Boomers Saw — and Heard — the Signs

Mister Boomer has written several posts about his Morning Jukebox Syndrome, the affliction that causes songs from the boomer era to play in his head upon awakening, practically every day. He has since learned many other boomers experience this same situation. It’s endless fascinating to him that songs that may not have been heard for 30, 40 or 50 years can suddenly appear in the brain, lyrics complete, as if they were playing on the radio. So when a few songs began to reappear in a bit of cluster in the past month, Mister Boomer had no choice but to take it as a sign he should write about them. The “sign” was songs that mention the word, sign. Here are the three songs:

Sign of the Times – Petula Clark (1966)
There’s not a shred of any Eve of Destruction in Petula Clark’s music. On the contrary, the beat is up, the mood wide-eyed and happy. The sign in this song is that a boy who previously didn’t give her the attention she wanted has now changed his tune. Her times are changing, in her song, for the better. The song peaked at Number Two on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary charts.

Gimme Little Sign – Brenton Wood (1967)
As in Petula Clark’s tune, this one is a straightforward love song. The sign here is the singer is looking for some reciprocity — a sign that the woman feels the same as he does. The song peaked at Number Nine on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Signs – Five Man Electrical Band (1971)
After touring with groups like The Allman Brothers, Edgar Winter, Sly and the Family Stone and Rare Earth, this Canadian band scored with a song that talks about signs as limiting dialogue and inclusion, a real boomer-era sentiment. First released as a B-side on a single in 1968, it was the 1971 re-release as a promo for their album, Good-byes and Butterflies, that caught boomers’ attention. Mister B could partially identify with it since, after being forced to keep his hair cut in parochial high school, he was then heading to college and free to grow it long, plus a mustache as well. So the lyrics, And the sign said long-haired freaky people need not apply were relatable. The song reached Number Three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S.

In the end, what is Mister Boomer — or any boomer for that matter — to make of the sudden appearance of sign-related songs in his Morning Jukebox Syndrome? At this particular point in this particular year, when no news is good news, maybe the signs point to the variety and wisdom found in boomer music as a way to cope, if not to find hope and a path forward?

What do the signs tell you, boomers?

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