The Outsiders

This episode we take on S.E. Hinton’s rough and tumble teen gang drama, The Outsiders. Old fashioned class warfare and sensitive bad boys abound in this 7th grade required reading classic. So, grease up your hair, flick open your switchblade, and ponder on your copy of “Gone with the Wind”, here we go.

Stay gold here, Ponyboy.

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home.”: Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy

The Greasers: Bad Seeds – Beat Happening
When one is from the wrong side of the tracks, you better have a cool Elvis haircut and a broken bottle handy at all times.

The Socs: Maintaining My Cool – The Sonics
“Hey, bro! Nice seersucker! You wanna go beat up some poor kids (provided they’re small and/or physically handicapped) and then watch some Vince Vaughn movies?”. Alas, today’s preppie gangs just don’t have the same umphf.

Walking the Streets: Late Last Night – Paul Anka
Paul Anka was indubitably a soc dude, but I imagine he was a guilty pleasure of many greaser gals. And, well, probably Ponyboy too.

Ponyboy Curtis: A Shark in Jets Clothing – Blondie
I would have thought that being known as “Ponyboy” would give you a “A Boy Named Sue”-level toughness. Nope…Apparently just a propensity for reading Robert Frost poems.

Cherry Valence: Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
A rich, beautiful cheerleader named “Cherry”. Yup, that pretty much a textbook “out of your league” chick.

Darry Curtis: The Boss – James Brown
‘Cause I would just feel shameful for subjecting you to George Michael’s “Father Figure” even once more in your life.

Dallas Winston: Black Grease – The Black Angels
I’ve always pictured Dally has kind of an unholy mash-up of John Travolta characters. A little goofy like Vinnie Barbarino, a little violent like the hitman from Pulp Fiction, a little bit of smooth like Saturday Night Fever guy. Oh, a little straight up crazy like that weird scientology-alien from Battlefield Earth.

Fight at the Fountain: Somebody Got Murdered – The Clash
While it is not advisable to bring a knife to a gunfight, it is, in fact, very useful to bring said knife to a knife fight. Good for stabbing and stuff. And while I haven’t been in very many knife or gunfights, I also have never received any kind of message beforehand letting me know what kind of weapon should be used at the upcoming rumble. Who sends out this info?

Johnny Cade: Knife – Grizzly Bear
Poor, poor Johnny. S.E. Hinton’s loyal whipping boy throughout the book. Abused in the beginning. Riddled with guilt in the middle. Dead in the end. Yup, sorry ‘bout that Johnny.

On the Lam: Runaway – Del Shannon
Tangentially-Related Marginally-Interesting Fun Fact: Evil genius singer Tom Waits played the Hank Sr. loving cowboy/criminal Buck Merrill that helped the boys escape town in F.F. Coppola’s film adaptation. He opens the door for Ralph Macchio. Their chemistry is undeniable. Bonus Fun Fact (also involving Waits and Macchio): Tom Waits was all set to play Vinny, in My Cousin Vinny, but had to cancel at the last moment because of an incident involving a camel. Not something you should ever bring up to Mr. Waits, by the way.

The Abandoned Church: (Wish I Could) Hideaway – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Two things to say about this: 1) CCR is way underrated 2) Abandoned churches are kind of creepy places. Wait, even churches that haven’t yet been abandoned are kind of creepy places.

Saving the Kids: Heroes – David Bowie
Okay, I know this song is pretty much the most over-used “Hero” song ever, but dang if this song doesn’t soar! I feel if you get crushed by a flaming pillar whilst saving a school bus load of children from fiery death, you deserve a Bowie memorial song. Off topic – but who decided it was a good idea to take a field trip to the aforementioned weird abandoned church anyways? “Next year, let’s all go to an Indian burial ground!”

The Brawl: Rumble – Link Wray
Really is there any other option for a song to soundtrack a 50’s teen battle royale?

Johnny Dies/Ponyboy’s Case: Your Funeral My Trial – Nick Cave / These Boots are Made for Walking – Lee Hazlewood
Apparently juvenile judges were a bit more lax back in the day. “Well kid, even though you were involved in a fight that left a teen dead and ran from the law for weeks, you are a totally sad sack. Acquitted!”

Dally Gunned Down: I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive – Hank Williams Sr.
If you are going for a storybook dramatic ending, calling all your buddies to watch you commit blue suicide pretty much takes the cake.

The Family: We’re a Happy Family – The Ramones
This song works…you just have to replace “Me, Mom, and Daddy” with “Me, ‘Pop, and Darry”.

Pony’s Assignment/The End: That’s the Story of My Life – Velvet Underground
Is there a “coming of age” novel that doesn’t end with the narrator reminiscing on their life? Just wait around, son. It’ll get tougher.


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