They played For Keeps Cuz Time Never Sleeps


Poem Commentary

This is not a poem - - and shame on me for mixing apples and artichokes but it's my little anthology of times and circumstances all rolled into three or four minute segments.

They played For Keeps Cuz Time Never Sleeps


There are a few basic reasons why a young fellow wanted to be a rock star back
in those early days of Rock and Roll. It was because we smelled the excitment
of all our tomorrows. When folks like Pat Boone and Guy Mitchell where the the
ones who were cranking out music for the youth of North America you'd be hard
pressed to find a radio slot for more anything more than  than two hours a day
which devoted itself to "rock and roll". The  big band era was just freshly
passe for the upcoming masses in 1955. Around that time In Canada, late at night
if you listened closely between the whistles and static of AM radio you could make
out the far off and "forbidden rythmes of race music" from the south.
 It was the original country blues as recorded by the likes of Sun House, John Lee
Hooker, Sonny-Boy Williamson Mississippi John Hurt and Terry and McGee to
name a few. It was a force not to be subjegated by mainstay pop musicators.

Country was always country and this mainline artery of America paralell to the
young- and now evolving rock and roll ventrical served as the life-blood of the music
world here. The gooey strains of love set in motion by  the ubiquitous C - Am - F -and G
chord progression turned out to be everything a young man with a guitar needed to
know to get into the popularity fray. It was the girl magnet for house parties and the
angst of a non-musical male suiter veying for their affections. Ray Charles brought
it all front and center to the main stage and later mixed in with the Elvis stuff you could
hear Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Then came the white boys with a take of their own.
Just for nastalgia sake - -
Here's what topped the charts in 1959 before they had the number 11
on the amplifier volume dial.
1. Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin
2. Kansas City - Wilbur Harrison
3. What'd I Say - Ray Charles
4. 16 Candles - the Crests
5. A Teenager In Love - Dion and the Belmonts
6. I Only Have Eyes For You - The Flamingos
7. Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny
8. It's Just A Matter Of Time - Brook Benton
9. There Goes My Baby - Drifters
10. Come Softly To Me - The Fleetwoods
11. Sea Of Love - Phil Phillips
12. Donna - Ritchie Valens
13. Put Your Head On My Shoulder - Paul Anka
14. ('Til) I Kissed You - Everly Brothers
15. Only Sixteen - Sam Cooke
16. Heartaches By The Number - Guy Mitchell  [* end of an era crooner]
17. A Big Hunk O' Love - Elvis Presley
18. Mr. Blue - The Fleetwoods
19. Sea Cruise - Frankie Ford
20. (Sorry) I Ran All The Way Home - the Impalas
21. Red River Rock - Johnny and the Hurricans
22. My Happiness - Connie Francis
23. Poison Ivy - Coasters
24. Misty - Johnnie Mathis
25. La Bamba - Ritchie Valens
26. Dream Lover - Bobby Darin
27. Peter Gunn - Ray Anthony [leader of the instrumental tune set]
28. Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
29. Angelina/Zooma Zooma (Medley) - Louis Prima *[Big band player]
30. Back In The U.S.A. - Chuck Berry
31. High Hopes - Frank Sinatra
32. Turn Around - Harry Belafante
33. Personality - Lloyd Price
34. The Hawaiian Wedding Song - Andy Williams
35. Love Potion No. 9 - Clovers
36. Hushabye - the Mystics
37. Lonely Teardrops - Jackie Wilson [The finest voice in classic pop]
38. Battle Of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
39. Bongo Rock - Preston Epps
40. The Happy Organ - Dave "Baby" Cortez
41. Woo-Hoo - Rocka-Teens
42. Teen Beat - Sandy Nelson
43. Raw-ide - Link Wray
44. It Doesn't Matter Anymore- Buddy Holly
45. Everybody Likes To Cha Cha Cha - Sam Cooke
46. Lavender Blue - Sammy Turner
47. Along Came Jones - Coasters
48. Charlie Brown - Coasters
49. (Night Time Is) The Right Time - Ray Charles
50. M.T.A. - Kingson Trio

Not surprisingly the target audience back then was the coming of age female.
She's the one who didn't hesitate to put down her 99 cents for a 45 disk.
Her kid brother would typically snatch them away to a party in the neighborhood
and they'd get lost in the shuffle.
Rock and Roll FOR GUYS only came into it own in the late sixties early seventies when
All- for- the- glory buddy Rock ruled. Springstein knew.

Rock and Roll somehow made it through the early-mid sixties with Beatles arrival on North American
shores and managed to hold its own against the lesser foot soldiors from Briton who invaded the
land after them. We of course embraced the Stones which happened to roll in on the eighth wave.
All the while we had the pop surfer, beach hot rod scene excitement and we had Bob Dillan and Joan Biaz
for the coffee house types - - and of course the irrepressable motown-machine still kicked out.
Then who - - a few years down the road, wasn't affected by the unusual strains of Emerson Lake and Palmer
or  groving out with Janus or Hendricks or Yes, Pink Floyd, or Morrison, or Zappa. Booze was still taking the cowboy
but drugs were killing the Rock stars in those days of extremes. After disco dialed out Punk had a run at the fun in its various
incarnations. Then the black man took it all back - and rapped it up. He still holds the keys today. Wuzup?

Poem Comments


Please login or register

You must be logged in or register a new account in order to
leave comments/feedback and rate this poem.

Login or Register

rsalassi commented on They played For Keeps Cuz Time Never Sleeps


one-two-three o'clock, four o'clock rock, five-six-seven o'clock, eight o'clock rock, nine-ten-leven o'clock, twelve o'clock rock...we're gonna rock around the clock tonight. doo,doo,doo,...doo etc. I enjoyed your essay from the past, my friend.



Ha-Ha! Ya (he beams), I remember that one blaring through the living room of the lady I boarded out as an eleven year old . Wasn't all that much later that the man from Tuphelo Mississippi came on the scene. I remember too how - all you had to know as a guitar player was ...C-Am-F and G. They all fit any song you could name.

Poetry is either something that lives like fire inside you or else it is nothing, an empty formalized bore around which pedants can endlessly drone their notes and explanations.

Unknown Source

NevillePark’s Poems (38)

Title Comments
Title Comments
They played For Keeps Cuz Time Never Sleeps 3
Come by and Pick me Up Lord 5
Reflection 6
O Son of The Morning 12
Love Fish 6
Sudden Death 2
The Poet and The Sea 5
Dawn 4
The Journey 5
Rappin It Up 3
Poems in Love ~ Edited sayings of Mother Teresa 8
W- Five 9
Painter Eleven 3
Yellow Red and Grey 2
Nam 4
High Rollers 3
Gimmy The Beat 2
Here Fishy 4
Alive In The Spirit 2
Bitterness 3
88 in the Shade 3
The River 4
The Meaning of Easter 3
Selma 0
Hells Bells 5
Fields of Change 3
In A Yellow Sky 3
Love Is 17