Thursday, September 13, 2007
Teen Idols and Punk Rock
As I often do, I scour the historical pop music charts... and noticed that in 1977 the charts had a wacky mix of disco, lite pop, "hard rock" (as in KISS) and teen idols. Rock n Roll was not so prevalent with the exception of KISS... and there was much lite music. No wonder punk rock was so welcome to me and my friends!
But there was this guilty pleasure some of us shared...teen idol pop music, yes as in The Bay City Rollers, Leif Garrett, Shawn Cassidy and even the Osmonds. I used to have a nifty and sizeable collection of teen idol 45's - from Bobby Sherman up to Tiffany, but strangely, they have disappeared.
One person in the whole LA punk rock milieu for whom teen idols were not a guilty pleasure was Rodney Bingenheimer.
He was comfortable with the Monkees Davy Jones as well as punk rock bad boy, Dead Boys front man, my old pal, Stiv Bators. And Stiv posed for a very popular photo with Rodney's favorite teen idol, Brooke Shields.
In 1977, both Leif Garrett and Shawn Cassidy were all over the charts, and Pleasant and I had a great time listening to singles like Cassidy's "Hey Deanie" and his cover of "Runaround Sue" over and over and over again... just like we did with Black Randy & the Metro Squad's "Trouble at the Cup." Strange bedfellows those...
Like Dick Clark of American Bandstand fame, Rodney is a perennial teenager...always able to relate to this moment's teen idol as well as the evergreen musicians of rock n roll.
Here's Rodney with two premier ladies of punk rock's early days who became international pop stars and teen idols in their own right - Charlotte Caffey of the Go Gos and Blondie's Debbie Harry. That's Nick Gilder ("Hot Child in the City") with Rodney and Debbie, backstage at the erstwhile Starwood club, below.