BARRY LEVINE: Rockers change for baby boomers

OLD ROCKER: What would lyrics of rock songs be like today?

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Some of the renowned rock ‘n’ roll performers are “revising” their smash hits with new lyrics or titles in appreciation for us aging baby boomers who can remember doing Chubby Checker’s “Twist” as if it were yesterday and not approximately 55 years ago.

As an example, take Bobby Darin’s No. 3 hit from 1958 “Splish Splash.” Darin’s first chart smash started:

“Splish Splash, I was takin’ a bath.

Long about a Saturday night”

If they were alive today, Darin and renowned New York DJ “Murray the K” would have re-written their song to say:

“Splish Splash, I was having a flash.

Long about a Saturday night”

One of the more successful British groups to cross the pond was Herman’s Hermits. The group had its first No. 1 hit in April 1965 with “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.”

The first two lines of the hit were:”


Herman’s Hermits (Special photo)

“Mrs. Brown you’ve got a lovely daughter

Girls as sharp as her are somethin’ rare”

The new opening line would say:

“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Walker.”

The Dovells were one of the hot male quartets of the early 1960s starting with “Bristol Stomp” in 1960. They had their last chart hit when “You Can’t Sit Down” attained a No. 3 spot in 1963. The title has been revamped to read, “You Can’t Stand Up.”

One of Neil Diamond’s first hits was “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” which made the Top 10 in 1967. The title has been altered to say, “Girl, You are a Woman (Old) Now.”

Dion & The Belmonts had their first Top 5 hit in 1959 when “A Teenager in Love” jumped to No. 4. The updated revision now reads “A Senior in Love.”

“With a Little Help from My Friends” was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr and was released on the group’s album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in 1967. It was ranked No. 311 on Rolling Stone magazine list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

A chorus in the song reads:

“No, I get by with a little help from my friends.

Mmm, get high with a little help from my friends.

Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends.”

The first line of the updated version now reads:

“No, I’ll get by with a little help from my Depends.”

The Bee Gees, a trio from Manchester, England, had 30 Top 40 hits. They had the first of their nine No. 1 hits with “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” in 1971. The updated version would read: “How Can You Mend a Broken Hip?”

The Temptations were one of Motown’s most successful male groups, charting 38 hits, five of which rose to No. 1. The last of their No. 1 hits was “Papa was a Rolling Stone” in 1972. The Temps’ revised version was called, “Papa had a Kidney Stone.”

After recording as Jerry with Tom and Jerry in 1957 and as Simon & Garfunkel during the 1960s and 1970s, Paul Simon began working as a solo act during the 1970s. He had 13 chart hits and his only No. 1 smash was “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” in 1976. The title of that hit was revised to read: “50 Ways to Lose Your Liver.”

Lesley Gore was one of the hottest female singles during the mid-1960s with 11 hits landing in the Top 40. Her first chart single was her only No. 1 smash, “It’s My Party” in 1963.

The first portion of the song was:

“It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to

Cry if I want to, cry if I want to

You would cry too if it happened to you”

The updated version of Gore’s hit read:

“It’s my procedure, and I’ll cry if I want to

Cry if I want to, cry if I want to

You would cry too if it happened to you”

Australia’s Helen Reddy had a highly successful career during the 1970s collecting 11 chart hits, three of which reached the top spot. The first of her three No. 1 hits was “I am Woman” in 1972.

The first line of the song was:

“I am woman, hear me roar”

The revised line from “I am Woman” read:

“I am Woman, hear me snore”

Willie Nelson has been one of the most successful country singers for decades and one of his signature songs has been “On the Road Again.” The new title would be “On the Potty Again.”

Johnny Nash charted his first single in 1958 when “A Very Special Love” jumped to No. 23. It then took Nash 15 years to get a No. 1 hit when “I Can See Clearly Now” reached the top in March 1973. The title has been altered to read, “I Can’t See Clearly Now.”

Lucy Bunn of Orlando, Fla., contributed material to this column.

Barry Levine writes entertainment columns for The Albany Herald. He can be reached at dot0001@yahoo.com.