Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Paradise Lost

One of the biggest times of the year in Houston is the Houston Rodeo. The biggest attraction for many folks is the series of big-name concerts! Sometimes, though, in some venues, it's buyer beware as you will find out below in an entry from May 20, 2007.

When we were kids, my older brother won a call-in contest sponsored by the local radio station, KAWL in York, Nebraska. I'm not sure if Dave claimed victory because he answered a question or if he was the first caller but his prize was a 45 rpm record, Leader Of The Pack by The Shangri-Las. If you've never heard it, the song tells the story of a good girl-bad boy, protective parents, and the inevitable motor cycle crash when the young lady breaks off the relationship. The Shangri-Las, a foursome consisting of sisters Mary and Betty Weiss and identical twins Mary Ann and Margie Ganser, began singing together as high school students in New York. Their records, like Remember (Walking In The Sand), were soap operas of teenage love and drama. Predictably, after several years, the girls split up and practically disappeared from the music scene after a career of only five years and several big hits. A minor comeback in the 1970's went nowhere and the group, minus Mary Ann who had passed away, faded back into obscurity. That is, until the late 1980's when The Shangri-Las began performing again. There was a slight problem. A producer had discovered that the group's name had never been licensed and put together an act passing them off as the originals. They used the name The Shangri-Las and sang a repertoire of their popular songs. As expected, the charter members were not amused and sought relief in court. When are The Shangri-Las not The Shangri-Las? Only a judge can say for sure.

How would you take it if someone pretended to be you? Is it flattery or insulting? Even though the survivors were no longer making their living by entertaining and did not technically own their name, did they have a right to retain the credit for their hard work as youngsters? How about the folks who went to an oldies concert, expecting to hear the grownup versions of the voices who popularized that distinctive sound in a distant decade? Is it deceptive advertising? To me, it is cut-and-dried even though I am no lawyer and know little about copyrights. If the New York Yankees take twenty-five guys off the streets of Brooklyn and put them in pinstripes, it doesn't make those impostors the Yankees. How could The Shangri-Las #2 ever look into the eyes of Mary, Betty, or Margie and not be ashamed? Being an acknowledged impersonator is one thing; the father of one of my former high school basketball players made his living as an Elvis Presley look-alike singer. But, being a pretender is quite another matter. Sometimes I feel like I am guilty of the same thing. I wouldn't call it a false identity exactly. I don't change my look but I can act like someone that I'm not. I can sing the songs and others don't know the difference...but I do and the Lord does. I can't fool him and I can't hoodwink myself. In one of the most foreboding verses of the New Testament, Jesus has the owner of a house telling those banging on his door, "I don't know who you are." (Luke 13:27) They pleaded their case but to no avail. On the other hand, Jesus knows his flock by name without a copyright or password. He knows his sheep because he loves his sheep. That is a great comfort because in the times when I might struggle figuring out who I am supposed to be, he stills knows me and loves me. By the way, the term
shangri-la, taken from the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton, has come to symbolize an Eden or paradise. Unfortunately, it can also symbolize the loss of identity as some not-so-young-anymore singers found out. Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to be famous.

Applicable quote of the day:
The Shangri-Las (Leader Of The Pack)

To watch and listen to Leader Of The Pack, click or copy/paste the link below:

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Brittany said...

I have spent some time reading your blog, and I am quite impressed. The wording and thought that goes into each post is incredible. You are a talented writer my friend. I look forward to many more posts!

I love that our creator knows us by name. What an awesome God we serve!

Jm Benavidez Estoque said...

Good day! Kamusta!
I am very much happy seeing that you'ved put the word 'Philippines' as one of your interests in your blogger profile. It make me feel a sort of deep gratitude to you for doing this...

Sire? If you have sometime, I pray that you may visit my site

in which i had put there some of the philippine's sentimental and nice works of literature and paintings!

See you there! 'Ingat' (Take Care!) and God Bless! (^^,)

VKT said...

What a lovely and meaningful post as well as a blessing to me today.

David Barnett said...

KAWL! :)