Shoo-wop, doo wop. That was me today. I just happened to be playing The Commitments soundtrack when I suddenly found myself on stage in front of my sons. The living room faded back and there I was, on American Bandstand, in some short sparkly dress with lots of fringe and a bee-hive up to here. But I wasn’t alone; there was another bee-hived chick in perfect sync with me while some outrageously talented more beautiful performer, with an even more sparkly dress, was up front at the mike. Me and the other chick were shoo-bee-do-wopping, doing the pony, the jerk and had perfect harmony. We were snapping and clapping our hearts out and just so cooooool. Both of my sons became a mosh pit in front of me, thrashing about probably exactly the way their mommy was thrashing about in real life. But in my mind, I was a back-up singer, I knew every move and Dick Clark knew our latest hit was going right to the top. Shoop shoop, doo wop, wop-wop.
Yeah, so I’m coming clean. I have always fantasized about being a back-up singer. NOT the lead singer, hell no. I have no hope what-so-ever at that. But maybe I could do the dance, shoo-wop thing and that would just absolutely rock. And I’m NOT talking about being a back-up for any current day Fergalicious types (My Humps just don’t have it in them). I’m talking about The Supremes and The Ronnettes. Or my personal favs, those bad ass babes: The Shangri-Las. They sang such masterpieces at “Leader of the Pack” and “Give him a Great Big Kiss” . The Shangri-Las were so cool, they talked about going for the bad guy, and smoking and ignoring their parents. And, of course, I will absolutely dare to dream that I could become… drum roll, please… a Tina Tuner back up singer/dancer… (cue angel voices and bright light shining down on Tina warming up to “Proud Mary”) Now THAT is the ultimate, most out of hand, coolest back-up gig there is, right? And I am THERE…. “Rollin’… rollin’…. Rollin’ on the river…”
It all started way way waaaay back in middle school. A very close friend and I fell madly in love with 60s girl groups. We obsessed over our taped mixes, wrote the names of our favorites 60s songs on our paper-covered text books, danced and sang in the school halls (ruining any possibility of boy interest within a 10 mile radius) and I think I even sewed my mom’s old letter from her high school years onto an old white cardigan. And then we took it a step further. She and I tactfully coerced a crew of innocent 7th grade classmates to perform in the school’s talent show. We put together a dance to “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels. Yup, we got up there and we shoo-wopped. A lot. I think one of us fell. CRIIIIINGE. But we thought we were the BOMB.
However, in my sophomore year of college, my dream kinda came true. After a shaky audition, one very nice classmate actually chose me to be a part of an incredibly cool A Capella group (they needed bodies after a high turn over of seniors left the year before, I swear to you). God love her because I couldn’t read a stitch of music and could baaaarely harmonize at all. Solos up front? Ha! Not a chance, my voice shook so bad it would just disappear. But for a few years, I sort’ve, kind of, got to live out my dream. I swayed and snapped and put my heart into my important little percussion parts. I was at every practice, I could care LESS about any diva moments up front – I had HEART, dammit – and I adored every hopefully harmonized second of it. Ah, those were the days; I got my day in the sun.
Well, anyway, I’ve got my boys now. They will be subject to such shoo-wopping torment for many many years to come. They can be my personal Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan. And my husband will probably walk in on this fiasco, throw his hands up – unable to stop the force of the doo-wop – and just enjoy the show. But I do fear that as my sons grow up, and this routine begins to wear on my husband, I may ruin any possibility of a boy coming within a 10 mile radius of me… yet again.