Is it the gentle, loping rhythm or image laden lyrics that make "Under The Boardwalk" one of HERC's favorite Summer songs? Both. Though it came near the end of the Drifters five year run of Top 40 hits, this #4 from the Summer of 1964 looms large in HERC's Summer Scrapbook. So large, that he digs cover versions by the Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp and Tom Tom Club.
In 1982, HERC heard the Tom Tom Club's take on "Under The Boardwalk" on a Sunday night new music show on his favorite rock station. The rhythm was slightly accelerated and there was a guitar noodling in and out of the mix while the four Weymouth sisters deadpanned the lyrics. There were steel drums, a clap track, some funky keyboards and gruff backing vocals from the boys in the band. Different yet the same.
HERC began his quest for the non-album (though it could be found on the cassette version, it wasn't on the vinyl album he had) song on 12" but was having no luck until one day while checking out at a record store, he noticed a small stack of cassettes on the counter with a crude drawing of a head with headphones on connected to a Walkman-like device. It was called Portable Music. The words "Tom Tom Club" caught his eye and he picked the tape up and flipped it over to check the track list. The third song on both sides 1 and 2 of the tape was "Under The Boardwalk" by Tom Tom Club. HERC added the cassette to his order, gladly paying the $4.99 asking price as it said $6.98 right on the tape's spine.
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When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
With soaring strings and escapist lyrics like that from the pen of Carole King, the runner-up for Drifters song of the Summer in HERC"s head is "Up On The Roof" from 1962. The #5 song is even referenced in the lyrics to "Under The Boardwalk":
Oh, when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof
And your shoes get so hot, you wish your tired feet were fireproof
Under the boardwalk, down by the sea
On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be