Saturday, January 7, 2012

Song #77 of 9999 - Tell Laura I Love Her by Ray Peterson

Song #77 of 9999

Title: Tell Laura I Love Her
Artist: Ray Peterson
Year: 1960
Album: N/A - single release

The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the emergence of a new kind of song: the teen tragedy song. These mini-operas usually involved some kind of drag race or other desperate situation which results in the death of one or both star-crossed lovers. It's a fascinating little genre that has continues to this day but not on the same scale and perhaps not with the same level of drama. After all, a song like Eminem's "Stan" comes with a video that pretty much spells out all of the action for you whereas these early songs required you to use your imagination. For that reason, I can see a lot of young people in 1960 envisioning themselves in these exact situations. Also, the fact that people would frequently marry right after high school make a song like "Tell Her I Love Her" a bit more realistic than it would perhaps be today.

In "Tell Laura I Lover Her," Tommy is in love with Laura and wants to marry her. But he doesn't have the cash to buy a wedding ring. Then he sees an advertisement for a stock car race with a top prize of $1000. He enters the race and...well, I won't spoil it for you but it doesn't end well for Tommy. See you tomorrow in 1970.

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