Posts Tagged ‘Connie Francis’

Taking A Few Days

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Summer’s dealt us an incredibly busy week, so Odd, Pop and I are going to take a few days away from the studios. See you Saturday.

In the meantime, here’s Connie Francis’ “Vacation” from 1962. It went to No. 9 in the late summer, and it’s got a sax solo from Boots Randolph right about the 1:20 mark.

Saturday Single No. 281

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

A couple of news stories popped up online this week about spring break. One of them, on the website of the Houston Chronicle, noted that hotel bookings on Texas’ South Padre Island were at 95 percent capacity this week. For the month of March, officials on the island said in the piece, about 45,000 young people are expected on the island.

That makes South Padre Island one of the chief sites this month for college students who want to wander on the beach, drink beer and, well, be college kids. Other prime locations for spring break these days include Panama City, Florida, and Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Less attractive, noted the piece in the Houston Chronicle and a few others I saw online, are the Mexican resorts – Cancún and the others – because of drug-related violence in Mexico. The Chronicle reported that earlier this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety “warned spring break visitors to avoid not just the tourist-centric northern border towns, but all of Mexico.”

(That’s probably prudent, but there’s no doubt it’s also good for the coffers of South Padre Island and anywhere else in Texas spring-breaking students might gather. Or is that too cynical a thought?)

I never went on spring break. At about this time during every one of my college years, buses sponsored by fraternities and sororities left St. Cloud packed with kids who wanted to party on the beaches. The destination then was Florida, usually either Fort Lauderdale or Daytona Beach, and I admit to wondering more than once, as winter quarter was drawing to a close, how much fun it would be to do spring break on the warm sands of Florida.

But wondering was as close as I got to Florida. For most of my college years, the interim between winter and spring quarters was spent in the campus library re-shelving books, sorting and stacking periodicals, doing equipment inventories and taking care of other mundane but necessary tasks. I was generally working with nice folks, though, so those days weren’t as drear as they might sound. (The one college year that was different, of course, was 1973-74; I spent that spring break wandering through Western Europe, racking up a little more than 5,000 miles on my rail pass, so that kind of makes up for the lack of beer and bikini-watching on the beaches during the other springs.)

Anyway, all of those news stories and thoughts in the past few days fit neatly with my exploration earlier this week of the Billboard Hot 100 from early March of 1961. I noted in that post that the only record from that week’s Top Ten that I recalled hearing at the time was Connie Francis’ “Where The Boys Are.” And as I looked at the history of spring break this morning, I checked out what Wikipedia had to say:

From the end of World War II until the 1980s, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was a notorious spring break destination in the United States for college students. . . . Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as a spring break destination for college students started when the Colgate University men’s swimming team went to practice there over break in 1935. Fort Lauderdale became even more popular due to the 1960 film Where the Boys Are, in which college girls met boys while on spring break there.

I don’t know how good a movie Where The Boys Are actually is, although Wikipedia notes that it “was one of the first teen films to explore adolescent sexuality and the changing sexual morals and attitudes among American college youth” and that it “won Laurel awards for Best Comedy of the Year and Best Comedy Actress (Paula Prentiss).”*

Whatever depth there might have been to the film, spring break in 1961 was about partying (and still is, according to the pictures that accompany the Houston Chronicle piece), and Connie Francis’ “Where The Boys Are” is traditional pop. It’s too sweet and too soft to be a party record (though it might be a nice slow dance). To find what might have been a good party song for Spring Break 1961, I turned to the March 6, 1961, Top Ten from radio station WCKR in Miami. (That survey was the only one from a Florida station in March 1961 that I could find at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive.)

Here’s what Miami (and, one might assume, Fort Lauderdale) was listening to fifty-one years ago:

“Pony Time” by Chubby Checker
“Surrender” by Elvis Presley
“There’s A Moon Out Tonight” by the Capris
“Where The Boys Are” by Connie Francis
“Dedicated To The One I Love” by the Shirelles
“Walk Right Back” by the Everly Brothers
“Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King
“Apache” by Jørgen Ingmann
“Shop Around” by the Miracles
“Think Twice” by Brook Benton

There are a few differences there from the Billboard Top Ten I looked at the other day, but the first five here all showed up there, too. And if one is looking for a party record, the No. 1 record on both charts is a pretty good choice. So, for spring breakers of all generations, Chubby Checker’s “Pony Time” is this week’s Saturday Single.

*The 1960 movie Where The Boys Are is available for viewing at YouTube for what seems a minimal cost. It’s also available through Netflix and, I would assume, other online services. I should note, too, that the movie was remade in 1984 with the imaginative title of Where The Boys Are ’84. The remake, I have read, is abysmal.