Friday Favorites 10/12/2012

I began my college career at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, convinced by an over-zealous guidance counselor that I should opt for the name engineering school instead of the University of Connecticut.  One year later, when the scholarships ran out, so did I, registering at Uconn for my sophomore year.  I’d like to say that it was a brilliant decision based on a thorough analysis of the situation, but in truth, my best friend was transferring to UConn, too, and we wanted to room together.   However, it was a decision that would affect my life positively in many ways, big and small.  This week’s Friday Favorite involves one of the small ones.

I came to the UConn campus listening to an odd assortment of jazz, folk music, British Rock, and my favorite, The Beach Boys.  One of my first actions on the social front was to pledge a fraternity, Beta Sigma Gamma, which turned out to be the first inter-racial fraternity on campus.  In 1964.  Think about that.  This unique status on fraternity row earned us some derogatory (and extremely bigoted) nicknames.  There’s another whole post (that I may already have written) in that but not today.  When my black brothers* would come into my room and hear the Beach Boys or Bob Dylan, they’d say, Buzz-buzz-buzz.  Meaning boring.  Thus began my education on what we called soul music back then.  Not only was I fortunate to have plenty of willing teachers, educational material was readily available.   With the success of the Supremes second album, Where Did Our Love Go?, the Motown Era was peaking, meaning that any time I turned on the radio I got my daily dose of soul.   Combining traditional soul music with an infectious pop sound, the Motown Sound was becoming the music of America, not just black America.  According to Wikipedia, speaking of the social influence of The Motown Sound, Marvin Gaye said, I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands.

On a personal note, Motown hits became the soundtrack for my courtship of Muri.  We became a couple to the Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself, danced to Martha and the Vandellas’ Dancing in the Street and went through our several break-ups with The Supremes’ My World is Empty Without You.   But I’ve always had a special place in my heart (and my old white-guy soul) for The Temptations** hit, My Girl.  This video combines vintage video of The Temptation with scenes from the delightful movie of the same name that used the song in its soundtrack.


* Just to be clear, in 1964, Negroes had been officially renamed blacks (as in Black Panthers) and were not yet African-Americans.  And they were my fraternity brothers.

** Which, interestingly, was not recorded on Motown but on Berry Gordy’s other label, Gordy.

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3 Comments on “Friday Favorites 10/12/2012”

  1. Awwwwwwwww.. The Motown Soundtrack for your love story with Muri really touched my heart.

  2. Cheryl P. Says:

    You accomplished in college what every parent wants for their child…being exposed to new ways of looking at things and growing as a person. Diversity is a beautiful thing.

  3. Reblogged this on filmcamera999 and commented:
    well…its not friday eyt…but its still a fab tune!

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