This is the Kiss ballad “Beth.” I want to say this is the first song that I ever associated with pining for a girl. It was actually a hit not that long before, so I was probably about 8. I would hear this and just ache with sadness, imagining not a specific girl but rather that some girl, somewhere, might want to be around me enough to get lonely when I wasn’t around. I liked the name Beth because it was the nickname given to Laura Ingalls by her husband on “Little House on the Prairie”, a show in my regular rotation.
This being Kiss, the song is kinda dumb, but this time at least it’s dumb in a charming way. Drummer Peter Criss is writing about missing his wife when he’s practicing with the band; “Me and the boys are playing/And we just can’t find the sound.” I knew what it was about then and that made me like it even more. So it was smart enough to appeal to 8-year-old, I have to give them that. The power of music is such that I hear this now and it takes me back to that exact emotional space. I hear Criss going “Oh Beth, what can I do?” and think to myself, “Why is life so tragic, always conspiring to keep people apart????”
Quite a bit later, in high school, I went out on the first date of my life and it was, in fact, with a girl named Beth. I was very into her, and we went out a few more times after that. And then I called her for what would have been date number five or so and she said she thought of me “more as a friend.” Many years later this arrangement was finally formalized when we became Friends on Facebook.