And Deep, Too

Scientific research investigating rock ‘n roll’s influence on politics is surprisingly scant. So much so it’s practically criminal.

The only other comparably ignored phenomenon by science is the frequency with which humans possess navels. Luckily, for that research problem, we have a pretty good theory to help us predict the answer.

To rectify the dramatic oversight, the Wildenhain Blog is obliged to ride to the rescue. Which seems appropriate, since the only other outlet for such work is the Journal of Irreproducible Results, edited by the esteemed Professor X. S. DeTaille.

Although originally from the Midwest, Ronald Reagan spent most of his life in California. First as a B-level actor, later as a union president, followed by governor of the state.

Reagan’s time in California coincides with the Beach Boys rise to prominence and popularity. Indeed, Reagan’s politicization coincides with the Beach Boys’ long string of Top-40 hits.

And among the thorny, globally troubling and existential questions that simultaneously torture and tease us is this one: Why do so many Beach Boys songs begin with the word “Well”?

Or at least so many of their hit songs? Consider the evidence:

“Well since she put me down . . . “ (Help Me Rhonda)

“Well East Coast girls are . . . “ (California Girls)

“Well I guess it’s been building up . . . “ (Don’t Worry Baby)

“Well I’m not braggin’ babe so don’t put me down . . . “ (Little Deuce Coupe)

And, even though the word isn’t used in “Heroes and Villains,” it very much sounds as though it’s being used: “Well I been in this town . . . “

But, by the 70s, the hits had largely disappeared and once Reagan became president (1981), practically nonexistent. Still, in the 60s, the Beach Boys were a hit machine.

The Beach Boys’ connection to the Reagan presidency is two-fold. First, as documented by Wikipedia, the BBs (along with the Grass Roots) performed Independence Day concerts at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Until, that is, Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, James G. Watt (What?!), banned the concerts by such groups asserting they encouraged drug use and alcoholism.

Second, President Ronald Reagan was well-known to begin sentences, including statements of policy and preference, with a “Well,” followed by a pause, and then the remainder of the sentence.

This is not, one acknowledges, the most penetrating, incisive observation today. Doubtless, others can easily be invented and are of greater public, civic importance.

“Well she got her daddy’s car . . . “ (Fun, Fun, Fun. A title to be used when one runs out of words. Its sequel: Dance, Dance, Dance)

But the present space is the one within which trivia, occasionally bordering on banality, is celebrated.

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