My childhood record stash had its share of Broadway musicals. A lot of these belonged to my parents first, but some, like Hair, belonged to the kids. I listened to this album a lot, and it’s possible I was listening to it a lot before I was 10.
As Sewa Yoleme can attest, I love a lot of the ditties in this musical, and he and I—at least once—have rolled the windows down in the car, played the soundtrack full blast, and sung along even louder (I am such a hag). I have a lot of favorites, but two of them are “Frank Mills” and “Sodomy.”
“Frank Mills” is just such a syrupy ballad. I mean, it’s perfect. So yearny. So naïve. So I-want-the-bad-boy-but-what-will-my-friends-think.
I met a boy called Frank Mills
On September twelfth right here
In front of the Waverly
I lost his address
He was last seen with his friend,
A drummer, he resembles George Harrison of the Beatles
But he wears his hair
Tied in a small bow at the back
I love him but it embarrasses me
To walk down the street with him
He lives in Brooklyn somewhere
And wears this white crash helmet
He has gold chains on his leather jacket
And on the back is written the names
And Hell’s Angels
I would gratefully
Appreciate it if you see him tell him
I’m in the park with my girlfriend
Tell him Angela and I
Don’t want the two dollars back
This is one easy song to croon. Or belt. Ask Sewa to sing it to you sometime. (Or Susan, I’m guessin’.)
I once had an international “Frank Mills” moment. A decade ago, Alison and I took a trip to Scotland. When we arrived at the train station in Edinburgh, the Waverley, there was a street performer out front (a young man with a guitar), singing this one. I mean, he had to, didn’t he?
“Sodomy,” another song short enough to list all the lyrics below, may in fact be my first exposure—so to speak—to some of these words, and it’s likely that I was singing them long before I understood them.
Father, why do these words sound so nasty?
Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
In retrospect, it seems that Hair was a useful stepping stone in my education.
[Here’s a special “Sodomy” clip for Sewa. It may be too dark and creepy for most of you, but the guy does all right.]