By Chris Simones
An article in the Standard last week about Gilley Pool made me think back to when I was a kid hanging out all day at the city pool. The memory filled my nose with the smell of chlorine and Coppertone.
The sound of kids screaming and splashing. A shrill whistle blowing and a lifeguard yelling for someone to stop running. The rhythmic bounce of the diving boards and the sounds different jumpers made. Cannonballs and can openers. Belly flops and laughter.
The feel of hot concrete rising through my threadbare towel as I lay on my back with my left arm over my eyes squinting up at the sky. The relentless summer sun baking my body dry and leaving a sticky, pool water residue on my skin. The soles of my feet stinging from stepping on broken concrete on the pool’s floor.
And the songs. The jukebox was in the shade of the concession stand near a couple of vending machines. I’d stand soaking in front of it and read the songs listed there. The songs on the jukebox that stayed the same all summer long and played through a pair of tinny speakers high above the pool below.
The Hues Corporation wanting to know where you got the notion to "Rock the Boat."
Captain & Tenille broadcasting that "Love Will Keep Us Together."
Bad Company advising that they take whatever they want and they "Can’t Get Enough" of your love.
Billy Preston wondering out loud "Will It Go ‘Round In Circles."
Johnny Nash letting everyone know "I Can See Clearly Now."
Harry Nilsson’s instructions to put the lime in the "Coconut."
"Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney and Wings. That’s the one that takes me back faster than all the others. The smell of chlorine and suntan lotion. The sight of blue skies and white fluffy clouds. The feel of a sunburn coming on. The sound of "Silly Love Songs" playing on the jukebox.
The song opens sparsely. A simple piano chord progression. An intermittent factory whistle. A sound similar to an old cash register. Almost industrial, really.
Then McCartney’s melodic bass line creates an irresistible hook as he sings:
"You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs
I look around me and see it isn’t so
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs
And what’s wrong with that
I’d like to know"
An excellent question, really. What is wrong with that? I’d like to know, too.
No matter where I am or what I’m doing, any time I hear that song I’m 10 years old on the high dive at the city pool about to execute a perfect can opener. I can still see the cool blue water below.
Standard reporter Chris Simones can be reached at 473-2191.