Gary Brown: Email brings back 'My Special Angel'
“Angel, angel, whoa-oh-oh-oh, ooh.”
“Angel, angel; whoa-oh-oh-oh, ooh.”
The backup singers were singing those lyrics when I clicked the link someone sent me in an email that had as its subject, “Check out — My Special Angel — Bobby Helms.”
How can you not click to take a trip back in time to your teenage love?
OK, technically I wasn’t a teenager when that song — lyrics by Jimmy Duncan, recorded by Helms — was released in 1957. I was 6. I wasn’t aware of any angels except one my mother called my guardian angel, which she relied on greatly as I was riding recklessly on bikes and running with all sorts of eye-poking sticks in my hand.
But, the song had a special angel in it that Helms thought a lot about, singing slowly, lyrically, sickeningly, I suppose, to a 6-year-old boy.
“You are my special angel,
“Sent from up above.
“The Lord smiled down on me,
“And sent an angel to love (to love).”
The final “to love” part is in parentheses because the girl singers repeated the last two lyrics in the stanza. I wouldn’t have known it at 6, but found out later how smart Helms was to always let them have the last words.
The lyrics were familiar to me when I listened to it on a website called carolynspreciousmemories.com. There was a picture of a ’57 Chevy there and a drawing of a Malt Shop, with records and the words “Rock N Roll” on the wall behind a soda counter. Juke boxes were on the counter, with ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles, plates of french fries with a hamburger, and chocolate and strawberry malts.
I’ll have to admit it all took me back in time, perhaps too much, because I completely forgot about any angels, special or otherwise, and just got thinking about how it would be nice to have a burger right now, and the fries, too, of course, and maybe the chocolate malt. To sound so romantic, Helms must have eaten before he sang his song.
“You are my special angel,
“Right from paradise.
“I know that you’re an angel.
“Heaven is in your eyes.”
Helms was really laying it on thick. He must have been hated in his day by guys who never said anything more romantic than “Uh, hi, um ...”
“A smile from your lips
“Brings the summer sunshine.
“The tears from your eyes bring the rain.
“I feel your touch, your warm embrace,
“And I’m in heaven again.”
It was the kind of popular song that lingered through the years, until I could discover it early in the 1960s when I started being fascinated by girls. I wasn’t yet sure why I was interested.
But, I was interested enough to be romantic one preteen-age day as I attempted to sing it to a girl I apparently was deeply in love with that particular week. It might have been a Mary. We had a lot of girls named Mary at my school.
“You are my special angel.
“I’ll have my special angel
“Here to watch over me.”
Her girlfriend pushed her and they walked away quicker than the two girls in the commercial who hustle off when an embarrassed boy’s mom shows him to them on her cellphone.
I know it seems strange that I’m telling all of you this. I never told anybody before and suddenly I’m sort of singing it to, well, everybody. I’m going to give the backup singers the last words:
“(Whoa-oh-oh-oh, oh, oh, oh, oooooh.)”