Changing summer camps can be traumatic. The one constant, whether at the new camp or the former, was summer nights drinking soda out of the bottle at the camp canteen and picking songs from the jukebox. As a 14-year-old rookie at a new camp, I had the jumper to command the basketball. But not the seniority to command the tunes.
As opposed to my old camp where most jukebox songs were radio hits, in 1969 the new camp’s jukebox had unfamiliar songs. I Love You by People, a hippie love chant, was new to me. The Doors’ Hello I Love You and Cry Like a Baby by the Box Tops were on the jukebox, too. But the song that caught my ear was a new number by one of my favorite 60’s groups, The Turtles. Their latest album, Turtle Soup, was produced by The Kinks’ Ray Davis and included You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain, a song about a divorce reconciliation. Its lyrics, “I look at your face. I love you anyway,” would be repeated antagonistically that summer. But the song’s refrain, “Girl, You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain, Anymore,” was permanently embedded in my mind.
Fast forward to 1979. While trolling vintage vinyl places on St. Mark’s Place, I stumbled into a Turtles Greatest Hits album for $1.00. I got it home and immediately played You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain. Something sounded off. There was a slightly noticeable difference in the production value. I was vexed. But the old 45 from the camp jukebox wasn’t coming back, so the new version became embedded in the original’s place.
Years later, 1987, I was lucky enough to be invited by a buddy at the NFL to see the Giants win the Super Bowl against Denver. It was an entire day of partying. Albeit I worked at ABC, but I sat next to the Gatorade client in the best seats while my friend’s other clients who wanted tickets between the 10-yard lines sat in the end zone. “Tell them they are between the 10’s,” insisted his boss, “the 10’s that run behind the goal posts.” But the NFL’s Fun, Food and Football crew, headed by my friend, hosted a tailgate party featuring a 40-minute concert by Flo and Eddie. After the game, he hosted a private after party at their hotel. As my guest and I entered the party, my friend yelled, “Billy! Get over here. I want you to meet Flo.” He introduced me to Mark Volman, the Phlorescent Leech of Frank Zappa fame. I asked Flo why there was a difference between the sound of You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain from my camp’s jukebox and my Greatest Hits album. He looked at me, and then screamed, “Howard! Get over here! This guy’s amazing!”
Howard Kaylan (aka Eddie) never made it over. Like Flo, he was holding court on the far side of the room. I had to release because my friend had to introduce Flo to others as well. But Flo’s laurels validated my recall. I could have been subtler, asking: am I right in hearing a slight difference or is it me? He may have given me such an enthusiastic response, but it was moot: no one was making it around that room.