In 1977, I was a lonely teenager, and madly in love with every pretty girl I had ever seen. And there was a song on the radio that I dedicated to each of them. The song was called “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” but it wasn’t the Beach Boys tune that shared its title. It wasn’t even a single. It was an album track on the eponymous debut LP of a group called The Rubinoos.
Radio can be a lifeline for the lovelorn: perfect pop songs, providing context and commentary for the heart’s giddy highs and aching lows. In 1977, the purest perfect pop was courtesy of The Rubinoos, a young California band who hit the charts with an infectious cover of the Tommy James & the Shondells nugget “I Think We’re Alone Now.” This would somehow turn out to be The Rubinoos’ only hit single–a fact which makes no sense whatsoever, but that rant is likely best left for another time. For now, suffice it to say that The Rubinoos have spent the last four decades building an irresistible body of work, simply loaded with nonpareil pop tunes that should be playing on radios around the world every minute of every day.
Along the way, The Rubinoos’ music has matured, but The Rubinoos have resisted any silly notion to grow up. They no longer sing as teenagers, but they do sing to the teen within us all, to the romantic who wants to fall in love, to the dreamer that wants love to last forever, and to the veteran lover who knows that love can be fleeting, even traumatic, but who still realizes that love’s reward is worth its risk. From The Rubinoos’ first single (“Gorilla”) in 1975 through their most recent album (45) in 2014, this group has consistently delivered on its promise of perfect pop for lovers of all ages. Wouldn’t It Be Nice. 1, 2, 3 Forever. Must Be A Word. Amnesia. And, especially, the specific promise of “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” the Big # 1 Hit that never actually charted: “Gonna make you love me ‘fore I’m done.”
Carl Cafarelli is the co-host (with Dana Bonn) of This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, The Best Three Hours Of Radio On The Whole Friggin’ Planet, streaming live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern at www.westcottradio.org His daily blog Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) covers pop music and comic books at www.carlcafarelli.blogspot.com