Today, July 9, is Tom Hanks’ birthday. And while we must all keep Tom Hanks Day in our hearts in different ways—placing a garland around our typewriters, wearing a single red shoe, not crying in baseball—we are all forced to acknowledge that, on this day of all days, Tom Hanks is allowed to do anything that he wants. Luckily, said carte blanche typically gets spent on standard dad shit and not, like, founding blood cults. All of which leads to the news that Hanks took over online music stream Boss Radio 66 (formerly, per its Twitter account, Rock ‘N’ Soul Ichiban on New Jersey’s venerable WFMU) for an hour-long set today titled “Songs From The Back Of The Station Wagon!”
Given both the character of the station, and the man helming the songs, Hanks’ set is rooted firmly in a mode of surf rock, car rock, and just general oldies vibes. Hanks is, unsurprisingly, a low-key but delightful presence on the mic, including noting in passing that a member of The Cyrkle—whose “Red Rubber Ball” gets a place of pride in the set—worked on his breakout show Bosom Buddies. Frequently noting that, by turning 65, he’s just entered his “66th year,” Hanks sounds pleased as anything to be hanging out on Boss Radio 66, playing songs he likes, gabbing about San Francisco and baseball, and just living his best life. And, hey, if he sounds a little nervous, it’s not like “Tom Hanks being nervous” hasn’t been leveraged into a billion-dollar industry over the decades.
Meanwhile, we feel moved to note in passing what an antidote this might feel to any other musical, uh, movements pushed into the zeitgeist by members of the Hanks family this year. Say what you like about Sly Stone & The Mojo Men’s “Off The Hook” or Jerry and Mel; they never tried to float the concept of “White Boy Summer” with a straight face.