Sonny James died. When I heard about it while driving yesterday it brought back many memories. Being raised in Pontiac, Michigan (yeah the car place) my musical influences were mostly Sixties Rock, Motown and such. But, there was a period of time when Country Music (aka "Country and Western" as it was known back then) made its mark on my young and impressionable heart. I say heart... yes, a girl was involved.
She was my first steady girlfriend. It lasted a few years, I was about thirteen and her name was Thelma (and before you react yes, John Lennon's first girlfriend was likewise named Thelma, so there).
Thelma's father was a factory worker with a bad drinking problem. He wasn't around a lot. But her mother Margaret was quite memorable. She spoke in a heavy German accent and was a huge Country/Western fan. In fact, she was more like or may have actually been a ... Groupie (the jury's still out). On several occasions Margaret would drag Thelma and I to weekend Jamborees ... large open field events with big name Country artists like Bill Anderson, Hank Thompson, Skeeter Davis and yes ... Sonny James. Margaret was a fan (and friend it seems to most) but none more than Sonny James. She talked about him all the time. And when Thelma and I did see him perform, Margaret was backstage.
So with all of that as a background to our fledgling relationship, Country Music had a way of slipping its way into the fabric of my and Thelma's little affair. We soaked it up by osmosis.
But, no song stuck to us more than Sonny James huge hit "Young Love." It sold millions. It was sort of our song, I know … not very cool, but fitting (we kept it to ourselves). By the way, that relationship ended very badly (but that's a story for another time). For now...
SONNY JAMES 1929 - 2016