The Soundtrack For A Lifetime

Susan Page
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Wednesday - February 15, 2006
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During the Super Bowl XL, my adult life flashed before me. The Rolling Stones, Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Aretha Franklin - all icons of my past.

I clearly remember when my mother called the Rolling Stones vulgar and their music “yelling.” It was 1965, the year I graduated from high school. She feared my generation was “going to hell in a hand basket” with Mick Jagger our guide. I rolled my eyes at her uncoolness and left for college.

Last week and 41 years later, during the Super Bowl halftime, the Rolling Stones are still vulgar (their lyrics censored), and their music is, well, Mom, you’re right, still yelling. But the hand-picked screaming teens around that tongue-shaped stage in Detroit shouldn’t fool anybody; the Rolling Stones are Grandma and Grandpa’s band. The still-prancing, still-pouting Mick Jagger and skeletal guitarist Keith Richards, each 62 and craggy-faced, are, after all, eligible for Social Security.

To Baby Boomers like me, Rolling Stones songs are touch-stones, much like the football legends of past Super Bowls we saw honored on the field. Witness the timeline:

1965: Mick Jagger and Joe Namath are both 22 (Joe Montana, 11). Namath is MVP of the Orange Bowl and signs with the New York Jets. I’m a college freshman dancing to number one hits, Satisfaction and Get Off of my Cloud. The Vietnam War has begun.

1966: Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr turns 31. I’m competing in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the Miss America crown as Miss Texas. The Rolling Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown plays on the radio. (I didn’t know him yet, but husband Jerry Coffee has just been shot down and captured in North Vietnam. Paint it Black is No. 1 on the charts.) The “graceful” Jerry Rice (MVP Super Bowl XXIII) is 4.

1967: Ruby Tuesday is the No. 1 song by the Rolling Stones. I fly to Japan to get married in December. South Vietnam is a battlefield. Bart Starr prepares to beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II. (Jerry, a POW in Hanoi in isolation for almost two years, hasn’t yet heard of the Super Bowl.)

1968: Living here in Hawaii, I got a “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”: My husband, a Marine pilot, is coming home from Vietnam. Another flash: “Broadway” Joe Namath “guarantees” the Jets a Super Bowl III win. Another big hit for the Stones.

1969: Namath hits his receivers, wins and proceeds to date all the Honky
Tonk Women
(Stones’No. 1) in New York. (John Elway, MVP Super Bowl XXXIII, is 9.)

1971: Baby daughter Joy is born. Brown Sugar not a top pick for her name, but picked No. 1 song. Wild Horses, not a hit, could-n’t help our beloved Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach, beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V. (Emmitt Smith is 2.)

1973: Another No. 1 for Mick is Angie. The Vietnam War ends, my husband comes home, and so do the POWs. Miami Dolphin’s Bob Griese throws to beat the Redskins in Super Bowl VII. New England’s Tom Brady isn’t yet born.

1974: Ain’t Too Proud to Beg for help as son, Kyle, is born. Miami’s Larry Czonka is MVP.

The World Trade Center is two years from completion.

1981: My husband dies, and the Rolling Stones sing Start Me Up. I need a start up, don’t really care that Oakland quarterback Jim Plunkett is MVP of Super Bowl XV, or much else for that matter. Mick and the gang are looking a little rough and so am I.

1983: I move back to Hawaii. Undercover only makes it to No.

9, but I feel at the top of the charts. John Riggins and the Redskins do, too.

As my sister Sara says, they’re like the Energizer Bunny. It’s comforting that the Rolling Stones and the Super Bowl, born about the same time, are both going strong.

There’s another song that’ll make the ride smoother and last longer. Like Time is On My Side, by those old Energizer Bunnies.

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