Rockin’ and a rollin’ at the hop

Picture this—1964—a high school dance. All the cute girls are dancing with their regular boyfriends. Some of the guys have broken through the line of wallflowers and asked some of the unspoken-for girls to dance. And there are several circles of dateless girls (myself included) dancing together to Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock. The dance floor is packed and everyone’s having a great time. We all know every word to every song, including the backup vocals and we don’t hesitate to sing out along with the band.

With the exception of  seeing a sea of grey hair and bald heads, that’s exactly what it looked like at a Doo-Wop fundraiser dance putdance1 on by my friend’s tennis group last Friday night. In fact there were still quite a few teased, bleached bobs and weird perms in the crowd but we all revived our classic 60’s dance moves—some better than others. We twisted, slow-danced, jived, mashed potatoes and generally did whatever felt good in time to Roy Orbison, The Nylons, The  Diamonds, Del Shannon, Paul Anka, The Beach Boys, Sam Cooke and a long list of other hit-makers from the 50s and 60s.

A friend’s husband (a retired fire-fighter) provided non-stop dance partner services for the single ladies for most of the slow dances as we took turns cutting in. We bopped to songs beautifully delivered by The GoldTones, four guys in classy white sports jackets with black shirts and pants. I’m always amazed when I attend such events that more than 50 years have elapsed since 50swe attended those high-school dances in the cafagymnatorium or Teen Town at the Masonic Hall. Back then, a fight might break out between some of the tougher guys having a smoke or a drink in the parking lot. But generally they were pretty tame affairs compared with the easy sex and copious supplies of booze and drugs at teen parties today. If anyone had sex in the washroom or parking lot at Friday night’s dance, they’d have returned to brag about it and we’d have erected a monument to them. Today, at least, no one in our crowd has to worry about getting pregnant and resorting to the unreliable Coke-douche. And we don’t stay out too late anymore—can’t stay awake that long. But we’re still cool. We still remember the words to all the songs and have a ton of fun. A little Buddy Holly or Dion and The Belmonts and we’re off.  That’s all it takes to temporarily wipe out 50 years.

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6 years ago

Lynda, your good! Good writing and good topics. One sneaky comment. If you were dancing to Bill Haley and “Rock Around the Clock” in ’64 you were into nostalgia. I remember seeing them perform in 1955, in black & white, on the Dorsey Brothers Show, Ed Sullivan’s competition on Sunday night’s at 8 pm. I went nuts and have been a fan of rock & roll ever since. Doo Wop was never called that in the 50’s and never heard in Toronto unless you listened to and could pick up George “the Hound” Lorenze out of WKBW in Buffalo. Most… Read more »

Lynda Davis
6 years ago
Reply to  noronwe

I most certainly remember these things, particularly watching Elvis for the first time on the Dorsey Show. I came from a small town so our music was not always the most current. And my girlfriend and I used to sleep in her tent in the summer in her backyard and listen to WKBW all the time. We could only get it at night! That was when Jungle Jay Nelson was in Buffalo before he came to Toronto. And thanks for your comments – really appreciate it.

  Lynda Davis Follow my blog at:


Susan Duke
Susan Duke
6 years ago

Somehow I seemed to miss all this albeit perhaps one dance. However, I still knew the dance moves as I watched my older brothers and sisters prepare for one of their parties. Perhaps I was too shy back then to attend, (hard to imagine now) or maybe having a boyfriend who had completed school and was working full time was the deal breaker. He had other interests than a school or community dance. As an adult I have been to many singles dances where the rock’n roll and blues are still flying high and I remember all my moves. Sigh…….

6 years ago

Great thoughts…I was one of the wallflowers so certainly had no need for a Coke douche, and frankly this is the first time I have even heard of one! Glad to hear that you had a good time at the dance, Lynda, kudos to the organizer.

7 years ago

And today at the hospice, one of our residents, when asked if there was any music she would like, said – Please the Classic 60’s. Yes she is our ‘boomer’ age. So the volunteer put on the Beach Boys and the resident and the volunteer were singing when the local doctor arrived. Doc said – You ladies are going to have to remember that the young neighbours might not know The Beach Boys!!!! What a time was had by all. There is no hope for recovery – just hope for a peaceful ending to this stage of life. Moral of… Read more »