Heart Attack

Page 6 of 6

"It is a little scary. When we were on the road and I was with Mike, and Nance was with Rog, well, we were protected from being hassled, from being lonely. This time, I don't know. Nance and I are going to try to always stay in a suite with two bedrooms attached to a living room. That way, we can have friends up, play guitar, watch TV. . . . "

Nancy Wilson interrupts her sister, laughing a little. "We'll be each other's keepers!"

Sammamish High School is a low, tan-colored cinder-block sprawl, the kind of building that was built quickly and cheaply to accommodate the sudden influx of students in the early Sixties. There is a large parking lot out front, athletic fields filled with gym classes on either side, and a carved totem-pole bulletin board by the entrance that reads WELCOME TO THE HOME OF THE SAMMAMISH TOTEMS. When we pass by, on the way back from the "ghost house," Ann pulls the Land-Rover into the lot, almost by reflex.

"God, I haven't been here in ages," she says, looking at Sue. Almost at once, they both say, "Let's go in."

It should be weird, like the "strange night," but it isn't. Here are these two strange girls-well, not girls, women – one dressed in Carnaby Street regalia, the other in a large cowboy hat, being trailed through the corridors of Sammamish High between fifth and sixth periods by a woman with a notebook and a photographer with four cameras hanging from her neck. But what is weird is that, for five minutes, nobody notices.

Finally, a boy wearing a neat tie, a student government sort, one of the social types, walks over and shakes Ann's hand. "Welcome to Sammamish. Will you be attending our performance of 'The Music Man'?" He adds, almost as an afterthought, "I enjoy your records very much." And walks away.

We move farther down the corridor, past the German classroom where Ann and Sue met, past the art department. Ann turns around and sees we're being followed, discreetly, by about fifty students--cheerleaders in uniform, studious girls carrying books up against their chests, boys with their hair still wet from gym showers. Kids who fit in. She signs a few autographs, and we flee to the Land-Rover.

"Sort of like A Hard Day's Night, huh?" someone says when we get back in the car.

"Yeah." Ann chuckles wryly. "A lot like Hard Day's Night."

She hits the gas, and we high-tail it out of the parking lot, turning left instead of right at the light, which is the only way to keep from getting caught by the proctors if you're cutting out of sixth-period study to hang out at the ghost house.

This story appeared in the May 15, 1980 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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