Friday, February 24, 2012

Gene Pitney -- "Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa" (1963)

As we were dancing closely
All of a sudden I lost control
As I held her charms

I know exactly what the singer is talking about here.  A woman with really nice charms will cause you to lose control -- especially if she lets you hold them when you're dancing closely. 

Burt Bacharach wrote the music and Hal David wrote the words for dozens of hit songs -- including "The Look of Love," "Raindrop Keep Fallin' On My Head," "What's New, Pussycat?," and many, many others.  Dionne Warwick was the biggest beneficiary of the Bacharach-David  partnership.  She charted 38 of their songs, nine of which reached the top 10.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Gene Pitney owed Bacharach and David a lot as well.  Pitney reached the top five twice in 1962 with Bacharach-David songs -- "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" and "Only Love Can Break A Heart" -- and "Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa" (which was released in 1963) was his biggest UK hit ever.

"Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa" tells the story of a man who is driving back to his home town -- Tulsa -- to see the woman he loves.  He is only "one day from [her] arms" when he stops for the night at a small motel.  While he is checking in, he meets a woman who gives him directions to a cafe where he can get a bite to eat.

He invites her to join him for dinner.  The next thing he knows, the jukebox is playing, he and the woman are dancing, and he has his hands all over her firm,  voluptuous charms.  I'm guessing one of the other diners at the cafe probably said "For cryin' out loud, folks, get a room!"  

He already has a room, of course, which is convenient.  Before the night is over, Tulsa could be on Neptune for all he cares.  

Here's how he breaks the news to the old girlfriend:

I hate to do this to you
But I love somebody new
What can I do?

"What can I do?"  Well, he could start by not picking up women in the parking lots of out-of-the-way motels, inviting them to dinner, and feeling up their magnificent, thrusting charms while dancing.  

Where exactly do you think this whirlwind romance takes place?  According to MapQuest, it takes 24 hours or less to drive from Tulsa from just about anywhere in the continental United States.  For example, San Diego and Miami are less than 24 hours from Tulsa.  

Seattle and Boston are more than 24 hours from Tulsa, but you can get to Tulsa from Boise and Hartford to Tulsa than 24 hours.  So this guy can be just about anywhere other than the Pacific Northwest and northern New England.

Which means that his Tulsa gal's father (who has loaded his shotgun and is looking for his bull castrator) is going to find it a real challenge to track him down and make him very, very sorry for breaking his little girl's heart -- not to mention putting a bun in her oven.  Although if the guy called the girl from a pay phone at the motel, the father can hit *69, get the number the call came from, and figure out where the dude is.

Personally, I think the guy has been scammed.  Wasn't all this just a little too easy?  What kind of woman hangs around cheap motels and lets perfect strangers manhandle her ample, jutting charms in public?  I think he is going to wake up all alone the next morning with a lump on his noggin, bad hangover, an empty wallet, and no car.

What will he do then?  He'll probably call the Tulsa chick, tell it was all just a misunderstanding, and beg her to go to Western Union and send him enough money for a bus ticket home.  

Let's hope she's smart enough to just hang up on the bozo if he does.

Here's "Twenty-Four Hours To Tulsa":

Click here to order the song from Amazon:

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