Billings, Montana, marketed as Montana’s trailhead, located in South Central Montana in Yellowstone County, serves as Montana’s largest city with a population of nearly 115,000 residents. I was born in Billings while My Dad was attending Eastern Montana College (now Montana State Billings). My Mom reports we lived in a humble abode ( a garage) for around $30.00 per month. We lived in Billings for my first four years, then moved to Poplar, Montana, then ended up in Choteau, Montana.
My recent trip to Billings, accompanied by Joe, was nostalgic, relaxing and educational. The primary reason for the trip was to pay a visit to Jay Old Mouse and learn about the Northern Cheyenne Courting Flute. In a couple of packed days, we visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield, hiked along the Rim Rocks, strolled along the Victorian Mansions in the Historic District, and visited the Western Heritage Museum. We also spent time with my brother and family who drove over from Clyde Park, near Bozeman. (also ate at a great restaurant called the Wild Ginger!)
I love finding unusual music stories, and I found a treasure in the Western Heritage Museum! Ever heard of the song, the Hippy Hippy Shake, recorded by the Beatles and 30 other bands? It also turned up in that 80’s movie, Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise. As it turns out, that song was written by Mexican-American rock star, and Billings born, Chan Romero ( born in 1941). Here he is performing The Hippy Hippy Shake.
I had no idea there was such a rich Mexican- American in Billings. It’s truly a thrill to find these hidden music gems on my travels.
I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.