Sending a Valentine to Emily...and to Papa on his birthday.
Emily- The Blondes Swedish Heat
Listen To The Heartbeat- D.L. Byron Shake Some Action Vol 4
Heart- Rockpile Seconds Of Pleasure
Hearts In Her Eyes- The Searchers Hearts In Her Eyes 7"
Take This Heart Of Mine- The Saints Prehistoric Sounds
Break Your Heart- Mike Viola & The Candy Butchers Falling Into Place
Breakin My Heart- Vandykes Breakin My Heart Single
Break My Heart Tomorrow- Steve Blimkie & The Reason Steve Blimkie & The Reason
^Heartbeat- The Knack Get the Knack
Queen Of Hearts- Bobby Emmett Learning Love
Another Heartache- Any Trouble Wheels In Motion
Lonelyhearts- The Atlantics Lonelyhearts 7"
Lonely Hearts- Candy Whatever Happened To Fun
Another Nail For My Heart- Squeeze Singles: 45's and Under
*Valentine- Fools Face Tell America
*Valentines Day- Three Hour Tour Three Hour Tour - 1969
*A Valentine Song- The Outlets Whole New World
*Valentine- The Replacements Pleased To Meet Me
Heart Breaker- The Lonely Boys The Lonely Boys
Heartbreaker- Knots Heartbreaker 7"
Brokenhearted- Ray Paul & RPM Go Time
Heart- Ian North Neo LP
Lock On My Heart- The Zippers A Six Song Mini Album
>Heart- Barry & The Remains The Remains
Hearts Will Be Broken- The Records Crashes
Heartbeat- Jim Freeman & The Golden Gate Jumpers Romantic
Do You Wanna Break My Heart- The Sweat No More Running
You Broke My Heart- The Vibrators Pure Mania
I Could Break Your Heart- Oranjuly Oranjuly
Heart Of The City- Nick Lowe Jesus Of Cool
Heart On The Line- The Tearjerkers Murder Mystery 7"
Ways Of The Heart- The Cretones Thin Red Line
^Power Pop Peak: Get The Knack #1 Billboard 200 Summer 1979
*SacroSet: Valentine's Songs
>Power Pop Prototype: 1966
When I was working on this show last week I mentioned to Jaime that I had come up with a cool theme but before I could tell her what it was, she said "Oh, Valentine's Day." My response: "D'oh!" Of course it should be a Valentine's show, what was I thinking? So, after spending an hour or so on this other idea (which you'll hear in a future show) I went in a Valentine's direction. Here's where iTunes' power as a music database really comes in handy. A quick search on "Valentine" gave me the four songs in tonight's SacroSet and another search on "Heart" gave me about three shows worth of potential material. The interesting thing is that the vast majority of the songs were in the heart "broken" rather than heart "full of love" camp. For every "Heart" by Rockpile
Heart, why are you pounding like a hammer
Heart, why are you beating like a drum
Heart, why do you make such a commotion
When I'm waiting for my baby to come
There are about three or four songs like "Lonelyhearts" by The Atlantics:
I see fear and despair written all over your face
But it’s no disgrace, the life is lived below
You think that against you the entire world has sinned
Against the wall you’re pinned, while everyone throws stones
Lonely, lonely, lonely hearts
There’s nobody like lonely, lonely, lonely hearts
You know that I can hear your heartbeat
I know something’s going on
I can hear your heartbeat
On and on and on and on
In other words, heartbreak clearly carries the day. I don't know if this is because of how most relationships end (badly) or because bitterness and spite make for better songwriting inspiration (debatable). Maybe its because the recently jilted find themselves with more time on their hands and those not indulging revenge fantasies turn to songwriting for solace. Or to rub salt in the wound- myself, I've gone both ways.
I've always dismissed Valentine's Day as a modern marketing gimmick. In my case, I'm lucky because my wife's birthday is the week before so if I get the B-day right I can low key it on 14th. In any case, I was surprised to read that the first association of romantic love and 2/14 goes all the way back to a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer (the "Canterbury Tales" dude) in 1382 called Parlement of Foules:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was on Saint Valentine's Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
The Catholics even tried to put the kibosh on Valentine's Day in 1969 when the Pope deleted it from the General Roman Calendar, but it didn't take and the tradition lives on.
In my family 2/14 has extra significance as it is my paternal grandfather's birthday. My mom always loved the fact that a man with the last name "Love" was born on Valentine's Day. I am the third Frederick J. Love after my dad (Jr.) and my grandfather (Sr.); that's us in the picture above. When my dad decided to go and marry a Protestant, both the "III" moniker and my Catholic upbringing were iron clad non-negotiable.
We called my grandfather "Papa" and he was an amazing guy. When I was little he and Nana lived on the top floor of a double-decker on Ackers Ave in Brookline. I remember running up those back stairs so fast I had to put my hands down on the step in front of me to keep from falling. At the top, Papa always greeted my sister and I with the same exclamation of surprise: "FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!!!" (as if he had NO IDEA we were driving up from Brockton that afternoon). It was awesome. In every memory I have of Papa he is smiling, yet I don't think I have one picture of the man where he doesn't look like a member of the Whitey Bulger gang. Even when my mom recreated the picture above several years later, Papa still didn't crack a smile. (Though since it was a meticulous recreation from our array down to our wardrobe, perhaps Papa was just being true to the original.)
Though only a three bedroom apartment (four if you count the finished porch that was my dad's room), Nana & Papa's place seemed filled with mystery. A fancy living room and dining room (only used Christmas & Easter) with antique furniture, oriental rugs and several displays of Hummel figurines that were not to be touched on penalty of swift amputation. There was a cool old basement filled with tons of stuff Papa couldn't get rid of (he had a slight hoarding "issue"), but my favorite was the attic. Accessible by stairs off the back hallway, I was simultaneously scared of/thrilled by the attic. While most of the stuff "down cellar" was clearly junk, the attic had old clothes, furniture, pictures and the best part was: I could touch all of it as much as I wanted to.
As my family was about to leave, Papa always pulled me aside and, on the down low, gave me a sandwich bag full of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I have no idea how the man generated so much change, we visited a lot, but there it was and I loved it. I'd take the bag of change home, carefully count it out and put it in coin rolls my mom got from the bank. For some reason I never spent any of it and when I was away at Emerson freshman year, my parents unwrapped all the rolls (four or five coffee cans full) looking for rare coins. I can't remember if they found any but afterwards I was finally able to put the money in the bank. I wouldn't be surprised though if there is still an old coffee can full of rolled up change somewhere in my mom's house.
Along with his bags of change, "FOR THE LOVE OF PETE," and lifetime vanity license plate (72272) I also clearly remember the white box that always sat on Papa's kitchen table with "L.S./M.F.T." printed on it. I later learned this stood for "Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco." It's funny, I don't remember seeing him smoke, but that box was a fixture in the Brookline house. Papa eventually quit but those unfiltered Lucky's are a real bitch kitty and he died of lung cancer in 1982. Since my own kids never got to meet their paternal grandfather I consider myself very lucky to have so many great memories of mine. Happy Birthday Papa!
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