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The Suburbanite
  • Charita Goshay: Love, hope, youth: Song still has it all

  • This month, the city of Akron is celebrating a unique anniversary.

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  • This month, the city of Akron is celebrating a unique anniversary.
    Fifty years ago, Ruby and the Romantics, a group from Akron who helped to define the pop-music era of the 1960s, hit No. 1 on the music charts with their song, “Our Day Will Come.”
    If you’re under 50 or simply have forgotten, “Our Day Will Come” is one of the most pleasant ear worms you could ever encounter:
    “Our day will come,
    And we’ll have everything.
    We’ll share the joy
    falling in love can bring.”
    Such romantic simplicity encapsulates what most of us wish for, doesn’t it?
    Those Northeast Ohioans who grew up listening to Ruby and the Romantics on WHLO will argue that the soundtrack of their lives simply was better than what’s being produced today. They’ll point out that none of their favorite artists felt the particular need to disrobe, tattoo and pierce themselves, broadcast their sex lives, sport green hair or just act plain crazy.
    A BRIDGE
    “Our day will come,
    If we just wait a while ... ”
    That’s because time has a way of sanding away the jagged edges of youth and memory. There were plenty of adults who thought early rock ’n’ roll was the undoing of civilization.
    No musician, even in the so-called halcyon days of the ’50s and ’60s, walked on water. So imagine what must have been thought of Little Richard, a dervish in eyeliner whose pompadour seemed to serve as an exclamation point, or Jerry Lee Lewis, swooning like a saint while pounding a flaming piano into submission.
    Even as the region churned out many of the genre’s pioneers, clergy and radio hosts in the Deep South predicted that rock ’n’ roll was the end of life as they knew it.
    They were right. No signs, no ropes, no amount of legislation could prevent black and white teens from bopping to the same beat.
    The music wasn’t a wall but rather a bridge by which subsequent generations of Americans would come to discover they weren’t really so different from each other after all.
    THE LAST WORD
    The problem with current music, and rap in particular, is not that it exists — it’s that its lyrics often are so devoid of hope.
    Now, some will say that rap simply reflects the current world in which those artists live.
    Maybe so. But when did a mug shot become a point of pride?
    Besides, rappers couldn’t possibly have had it worse than people who grew up under segregation, yes, even in Akron. Many early R&B artists were forced to stay in segregated accommodations when on tour or were limited to all-black “chitlin’ circuit” venues. And they endured it with their dignity intact, as if they knew the music would have the last word.
    Page 2 of 2 - “No one can tell me
    that I’m too young to know,
    I love you so,
    and you love me ... ”
    The need to be loved, to belong to someone, and to tell them so in a love song set to a bossa nova beat never goes out of style, no matter how cool you are:
    “Our dreams are meant to be,
    Because we’ll always stay in love this way,
    Our day will come.”