January 25, 2013

Let's dance like it's 1958 in Idaho.



That's nice and slow. I think you can all learn that, and I think it would be nice if kids today learned that dance, maybe in gym class. I think it would help them in many ways. And feel free to dress like that, even unironically.

I found that because YouTube suggested it after I watched this 1965 clip from the TV show "Hollywood a Go-Go" with Del Shannon singing "Runaway" and the "Hollywood a Go-Go" go go dancers were dancing around him doing some dance that represented running away, even though their forward motion only took them in a circle so they never got away. It's faster and more frenetic dancing, but I think you might be able to figure out the moves, even though we never get to see the feet.

Seemingly bridging the time gap between the first and second video — and also suggested by YouTube — here's Little Eva singing about the brand-new dance "The Loco-Motion." I say "seemingly" because it looks early 60s and the "Runaway" dance looks later 60s, but in fact, both clips are from 1965. A lot of old and new intersected in 1965. Personally, I was 14 years old, and I was rooting for progress. I watched "Hollywood a Go-Go" and "Shindig" (the show Little Eva's on), and I tuned in hoping to see British invasion stuff like The Kinks or folk rock stuff like The Byrds. I would have regarded Del Shannon as an intrusion from the pre-Beatles era. "Runaway" was a hit in 1961. It was one of the singles we played at slumber parties when we were children.

"The Loco-Motion" was a hit in 1962. Little Eva — Eva Narcissus Boyd — was a maid who also worked as a babysitter for Carole King and Gerry Goffin: "It is often claimed that Goffin and King were amused by Boyd's individual dancing style, so they wrote 'The Loco-Motion' for her" — but maybe that's not true. Little Eva doesn't look too interested in dancing in that "Shindig" clip. The notorious song "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)" was based on what Little Eva told Carole King about her relationship with her boyfriend. That song was originally recorded by The Crystals — produced by the not-yet-a-murderer Phil Spector — and in recent years, it's been covered by Courtney Love and Grizzly Bear — with some unknown degree of irony.

78 comments:

edutcher said...

What Idaho? They strolled on Bandstand, too (you didn't watch when you came home from school in Dover or Wilmington or wherever?). There were a lot of dances like that back then.

Mr. D said...

Idaho? Map on the back wall looks like Iowa to me.

Carol said...

I think the boomers and younger generations are at a severe disadvantage for never really learning to dance. Young women now have to dance with each other, while the guys sit at the buddy bar, looking at their iPhones. It's really dysfunctional socially.

Meanwhile, the elderly and the younger people humble enough to take the free dance lessons commonly offered at country joints live a rich and healthy social life.

Oh, I know, you all are too cool for that. And you might look stupid and stuff.

madAsHell said...

So.....the baby boom was just a lot of people being awkward at the same time while listening to music.

Sorun said...

When you stare at your partner's feet while dancing, she thinks you're staring at her boobs.

Shouting Thomas said...

The great goal of every generation is to invent a new dance, so they don't dance like their parents.

In the same vein, women dread wearing the same style panties as their mothers wore, lest they be condemned to screw in the same manner as their mothers.

Robert Cook said...

I am shy, and was almost pathologically so as a child, so the idea of taking etiquette classes--or more pertinent to this post--dancing classes would have been a horror for me, but...as an adult, I think the old practice from generations ago of having young people take such classes is a good one and should be revived.

The purpose of learning etiquette is not to force arbitrary rules of behavior on "free" and "uninhibited" youngsters, but to free us from the unease and uncertainty of how to behave in unfamiliar social situations. When we share knowledge of the appropriate rehearsed and practiced social niceties--what to say, how to act, which utensils to use, etc.--we can go into any social event, even where we may know no one, and operate with a degree of ease, as we are rehearsed in how to behave.

Dancing classes are an extension of this. It teaches us to be relaxed and at ease with strangers of the opposite sex, and provides a means of interacting with those others without having to know them well enough to engage them in more-than-cursory conversation.

Surfed said...
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MathMom said...

What does it mean to dress "ironically"?

MathMom said...

What does it mean to dress "ironically"?

Mitchell the Bat said...

Not knowing at all how to dance, at discos I'd fake it by spotting a black guy and doing whatever he did.

At rock clubs, I'd just get hammered.

Surfed said...

My girl and I shag dance - it's a slow version of jitterbugging where the top half of the body stays still and the hands stay connected as if on the top of a fence post. It's a South East coastal dance invented by black and white teenagers in Myrtle Beach in 1948. The Klan soon put a stop to white and black teenagers dancing together in post WWII South Carolina. Anways, we dance to Beach Music (Embers, Tams, Swingin' Medallions, etc.). I caused a stir with some English girls back in the early 90's when I asked one if she wanted to "shag". They all thought that was quite something else to be asked to shag publicly having, of course, no idea it was a local dance. And, most importantly, you don't wear socks with your Bass Weejun penny loafers. That would be outre.

EMD said...

So Courtney Love has a tag, but not Grizzly Bear?

McTriumph said...

Weejuns without socks, the Ivy "go to hell look".

Robert Cook said...

Dressing "ironically" is where one who thinks himself clever or "hip" wears out-of-fashion, possibly ugly clothing on purpose. It's a way of mocking the taste and style of a previous generation or social class, or saying, "I'm so hip and stylish I can get away with wearing this ugly outfit." In time, it becomes the style among the cohort of young hipsters, as, for example, the wearing of big plastic eyeglass frames of the style that were popular in the 50s or early 60s, and mismatched patterns, and so on.

This originated with aspiring artists, writers and musicians in big cities who, not having much money, shopped at thrift stores for their clothing, making their own fashion from the cheap cast-offs available to them. No irony was intended at all.

Shouting Thomas said...

Once again, I recommend the TV show "Portlandia."

Great show for people who were adolescents in the 90s, and yearn nostalgic for that period.

Just like we Boomers (including Althouse) think that the whole world centers around our adolescence... Surprise! Kids who were adolescents in the 90s think the same thing about their era!

Everything was completely revolutionary! In the 90s!

AllenS said...

That was back when men were men and women were women, and there wasn't any of that blurry fuzzy bullshit gender this or that nonsense.

David said...

It's teen abuse.

These kids were terrified.

traditionalguy said...

The dances becoming popular today have Latin beats,such as Mambo and Merengue.

My most fun are still the Waltz, followed by the Shag and East Coast swing. But dance teachers are mostly into the Latin beats now. The Cha Cha is an old time favorite.

The studios put on group classes for an hour followed by a dance open to all partners. You can try new partners working on the new dance moves.

The best teachers are the Russian immigrants. Dance in the old USSR was a prized skill.

David said...

And why weren't they doing the mashed potato in Idaho?

yashu said...

Rufus Thomas teaches us to do the funky chicken.

David said...

The Runaway clip may be from 1964 but that song was a hit in 1961. Last year of high school. We drove from Pennsylvania to Ft. Lauderdale in a Ford Falcon station wagon over spring break. That song played all day every day on every station. God how I hated that song.

We were very cool though. Very cool. In our Ford Falcon station wagon.

Sorun said...

"That was back when men were men and women were women, and there wasn't any of that blurry fuzzy bullshit gender this or that nonsense."

Dance classes today have "leads and follows," rather than men and women.

bagoh20 said...

At that time, I was first trimester, and mom loved to dance, so yea, I remember it well. Got out just in time to avoid the uterine Twist. Some of my younger friends were probably damaged by that since many ended up criminals.

john said...

Cookie, well put.

We who were taught to dance by nuns fairly quickly came around to the realization that the training in etiquette and dance steps -- even the embarrassment of the 12-inch chest separation measurement -- removed a lot of anxiety as we entered new social situations.

Now we are 2 generations removed from those social skills lessions. I don't see teachers today being able or willing to fill that role.

McTriumph said...

Always loved "The Loco-motion" and "Runaway" isn't bad, both classics. Was a hoot watching the go-go dancers doing "the pony" circling Del Shannon.

deborah said...

That clip is so damn sweet.

When I was a teen, my mom tried to teach me to jitterbug, but I was too much of a klutz to get it. Later, still in my teens, a guy tried to teach me the Texas Two-Step. Couldn't get it, too self-conscious.

Anyway here's a great jitter-bug clip from a good movie.

yashu said...

Rufus Thomas teaches us to do the funky chicken.

David said...

The fate of Little Eva (from Wikipedia):

"She continued to tour and record throughout the sixties, but her commercial potential plummeted after 1964. She retired from the music industry in 1971. She never owned the rights to her recordings. Although the prevailing rumor in the 1970s was that she had received only $50 for "The Loco-Motion," it seems $50 was actually her weekly salary at the time she made her records (an increase of $15 from what Goffin and King had been paying her as nanny). Penniless, she moved her three young children to South Carolina, where they lived in obscurity on menial jobs and welfare.

Died at age 59 of cervical cancer.

DADvocate said...

I like the kind of "waaaah" sound in the song.

deborah said...

Ultimately, dancing is formalized touching, allowing you to assess a potential mate.

bagoh20 said...

They may have had the contractual right to do it, but I don't know how they could let some of those stars that made them rich go unrewarded. It's pretty damned despicable.

Robert Cook said...

"They may have had the contractual right to do it, but I don't know how they could let some of those stars that made them rich go unrewarded. It's pretty damned despicable."

Hey...that's the record biz as it was until it collapsed. Much of the record and music biz has always been tied up intimately with the Mafia.

bagoh20 said...

Little Eva was pretty hot.

Anne B. said...

Robert Cook: Amen, amen to what you said. I was a shy kid too, and wish that I could have been steered into an etiquette or social-dance class - just knowing *what to do* would have been a great help in public situations.

It didn't help that I'm the same age as Ms. Althouse, and the dancing of the period was just the stand-in-place-and-shake-your-butt stuff. I never even attempted that - too scared of looking silly.

My husband and I finally learned to dance in our 50s- took a basic class that covered swing, fox-trot, waltz. We took along our youngest son (now 15) who turned out to have a surprising aptitude for it. In fact, we went to a swing evening at Summerdance Chicago last year, and Son had no trouble finding partners. They seemed to be mostly twentysomethings, who looked a little surprised when "Dad" hove into view and told Son that it was time to go home ;-)

Shouting Thomas said...

Hey...that's the record biz as it was until it collapsed. Much of the record and music biz has always been tied up intimately with the Mafia.

Lots of musicians I know yearn nostalgic for the Mafia era!

At least you made some money.

McTriumph said...

deborah
Technically the "jitter-bug" isn't a dance, it's a term coined by Cab Callaway to describe dancers swing dancing, "they look like jitter-bugs". I loved the clip, thanks.

traditionalguy said...

I remember the Stroll as a one song gimmick dance in 1958 which was the summer of age 13 for me.

Which brings to mind the memories of groups of friends that danced it. A few are left around and we are having our 50th High School Class re-union this year. We may compare dance steps, but I doubt that the Stroll will not be one of them.

30yearProf said...

The Twist by Chubby Checkers which came out in 1960 killed off dancing.

Before that you held on to your partner, anced in sync with her, did twists and dips, etc. all while holding at least one hand. It was a couple moving together. That is, dancing.

Thw Twist was a solitary dance. each partner stood by themselves with no contact and twisted and wiggled, and shimmied by themselves. There was no touching, looking, or coordination.

Each person (not partner) was on their own moving to the music in their own head, often not even looking at their companion.

Compared to pre-1960 dancing, it was aroebic exercise but not a sharing of bodies and mood.

Does anyone slow dance anymore?

deborah said...
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kentuckyliz said...

My nephew swing dances, is an Elementary Ed major, and goes to a 70% female university.

He's smart like that.

deborah said...

Thanks for the clarification, McT :)

McTriumph said...

"At least you made some money."

Most musicians never made any real money, except the most talented and lucky. Unfortunately, the number of venues have shrunk. Think of the number of wedding, school dances or local bars that have DJs now. When was in high school in the late 60s, had there been a DJ at a the weekly school dance there would have been a riot.

chickelit said...

30yearProf observed: "The Twist by Chubby Checkers which came out in 1960 killed off dancing."

Goodbye, social intercourse:

It changed forever the way we dance. Arriving at the dawn of that decade of liberation, the swinging '60s, the Twist not only emancipated dancers from their partners, and from a host of social conventions into the bargain, but put an end to the awful tyranny of ability: It took almost no time or talent to learn the basics. 'Put out a cigarette with both feet, wiping off your bottom with a towel,' instructed Checker. It was the dance everyone could do, and - so it would seem - everyone did. link

William said...

There are people on earth who actually enjoy dancing and seek out opportunities to go dancing. It takes all kinds to make a world.....My guess is that most of those Idaho kids don't belong to that subset. Solid citizens. They probably got married young so that they duck out of the excruciating courtship rituals and get on with the real pleasures of life.

yashu said...

In honor of last night's Gatsby sentence, some Roaring 20s dancing.

deborah said...

Not exactly, 30yearProf.

McTriumph said...

I was lucky I grew up in a large family, mostly girls, everyone danced. My mother and father taught me to be a gentleman. My older sisters taught me that "cool" guys known how to dress and dance, especially slow dance, "don't rock back and forth, take them for an adventure." My sisters' college friends taught me how to kiss and other things. Life is good.

Guimo said...

Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen will reign as the all-time archetypal hit representing the 1960s. It came out immediately after the JFK assasination and just in time for the Great Society and Vietnam. Need I say anymore?

hombre said...

Can't revive this. Kids who don't dance well would be in the spotlight and might realize they are not exceptional in every way.

That just won't do.

deborah said...

Not exactly, 30yearProf.

McTriumph said...

My all time favorite Ginger and Astaire dance numbers. Why? Because, it's one of the few Ginger doesn't wear a floor length evening dress, you get to see her legs. Yes, beautiful legs, check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxPgplMujzQ

edutcher said...

Cook, on the shyness thing, I hear ya.

30yearProf said...

The Twist by Chubby Checkers which came out in 1960 killed off dancing.

Hank Ballard had it first, mid 50s.

Ernie just had the big hit (mostly after the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Nazis that they were) were seen going into the Peppermint Lounge).

Scott M said...

Since this is about dancing and 1958, I strongly suggest everyone read Stephen King's "11/23/63".

Dancing is life.

I got to the point that I just couldn't stand reading him anymore, but someone got this for me on audiobook and I'm a sucker for time travel stories. This one was excellent.

Robert said...

Second dude down the line. That's gotta be that Bieber kid.

chickelit said...

@Deborah: For sure it was danceable--that was the whole point. But notice too that the partners stopped touching.

Ann Althouse said...

"What Idaho? They strolled on Bandstand, too (you didn't watch when you came home from school in Dover or Wilmington or wherever?)."

Did you watch that clip? If not, please do and get back to me about the comparison to Bandstand.

Of course I watched Bandstand... even at the point when it was a local Philadelphia show.

Ann Althouse said...

"Was a hoot watching the go-go dancers doing "the pony" circling Del Shannon."

I was wondering if what they were doing with their feet was some variation of The Pony. Normally, The Pony doesn't take you forward. You stay in one place.

Since the camera never backs up and shows the feet... maybe they didn't really have the lower part worked out.

In a lot of these 60s dances, not only did you stay in one spot, but often there were no steps at all and the feet were riveted in place. The rest of the body is what moved.

I think The Twist started that nailed-in-place approach.

Ann Althouse said...

"In the same vein, women dread wearing the same style panties as their mothers wore, lest they be condemned to screw in the same manner as their mothers."

Who thinks about her/his mother fucking?

You need to get that idea out of your head, son.

Surfed said...

Anybody remember the "Dog" and the "Dirty Dog"? Not that we ever did it, but it was always said that if you did the "dog" you would get thrown out of the dance! Nowadays at school dances the kids rush to form ten- 15 deep around two dancers grinding each other. Phalus to butocks. By the time the chaperones/adults push their way through the crowd the grinders stop and there's nothing going on...

CWJ said...

Robert Cook, thank you for your first comment. My mother took me to dancing/etiquette classes when I was maybe eight or nine or so. Dressed up little man wearing gloves learning the box step and waltz, and how to get a girl a glass of punch without staining the aforementioned gloves. It was a chore for me at the time, but I still remember it all and elements of it are still of use to this very day. I sometimes wonder if the little girls with whom I danced and for whom I fetched punch, got as much value. We were definitely taught different ways to behave.

You know, sometimes its very very important to remember that we are social animals with a long long learning period. The sophisticated would love to keep harping on the arbitrariness and controlling nature of middle class values. But the very normative nature of those conventions allowed us all to learn and function without fear. We toss them away in our sophistication at our peril.

Once again thank you Robert Cook.

d said...

True, chick, but my beef with Prof was:

"There was no touching, looking, or coordination."

There was definitely looking and coordination (interplay). And it was a blast.

deborah said...

Oops, that's me, d ^^^

Robert Cook said...

CWJ...

No thanks are necessary, but you're welcome just the same. As I say, I would have been terrified if my parent had told me they were going to have me take such classes, but they would have been a great boon to me and I wish, in retrospect, they would have made me do it. (I was scared when they told me I had to join the Cub Scouts, but I enjoyed it after I was in. I never went on to Boy Scouts, though.)

It would be beneficial for all of us if so many young people had been and were today made to take such classes.

veni vidi vici said...

1965 brought us the finest specimen of Elwood Engel's iconic Lincoln Continental 4-door.

For that reason alone, 1965 deserves to be remembered as a magnificent year.

veni vidi vici said...

1965 brought us the finest specimen of Elwood Engel's iconic Lincoln Continental 4-door.

For that reason alone, 1965 deserves to be remembered as a magnificent year.

Triangle Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Triangle Man said...

Music and dancing both moved on from the Stroll. Once you've done this, you can never go back

MathMom said...

Thank you, Robert Cook! I understand the idea about dressing ironically now.

I appreciate you taking the time to write it all out for me.

I think there is more than a soupçon of self-love and mirror kissing involved in this today, eh?

MathMom said...

Probably sneering, too.

McTriumph said...

Surfed
The Dirty Dog
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELlrTMeWl0c

The alligator
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U74I15exr8o

Erika said...

Robert at 10:30, I couldn't agree more. I am shy and introverted as well and I was around 30 before I learned enough social graces to feel comfortable in almost all situations. Wish we still had codified manners for the comfort of everyone.

And Althouse beat me to it, Thomas--I was going to remark (affectionately) that you have this weird quirk of assuming universality in regards to your various observations on sex & romance. I assure you that your concerns about the implications of generational underwear are yours and yours alone.

deborah said...

MathMom, Althouse had a related post a while back:

http://althouse.blogspot.com
/2012/11/do-you-
surround-yourself-
with-things.html

MathMom said...

deborah - Thanks to you, too, for the tutorial!

One line in the article really stood out for me: For many Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s — members of Generation Y, or Millennials — particularly middle-class Caucasians, irony is the primary mode with which daily life is dealt.

My son was born in 1990. He is a rocket scientist. He doesn't have time for irony - he's got rockets to launch.

My guess is that he makes more than those who spend their life's precious seconds worrying about irony, as well.

Or...maybe I need to get him a pocket protector?

Poly stick said...

Thanks for the clear instructions. As someone who has been involved in floor refinishing, I have an appreciation for how much work this was but it sure was worth it. The floor looks beautiful.


Polystick

Goju said...

YouTube is also a great place for Roy Buchanon, Danny Gatton and Gary Moore videos and music. God wishes he could play like Roy.

Goju said...

The Messiah is Going To Come. Unreal how he does it without wah wah pedals and other electronic aids. Just Roy and his Tele.

Professor, for a truly old school sound check out Roy. He will make you cry.

دردشة ومنتديات عراقنا said...

thank you
ابراج يوم السبت