It was the summer of 2002. And it’s one of those summers that lives in your memory with a golden glow. For some reason, it was a summer so many things changed and I went from a 13-year-old seventh grade kid to a grown up soon-to-be-eighth-grader 13-year-old (at least in my mind).
It was the summer I traded in my glasses for contact lenses, I stayed up too late reading with a flashlight, sewed pillows, watched TVLand … and it was the summer I discovered Chad & Jeremy. And ever since then, I’ve associated that British singing duo with summer.
That spring, the 1960s TV show “Batman,” starring Adam West and Burt Ward, started airing on TVLand and I became a big fan. I watched as often as I could; keeping a list of Robin’s “Holy” mentions as he said them. It was while watching “Batman” that I discovered Chad & Jeremy playing themselves in the season 2 episodes “That Cat’s Meow” and “The Bat’s Kow Tow.” Chad & Jeremy are staying at the Stately Wayne Manor and are at risk of having their voices stolen by Catwoman (played by Julie Newmar). On the episode Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde sing “Teenage Failure” and “Distant Shores,” and hearing those two songs had me sold.*
Days later, I did what any 13 year old in 2002 did when they loved a song. I had my parents drive me to Best Buy and I bought The Very Best of Chad & Jeremy. And my family soon got tired of hearing “The Very Best of Chad & Jeremy.” I’d have them listen whenever we went out in the car – whether it was a long car trip or on the way to church.
Also that summer, I decided I wanted to be a writer. But instead of the journalistic route (like I eventually took), I decided I was going to be the next great American author. Inspired by Lenora Mattingly Weber’s Beany Malone series, I locked myself in my room, played “The Very Best of Chad & Jeremy” on loop for hours and worked on my masterpiece. Of course later, I sought out Chad & Jeremy’s appearances on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Patty Duke Show,” Jeremy Clyde’s appearance on “My Three Sons,” and watching “Jungle Book” again to hear Chad Stuart voice one of the vultures.
And when I finally exited my room, this was also the summer I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day films. While my dad was on a business trip, my mom and I watched “Sabrina,” “Roman Holiday” and “Pillow Talk.” While I grew up on classic films, watching these films and falling in love with Hepburn and Day’s on-screen personas had me hooked. Of course, it was later in early 2003 after watching WEST SIDE STORY (1961) when I REALLY spiraled and making me full-fledged classic film fan you know today.
When I returned to school in August with no glasses and trying my hand at Audrey Hepburn eye makeup, I was different but in more ways than I initially realized. As I tried to gush to my friends about the new movies I watched over the summer and discuss “Pillow Talk,” I received mostly blank stares and responses that they hadn’t heard of it. “Never heard of it? I thought everyone had,” I thought.
That’s when I realized I was different than my peers, living in the past. The old movie friend. I was okay with that and still am.
As for Chad & Jeremy, over the years I drifted in and out of interest. I remember listening to that greatest hits CD in college and scoffing that it wasn’t very good.
But when Chad Stuart passed away in Dec. 2020, my interest was renewed and I started listening to the duo again more than ever before. I’ve explored various albums and songs outside of that greatest hits. While “A Summer Song” and “Yesterday’s Gone” have been favorites since my interest first blossomed, I’ve come to love the “Before and After” album and songs like “Donna, Donna.”
If ever I feel stressed, listening to Chad & Jeremy instantly relaxes me and helps me exhale. And so while I listen to them year round now, I make sure to listen to them during the summer. Because:
And when the rain
Beats against my windowpane
I’ll think of summer days again
And dream of you
Have a great Chad & Jeremy Summer!
I also bought a Lesley Gore CD after seeing her on an episode of “Batman.”