Friday, January 14, 2011

One for the Books

We got married on his birthday
It gets a little tricky following my reading habits; I prefer biographies and autobiographies and it's not uncommon to be reading two or three of them at once.  That's the present case; at home I have "Life" by Keith Richards going on as well as "Deconstructing Sammy," which is an account of the nightmarish accounting and legal problems involved in settling the last will and testament of the great Sammy Davis, Jr.  Incidentally, Sammy wrote two autobiographies along with collaborators Jane and Burt Boyar, "Yes I Can," and "Why Me."  If you're pressed for time, the Boyars condensed the two into the posthumous "Sammy, " and I also have a book of writings about SDJr called "The Sammy Davis Reader."

Sammy was many things to many people, but boring, he was not.  And if you ever want to sum up in one sentence the ego that drives talent to the top, how about this quote from Mr Davis: "It got to the point where there were only three important people in my life: Sammy, Davis, and Junior."

And I also read during my lunch hour at work, when I turn around and shove a sandwich down my neck and enjoy a book.  Right now lunchtime reading is "Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke," and I am learning a great deal about the life and sad death of the singing legend, who came up through the gospel tradition and was the lead singer of The Soul Stirrers before stepping out on his own pop music path.

JT - 1937 (?) - 2000
His replacement in The Soul Stirrers was Johnnie Taylor, chiefly remembered for his disco hit "Disco Lady,"  but please do yourself a favor and click here to be taken to the magical You Tube so you can hear Johnnie do "I Believe in You (You Believe in Me"), the 1973 hit that was playing the summer that Peggy and I met, and you know the rest.  All summer long I heard that song and every time I heard it, I knew she would believe in me forever.

If I were ever to write an autobiography, all that would be a great chapter.  Not that anyone would believe that two people could meet on a Thursday and be engaged on Monday, but it happens!  It's my true story.

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