Flip Flop Flying

Leader of the Pack

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If you wanna listen while you are reading, the song’s on this page: http://www.myspace.com/maryweiss

Is she really going out with him?
Well there she is. Let’s ask her

She’s not told her friends about him yet… something must be up. And the question, ‘Is she really going out with him?’ Well, he’s either a bad boy or a total nerd. But we’ll find out, I’m sure.

Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?

Betty. A good name. Of course, her parents still call her Elizabeth. And, as it’s the sixties, no-one calls her Liz (it seems that Liz must’ve been invented as an abbreviated name at some point in the seventies; I can’t think of any famous Lizes from before then). Anyway, he’s given her a ring. Must be ‘going steady,’ then. Which adds even more intruige. They’re going steady, and she’s not told her friends. And that ‘Mm-hmm’… it hides a multitudes of sins, doesn’t it?

Gee, it must be great riding with him

He’s got a motorbike! Oh my God!

Is he picking you up after school today?

Hmmm, I guess he’s older than she is, then. Maybe he’s got a job. I suppose he must have if he can afford a motorbike. There were boys like that that hung around the car park of my school in souped-up Ford Escorts. They always had the, err, sluttier girls in school.


Is that a yes or a no? Sounds like a no to me. Had an argument, have we?

By the way, where’d you meet him?

C’mon, Betty, dish the goss!

I met him at the candy store

Maybe he’s not such a bad boy after all. Candy’s not so tough, maybe he’s a nice guy with a motorbike. Where I grew up there was a sweet shop on the corner. The glorious swirl of the owner Mrs Creasley’s cigarette smoke and that reminder of an adult world combined with the drugs-for-children perfume of rows of rows of big plastic tubs of sweets, all waiting to be put dished up by the quarter into paper bags… I’m back there right now, I can almost touch the smell.

He turned around and smiled at me

I’m imagining John Travolta in Grease now, looking over his shoulder in the car park at the football game when he first sees that Sandy’s at his school, not back in Australia like he’d thought.

You get the picture? (Yes, we see)

Oh, they get it alright: he’s a dreamboat and no mistake! God, they’re so jealous!

That’s when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

Betty! The leader! My oh my! You just know that Betty’s lost ‘it’ to him, don’t you? He’s the leader, for Christ’s sake!

My folks were always putting him down (down, down)

Huh… hmmm, well maybe the other two girls aren’t her friends, then. If her parents knew about him, then surely her friends would too. Perhaps they’re just gossipy girls on the periphery of her posse. But anyway, Ma and Pa, they no like him…

They said he came from the wrong side of town

Westwick Drive was the wrong part of town where I come from. Oooh, the frenzied delight in my Mum’s voice when she’d tell tales of what someone who knows someone who’s sister lives near there – not on Westwick Drive, you understand – had told her about the girl who came home from school with nits and her dad dragged her into the garden and shaved off all her hair!

(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)

Motorbikes, teenage pregnancies, and drugs I’d imagine.

They told me he was bad

“But you don’t know him, Dad!”

But I knew he was sad

A-ha, now we’re getting somewhere. Behind those ocean-blue eyes there’s a mysterious melancholy streak…

That’s why I fell for (the leader of the pack)

…and Betty can’t help herself, she’s falling in love; those drums beating like her heart jumping in her chest.

One day my dad said, find someone new

Oh no! Poor Betty. Young love chopped down by daddy. I can’t imagine this, actually. My parents never interfered in my love-life when I was a teenage. Mainly because their was no love-life. Must be pretty shitty, though; all those feeling swirling around, then the boss tells you you can’t act on them.

I had to tell my Jimmy we’re through
(whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?)

Rub it in why dontcha!? You know what she means!

He stood there and asked me why

Oh dear, he’s a bit shocked. He didn’t see this coming.

But all I could do was cry

I bet he wanted to hug you, Betty.

I’m sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack)

[He composes himself] “Hey, baby, that’s cool.” Sorry, he’s still John Travolta in my mind.

He sort of smiled and kissed me goodbye

Ever the gent.

The tears were beginning to show

She’s broken his heart!

As he drove away on that rainy night

He’s broken-hearted and on a big motorbike. Not a good combo.

I begged him to go slow
But whether he heard, I’ll never know

I imagine he did hear her but thought ‘fuck it.’

Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!

The absolute best moment in all of recorded music history.

I felt so helpless, what could I do?

Call 911?

Remembering all the things we’d been through

Aaah, all the good times and you just know there’ll be no more.

In school they all stop and stare


I can’t hide the tears, but I don’t care

And why should you, lovely Betty?

I’ll never forget him (the leader of the pack)

I’m sure he’ll be happy about that. Let’s hope there’s a Heaven, and that he’s up there, and knows you didn’t mean to hurt him.

The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone

Bad boys in the sixties seem so romantic now. A greasy-haired guy in leather on a big motorbike. Wunderbar! And it’s not nostalgia, because I wasn’t born then; but the idea of that bad boy seems so much nicer than a modern day bad boy teenager. I’m sure, though, comparatively, it was probably much more of a shock to the parents who’d given birth to children during or shortly after World War II to have rebellious offspring. But if we transpose the record to a 2006 setting, we’ve got a Reebok-trainered, baseball-capped, spotty Mike Skinner clone on a scooter; probably filming his mates kicking the shit out of a fat kid on his mobile phone.

Anyway, that was Leader of the Pack. There are very few records in the world as good as that one.
While I was searching for video clips on YouTube, I found this. Aaah. She does a good Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!

Written by Craig

September 15th, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses to 'Leader of the Pack'

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  1. I like this new blog musical accompaniment. And You Tube is great!

  2. I agree Craig, this has to be one of the greatest songs ever…
    Would like to hear Mike’s version.


    15 Sep 06 at 18:41

  3. i love the blog, as we get more general stuff from you than ever before, but i dearly miss your old site. I never visit it anymore as there is never anything new to look at. When are you gonna replace Pete & Bob, David with one long arm, etc? I love your writing style, but i love your artwork even more.


    16 Sep 06 at 03:32

  4. Anonymous,
    Thanks for the comment. Honestly, I wish I was doing more stuff on the main site, but my brain is completely empty. I’ve not really had any good ideas for a couple of months. Just going through a bit of a drought that’s all.


    16 Sep 06 at 09:17

  5. I fell in love with a art student who would bring in his tape of the Shangri-Las, and play it in studio in the last six months of our degree. It was a big part of it.

    He had a huge moon face, and was kind of asexual, and drew extended, really tidy, beautiful diagrams about an island where all sound was recorded. It had something to do with Folkways Recordings. Didn’t tell him. Wanted to on our last day. He bagged off with his flatmate two days before the exhibition night. He got a third. He was so much better than the rest of us.


    16 Sep 06 at 11:31

  6. couldn’t find anywhere else to leave a message so here it is. Haven’t you heard of New Zealand?????????? Sort of near Australia, dammit. It’s not on your ‘southish’ information. Please fix asap.
    Lesley in New Zealand.!!!!!!


    5 Oct 06 at 01:33

  7. I assume you’re referring to the FFF Atlas… There’s over 240 countries in the world, so sorry; like France, Germany, Canada, Japan, China, Italy, Mexico, Russia – you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.


    5 Oct 06 at 02:05

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