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June 7, 2020 9:37 am  #1

A Brush With Musical Greatness They Didn’t Know They Had

It’s amazing what kind of memories get stirred by hearing a certain song or artist on the radio. It happened while I was listening to the Roger Ashby Oldies Show that our moderator has recommended here in the past. It’s a great show and they played a record by a singer that suddenly triggered an incident I hadn’t thought of in years. It involved a brush with greatness – although I wasn’t lucky enough to have actually been there.
It happened sometime in the mid-70s when my parents returned home from a vacation and went to pick up their car at the airport. As they were on their way to the parking area, they spotted this very short statured woman standing there looking lost and forlorn. My father was a soft hearted kind of guy and couldn’t pass by a “damsel in distress” without asking if he could help.
She told him she was an entertainer in town to do a show and was supposed to have been met by a ride to her nearby hotel, but somehow, no one showed up. So he offered to take her there. In the car, she explained who she was but they’d never heard of her. They dropped her off, wished her well, and headed home.
 A few days later they mentioned the incident to me and wondered if I’d ever heard of her.
“What was her name?” I asked.
He paused and said, “Um, I think it was Brenda Lee.”
“THE Brenda Lee?” I replied, stunned.
“Yeah,” he said. “You know who she is?”
I tried to explain that "Little Miss Dynamite" had a string of hits in the 60s, was discovered on a TV talent show and was a huge star in her day. I was amazed that they’d never heard of her, but my folks were raised in the Big Band era and didn’t listen to Top 40 music.
I’m sure they made small talk in the car, and I wonder what she must have thought when they had no idea who she was. But man, I wished I’d been there. Without going overboard, I would have had a zillion questions about her songs, her career, how they were recorded, and perhaps the one question that’s driven me most crazy over the years, what was the make of car that “Comin’ On Strong” was used for in a TV commercial? For the life of me, I can’t recall.
I’ve interviewed a lot of well known names over the years I spent in radio, although most were actors or newsmakers and not musicians or singers. But I sure wish I’d been picking them up from the airport that day. What a memory that would have been!

Last edited by aflem (June 7, 2020 9:37 am)


June 8, 2020 7:18 am  #2

Re: A Brush With Musical Greatness They Didn’t Know They Had

Great story, aflem.


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