Annette Funicello passed away today at the age of 70, reportedly from complications brought on by the Multiple Sclerosis she has battled since the late 1980's. It's easy to pigeonhole Annette Funicello as the wholesome teen starlet from a simpler time, and certainly she was that, but even more she was a pop culture phenomenon. She was the first bona-fide child star of the TV era, as the 12-year-old who outshone even Cubby on the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950's; hers is he image that comes first to mind when swinging '60s beach parties are imagined, celebrated, or lampooned; I first knew of her as the kind-of-cool TV mom who made Skippy peanut butter sandwiches for all the neighborhood kids in those 1970s commercials. She was the model that corporate entertainment still tries to emulate when concocting each next teen idol: she sang, she danced, she acted, she did TV and she did movies, only she did it all without being a prefab creation. She had a natural ease in front of the camera and real talent.
In the early 1980s, before they doubled the d and replaced the c with a k, California punks Red Cross penned a tribute of sorts to the ultimate girl-next-door. In honor of Ms. Funicello's passing, I offer their surf-punk homage, as well as "The Monkey's Uncle." I think you'll find by listening to them back-to-back, though they were created in different generations, in the pantheon of teenage goofy fun they are surprisingly not too far apart!