Baby, The Rain Must Fall

In that eerie twilight after the sun sets, just before total darkness descends, I heard this string flourish come out of the speakers that I hadn’t heard in decades but was as familiar as my foot.  It was part of me.  Kind of like running into an old friend from summer camp, who you spent every summer with for years, "Baby, The Rain Must Fall" brought me right back, with instant familiarity.  I thought I was in touch with my personal history from the sixties.  I was wrong.  This song brought back long dormant memories.  Of doing my homework in the winter of ’65, when this record emanated from the leather-clad transistor next to my blotter.

Before you drive, you’re just a passenger.  While your mom steers, and only my mom would allow us to play WABC in the car, you look out the window and daydream as the songs wash over you.  And in 1965, it wasn’t only rock and roll on the radio, but all kinds of strange stuff in between the latest British Invasion hits.

I looked down at the readout…Glen Yarbrough.  That’s right.  I heard it backannounced ad infinitum.  But not for years.

"Baby, The Rain Must Fall" is the anti-rap.  Play this for today’s youngsters and they’ll cover their ears.  This isn’t Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd.  This is old fogey music.  And we thought so too.  But we weren’t so removed from the past, our world wasn’t sliced into such narrow niches, that we couldn’t allow the curious, oftentimes strange and bizarre, in.  And with repeated plays, we got hooked.

Sure, Glen didn’t write the song.  It’s a performance.  But it’s got the feel of a movie.  Maybe because it was written by Elmer Bernstein, for a movie.  But I never saw it.  Flicks weren’t the blockbusters of today.  Sure, eventually they made it to "Saturday Night At The Movies", but that was years on.  Maybe when you were already in college.  The song, it had an identity all its own.

"Baby, The Rain Must Fall" makes me feel powerful, in a manly kind of way.  Like I’m equal to every other human being on the planet, and I have to fight my way forward, not with technology, but my physicality and my intellect.  We still rode bikes with baseball caps, we had never heard the term "playdate".  Our imaginations ruled.  And they were filled by songs like "Baby, The Rain Must Fall".

"Baby, The Rain Must Fall" was not on my iPod.  I’d never downloaded it.  I hadn’t thought of it.  I had to be reminded of it by the radio, XM Radio’s "Sixties on 6".

Radio is a powerful medium.  But it became so beholden to advertisers and research that it lost its hold upon its audience.  Radio is much more powerful than television.  If it’s done right.  And it’s never done right musically on terrestrial anymore.

XM and Sirius will merge.  And talent payments will drop dramatically.  But maybe the resulting company will gain traction.  And, if it has the breadth of programming of XM, if it’s vital, not a service, but a religion, numerous newbies will be enthralled.  We’ll be in a new golden era.

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