Fifty years ago, give or take a month or two, our high school's yearbook staff — I assume it was the yearbook staff, though I never really understood the power structure in those days — declared this song to be Our Class Song for 1969, and the theme of that year's yearbook. I had no input into the matter: it was understood that my contribution to the book would be to show up on the right day with the right amount of money. (Fifteen bucks in 1969, after half a century of inflation, is now a hair over $100.)

Anyway, this was the song:

For some reason, the song and I did not get along particularly well. I am not one to knock Timeless Folk Tunes — lemon tree, very pretty — but I wasn't sure about this whole Let's Live For Today business: for a school connected to an institution in its twentieth century, living in the moment seemed to be somehow unfaithful to its mission. And this talk of dandies and rovers, I thought, was weirdly anachronistic; Ray Davies had already taken "Dandy" and thrown it against the wall, though here in the sanitary States we were spared the Kinks track (LP only, on Face to Face) in favor of a de-gormed cover by Herman's Hermits. I could, I reasoned, exempt myself, from "Dandy": Davies' line about "two girls are too many, three's a crowd, and four you're dead," at the time, I'd never even had one and did not expect ever to. Was I, then, a rover? Only as far as I could ride the city bus.

But I made my peace with the song: after all, who am I to mock a Timeless Folk Tune? It was then that I discovered that "Today" was written by Randy Sparks, who'd founded the New Christy Minstrels way back in, un, 1961, and that it was written for an extremely silly 1964 Hollywood comedy called Advance to the Rear.

In view of these revelations, perhaps this is exactly the song this member of the Class of '69 might have needed, after all.

The Vent

  27 October 2018

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