Here am I with such a lot to say, hey, hey

Here in the Northeast they’re the culmination of the regular season, these Thanksgiving Day games with traditional schoolboy rivalries.  A surprising number date back well over a century.  Certainly my son, a rough-and-tumble offensive lineman, was an enthusiastic participant; as was my rough-and-tumble offensive lineman father in his day; as a matter of fact his father was also a rough-and-tumble offensive lineman in an era when American Football was a relatively new sport.

I too was an offensive lineman in high school, but whereas my son, father and grandfather (not to mention my two brothers) all excelled in the gridiron trenches, I did not. Nor is there much glory to be recalled from playing the other side, as a middle linebacker…although it is a rather nice segue for me to defensively affirm that I fared better in other more individualistic seasons, earning six varsity letters as a pole vaulter, high jumper and wrestler.

Perhaps it was simply a lack of football sensibilities that led to my customary bench-seat view, helmet in hand. Whatever the reason, it’s the celebratory air of those Thanksgiving games to which I now fondly harken back, marveling at the cheerleaders and grooving to the marching band, whose members always seemed to be having the most fun out there, particularly when they played a sing-along rendition of this peculiar popular song.

Written and recorded by a 49 year-old ex-World War II RAF glider pilot named Norman Smith, the single reached Number 4 in the UK and Number 3 on the US Billboard Charts (while topping the Cashbox Charts) in 1972.  Smith, who had tried to make it as a jazz musician after the war, eventually landed an apprenticeship as a sound engineer in 1959, with EMI.  Unflappable and unhurried, it was John Lennon who bestowed the nickname that stuck with him throughout the nearly 100 Beatles songs he recorded between 1962 and 1965…”Normal”.

After recording “Rubber Soul” EMI promoted him to producer and it was in this role that he worked with Pink Floyd, producing three of their first four studio albums.  Famously, when drummer Nick Mason became unglued while trying to find the right sound for “Remember a Day” Normal Smith stepped in and played the part himself.

An inveterate songwriter, in 1971 he recorded a demo of something he hoped might interest John Lennon, using the pseudonym, “Hurricane” Smith.  But when he played it for a fellow producer he was urged to release it himself.

“The melody was happy and simple,” he later said. “It was the producer in me that designed the lyric to recapture the era I grew up in. It’s almost a true story of my life. I would go to a ballroom, but I was so shy I couldn’t even ask someone to dance.”

After “Oh Babe What Would You Say” replaced “Crocodile Rock” as the Cashbox chart topper, Lennon sent a congratulatory telegram to Hurricane Smith; who may have been too shy to ask, but with a score that quickly became a marching band standard, got ‘em dancing in a very big way.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Wednesday 21 November

Oh Babe What Would You Say

As I have hoped for half a chance

To even ask if I could dance with you, you oo

Would you greet me or politely turn away

Would there suddenly be sunshine on a cold and rainy day

Oh, Babe

What would you say?

 For there are you sweet lollipops

Here am I with such a lot to say, hey hey

Just to walk with you along the Milky Way

To caress you through the night time

Bring you flowers everyday

Oh Babe

What would you say?

Just so, Baby I know

I know I could be so in love with you

And I know that I could make you love me too

And if I could only hear you say you do, oo oo oo oo

But anyway

What would you say?

Just so, Baby I know

I know I could be so in love with you

And I know that I could make you love me too

And if I could only hear you say you do, oo oo oo oo

But anyway

What would you say?

 

 

 

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