Kiss Them For Me

June 6, 2012

I was surprised to come across news of the death of Richard Dawson the other morning. Paloma expressed what I had thought as I mentioned it to her.

“Is he still alive?”

He might have been mostly absent from the screen for the past couple decades, but, as a child of the ’70s (as well as the ’80s), I was well acquainted with Richard Dawson from a world before cable television.

Watching Hogan’s Heroes at the end of its original run in the early ’70s is part of my haziest memories.

(I more clearly recall the show being a staple of television programming during the rest of the decade)

During the decade he was also a fixture as a panelist on Match Game which aired in the afternoons. Sometimes I’d catch it after school and, as a kid growing up in a small town in the Midwest, I found the double-entendres and bawdy humor to be irresistible.

During the summers – or on days home sick during the school year – Dawson would be hosting Family Feud about the time we’d begin clamoring for lunch.

And, of course, Dawson was wickedly compelling as he satirized his role of host as Damon Killian in the prescient The Running Man which I watched a number of times on cable while in college in the late ’80s.

That’s the last I saw of Richard Dawson and apparently he was pretty much retired in the twenty-five years since The Running Man.

But he provided a lot of amusement to me as a kid. He had a rougish charm and seems like a guy with whom you’d enjoy sharing a few rounds.

So, I raise a pint to you, Richard Dawson. And here are four songs to accompany the smooching Dawson was known for on Family Feud

Siouxsie & The Banshees- Kiss Them For Me
from Superstition (1991)

I’d discovered Siouxsie & The Banshees in late 1983 when their cover of The Beatles’ Dear Prudence was a staple on 97X. And, I continued to follow them while in college where they were much adored by the college rock crowd.

By 1991, I was a year or so removed from school and Siouxsie Sioux and her gang were losing momentum, but not before the goth-rock pioneers finally notched a Top 40 hit in the US with the swirling sound kaliedescope Kiss Them For Me.

Thomas Dolby – Screen Kiss
from The Flat Earth (1984)

The bittersweet, wistful Screen Kiss scrapes the sunny superficiality from the surface of Hollywood dreams and the myth of Southern California and finds a lot of crushed hopes and heartache.

Sun 60 – C’mon Kiss Me
from Headjoy (1995)

The duo of guitarist David Russo and vocalist Joan Jones who comprised Sun 60 (or Sun-60) released a trio of fine alternative rock albums during the first half of the ’90s that deserved more attention than they received.

The brassy come-on C’mon Kiss Me appeared on their swan song, Headjoy, which found the duo a little grungier but still catchy as could be.

Bruce Springsteen – Give The Girl A Kiss
from Tracks (1998)

Bruce Springsteen finally issued the odds and ends of twentysome years with the four-disc set Tracks in 1998.

(and there was much rejoicing)

Though hardly essential, the Darkness On The Edge Of Town outtake Give The Girl A Kiss is a rollicking, horn-infused workout that probably still echoes in some Jersey shore dive.