The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Michele Bender

July 6, 2013

MICHEL M. BENDER | Rock ’n’ roll hearts

— In the ’70s, everyone I knew was getting married. Some of us did it more than once.

At one late-’70s wedding, I remarked, “I hope I live long enough to attend a reception where the band doesn’t play ‘Proud Mary.’ ”

Well, it happened. I haven’t heard “PM” at a wedding since 1987.

Four years ago, I asked readers to tell me their favorite rock ’n’ roll songs.

My friends, the Johnstown Classic Rockers (who rehearse in my basement) had scheduled a show to benefit the Roxbury Bandshell. I asked them if they’d play the top five or so readers’ picks.

Fourteen-hundred people named their favorite songs, and 630 flocked to Roxbury that September afternoon to hear the winner, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

This summer, the Rockers are playing at Richland Community Days.

Whaddaya say, readers? Let’s select Johnstown’s favorite rock ’n’ roll LOVE SONG! Repeat after me … LOVE SONG!

This rules out “Louie, Louie,” “The Twist,” “Wild Thing,” “Little GTO” and “Wooly Bully.”

I’ve been conducting an informal survey among friends and folks I meet.

Cincinnati Cathy opted for “Surfer Girl.” Singer Denise prefers “For Your Love” (The Yardbirds).

My friend Leanne danced to her hubby’s fave at her wedding, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” (Van Morrison/Rod Stewart).

Galpal Judi quivers at the sound of “Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me.”

Sentimental Arlene even sang a few bars of her choice, “Nights in White Satin.” (“I looovve yoooo ... ooh ooh ... I looovve yooo ... ”) Hey, I didn’t say she could sing; I just said she voted!

Acquaintances jumped in, too. A guy who pushed my chair in for me chose “Venus” (Frankie Avalon). A lady in my doctor’s waiting room recalled the poignant episode of “The Wonder Years” when Kevin and Winnie had their first dance to “You Are Everything” (The Stylistics).

I remember that episode, too.

I whittled my list down to three.

“Baby, It’s You” (The Shirelles) is possibly the most smokin’ hot, provocative love ballad I ever heard! (Whew!)

“One Summer Night” (The Danleers) kindles fond memories.

My chart-topper, “a lost oldie,” is a tune that only I and probably five other people on earth remember, Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountains High.” (“Do I love you, my oh my?”)

 It’s probably Tina Turner’s subliminal revenge for rotten stuff I said about “Proud Mary.”

So, are you psyched up and ready to vote? Proceed to your ’puters and drop me an E. No ’puter? No problem! Write to me c/o The Tribune Democrat, 425 Locust St., Johnstown, Pa. 15907. Voting ends July 30.

The band will play the top five choices on Aug. 17. And, I get to announce the winners! How cool is that?

Cast your vote, support Richland Community Days, listen to the Rockers, and find out which songs stir our romantic memories.

Oh, and say hi to me! I’ll be watchin’ for you.

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and a member of  The Tribune-Democrat’s Readership Advisory Committee.

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