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Donna and Sandi...


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Kind of a crazy title for a post in a flight sim forum. But since we're just sitting back on the old hand-me-down-red-leather couch in the hangar enjoying a beverage I thought it would be OK.


I got a real shock in the mail yesterday. A package from an old friend whom I haven't seen in almost 60 years. In the envelope the was a short note and a 45 RPM record. The note was the usual wish-you-well-sorry-I-haven't-seen-you-in-a-long-time sort of thing. Nothing special. But the record is now one of the most precious things I own. Let me explain a bit.


Back in the late 1950's I played piano in a rock band out in California. We were never top-tier but considering the competition we did OK. Everything we played was original stuff, no covers. If you've ever seen the movies about Eddie And The Cruisers (and if you're over 70 you should) you'll remember Word Man. We didn't have Word Man but we had Gerry. Like Word Man, Gerry was a genius when it came to lyrics. One of his best was a song about my girl named "Sandi".


In the course of the couple of years spanning 1958-1959 we played over 100 gigs and were lucky enough to cut a couple of 45 RPM records. The records didn't sell too well but what the heck, how many guys can say they played in a rock band and made a 45 RPM record in the 1950's?


Over the years, and through seven moves, I somehow lost my copies of these records. I knew they were pressed by Monarch in Los Angeles. I contacted Monarch but found that the original masters were discarded after 50 years. Sigh...


And then came The Envelope.


Many of you well remember Ritchie Valens back in 1957-1959. And his girl Donna. Well, I had a girl back then too. Her name was Sandi. And just as Ritchie sang about a girl named Donna, I sang about a girl named Sandi. The record in the envelope was the last known copy of our song titled "Sandi".


Except for my copy of "Sandi" I know of no surviving records of how our band sounded back in those days. But if you're interested you might want to listen to this   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPEWAEVsv78   . When I first heard this recording I could hardly sleep for days. Going through my mind was Gerry on lead, Tommy on bass, Big Arthur on tenor sax, Gary on alto sax, Vince on drums, and me banging on the piano. If I close my eyes I could swear I was listening to Tom, Gerry, and the Monarchs.


One of the nice things about being an old guy are the memories of another time.

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Very cool story...maybe not at your age, but I do remember both Ritchie Valens (my Mother was a big fan and used to play his music in our house when I was a young kid) and I also remember the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. Great movie, and I still listen to a few songs from that soundtrack in my daily playlists. Again, great story of your personal history :) 




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