Boomers Got the Word

When it comes to the games people play, there may not be a category more popular than word games. The latest of these is Wordle, yet another popular phenomena that Mister Boomer knows as much about as he does nuclear fusion. Yet Mister B has been known to enjoy crossword puzzles, the kind that are published on paper in these things called newspapers. But that’s a story for another time. For Mister Boomer, word games bring songs of the 1960s to mind. There was a series of “word” songs released in that decade that became part of the boomer vocabulary.

In 1963, The Trashmen boldly told us the bird is the word (Surfin’ Bird, 1963). When the statement was punctuated with, Bahpa ooma mow mow, bahpa oom mow meh mow, well, who could argue with that logic? The Beatles took on the task two years later, and told us the word is love (The Word, 1965). A year later, The Mamas & The Papas wanted us to know that despite the pontification by The Beatles, words of love, soft and tender, won’t win a girl’s heart any more (Words of Love, 1966). Meanwhile, The Association chimed in to tell us cherish is the word (Cherish, 1966).

The battle of words was hardly over. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote a song called, Words, that struck a chord with several bands:

Words that never were true
Just spoken to help nobody but you
Words with lies inside
But small enough to hide
‘Til your playing is through

The Leaves were the first to record it in 1966. That same year, The Regents released their version. But more than likely, the version most boomers recall is the one by The Monkees in 1967. Unlike the other covers, their version hit the Top 20.

In the end, it’s only words. Actually, that’s exactly what The Bee Gees told us in 1968:

It’s only words
And words are all I have
To take your heart away

How about it boomers? Which song holds the final word for you?

2 thoughts on “Boomers Got the Word”

  1. George Carlin had a list of the Seven Words that you could not say on TV or radio. I will not repeat them here.

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