A few years ago, when P and I were living in New York, P’s former roommate was Filipino, and like many Filipinos he loved to sing karaoke. I had a projector that I used for work, and occasionally we would have evening/weekend gathering where our Filipino friend’s friend would bring her karaoke machine, and I would hook up the projector and we would project the songs on the wall of our apartment and sing along with the lyrics.
A popular song was Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” It didn’t matter how shy one of our Nepali guests might be, when the “Summer of ‘69” came on, it was easy to stand up, grab that microphone, and belt out the tune. I started to think, “Hey every Nepali knows this song!”
Later, when we moved to Massachusetts, there were still more gatherings, sans karaoke machine, but still with singing—sometimes with people gathered around a guitar and laptop (for lyrics), or sometimes in just a room full of people clapping hands and singing together for as long as someone could remember the next line. Although these songs were mostly Nepali/Hindi, occasionally English songs were peppered in, and “Summer of ‘69” was an easy fall back.
So I can’t say I was surprised that the BBC recently had a video feature about the “Summer of ‘69” in the taverns of Thamel. Why do Nepalis love this song? Check out the three minute video to see.
With one of the news clip interviewees stating “the song is basically almost like an anthem” for Nepal, no wonder Bryan Adams made a trip to the country in February 2011, one of very few western musical artists to perform live in concert in Kathmandu.
As a lover of classic rock, I don’t mind jamming to “Summer of ‘69”… how about you?