I could stand and play Jimi Hendrix riffs all night long. But in the back of my mind, I know none of it would have been possible had Glenn Miller not taken music into a “Popular” direction. This would eventually lead to kids waiting for Elvis and Buddy Holly to ride into town.
In the cities, Singers, Crooners like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were fronting the big bands. It was Sinatra that plowed the road for Elvis. Elvis once said the singer he “admired” the most was Dean Martin. This is not to be confused with the time he called Roy Orbison: “The greatest Singer in the World”. Elvis admired Dino’s voice and his acting ability. (See the Elvis song: “Loving You”)
But I was sadly disappointed this morning when I did the math and realized that the Bobby Soxers that loved the Rat Pack are now in nursing homes at best. I always considered those in their 70’s as being the audience for Cultural American swing. But if you do the math; those 70 year olds probably got high to the “Iron Butterfly”. Many Woodstockers are now in nursing homes.
Perhaps Harry Connick Jr. and Brian Setzer are the only ones left to tell a wonderful story of dance halls and spinning mirror balls. The Rat Pack is in heaven with Glenn Miller and Marilyn Monroe.
Who knows, Maybe your humble host will do a Crooner Album. Who knows, it could be a whole new genre? A marriage of Dean Martin and Eric Clapton. It might work. Ya never know.