25 February 2008
The Coasters' "Poison Ivy"
There are some songs that are special simply because they are intrinsically tied to a certain time period in life. "Poison Ivy" by The Coasters is one such song for me. Early in college, when I was first falling in love with my car and driving downtown every weekend to hang out at clubs, it came on my AM radio with a relentless repetition. Somehow the Dove AM station knew exactly when I'd be hitting that one bend in the interchange and almost every time it would play "Poison Ivy." There was a certain feeling to driving my car back then--a type of wind howling cool metal solitude that wasn't even broken when I had passengers (because my front suspension was shot and they always had to sit in the back).
My memories aren't the only thing going for "Poison Ivy." Just outside the normal realm of doo wop music, The Coasters perfected a career of humorous harmonizing rhythm and blues that they have carried on through today (now only with one original member). Their list of hit singles is long and includes other famous songs like "Yakety Yak," , "Charlie Brown," and "Love Potion Number Nine." Clever and far from slap-stick, "Poison Ivy" is just fun to listen to and to sing along with.
When I hear the song now, playing on a store PA or cropping up on my radio (no longer AM), I can almost hear the wind howling through my driver's side window as it rattles with the uneven cement.