return of the rockahula baby

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

SOME­WHERE IN THE PAST, someone gave me the nick­name of the “Price Guide Guru,” be­cause my first books for O’­Sul­livan Wood­side were the most ac­cu­rate price guides the record col­lecting field had seen. I have long for­gotten who as­signed it to me, but I have used it on and off ever since, both in pieces that I con­tributed to Gold­mine mag­a­zine and in the com­men­tary sec­tions of my books.

The word guru is San­skrit for “teacher” or “master” and in the United States, it was used to de­scribe a teacher from an Eastern re­li­gion or phi­los­ophy and is more and more often used to de­scribe a teacher of any sort.

The first such guru that I was aware of con­sciously learning from—as op­posed to school, where I was es­sen­tially co­erced if not ac­tu­ally forced to learn—was Krishnamurti.


The way she moves her hips down to her fin­ger­tips I feel I’m Heaven-bound. And when she starts to sway, I gotta say, she re­ally moves her ass around.


I found a copy of his book Think On These Things, which con­tained per­spec­tives on life and its living that were un­like any I had read in tra­di­tional European-based philosophy.

Around the same time, I dis­cov­ered the books of Alan Watts, es­pe­cially The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are and This Is It. He was the second writer who I adopted as a guru of sorts. (Joyous Cos­mology, an ac­count of his ex­pe­ri­ences with LSD, re­mains per­haps the best such book ever written, but that’s an­other story.)


I feel I’m Heaven-bound

An­other so­bri­quet that I used in ar­ti­cles that I wrote and in per­sonal com­mu­ni­ca­tion with other record col­lec­tors (usu­ally my friends) was “The Rock­ahula Baby.”

Silly, I know.

But Rock-A-Hula Baby was a silly song—and the first truly silly song that Elvis re­leased as a single—but an en­er­get­i­cally silly song, so why not?

In the recording in the video from the movie Blue Hawaii (1961) above, I al­ways hear the lyrics as, “And when she starts to sway, I’ve gotta say, she re­ally moves her ass around.”

Maybe it’s just a part of get­ting se­niorly (be­coming more com­fort­able with being silly as I await the dawning of the promised wisdom of the ages to come upon me) but when­ever I sign off with that nick­name, I feel I’m Heaven bound!


Elvis 1957 goldsuit standup 1000

POST­SCRIP­TU­ALLY, I can also tell you about how a few guys in ju­nior high who were street-smart-punk-wannabes and came up with “Spinout” as a nick­name for me that wasn’t meant to be friendly and usu­ally came with a few pushes and shoves (this is back when it was al­most em­bar­rassing to admit to being an Elvis fan), but that’s an­other story.


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