Sometime in the late nineties I put together three CD’s with some of the best seventies music ever. Nope. Not true. It was the best music collection ever. Everyone who heard it wanted a copy, and I remember making dozens of copies of those CD’s for people that asked for them.
This was strange to me because I don’t remember liking seventies music in the seventies. I thought it was dumb. Especially those damn Bee Gees with their stupid voices. I didn’t understand what people liked about them.
But for reasons unknown sometime in the late 90’s I loved it enough to scour Napster for days until I came up with the best combination of 70’s music a person could ever have. I swear it was about the only music I listened to (no real music came out in the 90’s anyway).
A few years later this was still the only CD I allowed in my car. The moment I got in the car my daughter Lauren, who a was about 5 or 6 at this time, would tell me to start the music so she could sing along. While other kids were singing along with Disney tunes at that age she learned the best of the Bee Gees, Chicago, Air Supply, Lionel Ritchie, and others. She knew the words to all of the songs on all 3 CD’s. Her favorites were a song called “Escape” (The Pina Coloda Song) by Rupert Holmes and “Hooked on a Feeling” (the Ooga Chacka song) by I have no idea who (it was redone by so many artists). Catching a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror singing to those songs was a favorite part of my day.
One day I got a call from Lauren’s school. It was a teacher I didn’t recognize who wanted to talk about Lauren. My heart sank. When people you don’t know call you about your kid your heart sinks. It’s what you do. I asked if something had happened to Lauren and he said, “no she’s fine”. Then there was silence. My heart sank again. When people you don’t know call you about your kid and then they become silent, your heart sinks. That’s what you do.
Suddenly there was laughing. Not just by the caller, but by people in the back ground. The person on the phone said everything was fine and that the music teacher wanted to see me some time today. “Not that important”, they said. Well of course I rushed over there and caught up with the choir teacher who could not stop smiling the moment I walked in her office.
There was no real emergency. Apparently the kids had been told that they should pick a song that they wanted to introduce to the class. The kids had to clear the song with the teacher before singing it.
Well, apparently, this very young choir teacher had never heard of the song “Afternoon Delight” by the Starlight Vocal Band and thought the title was fine and it would be a fine song to sing in front of the class. It was Lauren’s turn to sing her song when a group of principals happen to be touring the school along with the superintendent of schools. He and several administrators strolled into Lauren’s class when it was her turn. Just in time to hear
“Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight.
Gonna grab me some afternoon delight.”
Which, yeah, is a song about not waiting for the sun to go down for a quickie. And yeah it was on my greatest hits CD’s. No, she couldn’t have picked a nice Bee Gees tune or some romantic Barry Manilow song. Nope, not my Lauren. She had to pick the song about quickie afternoon sex.
Of course Lauren never knew why the teacher stopped her in the middles of the song, or why the group of visitors were nervously laughing and turning red. And I didn’t bother explaining the unexplainable to a 6 year old anyway, so I didn’t tell her and she just forgot about it. So did I.
We played those CD’s for years until I misplaced them. Every once in a while we’d hear one of the songs from the CD on the radio and she still remembers all the words. I love that. I still miss the little girl in a blonde pony tail who would sit in the back seat of my car and sing all my seventies songs on the way to school. Those memories of looking into the rearview mirror and watching her sing are forever engrained in my mind.
She’s 18 now and a couple of months ago I was dropping her off at her college campus, when all of sudden the song “Afternoon Delight” came on the radio. She hadn’t heard it in forever, but recognized it right away and started singing it along with the radio without missing a beat. We pulled up to her building when all of a sudden she stopped singing and looked at me. I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head.
“Dad! What the hell?!”
“This song is about sex!”
“Yeah, you’re just figuring that out?”
“I sang it in class in front of the teacher in elementary school!”
“No you didn’t. Get out of the car, you’re going to be late.”
“No I did! I remember!”
“No you didn’t. Get out.”
She got out of the car, closed the door, and started walking to class. I lowered the car window and yelled.
“You sang it in front of several principals and the district superintendent !”
I quickly drove off, laughing my ass off. I looked at her through the rearview mirror and she was still standing there, looking my direction. She was probably wondering if I had set her up all those years ago. Just as I turned the corner to leave the campus the Ooga Chacka song came on the radio. I knew it was going to be an awesome day.