Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Misty water-colored... daisies?

For some reason -- no idea why -- the childhood song that plays the most in my mind's jukebox is "A Daisy a Day." It's a sweet little story -- 98 percent high-fructose corn syrup -- about a couple who walk the streets together, and how the guy thinks about his love even after she passes on.

I'll give you a daisy a day, dear / I'll give you a daisy a day / I'll love you until the rivers run still / And the four winds we know blow away.

I'm not good at remembering lyrics -- I can't even come up with the whole chorus of "Kookaburra," and we sang that roughly 6 million times in elementary school -- but damn if I won't be cutting grass or reading a book and find myself whistling "Daisy a Day." Whatever hook that melody has on me, it's sunk deep.

I thought about "Daisy a Day" when I heard that Henry Gibson died. The obit mentions his big break as a cast member on "Laugh-In" and his movie work, including his classic role as the head Nazi in "The Blues Brothers." But I was disappointed that it didn't mention what I remembered most -- his hit version of "A Daisy a Day." For years, every time that song has played in my head, I can see him singing it.

So I went to YouTube, the home of every inch of video ever shot, to find the clip. I looked. And kept looking. And then went to Google.

I couldn't believe it.

Henry Gibson, best I can tell, never sang "A Daisy a Day." He carried a daisy around as his comedy gimmick -- remember, this was the '60s -- but he didn't sing.

It was another "Laugh-In" regular who did the song -- Jud Strunk, who had a top-20 hit with it in 1973, when I was 9. Here he is doing the song on Carson:

(Unbelievable factoid of the day: According to the Jud Strunk website, "A Daisy a Day" was the first song played on the moon. This falls under the category of "too good to check.")

The point is, for the last 30-some years, I have held in my mind the indisputable fact that Henry Gibson sang "A Daisy a Day." And now it turns out I was completely wrong.

So I'm wondering which other childhood memories are wrong. Did Anna Cheshire not wink at me that day in second grade? Did I not find that magazine of dirty jokes and have NO idea what they were talking about? Did I not goof around with darts and stick holes in our new Formica table? (No, I'm pretty sure that one's real... my mom still gets steamed about it.)

Here's some advice for you 9-year-olds out there: Start writing it all down. Now. Or someday you'll be humming "Billie Jean" and thinking about that great singer, Michael Jordan.


Anonymous said...

Tommy Tomlinson.........tell your wife I am madly in love with your heart and mind! You never cease to amaze me.............Jud Strunk...Good Lord! Love it and you!

Anonymous said...

I was JUST going to say that: I love the sentiment you pour out in every column, every memory, every observation of life. I still remember when you wrote: "I thought I was just a fat guy, and then a wonderful girl fell in love with me." Just a fat guy? Ha! It was your heart, Tommy. You are one big generous heart. kg

kpurvis said...

Re: kids writing it down. Don't worry, kids -- your mothers are blogging/twittering/facebooking your every golden moment. By the time you're 21, you'll WISH there was a moment that wasn't documented.

Lynne Stevenson said...

I think I might have this memory beat...I remember watching a 45 vinyl record with a certain orange and yellow label (from Capital Records, I believe)revolve as I danced around while it played on the jukebox at my father's favorite hangout. It was a song entitled "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and it had recently been released by a new band to just cross "the Pond" and I was about three years old...Three guesses who the band was...

PopCereal said...

Hi Mr. Tommy--
I, too, have the same memory of little Henry Gibson singing "Daisy a Day." Can it be that we're both wrong!! I'm thinking maybe that it must've been just a one time thing he did on Laugh-In, 'cause I honestly can't imagine mistaking Jud Strunk for Henry Gibson. Then again, weirder things have happened and recalled.
--Mr. Miller