Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Becoming A Man

I recently got four compact discs:

Carla Thomas - Sugar late 60s-early 70s Stax recordings from the rhythm and blues sensation collected for the first time on CD

Yma Sumac - The Sun Virgin a collection of exotic lounge music from the Inca Princess on my favorite music label, Living Era

New Seekers - I'd LIke To Teach The World To Sing a re-issue of the 1973 album featuring the title tune and their hit cover of Melanie's The Nickel Song

The Editors - B Sides and Rarities 5 excellent songs on one extended play that tops the British band's full-length players in quality and listenability

When I got home, I immediately played I'd LIke to Teach the World to Sing. Memories came to the fore as I remembered how I sang this song at my Bar Mitzvah. A Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish rite of passage in which a boy becomes a man. My family, being Long Island Jews, threw a huge party. Anyone who was anyone was there: the Goldbergs, the Goldsteins, the Goldschmidts, the other Goldbergs.

My Bar Mitzvah was the first place I sang in public. Not only did I have to sing the Haftorah (a Hebrew rite of passage prayer) during the Saturday morning temple service but I also practiced for weeks so I could sing I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing with the band at the Saturday evening party. Saturday morning finally arrived and I was so nervous that, in temple, I sang my Haftorah to the tune of I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing.

But, Saturday night I got a standing ovation when, in a blue velvet tuxedo, I sang I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing in Mishnaic Hebrew with a disco beat provided by the Bar Mitzvah band.

So that's how this Jew became a man - by teaching the world to sing. Though judging from what's been going on lately I'm not so sure I'd like to do that again.

And now check out the real thing:

Yea. It all started as a commercial and turned into a pop phenom:


  1. Well, isn't that just Special! I became a man 3 weeks before my 21st birthday (in a bunk room attached to the garage of my folks' summer property on the coast of Maine) to a woman who was 7 years older than me and an aspiring actress (she was one of "Mudd's Women" on that episode of the original Star Trek. We had gotten a bit high drinking straight from a Southern Comfort bottle and when I kissed her, she pretty much raped me, knowing I "need to" lose my virginity. The interesting thing about this occurrence was that during "The Act", the door to the room opened and closed and moments after we did the deed....and she was quite UNsatisfied with my performance...she leaped (leapt?) from the bed and "had to go right away", mot stay and cuddle. I was mystified. Well, I was mystified until morning, when sitting at the breakfast table, my Dad didn't say a word to me nor look at me; he was pissed about something. On my way down to Boston to celebrate with my sister, who was overjoyed dawned on me who it was when the door opened to the bunkhouse! Him! and the woman felt a need to get away fast!

    When I got to Boston, my sister and her 2 closest gay friends, Mark and Richard, and I went bar-hopping and drank as much of the available booze in every gay bar in Boston and Cambridge. The celebration was awesome....but I don't recall hearing I'D LOVE TO TEACH THE WORDLD TO SING.....though I believe I heard several songs by Billie Holiday and Bette Midler.

  2. What a sweet gift to give as a part of your rite of passage. If only the world could sing in unison, I would give up already on the perfect harmony thing. Love Ya! Meesh

  3. You're right, Meesh - forget the harmony thing. Just trying to keep the world in one piece is tough enough! Love, M