I’ve had a growing guilt for nearly twenty-five years now. I thought I had destroyed an historical artifact. Fair warning, many audiophiles and lovers of vinyl records might become nauseous when I tell you what I did, so if you’re one of those you might want to tune out now.
When I was a kid I loved to go into the basement and play my mother’s 45′s. The reason they were in the basement is because my father hated almost anything British Invasion related or pop music. He did, however, like Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Johnny Rivers, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Creedence Clearwater Revival etc. Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, you get the idea, but it makes me happy to make the list longer. But he despised The Beatles, The Monkees, The Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits etc, so those records were relegated to the basement. Where I had marathon session listening to them.
Well, one day me and my friends were in the basement, maybe somewhere in that precarious stage of adolescence where testosterone has kicked in and brain activity has been suppressed, and we started whipping those 45′s around like frisbees. Seemed like a fun thing to do at the time. Throwing around original issues of Beatles, Monkees, and Troggs records. Including one 45 I always thought was Senator Robert Kennedy singing The Troggs’ “Wild Thing.” For a decade now I’ve had this growing guilt, as if I walked into The Louvre and defaced a bunch of paintings, or went into the Library of Congress and spilled a cup of coffee on Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac.
With the news this week of Troggs’ front man Reg Presley’s passing I had a renewed wave of guilt that I had destroyed something very rare and valuable. So, I looked it up, and it turns out Senator Robert Kennedy never sang a stuttering version “Wild Thing” at all, it was a novelty record put out by someone using the name Senator Bobby, but was really an impersonator named Bill Minkin.
Although I now feel better that I didn’t destroy something historically significant, I still from like a crud that I used all those magnificent records as frisbees. And I also feel a void with the passing of Reg Presley because I became a real fan of The Troggs. The opening tremors of a song like “Give It To Me” are a shockwave.
I’m sorry I destroyed the records you listened to as a girl. We were recently gifted with a grammaphone player for Christmas, and I sure would like to play them for the kids. I did buy a lot of old 45′s at an auction recently, and it had all kinds of Beatles and Doors and Herman’s Hermits songs in it, but it’s not the same. Rest in peace, Reg Presley.