The year 1964 was an incredible year for music. In 1963, I had become a Beach Boys fan based on 1962's hit "Surfin Safari" and 1963's "Surfin U.S.A." and in 1964, they had released their hit, "I Get Around." The Four Season's also did multi-part harmonies and had hits with "Rag Doll," and "Dawn" that year. Jan and Dean were also promoting the Southern California surfing culture with "Dead Man's Curve." and "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena." This was the first year I heard of a woman named Barbara Streisand when she had a hit with her song, "People" and probably the first time I heard of Louis Armstrong when he put out "Hello, Dolly." Dean Martin had "Everybody Loves Somebody." The Supremes were still fairly new and had a couple of the top songs that year, including, "Baby Love," and "Where Did Our Love Go." Dionne Warwick sang, "Walk on By" and Lesley Gore sang, "You Don't Own Me."
"Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen had us all listening closely to the lyrics, trying to figure out why they were "dirty" or risqué. I'm not sure we ever figured that out but at the time, the song supposedly had off color lyrics. Whenever I tried to find those lyrics, it just seemed like they were too garbled to understand.
Of course, the biggest event in music that year happened the night of February 9th, 1964 when Ed Sullivan introduced "The Beatles" on his show. We had already heard "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Twist and Shout" on the radio but seeing them, live, on T.V., was one of the biggest events in my life. Sixty percent of the countries' televisions were tuned to Ed Sullivan that night. Seventy-three million of us saw them open with "All My Loving." While nothing in music would ever be the same, many of us look back to that time and feel that nothing in our lives would ever be the same. The Beatles had an incredible impact on a country that was still mourning the loss of their President, John Kennedy, who had just been assassinated only seventy-seven days before.
This was only the beginning of "The British Invasion." The Beatles would dominate the charts for years to come. In 1964, they had hits with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," "A Hard Day's Night," "Love Me Do," "Please, Please Me," "Twist and Shout," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Do You Want to Know a Secret," and "I Saw Her Standing There." Later that year, in July, they would release their first film, "Hard Day's Night," which I would see in Toppenish.
Other groups from "The British Invasion" were Manfred Mann with "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," The Dave Clark Five with "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," and "Do You Love Me." The Animals had "House of the Rising Sun." Gerry and the Pacemakers had "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." The Kinks did "You Really Got Me."
After the Beatles had made their three appearances on The Ed Sullivan show, Roger and I formed our band, The Luv Please. "Luv" was a term British invaders used when addressing young girls. Roger played lead and was actually a good musician. I beat on the drums and looked cute, although I was never a great drummer. Mark Heideman, high school friend of Roger's, played bass guitar. I can't remember the name of the guy that played rhythm guitar but was reminded recently that there was another guy named Roger that played rhythm briefly but was eventually replaced by a guy named Barry. We all sang, although my brother, Roger, probably did most of the singing.
We played at school dances, malls, battle of the bands and wherever else we could. I think Darlene said we played at her wedding although I have no recollection of that. Maybe we played somewhere on the evening of her wedding.
We got some publicity when I got kicked out of school and I think that probably contributed to our opportunities. The t.v. crew that came to the house to film the news story about me getting kicked out of school, also let us know of an opportunity to play in San Diego. This was the biggest event that we played at during the time we were together as a band. As I have said before many times, our lives were constant chaos and somehow, I was back in Toppenish at some point and Roger was going to just play the event with the rest of The Luv Please and a different drummer. For some reason, which was a bit out of character, my dad and his wife, Irene, decided to drive Donna, David, Hebert and myself down to San Diego for this event. I think my Dad and Irene were drinking along the way and we stopped and stayed at sleazy, no-brand motels- the kinds of places you could probably rent by the hour. We did make it to San Diego and I was able to participate in the event, although I did not play drums. I think that was the last time I was part of The Luv Please and it wasn't long after this that Roger went on to participate in other bands. He continued to play music through the rest of his life. More about Roger and his music can be found here: http://lifestoriesnetwork.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=109:roger-videos
We also recorded a little "45" record of a couple of our original songs which would eventually be lost when my mom's cedar chest was stolen. The band was much fun but also work. Roger was a task master and pushed the rest of us to be more serious about our instruments. He wanted us to practice, practice, practice.
In January of 1966, according to a letter from Barbie McHenry, I found from the time, Roger and I were living at 1019 E. Pennsylvania Avenue in Escondido. I believe that this must have been with my aunt Ole and my cousin, Gail, who had come down to Escondido to live for a while. I'm not sure if they had come down to get away from the cold Spokane winter or were there specifically to keep an eye on Roger and I. It seems to me that they had actually lived in Escondido a couple of different times but I am not sure as I am writing this.
I know we lived with Ole and Gail when Roger and I had a rollover accident in his '57 Chevy station wagon. We were coming back to
Escondido from Poway and were behind a Hispanic farm worker by all appearances. I don't remember if he had fruit boxes on his truck or fruit or why it is that I know he was Hispanic. Maybe I know it from seeing him after the accident. Regardless, as we driving along the two lane highway, the driver inf front of us started to slow down and without turning on a turn signal he started pulling to the right. It seemed the perfect opportunity to pass him and it was a legal place to pass. Suddenly he turned back to left and Roger had to swerve to keep from missing him and lost control of the Chevy and he rolled over a couple of times. And this was before seat belts! It gave us quite a scare. The worst was yet to come when Roger would be blamed for the accident which I think was only because of his youth and appearance at the time we went to court.
I was pretty devastated when I found out that Darlene was going to marry Chuck, who was a marine stationed at Camp Pendelton, near Oceanside, a short distance from Escondido. I had always been very close to Darlene and it seemed like we had all finally achieved some stability in Escondido and I didn't want to lose that. When you live with chaos most of your life, you crave stability and fear change. I did not want to lose my sister to the obvious hayseed from Texas. She was way too good for him and I couldn't understand why she would want to marry him.
My uncle, Rex, drove Ole, Gail, Billie and Nola down from Washington to Darlene's wedding. Billie made a beautiful wedding cake. Gail told me recently that she had baked the cake in Spokane and carried it down in the car, "taking great care that it didn't get smashed with the luggage."She then frosted and decorated the cake in Escondido. Billie dyed her own wedding dress that she had worn when she married Joe Secor, for Nola to wear as a bridesmaid.The wedding itself took place on the backyard patio. Darlene has said that "The Luv Please" played at her wedding or after the wedding but, like so many things, I don't have any recollection of that. Gail remembered that we did play that weekend at Camp Pendleton.
I can't remember where Chuck and Darlene lived immediately after getting married. I assume it was probably military housing as Chuck was still in the military. I don't think it was long after she married Chuck that mom and George sold the barn house in Escondido. Roger and I probably ended up in Toppenish for a while. Eventually, I would live with Darlene and Chuck in Seattle. That is another story.
Darlene would give birth to their son, Christopher Michael in Seattle. It was always amazing to me how much Chris was like his dad, Chuck. I am not sure if Chuck was still in the service, but he and Darlene broke up by the time Misty was born. I seem to remember that Darlene came to the house where George and mom were living on Lantana Drive in San Diego. I don't remember ever seeing Chuck again after that. My understanding is that he went back to Texas and remarried there. Chris and Misty visited him there at least once. I don't think that he ever contributed much financially to raising his kids.