From left, my family and I show off our new rock ‘n’ roll T-shirts from Happy Days Music. From left, me, my husband Patrick, my older son Chris, my brother-in-law Glenn and my sister Desty. (My younger son, Gabe the Babe, has escaped and is actually on his knees behind my legs. But he is wearing his new black and green tie-dyed Beatles shirt.)
When I opened on Christmas the beautiful yellow, blue and green tie-dyed T-shirt with Led Zeppelin’s famed “Houses of the Holy” album cover on the front, I wasn’t just getting a gift that indulged my classic rock sensibilities, I was enjoying a longstanding family tradition.
Every year when my family and my sister’s family gather at our parents’ house near Lindsay for Christmas, we all know what’s going to be in at least one of our packages: rock ‘n’ roll T-shirts my dad, mom and sometimes my sister painstakingly selected for us from Happy Days Music on SW 89 and Western in Oklahoma City.
My dad, Dale Jones, instilled in my sister and me a love for great music by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Doors and the like from the time we were children. He occasionally took us to Happy Days to peruse the store’s massive collection of vinyl and rock memorabilia.
The store also carries an impressive display of interesting, high-quality rock T-shirts. They aren’t used/”vintage” shirts or those flimsy concert Ts. They’re made of heavy cotton and usually depict an album cover, the band itself or some of the famous iconography associated with the band, such as the Beatles’ Apple logo. Many of them are available in colorful tie-dye patterns.
When my sister, Desty, and I were in middle school, my dad bought us each a Happy Days rock T-shirt for Christmas. We liked it so much that he did it again next year and then the year after that. It became a Christmas tradition throughout high school.
When we were in college, my dad decided that maybe we had outgrown the custom, and one year, we didn’t find a Happy Days T under the tree. The resulting furor caused my parents to quickly reinstate the practice.
It’s a tradition that’s gotten more extensive – and expensive – as the years have passed. First, my parents expanded the tradition to include my husband, Patrick, and then my sister’s husband, Glenn, both big rock ‘n’ roll fans.
Then, when my older son, Chris, was about 6, he wondered why he didn’t get a classic rock T. After all, he loved the Beatles and his favorite movie at the time was “Yellow Submarine,” so why didn’t he get a shirt? The store didn’t carry many T-shirts smaller than an adult small, so he wore a couple as night shirts and then tucked the rest away in his closet. It’s only been in the past couple of years that Chris, now 14, has gotten to don shirts he got for Christmas half a dozen years ago.
This year, the T-shirt selection depicted the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” album and self-titled 2003 DVD set, Metallica’s “… And Justice for All” album, and Blue Oyster Cult’s 1977 tour. My parents even found a shirt for my 2-year-old son Gabe: a black and neon green shirt with the Beatles’ Apple on it.
In the past, our T-shirts also have represented the Doors, Pink Floyd and Green Day, though Zeppelin and the Beatles remain the family favorites.
I’ll add my aforementioned tie-dyed “Houses of the Holy” shirt to a collection of Ts depicting the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” album cover, the Fab Four with the American flag and Union Jack, several different versions of Zeppelin’s fourth album’s distinctive imagery, and the Door’s “Waiting on the Sun” cover.
Though my new shirt is undeniably awesome, I think my all-time favorite remains my brown tie-dye – yes, brown tie-dye – of a guitar emerging from cracked earth with the slogan “Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same” above it. The image is from the 1999 DVD re-release of the concert film of the same name.
If you want to fly your classic rock flag, you might check out Happy Days’ new Web site, www.happydaysmusiconline.com. The blurry pictures on the site don’t do their shirt collection justice, but you can see it for your self at 8916 S Western Ave.