Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bobby Goldsboro - "Watching Scotty Grow" (1970)

Bobby Goldsboro - "Watching Scotty Grow" (Billboard #11, entered 12/26/70; easy listening #1). Written by Mac Davis. Produced by Bob Montgomery and Bobby Goldsboro. 45: "Watching Scotty Grow"/"Water Color Days" (United Artists 1970). LP: We Gotta Start Lovin' (United Artists 1971).

Bobby Goldsboro's #1 hit "Honey" (1968), with its maudlin arrangement, gawky narrative, and crocodile tears, established him as one of pop music's emperors of melodrama. He'd been vying for the crown as far back as 1962, when his first charting single ("Molly") expressed the words of a soldier returning home and revealing to his family that he could no longer see.

Even so, throughout his entire eleven-year run of hits, Goldsboro's material would demonstrate the odd ability to yo-yo from bathos to pathos, drawing listeners into a realm of meaningful reflection against their better judgment. With "Watching Scotty Grow," for example, you hear its smiley-face trumpet hook and Mac Davis's lyrics about a little boy doing little boy things, then you grimace. And then you find yourself lost in thought. "You can have your TV and your nightclubs and you can have your drive-in picture show," Goldsboro sings. "I'll stay here with my little man near and we'll listen to the radio, biding my time and watching Scotty grow."

Because I considered the song, as I still do, to be a perfect signature record for the era's pop music preoccupation with children, I titled the first chapter of my Early '70s Radio book "Watching Scotty Grow: The New Top 40 and the Merging Spheres of Parents and Preteens." The song even presented the very scenario I was discovering, a world where kids and adults hung around together and listened to the same station, with everything that implies. ("This mutual radio-listening environment," as I put it then, "was a contradictory affair.")

"Watching Scotty Grow" originally appeared on a Goldsboro album called We Gotta Start Lovin' but, presumably because of its radio success, it became the title song to a new album released shortly thereafter, with a cover depicting Goldsboro and a youngster in father-son mode.

Bobby Goldsboro - "Watching Scotty Grow"

See also: A KMPC Playlist circa 1971

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