Listeners' Summer Songs: 'Big Man,' 'Sherry'

All summer long, we've been hearing personal stories inspired by songs of summertime from musicians, writers and listeners. The series comes to an auspicious end with submissions from two listeners who offer memories of music overheard.

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons' "Sherry" hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts on Sept. 15, 1962, the summer when Alice Schechter found herself hopping from blanket to blanket on Manhattan Beach. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Scarlett Hepworth, Oakland, Calif.: 'Big Man'

I was a little girl in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was the summer of 1958. I would have been 5 then.

My parents were musicians: My dad was a jazz musician and my mother was a classical musician. We never listened to the radio, but I had three teenagers who lived next door to us and they listened to the radio. There was this song called "Big Man" by The Four Preps.

I had never heard pop music, I don't think, before that time. It was the most delicious and wonderful, exciting thing I have ever heard. I used to hang out in our backyard or leave the windows open in our house so I would just by chance hear it coming out of the radio.

Kids growing up today, who can have it right away, don't really know what it was to have to wait and wait for a song to come over the air. Time just stood still when I heard that song. I would stop whatever I was doing. I was just transfixed.

Alice Schechter, Brooklyn, N.Y.: 'Sherry'

My summer song is "Sherry" by The Four Seasons. The year was 1962, and I was about 14 years old. My friends and I, my cousins, anyone who was around, we would often walk to Manhattan Beach ... maybe two-and-a-half miles.

One day, we set out, and I had bought new sandals. Within a few blocks, they were killing me. They had cut into my ankles. I had blisters. It was a total mess. By the time I got to the beach, I had taken my shoes off and was carrying them.

We get to the edge of the beach, and we have a long way to walk on very, very hot sand. I basically decided to hop from beach blanket to beach blanket. And every blanket had a transistor radio, and every radio was playing "Sherry." It just had that soaring summer sound. It felt like the whole beach was just pulsing with that song.

Purchase Featured Music

The Very Best of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons [Rhino 2002]

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
The Very Best of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons [Rhino 2002]
Artist
Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
Label
Rhino

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Absolutely the Best

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Absolutely the Best
Artist
The Four Preps
Label
Fuel 2000
Released
2005

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.