17. You Never Forget Your First Time

The AnimalsAnd I never forgot MY first time. That is, the first time I went to a concert. I was 13 and it was the opening day of a five day event that went from April 9th through April 13th, 1966. The Poe Kat and Mitch Corday had put together a week of music at the D.C. Armory that they billed as "The National Teen Show". Each day featured some fantastic stars of the era - such as The Animals, The Four Seasons, The Lovin' Spoonful, Peter and Gordon and Dino, Desi and Billy - along with my dad and Mitch's stable of artists, which included The Chartbusters, The British Walkers, Willie and The Hand Jives and The Jumping Jax. The great local D.C. band The Hangmen were also given a spot on the bill.

So, in any event, my dad informed me that my sister Teresa Kay and I could go to one of the shows and bring some friends. We were unbelievably excited. But we couldn't go to ALL of the shows. We could only go to one. My dad, even at that relatively early stage, wanted to keep my sister and me away from bad influences, so he thought Dino, Desi and Billy would be appropriate, since they were not much older than us.

I already liked Dino, Desi and Billy's music and the trio got a lot of instant press due to Dino being the son of the legendary Dean Martin and Desi being the son of the equally legendary Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. After the concert my sister and I collected everything they put out for the next few years. We got to go backstage and meet them, which was a marvelous experience and great practice for my later Pop Music Survey days. Shown here is a picture from backstage at "The National Teen Show" (L-R me, Dino Martin, my sister Teresa Kay and an unknown member of The Jumping Jax).

Backstage at Dino Desi and BillyI always thought Dino, Desi and Billy made some fabulous music, including their first couple of singles "I'm A Fool" and "Not The Lovin' Kind", as well as my favorite song of their's, "I Hope She's There Tonight". I was at the perfect age to enjoy their bright and sunny music and because of that, over the years I've learned that music is very personal and subjective and that I should never judge other people's tastes - no matter how different they are from my own. I wish that philosophy also worked the other way around because MY friends are always making fun of MY taste in music.

As a sidenote, Dino was killed in a plane crash in 1987, while flying for the California National Guard. My dad always said how terrible it must be to lose a son and that it led to Dean Martin's rapid decline in health. These days Dino's younger brother Ricci keeps his music alive, occasionally touring with Dino's old bandmates as Ricci, Desi and Billy. I am also happy to note that the original guitarist for the band, Billy Hinche, has made himself an impressive career as a musician, most notably with The Beach Boys...