If Sonny Bono hadn’t slammed into a tree while skiiing in the Lake Tahoe region on 1.5.98 and if he’d otherwise kept himself in good health, he would have celebrated his 88th birthday five days ago (2.16.23).

Bono was 64 at the time of his death. I’m sorry he suffered through that. But he lived an interesting life with an unusual arc — at first a hippie-ish songwriter, singer and performer in the ’60s and ’70s, and then a “protect the small businessman” Republican in the ’80s and ’90s.

An early ’80s memory: I was driving west along the hilly-curvy section of Sunset Blvd. (near Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion) when I noticed Bono in his car, waiting to slip into the eastbound lane.

Two or three years later I ordered a drink at Bono, his Italian joint on Melrose near La Cienega. My immediate impression was that there were too many tables scrunched together.

I’m mentioning Bono because until this morning I somehow hadn’t read that he and Roddy Jackson co-authored “She Said ‘Yeah!’“, a fast and catchy Rolling Stones song from ‘64 or ‘65. The song is basically a horndog thing — a lust-struck guy wants to have it off with a hot girl, and to his infinite delight she’s down for it… “yeah!”**

I’d also never read that Bono co-authored “Needles and Pins,” a 1962 song that took off when a version by The Searchers charted in ’64. Bono co-penned the song with Jack Nitzsche and Jackie DeShannon, who recorded a version in ’63. The song is more commonly known as “Needles and Pinzah.”

** “Come on baby, I want to make love to you
Well you drive me crazy (Dam deedle dee dam dam)
My love is lazy (Dam deedle dee dam dam)
Little Miss, I want to kiss.

“Come on baby, won’t you do what I wish?
She said, “Yeah” (Dam deedle dee dam dam)
She said, “Yeah” (Dam deedle dee dam dam)
She said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”
Come on baby, I want to make love to you.”