No, not “Eve of Destruction”.
Or “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
Or “The Sounds of Silence”.
Or any of those Really Relevant Songs that are constantly overplayed on oldies/’60s stations.
As a matter of fact, 1) you have never heard of the song in question, 2) the lyrics are not the stuff of social consciousness, 3) neither is the lesson here, for that matter, and 4) this lesson is only peripherally related to the song.
I will start by asking you to listen to the song linked below, at least through the first chorus:
(You listened all the way to the end of the song, didn’t you? And you were singing along – at least to yourself – by the time that last chorus faded out, right? Don’t worry…I won’t tell. )
So why did I trick you into listening to a bit of ‘60s sunshine pop? Here is a hint: You likely remember little to nothing of the verse(s), I am guessing.
Ahh…but (and here is the setup) that chorus. I will bet that you are not going to get it out of your head anytime soon; there is something about an infectious sing-along riff that just burrows its way into your memory, and stays there longer than it should.
In my case, it stayed in my memory for forty-seven years…but only in my memory, and nothing more. I distinctly remember the song being on the radio for maybe a couple of weeks back in September of 1969. Over those couple of weeks, I probably heard it no more than a half-dozen times. And over the course of those half-dozen listens, I heard the DJ give the name of the song exactly once – but I could not make it out clearly over the background sounds of our little house (did he say Lottie? La-di-da? Or was my mind fooling me?), and I could not hear the name of the artist at all. And then, as often happened back then, the song vanished without a trace and never came back, leaving me with nothing but that chorus – “sing la-dee-da, la-dee-daaaa” – echoing in my mind and never really going away. Now, there were any number of other songs over the years that followed the same trajectory on the radio, coming and going before you got to know them…but, invariably, I was able to catch some fragment – maybe the title, maybe the artist, maybe a line or two of the lyrics – that, over time, gave me enough of a clue to be able to track the song down in a record store or, later, online.
But, maddeningly, there was that one song that never went away in my mind, but that did not leave me with any clue at all as to its identity, save for that one line, repeated over and over in the chorus and in my memory. With the advent of the internet, I was able to check off most every song on my list of most memorable lost tunes…except for that one. Lord knows, I tried. I searched for numerous possible variations on the title, based on that fleeting mention from that DJ all those years ago. I tried typing that maddening chorus into Google. In fact, I actually had hit the correct spelling of the title a couple of times…but the title invariably led me to a different song. And then, several years ago, I stumbled upon a database dedicated to old music surveys – the weekly printouts that were always left on the checkout counter at music stores and any number of other locations back in the day. The database was far from all-encompassing, although still enormous; a given station might have several surveys turn up over the course of any given year…but there were also countless stations that might have been represented by one lone list, if that. Still, it was a daunting task; I tried entering the various spellings, only to come up empty. I even tried pulling up various surveys from September 1969 and, if I saw a song I had never heard of, I pulled it up on YouTube, just in case I had completely messed up on that title. Nothing.
And then, a week ago, I revisited that database. There had been any number of surveys added since my last visit. This time around, I started by searching all songs from 1969 beginning with the letter “L”.
Among the over 400 songs that matched my request…”Loddy”, by a group called Tax. There were over 72,000 survey charts in the database…and exactly one with this song, added since my last visit. From mid-August 1969, which was certainly close enough to be within the realm of possibility. Holy crap…could it be? I jumped – almost literally – to YouTube…and there it was. And it was.
I played it again. And again, and again. And, in my mind, I was suddenly twelve years old all over again…with none of the cares and worries inherent to being an adult…and, for that matter, with none of the angst – or the troubles – that twelve-year-old me had to deal with so often. For the moment, the innocent twelve-year-old met the more uninhibited sixty-year old in one spirit, set free by the soaring chorus of a long-lost song now brought back to life. And it was wonderful.
The lesson here, of course, is to never give up. Not every such endeavor winds up with the happy ending…certainly given what was out there to work with in this case. But, at the same time…sometimes perseverance and luck combine to smile on you. And when the stars do align, the feeling of overcoming the odds is indescribable. Do not obsess…but, whether it is something great or small, whether life-changing or life-enriching, or just a little something to help you get through the madness…if in your heart it is worth it, do not quit.
And, for what it is worth…if there really is/was a Loddy – a real person who inspired this song – I have fallen in love with her, sight unseen. Just sayin’.