Sunday, September 11, 2011

So Rare

Jimmy Dorsey has been on my mind recently.

I don’t know why. He has just kept creeping into my reveries.

I was telling a friend recently that it wasn’t Ed Sullivan who gave Elvis his first exposure to national television.

It was the Dorsey Brothers. They had Elvis on their Saturday night variety hour substantially before most people had ever heard of him. After the Dorseys everybody had heard of him.

I always watched the Dorseys on Saturday night with my parents. I watched because I loved the brothers, their story and their music. I guess that love had started when I first saw the movie The Fabulous Dorseys. For me that movie was a magic exit to somewhere that I would have liked to have been rather than the place and time in which I actually existed. Seeing the vestiges of that magic on the Saturday night show was a weekly escape for me.

And I savored that time each week.

I was just settling into my Dorsey trance one Saturday evening when Jimmy made an announcement. He said something like “now the young man that all the girls have been waiting for…”

I had missed the Sinatra phenomenon so I had no referent for the reaction that elicited from all the young women in the audience. There was an overwhelming and massive wave of screaming.

Before I had fully absorbed that fact, Jimmy went on. “Here tonight, ( I couldn’t tell what he said next but I thought it was ‘Elmer Pickle’, or some such sounding name) is…”

The screaming ascended several levels and some guy came running out and started jumping around and contorting his body and face and making sounds such as I had never heard.

My parents went crazy.

They thought he was great.

I thought they WERE crazy.

It took me months to catch up with them.

But I did.

And so did the world.

Before the show was over Tommy announced that Elvis would be back the following week as guest Master of Ceremonies.

And a star had been spawned.

I said at the outset of this post that Jimmy has been on my mind.

The recurring touchstone for those thoughts on Jimmy has been So Rare, his last hit single.

I bought it from iTunes last night and have not been able to stop playing it.

I looked at where iTunes placed him in my music library.

He resides between Jimmy Buffett and Johann Sebastian Bach.

How fitting.

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