Endless Loop: Something Happened to Me Yesterday

rollingstonesHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Something Happened to Me Yesterday” by The Rolling Stones

On April 11th, my dad will have been dead for ten years.  That’s a really odd thing to consider, as it feels so long ago, but also like this ever-present thing, an event I’d rather not have define my life, yet one that holds a permanent position within my psyche nonetheless.  It’s like it’s always just on the periphery.  And there are a million different things that can make me think of him every single day.

That’s a good thing though.  I love to remember my dad, and I treasure each and every memory I have of the man, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that in the immediate aftermath of his death from lung cancer, I was way more wrecked than I ever let on.  And in so many ways it stunted me, left me overly numb, unable to feel, running in place for all time.

That was something that took me a while to shake myself of too, and not a mood I have any desire to return to.  Coincidentally enough, writing for this website was one of the things that helped me move forward, my dad, and death, and grief surfacing in many of the first articles I wrote for Joup.  It turns out, there was a lot of solace to be found in listening to and writing about music.

Oh, having a couple of kids of my own helped too.

I don’t broach the subject of my dad’s passing much anymore, but if I’m going to write about The Rolling Stones’ “Something Happened to Me Yesterday,” it’s unavoidable.  It’s a song that will forever remind me of him, and kind of a quirky oddity too, both in and of itself and as part of my dad’s repertoire of pop songs.

My dad’s musical tastes were predominantly folk, bluegrass, and Dixieland jazz.  He’d occasionally make forays into rock n’ roll, country and western, or pop, and he’d generally take a liking to a showtune here or there, but he rarely wavered from those big three.  And man, that bummed me out when I was a teenager.  At 15 or 16 years old, I began to go through the old man’s records, hoping to stumble upon some veritable trophy case of cool old music, and while I admittedly can dig on some of it now, as a snot-nosed kid, I was appalled at the paltry selection that laid before me.  Other friends were able to sift through their parents’ collections of ‘50s rock and doo-wop, ‘60s soul and psychedelic pop, or even some ‘70s rock like Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin if their folks were a little younger, and there I was with The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Dukes of Dixieland, and the Osborne Brothers’ plucky rendition of “Rocky Top.”  The latter was even played at the funeral, and while there are dozens of memories and emotions attached to it now, I still can’t stand that damn song.

But then, out of nowhere, my vinyl perusal turned up Between the Buttons, the 1967 album from The Rolling Stones, and I thought to myself, “Thank God, a real album.”  I pulled the record and turned the cover to check the track listing to discover that I knew exactly one song on the thing, the hit single “Ruby Tuesday.”

On his records, my dad used to mark little stars next to the tracks he was particularly fond of.  There was no mark next to “Ruby Tuesday.”  There was however, one next to the album closing song, and so I gave it a listen.  Now, here I am writing about it.

Listening to “Something Happened to Me Yesterday,” it was immediately evident as to why this particular Stones song was up my dad’s alley.  Beginning with a short trumpet ditty, the song bobs and bounces along on a steady beat, Mick Jagger singing a bunch of nonsense, while piano, whistling, and a horn section all chime in before the song morphs full on into ragtime jazz.  It’s basically The Rolling Stones playing a New Orleans jazz tune.  And it’s wonderful.

Further investigation into my dad’s record collection would turn up other gems over time (Melanie’s “Look What They’ve Done to my Song Ma,” The Mike Curb Congregation’s “Burning Bridges,” and so on), but that Stones song was the first to really make me appreciate some different genre tropes and how they could be applied to pop music.  And really, I was also just stoked that there was a cool record in the mix.

“So, if you’re out tonight, don’t forget, if you’re on your bike, wear white…”


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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