Rhinofy-Summer Rain

All summer long, we spent dancin’ in the sand
And the jukebox kept on playin’
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

That’s your image of SoCal, I know. Beach bunnies and surfboards. Endless summer sunsets.

But the truth is that’s not the way it’s been this summer.

What has happened down here is the wind have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain

Actually, from the south. A tropical storm. And it’s been debated whether there will be any drought impact. You see it has to rain in the mountains to make a difference, as snow in the Sierras, and they did get some hail there, but next year’s predicted El Nino? They’re wondering if it’s going to be a southern affair.

And the truth is Randy Newman’s “Good Old Boys” was not a raging success. Got a ton of hype, back when there were fewer albums and it made more of a difference, but this was before his hits, before “Short People” and “I Love L.A.,” and the only people who bought “Good Old Boys” were fans, and there weren’t many of them.

And then something strange happened. “Louisiana 1927” became the soundtrack to Katrina. As if Randy Newman predicted it. I’m sure he got a chuckle out of that, despite the tragedy.

But the truth is whenever it rains in L.A., which is rare, I sing Randy’s song. Now it’s everybody’s song. But I was there first!

The next time you see L.A. rain clouds
Don’t complain, it rains for you and me

That’s from “Mamunia,” the opening cut on the second side of “Band On The Run.”

People forget that McCartney was in kind of a lull. His debut was a smash, albeit not as big as a Beatles record and ultimately competing with “Let It Be,” but what came after…

“Ram” wasn’t as good, but compared to what’s issued today…

And then the execrable “Wild Life.” Nobody bought it, nobody listened to it.

And then “Red Rose Speedway.” With its sappy, syrupy “My Love,” which was so overplayed as to make you puke. However, “Red Rose Speedway”‘s opening cut, “Big Barn Bed,” may be forgotten today but it contains Paul’s essence, just listen to the vocal!

Still, the album didn’t sell so well.

And then came “Band On The Run.”

Expectations were low. “Helen Wheels” was stripped in, to ensure some sales.

But then “Rolling Stone” declared it to be one of the albums of the year and I laid my money down and the opening track blew me away.

That’s right, once upon a time “Band On The Run,” the track, was unknown, just like “Hotel California” three years later. These were not the songs the label led with, so you only knew them if you purchased the albums… You’ve got no idea what it was like to drop the needle on “Hotel California” and hear it for the very first time, same deal with “Band On The Run.” You had no frame of reference. You were hanging out there alone. And when it was done you found yourself in a cocoon of excellence desirous of telling everybody you knew.

Anyway, it was back when we still played albums, so I knew “Mamunia” by heart, and I sing the above lyrics when it rains in L.A. too. Sometimes before “Louisiana 1927,” sometimes after.

But this summer I’m singing Johnny Rivers’s “Summer Rain.”

Summer rain taps at my window
West wind soft as a sweet dream
My love warm as the sunshine
Sittin’ here by me, she’s here by me

“Summer Rain” was a hit in the winter. Kind of like “Summer Breeze” was a hit over Thanksgiving. People forget this stuff, but not me, not me.

And “Summer Rain” reminded me of all the good times during July and August, camp and trips and…

Listening to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Which I did for a week that summer, when my parents were in Europe and I stayed at Michael Meltzer’s house before we left for Philmont, it was the only record I had.

She stepped out of a rainbow
Golden hair shinin’ like moon glow
Warm lips soft as a soul
Sittin’ here by me, she’s here by me

That’s what’s been lost in the transition to now, the optimism of the sixties. That’s right, the decade of turmoil was inundated with hope. We believed things would only get better. With the music and our significant other by our side.

We sailed into the sunset
Drifted home, caught by a gulf stream
Never gave a thought for tomorrow
Just let tomorrow be, now, let tomorrow be

Ain’t that a joke. People tell you to live in the moment. Not anymore, if you’re not moving forward today you’re going backward. And you don’t want to be left behind. But back then, our public education and our middle class values were all we needed to get along, we were caught up in the now, knowing tomorrow was full of possibilities, when we eventually got there.

She wants to live in the Rockies
She says that’s where we’ll find peace
Settle down, raise up a family
To call our own, yeah, we’ll have a home

This was back before airline deregulation. You might have lived in the Rockies, if not, you hadn’t been there.

And we all wanted peace. Today, everybody’s a warmonger.

And the song portends the seventies, when we all settled down, looked in as opposed to out, forgot about the Great Society and just tried to survive.

The snow drifts by my window
North wind blowin’ like thunder
Our love’s burnin’ like fire
And she’s here by me, yeah, she’s here with me
Let tomorrow be

If it rains in the summer, we’ve already broken the July record, does that mean it will snow in the winter?

Doubtful. All bets are off. Climate change has us wonderin’.

But this great big world keeps turnin’. And there’s something new around each and every corner. But what gets us through is our music and loved ones.

While we watch the summer rain slide down our windows and contemplate…

How did it come to this?

Rhinofy-Summer Rain

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