Thursday, September 9, 2010

What's Your Favourite Last Dance song?

Dance lesson?
Yesterday a very dear friend of mine mentioned on her Face Book wall that she just heard "Hey Jude" on the radio. It brought her back to her high school dances when it was an opportunity to have a long slow dance with someone she waited for all night. Or, in some cases, a nightmare if she wasn't quick enough to avoid the "stalker"

Within minutes there were over twenty comments from friends giving their favourite (or most memorable) last dance song.  Not surprisingly, "Stairway to Heaven" was the most cited.

Being of a certain age, my memories of last dance songs cover a range of styles. The last dance was not only the "make-out" rehearsal for what was hopefully to come, but a cool down period to allow your heart rate to lower to it's normal range.

My "dance hall days" covered four decades. I danced at the Old Moncton Arena, The Assumption Centre, St. Pat's Community Centre , CKCW's Top Ten Plus TV show and many, many discos and clubs in Toronto and Montreal. But my favourite was dancing after our shows at The Red Mill Theatre in Hamilton.  It was the height of Disco and the pinnacle of youth.

Here are 5 of my favourite songs that I fondly remember grinding and groping to.

1. Mr. Lonely - Bobby Vinton
2. Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
3. How Deep is Your Love - The Bee Gees
4. La Vie En Rose - Grace Jones
5. That's the Way Love Goes - Janet Jackson

The list could go on and on.
What are your favourites and where did you dance to them?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Other British Invasion

Today marks the 250th anniversary of the French capitulation to British troops in Montreal. We won't be seeing any Union Jack flying about, (we barely see any Canadian ones).

Capitulation of Montreal
Unlike the fall of Québec City the previous year, there was no battle. France didn't send troops to help the colonists so the surrender was accomplished without gunfire.  New France ended with a whimper, not a bang.
Louis XV evidently preferred sugar from the West Indies to maple syrup.  Not accounting for taste.

This post, however, is about the other British invasion.  The one of 1964. Where parents surrendered their teenagers to an army of mop topped musicians. I was just entering my teens when Beatlemania hit the airwaves and all things British were instantly "fab!".

I was barely keeping up with all the revolutionary dance crazes: The Fly, The Hully Gully, The Peppermint Twist, the Mash Potato.  Now I had to grow my hair (fast), find me some Beatles boots, Pea jacket and John Lennon cap - and adopt an English accent.  You could be ugly as a hat full of arseholes but say something in Liverpudlian and you have a seat at the cool cafeteria table.

Like the rest of the world, Moncton was immersed in all things British. Eaton's carried the latest Carnaby Street Fashions, British flags were everywhere. Even our TV Dance Show host; The Little General was sporting a very thin version of a Beatle - do.

People picked their favourite Beatle. I was a Paul guy (of course). My cool friends claimed John as the true artist.  My older brother liked George.  I couldn't remember anyone else preferring George but then again, he was very much into guitars at the time.

It was an exciting time to be a teen.  The music, the fashion and the rebellion gave us a feeling of solidarity.  Lining up around the block to see "A Hard Day's Night" at the Capital Theatre was a bonding experience.

I remember seeing the T.A.M.I (Teen Age Music International.) show at the Paramount.  It was one of the first filmed concerts and the first to market itself to teens. The movie featured The Supremes, Rolling Stones, a stunning and scary (for me) performance by James Brown, Gerry & the Pacemakers and dancers! (A very young Toni Basil was assistant choreographer)  It was our movie, our music.

When I listen to those songs today, I appreciate their artistry and bask in the nostalgia for a time when all seemed possible.  Even perhaps being Mrs. Paul McCartney one day.

Here are a couple of my favourite songs from the period.  (I excluded The Beatles because it's impossible to list them all. But if you want to check out a fab Beatles video site click here.)

The Hollies -Look Through Any Window

Hermans Hermits - Mrs. Brown you've got a lovely daughter 1965

What are your favourite British Invasion songs?

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