Your Kisses, Seasoned
:: What Does America Mean To Me ::
:: Senselessly ::
Norman Lee played sax and performed vocals for the Lawrence Welk Orchestra for a few years in the 1940’s, where he and Welk co-wrote “Champagne Polka” together. In 1947, he joined the Eddy Howard Orchestra performing the same duties, and took over as band leader in 1963 when Howard died, thereafter calling the band the Norman Lee Orchestra.
This single, I believe, came out sometime in the early 1970’s, though it sounds like it’s straight out of the 40’s. The music and words to the a-side, “What Does America Mean to Me” were written by Lee when he was but a wee lad of ten. The simple childishness of the lyrics, read by a young boy (David Broderick), the low production values, and especially the sudden burst into “America the Beautiful” towards the end of the song go a long way towards making this into quite a charming piece of patriotic putridity. It’s contrasted by the b-side, which started out as a background score for an industrial film. The writer of the film, Tom Broderick (father of Lil’ David, I suppose), prevailed upon Lee to let him write lyrics to the song, and “Senselessly” was created. I can almost smell my grandfather’s Brylcreem and Lucky Strikes while listening to it.
In 1978, Norman returned home with his wife after playing an “over 40’s” dance in Wichita, Kansas. There they were met by a former trumpet player for Lee’s band, Charles Martin, who Norman had fired a few months prior for difficulties related to drug addiction. Martin hadn’t taken too kindly to the dismissal apparently, and gunned down both Norman and his wife, a little while later turning the same gun on himself in Houston, Texas.