Copyright ©2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Now, the second in our series of conversations about favorite summer songs, and by that, we mean songs not necessarily about summer, but connected in our minds with a summertime memory.

Today, we're going to hear from writer Ann Patchett. She's the author of novels including "The Patron Saint of Liars," "Bel Canto" and "Run." She joins us from Nashville. And Ann, you have offered to share with us what you'd call a deeply humiliating story about your choice for the song of summer.

Ms. ANN PATCHETT (Author, "The Patron Saint of Liars"): Yeah, I don't really want to say that this is my favorite summer song.

BLOCK: Okay, noted.

Ms. PATCHETT: But this is the song that I think of when I think of summer.

It came up last weekend. I was at a party for my neighborhood. I was sitting with a whole bunch of people, some that I knew and some that I didn't. We were talking about Michael Jackson, and I said, well, you know, even if you didn't like his later stuff, everybody loved the Jackson 5. I only listened to the Jackson 5 when I was a kid. And then I said, I mean, that great song, "One Bad Apple." That was my favorite song when I was a kid.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

THE OSMONDS (Music Group): (Singing) Yeah.

Ms. PATCHETT: And a woman that I was talking to leaned across and said: Osmonds.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

MR. MERRILL OSMOND (Singer, The Osmonds): (Singing) I can tell you've been hurt by that look on your face, girl. Some guy brought sadness to your happy world.

Ms. PATCHETT: And I knew that what had happened was, over the years, I convinced myself that I didn't listen to the Osmonds, I listened to the Jackson 5 because now, I know that the Jackson 5 were really cool and the Osmonds were not cool at all.

(Soundbite of laughter)

But I was a white, Catholic kid living in rural, middle Tennessee, and we only listened to the Osmonds, and we worshipped them.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

MR. M. OSMOND: (Singing) One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl.

Mr. DONNY OSMOND (Singer, The Osmonds): (Singing) Oh, give it one more try before you give up on love.

BLOCK: You can sort of tell. You can sort of tell why you would be confused thinking this is a Jackson 5 song because, listen.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

Mr. D. OSMOND: (Singing) Oh, give it one more try before you give up on love.

BLOCK: That must be Donny. It could be Michael Jackson.

Ms. PATCHETT: It's absolutely that, ooh. Yeah, it's very Michael.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

Mr. D. OSMOND: (Singing) I don't care what you heard now.

BLOCK: Well, you know, you should feel a little bit better here, and I'm going to tell you why. I was looking this song up, and there's a Web site called Songfacts, and it says that the song was written by George Jackson out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, written with the Jackson 5 in mind and sounding very...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. PATCHETT: But they passed on it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: Well, who knows? But it does sound very much like a Jackson 5 record. And in fact, I was playing this in my office, and somebody walked by and said, oh, I love listening to Michael Jackson.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

Mr. M. OSMOND: (Singing) I've been noticing you, baby, for a long, long time.

THE OSMONDS: (Singing) Long, long time now.

Mr. M. OSMOND: (Singing) I'm not ashamed to tell the world that you really messed up my mind.

BLOCK: Now, where would you have been when you were listening to this song back in 1971?

Ms. PATCHETT: I would have been out in Ashland City, Tennessee, on River Road in the middle of nowhere. During the summer, my sister Heather and my two stepsisters all stuck out on this farm all summer with nothing to do with the extra 18 hours in our day. We spent that time dialing the radio station. It would be busy, and busy, and busy. And when we finally got through, all four of us would hold the phone up and we would scream "One Bad Apple" in hopes that the radio station would play the song, because we didn't have a record player. It was the only way we got to hear the song, and then we would just wait by the radio for them to play it.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

THE OSMONDS: (Singing) One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl.

Mr. D OSMOND: (Singing) Oh, give it one more try before you give up on love.

THE OSMONDS: (Singing) One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl.

BLOCK: Well, Ann Patchett, thanks for being brave enough to expose your deep humiliation about the song "One Bad Apple."

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. PATCHETT: Yeah, I'm not going to be listening to the radio today.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

Mr. M. OSMOND: (Singing) Girl, to me, you're like a dream come true.

THE OSMONDS: (Singing) Dream come true now.

Mr. M. OSMOND: (Singing) I'd rather hurt myself than to ever...

BLOCK: The writer Ann Patchett explaining why "One Bad Apple," performed by The Osmonds, is her song of summer. You can see video of the Osmond brothers, white jumpsuits and all, at npr.org. And while you're there, you can send us your favorite summer song memories.

(Soundbite of song, "One Bad Apple")

Mr. D. OSMOND: (Singing) Oh, I don't care what they say. I don't care what you heard now.

THE OSMONDS: (Singing) One bad apple don't...

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

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.