20-Year Reunion

Speech by Howard B. Levy, July 27, 1980
Holiday Inn, Rockville Centre, New York



At the risk of appearing too sentimental or corny (but what better time than a reunion to be sentimental?), I asked for the opportunity to say a few words about something that's given me a great deal of pleasure in the last few years, the music of the fifties and the good times it represents, times that we spent together at Oceanside High as members of the great class of 1960.

But first, as for myself, and I hope on behalf of all our classmates in this room, I sincerely want to thank the members of the Reunion Committee, Nancy and Jack, Doreen, Barbara, Jay, Penny, Sabin, Tom and Karen, for taking on the extraordinary burden of organizing this wonderful event.

We are indeed fortunate to be able to look back on the fifties as our high school days. For what better time has there been to be a teenager? The fifties was the decade of the teenager. This was the first time in history that teenagers had their own music and were recognized, first by the music industry and then by others such as the motion picture, automobile and clothing industries, as an important market segment in the American economy.

The fifties are best remembered for, and by, our music. It seems that America, itself, had its puberty in the fifties and grew up, with us, in the sixties. Everyone looks back at their teenage years with fond memories, but ours was a very special time, immortalized in movies and on TV, and the Broadway stage. And we have very special music to help us remember those "happy days." Most of our music made us happy; some made us cry; all of it made us dance. It still does all of these things -- and it's all our own. So let's listen again, let's laugh and cry, let's dance again and remember those fabulous fifties.

Remember the undisputed first, real, blockbuster, rock 'n' roll hit, from the spring of 1955. By the fall of that year, most of us boys in the eighth grade were rushing home from school daily to watch the growth and development of Annette Funicello, and this record had been number one on the charts all summer, establishing itself as the top record of the year. According to the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, it is still the biggest selling single record of all time.

So once again, class of '60, "Put your gladrags on, and join me, Hon ... We're gonna rock around the clock tonight!"

[To hear more of "Rock Around the Clock," go to "Prom Night."]

 Click on the Brownie to view the 20-year reunion photo album.



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