I wear many hats. Sometimes I’m wearing two at a time, but having fun anyway. One hat allows me to select musical acts for our local concert association. We have eight concerts a year and a subscription for the series is $80…can’t beat that math for each concert.
This Sunday I was happy to book the “Four Preps.” They will sound as good as ever. The original lead singer, Bruce Belland, is still belting out those great hits of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. He formed the group at Hollywood High School in 1954. His “new guys” in the group are long time singers with the Crew Cuts and Diamonds. They had many great hits: Big Man, Down By The Station, My Special Angel, It Ain’t Never, Lollipops and Roses, Got A Girl, Lazy Sumner and many more. They sold over 100 million records.
The song that was their first hit, 26 Miles, is still selling and fast approaching 28 million sales. That song was #1 in 1957. Three guys were listening to that song every day on the top 40, or top 20 or Big Countdown…whatever your rock and roll stations were spinning. Three guys all were moved by that song—moved deeply. The three guys didn’t know each other. They lived in different areas of the country
One was an 11year old kid in Mobile, Alabama. He was learning to play the trombone in junior high, getting ready to enter St. Ingnatius High School and played that trombone in the band. When he was 11, “26 Miles” was number one and he became inspired by that song and dedicated his life to music. He remembers that song being his first musical inspiration.
The second kid was a teen in high school in Hawthorn, California. He sang in the high school chorus and in church choir. He knew his life was going to be a musical journey but when he heard the song, “26 Miles” he was inspired to create a new type of music.
The third kid was a teen in high school in Lafayette, Indiana. He had a pop band already formed and was playing keyboards with the first rock and roll band in town. It was called Jerry Cassidy and the Night Beats. When he heard the song, “26 Miles” he knew he was in love. First Love. When he would walk that cute red-head home the 3 miles after school, the first two miles he was singing “26 Miles.”
So music can change our lives. It can make kids smarter, It can inspire some kids. It can help others to fall in love. That’s what happened to those three guys. Jimmy Buffett, Brian Wilson and me.