Tuesday, December 10, 2013


December, 1969. It may be been one of the longest months of our young lives.

 After  an all too short Thanksgiving weekend at home in late November,  you can see from the calendar above, we had three full school weeks to endure (until Friday, December 19) before our first Vanderbilt Christmas break got underway.

Then it was mom's home cooking and sleeping in for an extended period of time! It was also the only year we were in school that we didn't have to take final semester exams before going home. Of course there were advantages to doing that from 1970 on. It didn't matter if we forgot everything we learned in class before we returned!

As for our mood during that fateful month of December, based on what songs were Number #1 on the BILLBOARD Charts at that time, we may have been doing a lot of thinking about the separations and relationships that lay just ahead surrounding coming home and going back to school....

Long before it became a crowd chant at many sporting events (even until today), the song NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE had such popularity it topped the rock charts from December 6 through December 20, 1969. But it was quite odd that it did. According to Wikipedia, the song was written and released under the name of a fictitious band (Steam). The tune had almost fill-in-the- blanks lyrics in some parts (na. na, na) and seemed to be produced as a B side number that would never get any play.

But it did....and here it is courtesy of YouTube....


And what was the Number #1 song when we got home on Christmas break our freshman year from December 20-27,1969? How about "LEAVING ON A JET PLANE" by Peter, Paul & Mary.  Written by then little known John Denver, it turned out to be (according to WIKIPEDIA) the biggest and final pop hit for PP&M and the trio's only Number #1 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 chart. It also spent three weeks on top of the easy listening rankings.

Elsewhere on this blog, our classmate Steve Womack remembers the continuing seasonal popularity of this song, how each year as holiday break approached we'd get calls at WRVU with requests (mainly from coeds) to play it over and over again, even every hour. I guess their bags were packed, they were ready to go, with a taxi waiting and he's blowing his horn. In case you need any further introduction, and before I use all the lyrics, here's the song courtesy of YouTube....


The final number one song during our first Christmas break (December 27, 1969-January 2, 1970) came from one of the top girl groups (and indeed one of the top artist groups of the 1960s), Diane Ross & the Supremes. Indeed, SOMEDAY WE WILL BE TOGETHER was the final number one hit of the entire decade of the 1960s and the last number one hit (of 12 total) for the Supremes. Indeed it was the farwell hit the group had with Diane Ross who went on to a successful solo career in the 1970s and 80s.


So as we prepare for the holiday season in 2013, remember that first Christmas break from Vanderbilt we had as members of the Centennial Class, back in 1969, and how the top songs we listened to seem to almost mirror both the joy and the melancholy we might have experienced as we were "home for Christmas" for the first time.

1 comment:

Steven said...

I vote for Pat Nolan for Publicist and Blogger of the Year!!

Thanks Pat.