Discussion:
The Number Ones: Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
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Bob Roman
2018-12-01 20:01:17 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week

See now: This is the type of shit that makes me wonder what I was thinking when I took this whole fucking column on in the first place. For one week in 1960, enough people decided that they wanted to own copies of this glaringly obnoxious fart of a song that it hit #1, and every one of those people is partly responsible for ruining my 2018 morning.

Like a lot of the songs that end up in this column, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is a novelty song. As such, it’s happy to be annoying; with novelty songs, the annoyance factor is, in a perverse sort of way, part of the appeal. It’s a song about the garment in question and about the girl wearing it, who’s embarrassed to be seen out in public. She hides in a locker room, she wraps herself up in her towel, and, finally, she won’t leave the water because she doesn’t want people to see her. She stays in the water so long, in fact that, “the poor little girl’s turning blue.” (So does she die? The song isn’t clear.)

Of course, the song isn’t really about its own story. It’s about that hook, one of the most euphorically, galactically repellent ever to reach #1. The “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” chorus isn’t a horny cat-call, exactly, but it’s not sympathetic to the girl in the song, either. It’s just a big neener-neener playground taunt, something that’s galling for the sake of being galling. It’s the kind of chorus that rattles around inside your skull all day, that makes you hate yourself for living. That chorus is final proof that this was a song for assholes.

Brian Hyland was a 16-year-old former choirboy from Queens, and amazingly enough, he didn’t torpedo his own career by unleashing this on the public. He never hit #1 again, but he did have success, getting to #3 with 1962’s “Sealed With A Kiss,” a genuinely very good song. There’s still a special place in hell reserved for him.

GRADE: 1/10
Eric Ramon
2018-12-01 20:06:30 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
See now: This is the type of shit that makes me wonder what I was thinking when I took this whole fucking column on in the first place. For one week in 1960, enough people decided that they wanted to own copies of this glaringly obnoxious fart of a song that it hit #1, and every one of those people is partly responsible for ruining my 2018 morning.
Like a lot of the songs that end up in this column, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is a novelty song. As such, it’s happy to be annoying; with novelty songs, the annoyance factor is, in a perverse sort of way, part of the appeal. It’s a song about the garment in question and about the girl wearing it, who’s embarrassed to be seen out in public. She hides in a locker room, she wraps herself up in her towel, and, finally, she won’t leave the water because she doesn’t want people to see her. She stays in the water so long, in fact that, “the poor little girl’s turning blue.” (So does she die? The song isn’t clear.)
Of course, the song isn’t really about its own story. It’s about that hook, one of the most euphorically, galactically repellent ever to reach #1. The “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” chorus isn’t a horny cat-call, exactly, but it’s not sympathetic to the girl in the song, either. It’s just a big neener-neener playground taunt, something that’s galling for the sake of being galling. It’s the kind of chorus that rattles around inside your skull all day, that makes you hate yourself for living. That chorus is final proof that this was a song for assholes.
Brian Hyland was a 16-year-old former choirboy from Queens, and amazingly enough, he didn’t torpedo his own career by unleashing this on the public. He never hit #1 again, but he did have success, getting to #3 with 1962’s “Sealed With A Kiss,” a genuinely very good song. There’s still a special place in hell reserved for him.
GRADE: 1/10
the blind squirrel found a nut!
Roger Ford
2018-12-01 20:39:21 UTC
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On Sat, 1 Dec 2018 12:01:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CItsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot B=
ikini=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Easily the VERY WORST #1 record of the year (#10 here in UK) against
which "Teen Angel"sounds like a positive masterpiece.

I give the record a 1 and that is primarily for its use in a very
funny Cagney movie that is never seen today (not on UK TV anyway) in a
hilarious scene where Horst Buchholtz (the headstrong youngest member
of "The Magnificent Seven") is being slowly tortured by having "Itsy
Bitsy....." played to him continually

Luckily the torture for us in the 1960 Singles Contest didn't last as
long. Here's how the record did

R1
9 Brian Hyland - Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini - Leader 805
20 The Everly Brothers - Lucille - Warner Bros 5163
ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 20:41:10 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Sat, 1 Dec 2018 12:01:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CItsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot B=
ikini=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Easily the VERY WORST #1 record of the year (#10 here in UK) against
which "Teen Angel"sounds like a positive masterpiece.
I give the record a 1 and that is primarily for its use in a very
funny Cagney movie that is never seen today (not on UK TV anyway) in a
hilarious scene where Horst Buchholtz (the headstrong youngest member
of "The Magnificent Seven") is being slowly tortured by having "Itsy
Bitsy....." played to him continually
Luckily the torture for us in the 1960 Singles Contest didn't last as
long. Here's how the record did
R1
9 Brian Hyland - Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini - Leader 805
20 The Everly Brothers - Lucille - Warner Bros 5163
Who were the 9 assholes?
DianeE
2018-12-01 20:53:59 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Sat, 1 Dec 2018 12:01:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CItsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot B=
ikini=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Easily the VERY WORST #1 record of the year (#10 here in UK) against
which "Teen Angel"sounds like a positive masterpiece.
I give the record a 1 and that is primarily for its use in a very
funny Cagney movie that is never seen today (not on UK TV anyway) in a
hilarious scene where Horst Buchholtz (the headstrong youngest member
of "The Magnificent Seven") is being slowly tortured by having "Itsy
Bitsy....." played to him continually
-------------
Ah, you mean "One, Two, Three." I thought that movie was hilarious but
like you I haven't seen it in almost 60 years.

I think that with novelty songs the whole point is the *novelty*...and
after that wears off, they*all* become annoying.
For me, of course, the song was appealing back then because the artist
was *cute*...and a homeboy.
Roger Ford
2018-12-01 21:09:10 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
Post by Roger Ford
On Sat, 1 Dec 2018 12:01:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CItsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot B=
ikini=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Easily the VERY WORST #1 record of the year (#10 here in UK) against
which "Teen Angel"sounds like a positive masterpiece.
I give the record a 1 and that is primarily for its use in a very
funny Cagney movie that is never seen today (not on UK TV anyway) in a
hilarious scene where Horst Buchholtz (the headstrong youngest member
of "The Magnificent Seven") is being slowly tortured by having "Itsy
Bitsy....." played to him continually
-------------
Ah, you mean "One, Two, Three." I thought that movie was hilarious but
like you I haven't seen it in almost 60 years.
Yes that's the one. I never saw at at a theatre but caught up with it
when it WAS shown on TV here but that was an awful long time ago. The
usually reliable Billy Wilder directed it I believe.
Post by Roger Ford
I think that with novelty songs the whole point is the *novelty*...and
after that wears off, they*all* become annoying.
For me, of course, the song was appealing back then because the artist
was *cute*...and a homeboy.
When the inevitable LP that followed his big hit titled him "The
Bashful Blond" that was sick bag time!

https://www.discogs.com/Brian-Hyland-The-Bashful-Blond/release/5230078

ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
Bill B
2018-12-01 21:53:11 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
Post by DianeE
Post by DianeE
Ah, you mean "One, Two, Three." I thought that movie was hilarious but
like you I haven't seen it in almost 60 years.
Yes that's the one. I never saw at at a theatre but caught up with it
when it WAS shown on TV here but that was an awful long time ago.
Here it is in its entirety:



SavoyBG
2018-12-01 22:14:18 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by Roger Ford
Post by DianeE
Post by DianeE
Ah, you mean "One, Two, Three." I thought that movie was hilarious but
like you I haven't seen it in almost 60 years.
Yes that's the one. I never saw at at a theatre but caught up with it
when it WAS shown on TV here but that was an awful long time ago.
http://youtu.be/SzwFa975gK0
Maltin gives it 4 stars. Thanks, I'm gonna watch it.
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 22:22:35 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bill B
Post by Roger Ford
Post by DianeE
Post by DianeE
Ah, you mean "One, Two, Three." I thought that movie was hilarious but
like you I haven't seen it in almost 60 years.
Yes that's the one. I never saw at at a theatre but caught up with it
when it WAS shown on TV here but that was an awful long time ago.
http://youtu.be/SzwFa975gK0
Maltin gives it 4 stars. Thanks, I'm gonna watch it.
So Cagney is planking his hot young secretary. Leon Ames (General Burkhalter from Hogan's Heroes)is in it.
Dennis C
2018-12-01 22:44:40 UTC
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You should have see this film 50 years ago, Grosstard!!
Mark Dintenfass
2018-12-01 22:22:45 UTC
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Post by DianeE
Ah, you mean "One, Two, Three." I thought that movie was hilarious but
like you I haven't seen it in almost 60 years.
It is hilarious, one of Billy Wilder's (and I.A.L. Diamond's) best,
though less know than many others. And Cagney is amazing. I mention
Diamond because, as co-writer of almost all the great Billy Wilder
movies, he deserves to be better known.
--
--md
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SavoyBG
2018-12-01 22:29:02 UTC
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Schlepping that syrup over the Andes....on llamas yet!
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 22:40:44 UTC
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She pays me 100 marks a night. Fifty for driving her and fifty for not telling you!
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 22:49:56 UTC
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Capitalism is like a dead herring in the moonlight. It shines, but ti stinks!
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 22:54:33 UTC
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The 7 o'clock train to Moscow leaves promptly at 8:15.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-12-01 22:17:28 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Sat, 1 Dec 2018 12:01:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CItsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot B=
ikini=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Easily the VERY WORST #1 record of the year (#10 here in UK) against
which "Teen Angel"sounds like a positive masterpiece.
I give the record a 1 and that is primarily for its use in a very
funny Cagney movie that is never seen today (not on UK TV anyway) in a
hilarious scene where Horst Buchholtz (the headstrong youngest member
of "The Magnificent Seven") is being slowly tortured by having "Itsy
Bitsy....." played to him continually
Luckily the torture for us in the 1960 Singles Contest didn't last as
long. Here's how the record did
R1
9 Brian Hyland - Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini - Leader 805
20 The Everly Brothers - Lucille - Warner Bros 5163
Nine people voted for it over a decent Everly Brothers reworking of a
classic? Ah the good old days.
--
--md
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SavoyBG
2018-12-01 23:16:26 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Sat, 1 Dec 2018 12:01:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CItsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot B=
ikini=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Easily the VERY WORST #1 record of the year (#10 here in UK) against
which "Teen Angel"sounds like a positive masterpiece.
I give the record a 1 and that is primarily for its use in a very
funny Cagney movie that is never seen today (not on UK TV anyway) in a
hilarious scene where Horst Buchholtz (the headstrong youngest member
of "The Magnificent Seven") is being slowly tortured by having "Itsy
Bitsy....." played to him continually
You can drop is to zero, it's not the Hyland version that they are torturing him with.
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 23:40:33 UTC
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I like the several references to old Cagney movies.
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 23:58:05 UTC
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Talk about a fast paced movie.
Dennis C
2018-12-02 00:06:09 UTC
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Leon Askin was General Burkhalter, not Leon Ames but thanks for askin!!

You have been corrected, sir!!
SavoyBG
2018-12-02 00:20:48 UTC
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Post by Dennis C
Leon Askin was General Burkhalter, not Leon Ames but thanks for askin!!
You have been corrected, sir!!
Whatever his name was, it was Burkhalter.
Dennis C
2018-12-02 00:47:02 UTC
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When it comes to film, your ames are a tad off!!

You're young.....you'll get better!
SavoyBG
2018-12-01 20:40:05 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
For one week in 1960, enough people decided that they wanted to own copies of this glaringly obnoxious fart of a song that it hit #1,
I guess this guy misses the entire point of the "Hot 100." The number one song of any week is not necessarily the biggest selling single. It's a combination of sales, radio play and jukebox play that determines the list.
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-12-01 22:52:38 UTC
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And payola.
DianeE
2018-12-01 20:49:04 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
See now: This is the type of shit that makes me wonder what I was thinking when I took this whole fucking column on in the first place. For one week in 1960, enough people decided that they wanted to own copies of this glaringly obnoxious fart of a song that it hit #1, and every one of those people is partly responsible for ruining my 2018 morning.
------------
Happy to oblige, shmuck!
Mark Dintenfass
2018-12-01 22:35:37 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Brian Hyland¹s ³Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini²
HIT #1: August 8, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
See now: This is the type of shit that makes me wonder what I was thinking
when I took this whole fucking column on in the first place. For one week in
1960, enough people decided that they wanted to own copies of this glaringly
obnoxious fart of a song that it hit #1, and every one of those people is
partly responsible for ruining my 2018 morning.
Like a lot of the songs that end up in this column, ³Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie
Yellow Polka Dot Bikini² is a novelty song. As such, it¹s happy to be
annoying; with novelty songs, the annoyance factor is, in a perverse sort of
way, part of the appeal. It¹s a song about the garment in question and about
the girl wearing it, who¹s embarrassed to be seen out in public. She hides in
a locker room, she wraps herself up in her towel, and, finally, she won¹t
leave the water because she doesn¹t want people to see her. She stays in the
water so long, in fact that, ³the poor little girl¹s turning blue.² (So does
she die? The song isn¹t clear.)
Of course, the song isn¹t really about its own story. It¹s about that hook,
one of the most euphorically, galactically repellent ever to reach #1. The
³Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini² chorus isn¹t a horny
cat-call, exactly, but it¹s not sympathetic to the girl in the song, either.
It¹s just a big neener-neener playground taunt, something that¹s galling for
the sake of being galling. It¹s the kind of chorus that rattles around inside
your skull all day, that makes you hate yourself for living. That chorus is
final proof that this was a song for assholes.
Brian Hyland was a 16-year-old former choirboy from Queens, and amazingly
enough, he didn¹t torpedo his own career by unleashing this on the public. He
never hit #1 again, but he did have success, getting to #3 with 1962¹s
³Sealed With A Kiss,² a genuinely very good song. There¹s still a special
place in hell reserved for him.
GRADE: 1/10
Granted, it's a terrible record, but at the time bikinis were still
quite controversial and so being afraid of wearing one in public was,
at least, a real issue for many people. It is making fun of her not for
wearing the bikini, but (in the spirit of r'n'r?) being so shy about
it. And any song that "rattles around inside your skull all day" has
achieved something, even if the rattling becomes unpleasant. If I were
being tortured, I'd rather hear it all day than the saccharine "Sealed
With A Kiss."

I wonder if Breihan knows that the the bikini was named for the Bikini
Atoll in the Pacific, site of a major (and first public) atom bomb
test. His sociological mind might have made much of that. Ka-boom!
--
--md
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Dean F.
2018-12-02 02:25:56 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
He never hit #1 again, but he did have success, getting to #3 with 1962’s
“Sealed With A Kiss,” a genuinely very good song.
To reiterate my previous point: his taste is all in his mouth!
Dennis C
2018-12-03 19:01:43 UTC
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I'm going to quote an old buddy of Grossberg's, David Bash on this and I unswervingly agree about Brian Hyland: His version of "Gypsy Woman" pissrs all over Curtis Mayfield's original, baby!!!
SavoyBG
2018-12-03 19:15:21 UTC
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Post by Dennis C
I'm going to quote an old buddy of Grossberg's, David Bash on this and I unswervingly agree about Brian Hyland: His version of "Gypsy Woman" pissrs all over Curtis Mayfield's original, baby!!!
Ironically we were just discussing this on Bash's Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/davidbash.ipo4ever?__tn__=%2CdC-R-R&eid=ARBhzKao0QuQ9DZdB3DIiXCD4j_-E4QavS_0SZSsdHufkADk7_Hq8-wEgnweourwRZNPTHezkY23WqXK&hc_ref=ARSwQ3E2lEQQSNO8jwbWX6VACqZ_y9POAJuQk-CMQeybtUuObTPfkYsCBpVhleLkdtU&fref=nf
Dennis C
2018-12-03 20:48:06 UTC
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Oh goodness!!,

Not only has Dave overthrown his pop...he's assumed his body, baby!!

Time has indeed flown!!
Bill B
2018-12-03 22:44:33 UTC
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Yeah, like Pat Boone's "Tutti Frutti" pisses over Little Richard's original.
Dennis C
2018-12-03 22:54:09 UTC
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Now you're being silly ,Billy!!

But I WOULD challenge Little Richard to achieve the baritonic richness and melodic heights struck by Boone on "April Love" and " Friendly Persuasion"!

The result would probably be closer to Richard Boone,baby!!
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-12-03 23:40:35 UTC
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OTOH, it would have been nice if Pat could have stayed ‘on key’ in “Love Letters.”

Ray
Dennis C
2018-12-04 00:16:34 UTC
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Hey!! I'll have you know that those love letters written in the sand on Siesta Key, baby!!

You're right. Pat drags on that one.

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