When I was growing up in the sixties, music was usually heard on the AM bands on my transistor radio, bedroom radio/alarm clock, or in the car. This was augmented by Mom’s music on her console stereo, and my sisters’ music on the older sister’s portable phonograph. It was red and gray suitcase with a record player inside.
By the end of the sixties, we were listening to more sources, including cassette tapes and 8-tracks. FM was coming on a purveyor of pop culture, though.
Overseas in the military, I depended on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services. We had a heavy dose of popular songs. I listened to some local radio but not understanding the language was often a turnoff.
By the time I returned to the United States from overseas for the last time, it’d all changed. CDs were on the scene. Digital and the net were rapidly emerging. Radio stations became more segmented. I had three primary music stations in the SF Bay Area. One each for alt rock, classic rock, and top forty rock, which included pop. I had buttons for country and western, young country, R&B, soul, rap, gospel, along with the news, sports, and talk stuff. It was an amazing plethora.
Yeah, just thinking and remembering, that’s all. Today is sooo different.
All of was triggered by Genesis as my theme choice yesterday. Early Genesis with Peter Gabriel was much different than Phil Collins’ Genesis but I enjoy both. Fascinating how Peter and Phil also found solo success, along with Mike Rutherford of Genesis.
As they were all on my mind, I’m going with another Phil choice. This one combines Phil Collins with Phil Bailey of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Here’s “Easy Lover” from 1984.
Three songs have been jumping in and out of my attention stream during the preceding twelve hours. You may have heard of them: “Purple Rain” by Prince, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, and “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summers. All were pop hits in their respective years, 1984, 1978, and 1979.
Each had a different reason for being in my head. “Purple Rain” was kicked into mind by a photo of Jacaranda trees in South Africa on Facebook. Purple dominated in beautiful fashion, stirring thoughts of Prince’s song. It’s a glorious, hopeful song from my perspective.
“Hot Stuff” came about from my spicy dinner burrito. I bit into something and my taste buds squeaked, “Hot stuff.” The song then gained traction from its use in the 1997 movie, The Fully Monty”. Four of the main characters are in line in the unemployment office during a low point in the movie. The song comes as background music, and they grudgingly start moving and dancing to it.
“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” just popped into my head, though. A spoof on the disco scene, the song was ubiquitous that year, heard on television and radio, a staple in humor from people on the streets to late night comedians.
While three strong choices are there as amusement for my head and theme song for the day, “Purple Rain” wins.
Honey, I know, I know, I know times are changin’ It’s time we all reach out for something new That means you too You say you want a leader but you can’t seem to make up your mind And I think you better close it and let me guide you to the purple rain
Today’s theme music is a ‘Feline’s Choice’. Each night, my fur boys crowd the door and meow a request to go out. I not infrequently imagine a musical circling around their activities. Often, when they go out and sit down, listening to the darkness and listening, they sing this Pat Benatar song, “We Belong”, from 1984. Only, my boys aren’t singing, “We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder” they’re singing, “We belong to the night, but we run from the thunder.”
They’ve changed other words, too. I only know some of them, as my flooflish is limited. I’m not personally a big fan of this song; too eighties. If you were there, you probably understand.
I was rallying myself to get out of bed when the quote was remembered.
It’s a good quote Churchill, the second World War. (Has war stopped since then?) Queen put it into their 1984 song, “Radio Ga Ga”. After I applied it to myself (and wondering if it’s true), I applied it to humanity.
We — humanity — have been changing the world and our societies. Now the world is biting back, or so it feels. It feels like that because it’s us, and our moment. Review some history, and you’ll see that nature bites back pretty damn regularly.
So here we go with the theme music. Enjoy yourself, if you can, wherever you are, and wear your mask, please.
Up early. (Well, early-ish.) (With le chats.) Opened the back door and ventured into the cool air (well, coolish, low seventies, but it’s a relative thing, innit?) and clear blue sky (well, clear-ish and blue-ish, save for the marring brung in by wildfire smoke to the south and east, gentle nudges to check the wildfire updates). Birds were speaking but it was quiet (well, quiet-ish, as cars’ motoring punctured the mo’ — again, again, again). Thought of the world sit, rolling into longing for where I was and where I preferred to be.
Here’s a song from another time which I think evokes those senses, “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley and Mike Campbell, with Campbell on guitar, from 1984. By coincidence, it captures the sense of summer, 2020: “Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air, the summers out of reach. Empty lake, empty streets, the sun goes down alone.”
“I Want to Break Free” wasn’t a big hit in the U.S., but I was travelling through Europe on mil biz that year, and heard it on their media. I thought the thingy ’bout the lies worked for this pandemic year.
Yeah, reading the news, following the latest Trumpstorm (“Unfair! I’m shutting down twitter!”), and articles about states under reporting COVID-19 case numbers and deaths (in other words, let’s pretend it’s not so bad, and it’ll all be okay), and another senseless killing (George Floyd – so how was forging a check a threat to those four officers, and why did that fucker keep his knee on his neck when Floyd said, “I can’t breathe”?), with subsequent protests and rioting, while bots push the re-open buttons and people scream about rights (and mock about privilege), and we wait to see what the fuck is going to happen next, Ratt’s classic hit song, “Round and Round” (1984), plays on an endless loop:
“Round and round; what goes around, comes around, I’ll tell you why. Dig.”
Thinking about a big coming out party, someday, after the crises is resolved. (A.C.: After COVID-19. We’ll start a new reference system – “In 2 AC, the first normal baseball game was played.”) Maybe the theme should be dancing in the streets.
The song, “Dancing in the Street”, and its many versions jumped into the stream. I do enjoy the Mick and David version. But I don’t want to show favoritism, so here’s a few offerings. Looking at them, I’m surprised that it has sprung up as a new cover by some one, like, I don’t know, Kelly Clarkson.
David Bowie and Mick Jagger, 1985. Boy, the disco era is really displayed in their clothing style. Fitting for responding to a global problem, as this collaboration was done to raise money and awareness for “Live Aid” famine relief.
Martha and the Vandelllas, 1964 – the original, to me.
After reading about South Dakota’s disparaging remarks about herd mentality and the subsequent spike in COVID-19 cases in that states, I thought of the phrase, against all odds.
Against all odds, Alabama held back until it was conclusively demonstrated that despite not being like California, Alabama was going to experience the coronavirus. Checking the news today, I see two thought-provoking headlines to use to compare and contrast:
The first article tells that Alabama’s tourism industry has been one of the least hard-hit in the nation. In the second article, ADPH reports that Mobile surged from 158 cases last week to 468 this week.
Anyway, I can hammer the point that social distancing works, but against all odds, churches, some Republican governors, and Liberty University disbelieve the facts and refuse to take the recommended actions.
And anyway, now that I’ve made this a stupidly long post for a theme music entry, today’s theme music is Phil Collins with “Against All Odds (Take A Look at Me Now)”, a 1984 song written for the movies, “Against All Odds”. Kind of a slow song, bit of sappy movie montage behind it, and it doesn’t even mention odds (what are the odds of that?). Not much of a theme song. Don’t Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges look pretty, though?