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There are hundreds of songs in the popstrological canon that sound dated-songs like At The Hop or Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree, for instance, which are nearly impossible to listen to as anything other than nostalgic little time capsules. But then there are songs like In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) by Zager and Evans and Disco Duck by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots -- songs that are almost impossible to listen to period, or at least songs that are impossible to listen to without shaking your head and wondering how they ever could have been #1 hits. Indeed, try as you may to understand the popstrological success of the stars in this constellation, you cannot do it without resorting to the logic of the phrase, "Well, I guess you Had To Be There." You really did have to be there in the mid-1970s to understand why Convoy (C. W. McCall) and Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas) weren't regarded as ridiculous joke-songs, and you really, really had to be there in the early sixties to understand how Joe Dowell and the Singing Nun gained entry into the popstrological firmament on the strength of a cover of a half-German Elvis song and French-language tribute to Saint Dominic. Some of the songs that emanated from this constellation have more than novelty value to recommend them, yet still they are songs that could not have been created in just any social-historical context. Even those of us who lived through and enjoyed some of the songs by the stars of the constellation Had to be There have a hard time believing that we ever really were there, yet who can deny the fun of asking and attempting to answer the eternal question, "What were we thinking?"

We've all been in relationships that seemed like a good or at least a plausible idea at the time we entered into them, only to seem like anything but that shortly thereafter. The children of the stars in the constellation Had to Be There may not be any more likely than the rest of us to find themselves shaking their heads over some of their partnering decisions, but they certainly are more likely than the rest of us to be the cause of such head-shaking, especially when paired with partners who carefully guard their public images.

2004 All rights reserved. "Popstrology" is a trademark of Ian Van Tuyl.

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