Stars on 45


Every summer I take Keenan to a mom-and-pop waterslide park at the northern fringe of the Catskills. One of its curiously entertaining features is its music selection. It consists of popular hits from about 1964 to 1984, weighted more heavily toward the later years, and entirely from K-Tel-type compilations. Missing are any songs by artists whose catalogs are strong enough to have not ever depended on such licensing: no Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Police, Billy Joel. Instead, just one trivia-contest answer after another. And you can’t avoid hearing them – little 4″ speakers are everywhere, compulsively so. Watching the 14 year olds gaze skyward in puzzlement at “Dueling Banjos” was worth – well, not the price of admission, but a few dollars, at least. (Considering that 14 year olds keep this place in business, it all seems somewhat cruel).

Of course, there was one way to hear the Beatles, sort of: The Stars on 45 medley. Incredibly, this hit #1 in 1981. Thanks to Wikipedia, I was able to clear up a few long-forgotten childhood mysteries:
1. Stars On 45 was a Dutch studio-only band with connections to Golden Earring.
2. The Beatles medley does indeed consist of the Archies “Sugar Sugar”, followed by eight much earlier Beatles songs. I thought my memory had to be faulty, because how does this make any sense?
3. Stars on 45 actually played the music, this wasn’t some early cut-and-paste job. The John Lennon impersonator is named Bas Muys.
4. The full title of the song (see image) remains the longest title all-time for a #1 song.
5. People really did dance to this in discotheques nationwide.

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