“Young Turks” is a 1981 song written by Rod Stewart, Carmine Appice, Duane Hitchings and Kevin Savigar and was produced by Jim Cregan and Rod Stewart for Warner Brothers. It is a song the describes the teenage angst of Billy and Patti, two young lovers who want nothing more to be together, but find that they cannot be in their present situation. So they run away from home and to start their new life together and free from the tyranny of their parents. They find a small apartment and lots of friends (the lyrics state that their “place was jumping every night of the week”). One day Billy writes Patti’s family and lets them know why they did what they did and that she gave birth to “ten pound baby boy.”
In 1981, I was a recent high school drop-out, with no prospects and no plans. This song was like an anthem. Leaving home, bucking authority, making it on your own, all those things that really mean something to a teenager. I wanted to be Patti with the night air in my hair, heading down a road with no particular destination in mind with my love next to me – how romantic!!
Fast forward to 2009. The other day I am in a grocery store and the overhead music is playing a combination of soft rock tunes apparently designed to make shoppers buy more somehow. Then all of a sudden I hear “Young Turks” and my heart skips a beat and I am immediately transported back to 1981 as I feel the excitement surging through my veins. I remember exactly how I felt when I first heard the song. It was exhilarating, it was intoxicating. I sang my way through the rest of the store and all the way home.
Later than night as I was making dinner, doing a load of laundry and preparing lunch for the next day’s work, I starting thinking about that song. That is when it happened, I no longer felt the butterflies in my stomach, I wondered where did they sleep and bathe before they got that small apartment? How did they afford gas to get to the coast? How did they get by without health insurance especially with Patti being pregnant? Did either one of them even have a job? How did they afford all the parties they were throwing? The realty just kept coming!
Then I wanted to know how they are in 2009…are they living in a wrecked double-wide in a old hay field, with a boatload of kids, no friends to speak of, and an ever growing addiction to alcohol and pot. Maybe they are divorced and Billy has a much-younger girlfriend and Patti is an up-and-comer in the real estate trade. Then my heart softened and I thought maybe that they were still together after all these years. Maybe spending time with grandchildren and enjoying their mid 40’s.
I don’t know where “Billy and Patti” are today, I can only speculate. Wherever it is I hope they are happy and healthy because they helped me through some dark times. For today, I need to remember that they did not need health insurance, a 401(k) plan, a balloon payment mortgage or any of those things. Those two kooky kids had love and for a brief time in 1981, that was all you needed to get by.
“Young hearts be free tonight, time is on your side.”