04 November 2007

Where were you in '82?

I was in Rot Springs, Arkansas and wowwing the chicks in my hot rod Pacer. I was working evenings at a roach- and rat-infested radio station, and dating a girl from nearby Maggot -- er, um, Magnet Cove. Summertime '82 was in many ways a sweet time, and I was fixin' to begin my senior year in high school. Here is a musical snapshot from that time, courtesy of Casey Kasem. It's American Top 40, for the week ending 24 July 1982.

These, no doubt, were some of the hits Uncle Rico was jammin' to back in his glory days......

*40) THINK I'M IN LOVE / Eddie Money
The first of five songs debuting this week (which are asteriskally marked). Described my thinking along about this point for Dawn. Operative word: "think." T'was not love. Heck, I didn't know what love is (no, wait, this isn't a 1984 survey!) for another, ohhhhh, 16 years.

*39) YOUR IMAGINATION / Daryl Hall & John Oates
Fourth single from their 1981 Private Eyes LP. I always liked this one, although the Chart gods thought otherwise. Peaked at #33; any delusions of top ten-dom would be your imagination ... running away with yoooooou.....

38) LOVE PLUS ONE / Haircut One Hundred
Featuring lead singer Floyd "Delilah" Lawson, who was best known for his work with early '60s North Carolina skiffle group Barney & The Pyle Drivers.

Would you believe, Chief, a neat early '80s pop treasure ... among the first horses out of the MTV gate. The following week it would move up another notch, stalling out at #37 before its hair all fell down. This would be their only chart appearance, although another single "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" would be an early MTV video, um, favourite.

37) NICE GIRLS / Eye To Eye
Exactly what was an "ostracized guy", anyhow? This mystery didn't stop me from enjoying this marvelous song. Got some AOR airplay, but pop-wise it - like Haircut 100 above - would be a very low-end "one-hit wonder."

*36) PAPERLATE / Genesis
File under: Usual and customary practice by The Savannah Morning News' carriers. From the album Three Sides Live. So named because .... well, guess, genius! "Paperlate" was from side four, one of a handful of studio tracks.

35) I'VE FOUND SOMEBODY / Glenn Frey
I've always thought of Frey as the Garfunkel to Don Henley's Paul Simon. But GF's first album, 1982's No Fun Aloud, held its own. This was the first release, but the follow-up would be his biggest hit, "The One You Love." From here it would be all downhill for small Frey.

34) KIDS IN AMERICA / Kim Wilde
Empty pop, with all the filling qualities of cotton candy. In other words: Meh.

*33) AMERICAN MUSIC / The Pointer Sisters
It's an American Two-fer! Didn't care much for this'un; not among my favorites of the Points'.

32) IF THE LOVE FITS / Leslie Pearl
Memories of the automated FM station which I had the honor of babysitting after signing off the AM at sunset. KSPA "Stereo 96 Plus -- where the plus is in the music" was a weird blend of VERY light adult contemporary, MOR and outright muzak. ITLF was on the current reel during this period.

31) HOOKED ON SWING / Larry Elgart & His Manhattan Swing Orchestra
A/K/A "Stars On Scratchy 78s" It started with "Stars on 45" a year or so earlier, and it seemed like every freakin' music genre had to jump into the medley pool. Like all other early '80s medleys, it had that bomp!-clap! beat, resonating like a retarded metronome.

30) OUT OF WORK / Gary U.S. Bonds
Look what Bruce Springsteen pulled from out of mothballs. It smelled the same, too. It's about 11:35 in the evening ... a quarter to three was a long time ago.

*29) LOVE WILL TURN YOU AROUND / Kenny Rogers
From the redneck movie Six Pack, and a smash for Kenny "I Smell Roasted Chicken" Rogers. The intro brings it all back ... the song was on both the current reel at "Stereo 96 Plus", and in the hit rotation at KBHS "The Mighty 590", which meant I played it to death. That is, if I could get the cockroaches off the turntable long enough to cue it.

28) PLAY THE GAME TONIGHT / Kansas
Kansas, I don't think we're doing as well as Toto anymore. (Uh-oh, is that Liza Minnelli I hear coming to beat me up for dissing her mama?)

27) LOVE IS IN CONTROL (FINGER ON THE TRIGGER) / Donna Summer
Disco Diva Donna comes back for the '80s! Like This Song, Or I'll Kill Your Heart.

26) YOU SHOULD HEAR HOW SHE TALKS ABOUT YOU / Melissa Manchester
Ohhhh, a lot of women talked about Talmadge Gleck. Hoooooo, did they ever. *cringes*

25) GOING TO A GO-GO / The Rolling Stones
I forgot how wonderful this one sounded on the radio in '82. But not on the top-40 stations, just the one AOR in central Arkansas at the time. Both top-40s in Little Rock were under siege by narrow-minded program directors. I was what one might call a "chart geek" during my junior and senior years in high school, and I kept up with what all the stations played.

One (KKYK) was mainstream top-40, and they never went near anything until it hit top 20, and no guarantees even then. For instance, songs like "Pressure" and "Tainted Love" were never played in Little Rock. The other station (KLAZ 98.5) was so urban-skewed it wasn't even funny. If it was a hip-hop record, it got added in a flash ... but mainstream product was never added until it was nearly top 10.

Rock songs were heard in central Arkansas, and so was the black stuff. Unfortunately, a great number of mainstream pop songs fell through the cracks. What's truly laughable is that KKYK carried AT40 on Sunday mornings. Some weeks, as many as half (!) of the songs in a given week were nowhere near the rotation!!

24) EARLY IN THE MORNING / The Gap Band
Named not after the clothing store. GAP formed the initials of the streets in Tulsa where its members grew up: (G)reenwood, (A)rcher and (P)ine.

23) TAKE IT AWAY / Paul McCartney
Macca strikes again! Of note in personal lore because it was on the radio as I entered the parking lot of school on the first day of 12th grade. As such, I heard it going through my head all day long. (I smell another blog topic.......)

22) VACATION / The Go-Gos
I can never again think of this one without Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11 coming to mind.

21) WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I / Rick Springfield
Not enough of one to diss what I consider one of his weaker songs. I don't want my wife, who is Rick Goddess #1, to show me the door.

20) PERSONALLY / Karla Bonoff
More post-disco backlash/hangover adult contemporary passing for early '80s top-40. If you like it, that's fine ... just so long as you don't take my slight perso----oh, forget it.

19) STILL THEY RIDE / Journey
This just might be my favorite of their songs. Love it now, loved it then, back when I could bloody hear it (see: "Little Rock top-40s snubbed it", also second entry "So did the AOR station"). This was one big reason I was really pining for Cape Girardeau by this time. Up there, the top-40s were so quick jumping on records that by the time they appeared on AT40, you were already burned out on 'em!

18) TAKE ME DOWN / Alabama
Another "first radio job" memory. As with Kenny's "Turn You Around", TMD was on both the AM and FM stations (pronounced "Am and "Fum").

17) ANY DAY NOW / Ronnie Milsap
Seems to be a lot of country crossover product on here, doesn't it? Memories of top-40's last days as truly a Wal-Mart of music. Another year later, and the "Hot Hits" renaissance would hit, purging all the AC and C&W oatmeal and keeping the high-energy pop, rock and urban intact.

16) WASTED ON THE WAY / Crosby, Stills & Nash
A perfect title for an autobiography, should David Crosby choose to write one.

15) CAUGHT UP IN YOU / .38 Special
Overrated Skynyrd wannabes who spent a little too much time at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

14) EVEN THE NIGHTS ARE BETTER / Air Supply
When I hear Air Supply, I often find myself in need of it.

13) DO I DO / Stevie Wonder
The man never missed. I don't think Stevie is capable of making a bad record. A few I didn't care for, yes, but never a truly bad song. "Do I Do" was tailor-made for carefree good times during 1982's Summer.

12) LOVE'S BEEN A LITTLE BIT HARD ON ME / Juice Newton
More country crossover crap.

"Hey Butthead, heh heh, she said 'hard'."
"Yeah, Beavis. 'Hard.' Huhuhuhuh-huh-huh"

11) HARD TO SAY I'M SORRY / Chicago
Played without its epilogue, the hard-drivin', reminds-you-of-old-Chicago "Get Away." Ask my son what he thinks of this record, and you'll keel over and die from the look he'll give you (last year his school's marching band featured this during its halftime shows). Can't say that I blame him. I'm just as fond of it myself.

10) KEEP THE FIRE BURNIN' / R-E-O Speedwagon
Another windows-down, blast-the-radio high school cruising song. Yeah. Every time I hear it, even today, I wish it were 1982 again and Friday night, circa 9:30.

And just be quiet and stifle those guffaws. Yes, I cruised in a @#$%ing Pacer. You know how to kick a man when he's down.

9) ONLY THE LONELY / The Motels
Martha Davis was quite the looker (I've always been a sucker for brunettes, as if you haven't figured that one out yet), and she could sing a cool tune, too. I give it four diamonds, and a complimentary membership in AAA, Best Western and Mobil Travel Guide.

8) TAINTED LOVE / Soft Cell
Something's wrong. We're into the top ten, and I've liked all the songs so far. What gives?

7) DON'T YOU WANT ME / The Human League
Okay, we have a dip into "meh." Nothing says "1980s" like a group who plays nothing but synthesizers. "Look at us, we're on MTV. Who cares what we're playing??"

6) ABRACADABRA / The Steve Miller Band
Compared with the rest of SMB's repertoire, it comes up short. But on top-40 radio a quarter century ago (AAAACK!!!), it was as magical as its title.

5) LET IT WHIP / Dazz Band
Don't let the door whip you on the way out, Daz'

4) HOLD ME / Fleetwood Mac
First time I ever heard it, I was driving down 270 toward Magnet Cove, and my first date with Dawn. The AOR station jumped on it, but - in typical LR fashion - it took awhile for it to slog up the dial from 105.1 to 103.7 and then 98.5. I love this song, always have. Okay video, too.

3) HURT SO GOOD / John Cougar
Mellen-whaaaaa? I've never liked it. No, sir. I don't like it. I don't hate it, ala "Karma Chameleon" ... but HSG just doesn't do anything for me.

2) ROSANNA / Toto
One night with Dawn, over a deep-dish pepperoni at Pizza Hut, I counted the number of times the name gets said. Tally marks on a napkin. The answer? 21.

And the #1 hit of the week on 07/24/1982?

1) EYE OF THE TIGER / Survivor

Played to all nine deaths of the cat in the song title. Has the taste of some of that Hilton Head IHOP bacon.

Ahhhhh, what a time. You can keep the Pacer, Hot Springs, Dawn and everything else with it. But I'll hold on to some of the records and a lot of the memories. What's remarkable here is that while I disliked my share of the above songs, I can't honestly say I truly reviled anything.

And there you have it. Summertime 1982 and some good listening.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "THESE SONGS ARE NOT OLDIES!!!!" Gleck

3 comments:

Kate/Susan said...

Back in '82, I was in second grade and getting my tonsils out. I had a Chipmunks album with Eye of the Tiger on it... Rockin' out, good times with Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.

nettiemac said...

Damn right they're not oldies!!!!

Seraphim9 said...

Ahhh.....this was the week I officially became a teenager. This was the first of many years of me working at the local Girl Scout camp. I was a counselor in training (CIT) that year. What fun it was!