Prior to ’64 my transistor was for the Yankee games. And occasionally the Mets. I didn’t listen to music on the radio. That was for the living room, where my mother played show tunes. And in my bedroom occasionally, with 45s like the "Purple People Eater". But the Beatles changed everything. Suddenly, Tuesday night was for the Countdown, which I listened to on my leather-encased radio set down right next to my blotter as I did my homework.
I was addicted to the radio. I’d put it on my dresser, tuned into 77 WABC, while I fell asleep. Sometimes under the pillow itself. And if my father didn’t come into my room and turn it off when I awoke there’d be this faint sound in the morning, or the radio would be dead completely. I’d perform a test by removing the 9-volt battery from the unit and running its contact points across my tongue. If I got no jolt, it was time for a new one. And I had an endless stash in my drawer, ready for insertion, I couldn’t be without my tunes.
I had to hear the British Invasion acts. And the Beach Boys. And the Four Seasons. But listening to my radio other tracks would enrapture me. Sometimes the acts were new, other times they’d been around for years and were just new to me, like Gene Pitney.
The summer of ’64 was a hot one. I spent the month of July up at Fairfield Woods, the school at the end of our street. They had this summer program. You’d play baseball. And when it got too hot, checkers under the trees. I bonded with the college student who was the leader, we were buddies. But come lunch time, he’d get in his car and go off somewhere for a bite. I’d get on my candy apple Raleigh and ride home, into our newly-acquired air conditioning, for a little sustenance. And during the ride, I’d listen to my transistor, dangling from the handlebars, I was addicted.
And I was eager to hear the songs from "Hard Day’s Night". But another number I eagerly anticipated was Gene Pitney’s "It Hurts To Be In Love".
Some records only have one section that gets to you, that makes you play them again and again. "It Hurts To Be In Love" is an AMUSEMENT PARK of hooks. From the beginning drum roll to the organ solo in the break. But what I STILL can’t get past is the rushed words. Uttered so fast that some I didn’t even catch till I heard them on my iPod YESTERDAY! You know, when Gene sings "who’s not in love with you" so fast it sounds like one big word. NOBODY sang like this. And the rest of the words were sung with such emotion. God, the story was ECLIPSED by Pitney’s expression. It became about what HE was feeling, the words were irrelevant. This guy had the power IN HIM!
Still, as great as the rushes were, the chorus cements the number, brings it all together, makes the track a classic.
Day and night, night and day
It hurts to be in love this way
The funny thing is ANYBODY hearing Gene sing these above words would immediately fall in love with him, he’s IRRESISTIBLE!
Very few records still have the power they possessed when you first heard them, first got hooked. "It Hurts To Be In Love" is one. When it came up randomly on my iPod 1964 flashed before my eyes. I could FEEL IT!