Performer: Joe Walsh
Songwriter: Joe Walsh
Original Release: But Seriously, Folks …
Definitive Version: Steve and Garry, 1987. Joe Walsh, who remains a longtime friend of Steve Dahl’s, cut an incredible version in studio during one of his visits. I recorded it on tape back then and converted it to mp3 years later.
Indian Summer is another song that I heard before I really heard it for the first time—in 1987—as I’ve described with other songs.
It wasn’t long in my courtship of Beth before I realized that I might be in over my head. Even though Beth was 2-1/2 years younger than I was, she seemed far more grown up than I did.
She was into clothes and musicals. I was into baseball cards and video games. She enjoyed decent restaurants; I was a Burger King guy. She was responsible and mature; I was a slacker and very much a teenager. Her musical tastes were refined; mine—The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix—were brutish (albeit awesome).
Our common ground was essentially putt-putt golf, Journey and a strong physical attraction. I didn’t want to lose her, so I tried to be open-minded about doing things she wanted to do that held no appeal to me, like watch Gene Kelly movies on a Sunday afternoon. But I wondered whether she thought I wasn’t refined enough for her. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
A touring production of Camelot, starring Richard Harris, was coming to Ohio Theater in Columbus in early summer 1983. I knew Beth wanted to go, so I bought tickets to show her I could be classy and a grownup if I put my mind to it.
Well, in a bit of an O. Henry twist, Beth apparently felt pressure to show me that she could be young and impetuous if she put her mind to it. On the occasion of my 19th birthday just before Camelot, she gave me my present as we took a horse-carriage ride around downtown Columbus—tickets to see Joe Walsh next month at Vets Memorial. I wasn’t a huge fan, but who was I to say no?
The night of Camelot, I took her to dinner at a nice place downtown—the name of which escapes me now, although I know it wasn’t the Peppercorn Duck Club—and then the show. She was enthralled, and I had to admit even though I still wasn’t a fan of musicals, I enjoyed it. (Now, of course, the fact that I can say I saw Richard Harris on stage makes it better.) Beth didn’t even hold it against me when I nearly killed the both of us in Dad’s borrowed car on a dangerous merge onto I-70 going home.
The next month was my turn. Joe Walsh started with this song, which I didn’t know, but the repetition of “Indian Summer” stuck in my mind. He played pretty much every song you’d have known up to that time, from Funk 49 to Space Age Whiz Kids. I particularly remember a funny version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game and a blistering Life in the Fast Lane, which he introduced by saying, “The Eagles never got this song right, so tonight we’re going to.”
Years later, I really came to know Indian Summer through Steve and Garry—oh yeah, I heard Joe do that way back when—and it never failed to make me recall the time Beth and I had to prove our love in a way that didn’t involve sex. (We still were virgins at that time.) We had to prove that we could overcome our different tastes.
It worked, for a while.