My Thursday Song

Daily Planet promo shot1Vintage Music Video below*

The end of the year always makes me think back on those moments that helped define me. The Daily Planet was, for many years, the biggest “moment” of my life.

Marc was a skinny Polish-American Jew. I was a Euro-American mutt who’d decided he was Irish after playing a leprechaun in the high school musical. We formed our first rock group at age 14, and boy was it clunky. If the chords to the song went, “Blum, blum, blum,” the bass player would go, “Boom, boom, boom,” and the drummer would go, “bang, bang, bang.” All skate.

The band broke up. But Marc and I started writing songs. Our favorite was a McCartney-esque paean to the day we wrote it, Thursday. There was a stage-dad a few blocks away who was desperate to turn his thirteen-year-old into a rock star. So we sold him our cast-off tunes for date money. But we refused to sell “Thursday Song.”

After a few false starts, we managed to finagle an Italian-American drummer named Joey into auditioning for us. We’d never heard anyone play like him. Forget “bang, bang, bang.” Joey could go, “ska-dinka-dunka-clank-clank-ba-dink-dunk-shiiiik!” He was that good. And then Jeph, a 15 year old half-Native American bassist, who’d played a one-Daily Planetnighter with the James Brown band (which made him a living legend), sat in with us, explaining that as soon as something better came along he’d be outa there. Nothing ever did.

It was the blind date that blossomed into love. We were better together than we were apart. We’d try to do covers, but then someone would say, “So I wrote this song,” and we’d work on that instead. It was a draw-back for school dances, where everyone wanted Top 40 and all we knew was Top Us. But eventually an embryonic fan club began to show up and call out the names of their favorite Daily Planet songs.

The Daily Planet. That was what we called ourselves, because of our international…ish…ness. We were just shades-of-white American teenagers, really. But we looked pretty diverse in our WASPy little SoCal suburb of La Mirada.

We managed to score some off-hours recording time with the Beach Boys’ engineer Chuck Britz (who was married to one of my mom’s childhood buds). We laid down four tracks at United Western Recorders, where icons like Elvis and Ray Charles had recorded. Even though our style was folk-rock, everyone picked the poppy “Thursday Song” to be our first hit.

Daily Planet at The Garage in WhittierSo when Capital Records and the Singer Sewing Machine Company (go figure) announced their Sounds of ’68 campaign, we submitted “Thursday Song.” And then forgot about it. But a month later someone called and said, “Congratulations, you’re the best new band in the western United States!”

We drove to Hollywood and re-recorded “Thursday Song” with Billy Strange, the guitarist who’d done the James Bond theme (“DUM-da-da-da-DUM-dum-da-DUM-da-da-da-DUM-dum-da-DA-da-da-da-DA!”). And got our measurements taken by a wispy clothing designer named Boyd (his theme: “patent leather hippies”). And played at the Daisy Club in Beverly Hills, where our slightly stewed host Tony Bennett announced that we were his new protégés! (We never heard from him again.)

We lip-synched “Thursday Song” on a Tuesday at ABC Studios, for the adoring masses. Well, for our adoring little fan club back in La Mirada, anyway—who would have eventually become adoring masses, if only…

But that’s another story.

*Here’s a video (in black & white for some reason–the show was in color). Be kind.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Videos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to My Thursday Song

  1. leendadll says:

    Wow… really good!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well, that was fun! Yes, the outfits had me chuckling a bit, but your band’s sound took me back to my teens. I hope you have more of these reminiscent treasures in store.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. pastorpete51 says:

    Love those pants and hey you guys could actually sing. My cousin Tommy and I had a terrible basement band for six months and the best claim we could make as to popularity was that his mom ( my dear godmother) didn’t kick us out to the garage!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. francisashis says:

    That’s really great,you are truly multitalented.God has bestowed much grace to his bestie.Thanks for sharing.Take care.👍🙏🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  5. nickyab says:

    Wow! Sounds great!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Boy, that was a surprise. Good drummer. Good sound. Didn’t know you could even carry a tune. I sure can’t.

    Glad you still had access to the video. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Abe Austin says:

    And sharing the stage with William Shatner, too?!!

    That genuinely sounded as good as any other famous band of the era. I’m incredibly impressed!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow, Superman Mitch, you’ve even worked for The Daily Planet. I’d say your band’s catchy tune / sound features an intriguing blend of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Feeling Groovy” and Herman’s Hermits’ Mrs. Brown (You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter). Uh… I’m no expert… and… um… maybe it’s just me… but… it could’ve used more cowbell.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Love that cowbell (Joey had an array of atypical percussion instruments). Yes, the verse chord progression is similar to “Feelin’ Groovy” (“The 59th Street Bridge Song”). Marc and I actually wrote ‘TS’ a year before the Simon & Garfunkel song was released. “Great minds think alike,” right? ;>) I certainly don’t mind being compared to Paul Simon, one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century!

      Liked by 3 people

      • That song writing timeline means great minded you may have influenced great minded Simon. BTW, I don’t know if you noticed the “show more” YouTube blurb, but… GREAT CAESAR’S GHOST… your name got misspelled. Check it out…

        “The group consisted of Mitch Toomley, Mark Rochonne, Joe Pino and Jeph Haberman.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        I kinda doubt New Yorker Paul Simon cribbed it from two completely unknown teenage songwriters in an L.A. suburb. It’s a common chord progression, actually. And, yes, there are quite a few errors in the post, including the song’s title. But then the guy who found it didn’t know anything about us; he just found it somewhere, liked it (bless him), and decided to post it on Youtube.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sooo fun to see! You guys were adorable.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Those must have been heady days! (You were very cute.)

    Liked by 3 people

  11. rwfrohlich says:

    What a happy sound! And the outfits were a hoot. Good memories of a simpler time.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. beth says:

    That’s so cool, what a history!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. ejstoo says:

    Interesting must have been two different bands with the same name. I found some other songs by the same name band, but they don’t list the same people.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. luffyball says:

    happy new year

    El jue, 30 dic 2021 a la(s) 09:07, Mitch Teemley ( comment-reply@wordpress.com) escribió:

    > mitchteemley posted: “Vintage Music Video below* The end of the year > always makes me think back on those moments that helped define me. The > Daily Planet was, for many years, the biggest “moment” of my life. Marc was > a skinny Polish-American Jew. I was a Euro-American mutt who” >

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Love the name of the group, the song, the boots, the bell bottoms! Such a hopeful decade! Thanks for taking us all back!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Gary Fultz says:

    Great story! That was definitely fun to see mitch. loved the mix and the sound. I Started a wanna-be band of guys that all got sidetracked by girls…probably saved our folks some embarrassment.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Interesting! You have the best stories, Mitch! 💞

    Liked by 2 people

  18. sniderjerry says:

    Hey there Mitch, You’ll enjoy this. One of my first jobs as a teenager was a caddy. I earned $2.50 for 18 holes. $2.50 was what a Beatles album cost. Work all day, buy a record. Great essay. Happy New Year. Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  19. What a cool name for a band. The outfits cracked me up though😂 But as I recall most bands of that era dressed as such.

    Cool song too, 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  20. murisopsis says:

    I really enjoyed this “blast from the past”!!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. robstroud says:

    Amazing, Mitch. Actually, shockingly unbelievable.
    I hope you saved all of those outfits. They belong is a museum.
    I was going to note the only thing you lacked was cowbell… but I see someone beat me to it. Oh, and I suppose you did include it on some of your other tracks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Yeah, I think this was the first song Joey used the cowbell on, but after that he incorporated it into several other tunes. No, we ditched the costumes right after the show. Truth be told, we were big-time embarrassed about having to wear them.

      Like

  22. Nancy Richy says:

    Well, that was fun and very good, too! I really enjoyed seeing and listening to your once-upon-a-time band; reminded me a bit of The Turtles. You could have been a contender! They say it’s never to late. Maybe in the new year you’ll get the old group together. Who knows? The sky’s the limit!! ✨ 💫

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Agreed: you guys were really good–and so cute! I would’ve gladly joined the La Mirada Fan Club–except I lived nowhere near California . . . Perhaps I could have started one in the Midwest!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Tried to find the lyrics online, but only a different “Thursday Song” popped up.

    BTW, I don’t get curious to read the lyrics of a song unless it’s really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: My Thursday Song – CURIOSIDADES NA INTERNET

  26. Very cool! California was the place to be back then. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: I Gave Birth to a Monster! | Mitch Teemley

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