30 Songs in 30 Days: day 29 – a song from your childhood

I thought about posting something from the Electric Light Orchestra, who were the first band I ever saw in concert – I was at their Out of the Blue tour, with its amazing flying saucer set and the laser show and the massive orchestration. Then the next year I saw Styx’s Grand Illusion tour – they were my absolute favorite band when I was 15. (I kind of wish I had smoked pot back then, because those shows probably would have been even more awesome than I thought they were.)

But since I started this meme (about 100 years ago) I have planned on a different song from even father back than my ridiculous adolescence. My favorite song when I was about ten was Little Willy. I have a distinct memory of lying on our living room floor listening to it on a little transistor radio (look it up, whippersnappers) and my visiting grandmother walking by and asking me about it. I don’t remember any details, but I seem to recall she said something about it being kind of catchy.

I also remember connecting the song in my kid brain with the nursery rhyme “Wee Willie Winkie”:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?

Listen to the lyrics – you can see how a 10-year-old might put those things together. Willy/Willie… won’t go, running around the town, generally annoying people, and just not going away… Well, that’s how I interpreted the song anyway.

So I knew Little Willy would be the song from my childhood, but I had totally forgotten – if I ever even knew – what band had performed it. Thanks to YouTube, I now know that it was Sweet. And as soon as I found that out, I realized I needed to add another song to this post. Because in my mind, Sweet always meant one thing and one thing only: Ballroom Blitz.

I remember thinking this song was so cool, and funny/quirky, and to a 12-year-old that’s pretty much all it was. I never saw the band performing it, so I missed the whole glam with the capes and the makeup and so forth. But it seemed pretty radical, what with the man in the back saying “everyone attack” and such, and that was just fine.

(I had not realized until I went looking for the videos above that Sweet also did Fox on the Run and Love is Like Oxygen. They were apparently a much larger piece of my early music-listening youth than I remembered, as it was impossible to get away from those songs. I’m pretty sure I hated those songs, though now they evoke the standard package of wistful nostalgia. But I won’t subject you to them here.)