Sunday, January 10, 2010

Seriously, Who Leaves a Diary Underneath a Tree?

Now with 75% less snark!

Over at The Song in My Head Today, Holly described the band Bread as having been spawned like a retrovirus from a particularly sappy song by the Association. (She also proposed a draconian punishment for the members of Bread for having foisted "Make it with You" on the public. And, although the word "craptastic" appears nowhere in her post, I suspect it was in the back of her head.)

Ordinarily, I'd agree with her.

But not today.

Today, I'm remembering all the people who lived in my hall freshmen year in college. Most of us were really into music -- some of it was what you might suspect, but some of us were into really weird and obscure stuff (like my Badfinger obsession and my roommmate's Richard Harris obsession). We had a couple Springsteen fantatics, a dulcimer playing folkie who loved Blondie and the Grateful Dead, a Tom Petty disciple, a girl who loved the Ramones, and several Talking Heads freaks.

And then there was Edie. For reasons none of us understood, she loved Bread. And she'd play the Best of Bread album over and over and over.

Now, understand that none of us really were cool. We were mostly too suburban and tame, but we were at college and we all thought we knew everything. So while we could tolerate James Taylor's Greatest Hits and a fair amount of Fleetwood Mac, almost all of us disdained Bread. It was... um... too whitebread for us (even though most of us would be described as too whitebread for 90% of the non-academic world).

But Edie didn't care. She loved Bread. And so she'd regularly play that damn album and we'd hear this or this or this wafting down the hallway. I distinctly remember being up at 3 in the morning out in the hallway with four or five people discussing just exactly what kind of person would leave a diary underneath a tree anyway. (Was it buried? Did David Gates dig it up before he read it?)

There were a lot of romances on my freshman hall. Most fizzled in a few weeks, but some lasted all through the year and into the next one. Edie started going out with Tim (another guy on our hall) and they seemed like a perfect match. She was pre-med, he was in engineering, they were both smart as hell, and (perhaps most importantly) he liked Bread. Some of us thought that Tim and Edie were dull, but the truth is that they were far less neurotic than 90% of us (and far nicer than 95% of us). Looking back, I wonder if being nice and not being neurotic passes for dull when you're 18 and desperate for adventure.

Edie also gave me one of the nicest gifts I'd ever gotten that Christmas -- a very cool copy of a Rolling Stone book about misheard lyrics (I guess even then I was a music freak). And I always thought well of her -- except for the whole Bread thing.

I lost touch with Tim and Edie after freshman year (we didn't run in the same circles and they were both so loaded down with coursework I'm amazed they had time for anything). But I wondered what happened to them.

Then, last year my friend Eric* was on a tour of major league baseball stadiums and wound up in Minneapolis. Where he ran into Tim and Edie. Who are still together after all these years and living in the Mid-West. I don't know if they still listen to Bread, but the thought of them still being happy together just filled me with joy. Enough to fight off the urge to mock Bread.

For now.

* I thought of embellishing the story and claiming it was me instead of Eric who ran into Tim & Edie. But I knew I would have asked them about Bread almost immediately. Eric, however, is far more polite.


jb said...

I have often wondered how many people walking around today who are between the ages of, say, 25 and 40 were conceived to the sound of Bread. I'd guess millions.

Maggie said...

It's not really hard to believe at all about Bread.

They had a soothing sound.

I'll be posting James Taylor later on.

Takes all kinds, I suppose.

Mister Pleasant said...

Having already confessed to some affection for Bread's radio hits, I should add that I generally tune out David Gate's lyrics. They are the the downfall to enjoying their tunes. Indeed the diary under the tree is a device worthy of a schlocky Hollywood teen romance.

I am with you - society needs folks like Edie and Tim too. Methinks it helps to balance things out.

Mythical Monkey said...

There was a lot of this kind of stuff floating around in the '70s -- Jim Croce, The Carpenters, America, Gordon Lightfoot ... The one thing you can say about Bread is that they weren't the worst of it (Starland Vocal Band, anyone?), but neither were they good enough to hang around oldies radio for the next 30+ years.

Today is the first time in decades I've thought of bread as anything other than a starchy foodstuff to put peanut butter on ...

Thank God for the Sex Pistols!

Alex said...

JB, thanks... now I've got *that* image going through my mind.

Thingy, yup... takes all kinds.

Mister P., yup. And we need more balance these days.

Mythical M., damn. Now I've got the Starland Vocal Band going through my brain!

Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas said...

We had a kid on my floor one year who insisted on playing Belinda Carlisle's "Leave A Light On For Me" over and over and over at the crack of dawn. He's lucky that he didn't end up bludgeoned and buried under a tree (instead he was merely subjected to a chorus of expletives and threats).

Holly A Hughes said...

Ok, ok, I'll cut Bread more slack. Just because of Tim and Edie. But I still say that having to listen endless times to "If" through my dorm room wall would be torture.

And Mister P, you're right that the lyrics are the worst of it.