Thursday, July 8, 2010

Seven-Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel Excerpt - Chapter Twenty-five: Tragedy

(From the soon-to-be published novel Copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

In the summer of 1956, a young disc jockey in Philadelphia named Dick Clark became the host of a televised afternoon dance party show called Bandstand. It proved successful in part because of Clark’s uncanny understanding of his teenage audience and his non-threatening demeanor. The show featured local boys and girls, neatly dressed and well-behaved dancing to records Clark played. His sponsors sold toothpaste, hair cream and acne medication. Kids watched the show religiously to see the latest fashion, learn the newest dances and hear their favorite singers and groups, many of whom went on to even greater popularity after being on the show. The formula worked so well that one year later, the ABC Television Network took the show national. It premiered under a new name, American Bandstand, and aired five afternoons a week from three o’clock to four thirty. Clark, realizing the importance of his national broadcasts, went to great expense to snare Teddy Boyette as one of his first guest stars.
The singer thrilled the audience by lip-synching his way through his current number one single and previewing his next upcoming release.
Afterward, Clark conducted an interview seated next to Teddy on a grandstand bench located in the middle of the studio audience. Girls giggled with excitement at being so close to their teenage idol.
“Teddy, you are without a doubt the most popular rock and roll singer in America today. But, how do you feel about the other guys, your competition so to speak. Elvis and Buddy Holly and the others whose style is so similar to your own?”
“Well, I don’t lay claim to owning this type of music.” Teddy hated questions like this, being asked to compare himself to other popular singers. He worried his answer might make him appear conceited or snobbish. But, he was now polished enough to know that if he simply flashed a snarly, sexy grin, he could stall long enough to come up with an answer that wouldn’t embarrass him. “Those other fellas’ love rock and roll just like I do, I reckon. I listen to their songs and I enjoy them just like any other fan.”
“Now Elvis is making movies. They say he’s going to be a big star. Is that what the future holds for you, Teddy, you going to make movies?” Clark asked.
This was a much easier question for Teddy.
“No. Elvis is welcome to all that as far as I’m concerned.”
The host and the studio audience erupted into laughter. Dick Clark had one more question.
“Okay, no movies for you. But, seriously Teddy, where would you like to be in say… five or ten years?”
Teddy thought for a moment, no stalling sexy smiles now, just a straightforward, honest answer. “Well, if I’m lucky enough that my records are still selling, I’d like to keep on singing I suppose. But I would like to be able to slow things down a might, not have to work as hard as I do now. That way I could have more time for myself, settle down, raise a family.” Then came the smile. “I guess I’d just like to have a normal life if I could.”

Rock and Roll quote of the day: "Do I want you for my baby, do I want you by my side? Do I wanna run and kiss your lips and say you're my loving guy." From - Do I LOve You? By: The Ronettes

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