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A Question I Must Ask Eric


Trindy

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OK, here's what inspires this.

I was listening to my XM Radio '60s channel the other day and heard for the first time a song I recalled Eric mentioning years ago as the first 45 he ever bought--"Got a Girl" by the Four Preps.

And I had to laugh, because the theme of the song is essentially that this guy has a girlfriend, but he knows he has competition for her heart. Because even in her locket, she has pictures of Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Ricky Nelson, Bobby Rydell and Elvis.

So, Eric, I wanted to ask...was that the song that made it first dawn on you that "chicks dig rock stars...so I'd better be one"?

And yeah, I'm teasing!

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FROM ERIC CARMEN: MARATHON MAN:

"The first single I ever bought—and this is very telling—was a song called 'Got A Girl' by the Four Preps. The Four Preps were like the Four Freshmen, a group of guys who sang with three- and four-part harmonies. The song was all about a guy who was very frustrated because his girlfriend was in love with all of the teen idols of the day. In the song it mentions Fabian, Frankie Avalon, and Ricky Nelson. He determines that the only way that he was going to get her attention was to go out and be one. I think that was probably a deep influence in my psyche at the age of eleven."

 

Bernie

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The Four Preps sang great harmonies even though their material was not always the best (i.e. "Down By The Station"). "26 Miles" left an indelible (positive) impression on me.

When Rick Nelson became a heart throb (thanks to his Dad's manuevering) Bruce Balland (Four Preps lead) was a semi-regular on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as one of Rick's college buddies.

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Couple the lyric of this tune with the plotline of the Archie comics I was reading, and the influence of my favorite TV show at the time, Dobie Gillis, and you'll begin to see a common thread. The Four Preps couldn't get the girl, Archie couldn't get Veronica, and Dobie couldn't get Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld, my first crush). The Preps thought they had to be popstars, and Archie and Dobie were just average middle-class guys who aspired to girls who wanted rich guys. This was stuff that undoubtedly registered in a big way on my eleven year old brain. Later on, it was Gatsby, and Fitzgerald's short stories, all about middle class boys who aspired to girls that were "out of their league." Meanwhile, I was a shy, skinny kid who was just about to discover that the girl in my ninth grade art class, who I was secretly in love with, thought Paul McCartney was "really cute." My only question was: What if Dobie was in the Beatles? Would Thalia fall in love with him then?

ec

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Now why don't I remember that part of "Marathon Man"? That's what I'm asking myself now. Duh!

But I'm glad I asked the question anyway, because Eric gave such a fleshed-out reply that if I had stuck to just rereading the book, it would not have been quite as much fun!

I was just thinking that Eric's comments about "good names for boys" on another thread reminded me of that whole social-aspiration theme that runs through all of Fitzgerald's work: the idea that you have to make yourself look as if you belong to some "ruling class" in order to get there. You know--work hard, make money, make it look as if you're from some old-money family of Boston Brahmins who never worked a day in their lives, then get the girl and everything else you want in life.

I admit, I'm not completely sold on the idea. I'm a big believer in working hard to get where you want to go without pretending to be something you're not. After all, that was part of the tragedy of Gatsby's life, was it not? Even though he had worked so hard and accumulated so much to be able to present himself as something he was not in order to get his heart's desire, it was too late for him to really win Daisy over and she was not really the kind who could be won--she would always do whatever was easiest. And somewhere along the way, he lost himself. And ended up wanting very badly to be part of a group of people who didn't care about him as a person; they only cared about the parties he threw and the cachet of hanging around such a wealthy "man of mystery."

Now, if you look at what you've got and it's not enough for you, and you decide that in order to get more you're going to begin working on doing whatever it takes to express yourself emotionally and artistically...well then, I think you have a way better solution to your dilemma than selling your soul down the river. So there are ways of making it come out...

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When my wife and I were trying to find the right name for our daughter, we eventually narrowed it down to two, Chloe and Kathryn. We liked both names and thought they both sounded pretty good with Carmen, but we chose Kathryn. Our reasoning went like this: Chloe Carmen is a great name if she decides to be a ballet dancer, but what if she decides to be a judge. Judge Chloe just doesn't quite have the same ring of authority as Judge Kathryn. But Kathryn Carmen could still be a ballet dancer. All I was saying about the names on Ralph Lauren's clothes is that if you pick a name for your child that people associate with winners, the child will probably have an easier time in life than if you choose Adolph or Osama or O.J. ec

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I got a huge kick out of that "Chloe" info, Eric. That was the runnerup name for our 2nd daughter (born 3 years ago). We ended up going with Karsyn, for reasons not unlike yours. Now that I've known her for 3 years, I can say she could wind up as a ballet dancer, yes, but more likely as someone who negotiates. She's got a great knack for "working the best deal" from me....

PS: "Chloe," by the way, is the name of an obscure but great ballad by Elton John on his album The Fox, from the early 1980s. ("Chloe, whatcha gonna do about me?")

--Larry

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Anne :) !

Although I have to say it...even though my girlfriends and I spent our share of time swooning over our rock idols (see Raspberries), my REAL crush in high school was on probably the most nerdy guy in school. He was smart and funny and a great date !! :)

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Bob Allen said:

At dinner this past weekend, our waiter's name was Todd Bundy. Now there's a name I wouldn't want to have to lug around.

I went to high school with a kid named Ricky Riccardo. I remember thinking then - as I do now - "WHY would parents do that to their poor child?"

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popdude said:

I went to high school with a kid named Ricky Riccardo. I remember thinking then - as I do now - "WHY would parents do that to their poor child?"

At our office, we used to have a customer named William T. Kidd (no joke, name was on his checks)

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In regards to the 'no so popular guys' getting into bands to attract the girls... When I was in high school 5 guys had crated a band and actually played for the students in the auditorium one day. Well...they weren't what you would call 'studly', BUT after that performance many, many girls were gaga over them (including me). The drummer was very chubby but even as a shallow teen girl I was :) head over heels, I still remember his name- John Baptist(spelling may be off) and I had to 'try' to get his attention away from my competition. All us girls were the sterotypical teen girls..size 3, really cute, etc...

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