In the Midnight Hour

There’s nothing — I say nothing — that takes me straight back to high school in the Sixties quicker than “My Girl” and “In the Midnight Hour.” I could slow dance all night to “My Girl” — a dreamy, sweet, tender Motown sound. And my body still goes loose on the first note of Midnight Hour. My foot taps, my shoulders move, I just wanta get up and dance. If I could’ve only had two songs during my teenaged years, these would’ve been the two.

Wilson Pickett performed “In the Midnight Hour” in 1965. The song was composed in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered three years later, in 1968. It reached #1 on the charts and is now considered a 60’s soul standard.

I’m gonna wait till the midnight hour
That’s when my love comes tumblin’ down
I’m gonna wait till the midnight hour
When there’s no one else around.
I’m gonna take you girl and hold you
And do all the things I told you
In the midnight hour.

I was thrilled to get an e-mail from Eddie, an old classmate who was in a band back then, ahem, a few decades ago (he’s now in Music City USA!). On Christmas Eve, he’d gotten a holiday greeting from another band member, Ricky: “I’m sending you re-equalized and edited MP3 copies of the West Side songs. I had a friend in San Francisco work on them to recover and EQ them.” Eddie sent three songs. The third one was Eddie singing “In the Midnight Hour.”

I clicked on the link to it and was transported back to those days at Cleveland High School when I was fifteen and sixteen and seventeen … sock hops after football games, parties, Cotillions, ridin’ around playing WHBQ on the car radio or buying the record at Simmons Drug Store and playing it on my hi-fi. For a moment I lost track of time and dwelt in the sweet days of puppy love and real cherry Cokes at Bob’s Drive-In. And danced like nobody was watching.

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