"Marion's car, forced to slow down for lack of visibility, approaches a neon sign which reads: BATES MOTEL.
And beneath it, in smaller neon letters: VACANCY" -- from the movie script to "Psycho"
In 1960, I was on the cusp of teenhood (I turned 13 that March). Most of my memories of music are post-dated. My favorite songs of the year come mostly from later "flashback" presentations on the radio. I wasn't quite "tuned in" yet, but I was getting close. I did have a small collection of 45's for my small record player. They included 1959 holdovers "We Got Love" by Bobby Rydell, "Heartaches By the Number" by Guy Mitchell, and the 1960 records, "Lonely Blue Boy" by Conway Twitty and "Down By The Station" by The Four Preps. As you can see, my taste for "rock and roll" wasn't highly developed.

I do have some radio memories. I remember listening to Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" and The Fendermen's "Mule Skinner Blues." But the spring and summer of 1960 were mostly focused on the usual interests of a 13-year-old boy -- baseball, swimming; and as winter neared, basketball. Although I had perfected some really nifty dance steps (see 1959 "Perspectives), I really didn't use them much. The only big opportunity I had had was at the 7th grade dance. We only had one school sponsored dance and it was held in the spring for all seventh graders. I wasn't exactly with the "in-crowd" and at Millard Lefler Junior High School had not had the pleasure of being identified as any part of the "cutest couple" for seventh grade in any of the issues of the school "paper." So needless to say, I did not have anything resembling a "girl friend." But there was a girl in one of my classes who I visited with regularly and when the dance came around, my friends pushed me to ask her to dance. I remember the song was "Sweet Nothin's" by Brenda Lee. I do not remember her name. But I do remember my dance steps were awesome. And I remember for several days afterward, I considered walking her to class (something that would have been considered the equivalent of a "date" in our junior high world at that time). But I never did -- I probably got distracted by more important things (baseball, shooting hoops in the backyard, learning to hit a golf ball).

As I look through the list of songs from the summer of 1960, I have no memories attached to any. Perhaps that's because my life changed a little that summer. We moved out of our house to live in my grandmother's house to care for her (my grandfather had died earlier that year). As I entered eighth grade, I still attended the same school, but lived in a neighborhood several blocks farther away from many of my friends. For the most part, I was not thrilled about the move. But it did have one attraction. In my grandmother's house, I got a room on the second floor which had been converted to an apartment. The rest of the "apartment" was occupied by my cousin who was attending college and he wasn't around a lot. In the winter of 1960 I started listening to more and more radio. Some of the songs from the end of that year I can remember as "favorites" -- Dion's "Lonely Teenager," "He Will Break Your Heart" by Jerry Butler, and for some reason, Bob Luman's "Let's Think About Livin'" (perhaps in Lincoln, Nebraska, Luman's record got a little more play time than elsewhere).

My insulated life of 1960 doesn't conjur up too many movie memories, either. But just as I came to appreciate the sounds of 1960 at a later date, I also became exposed to some of the movies. In later years, "The Magnificent 7" would become a favorite, but I never saw it in 1960 -- I would take a liking to its theme song. I was never an Elvis movie fan, so I can still say I've never seen "G.I. Blues" and I still don't really care for any of the Elvis records of 1960. Of course, I didn't see "Butterfield 8." And I didn't see "Ben Hur." I must not have gone to many movies in 1960. On television "My Three Sons" debuted that year and it became one of my favorites. But one of my most vivid memories of the sixties is "Psycho." No, at thirteen, I didn't go to the movie. But five years later, when "Psycho" was re-released, I did get my first viewing. It was playing at the drive-in ("84th & O Drive-In" in Lincoln, Nebraska) and I took my girlfriend (eventually to become my wife) to see it. During its original release, a promotional gimmick had been that nobody would be allowed to enter the theater after the movie started. The night we went in 1965, to quote Rick Nelson, "we got started a little bit late" and by the time we arrived, the movie was in progress. We pulled in, quickly rolled down the window and got the speaker propped up and turned on. We got ready to be scared, because we knew about "Psycho" from its reputation. But this was a story about some woman stealing money from a bank. There was no "creepy motel guy" and the whole atmosphere of the film seemed like a rerun of "Perry Mason." We began to wonder if we'd gotten the wrong drive-in. Maybe it was playing across town at the "Starview." We consideed leaving, but by the time we got to the other show, it would be half over, so we decided we might as well stay. But we couldn't figure out what this movie was, we were just becoming more and more convinced it was some dog, "B" movie and maybe the evening would have to be given over more to "romance" than movie viewing (something I'm sure I was not averse to at 18). But then it started raining (on the screen). And then Janet Leight pulled into the motel. Ahhh, this was the right movie. And I remember that even though we sort of knew what was coming, it was a scarey movie.

So, my biggest memory from 1960 doesn't really come from 1960. And my music memories are vague and minimal. But that was all to change soon as 1961 would find me in my upstairs apartment (my cousin moved out) with a radio blasting out all the hits (KLMS in Lincoln) and me discovering one of the great loves of my life -- rock and roll music.
I never owned the record, but vividly remember the dance.
Bob Luman, "Let's Think About Livin'"
"My Three Sons" was a tv favorite. And its theme song (by Lawrence Welk) and the "Theme to The Magnificent Seven" would be later instrumental favorites. Pictured here is the cast from the original season -- I liked Tim Considine as the oldest brother and William Frawley (of "I Love Lucy" fame) as "Bub" but they were later replaced.
It wasn't until Marion Crane pulled into the motel that we knew we were at the right drive-in.