Summer In Stereo: MARTIN'S SUMMER OF 1985

Once again, HERC is honored to present another Summer-themed Guest Post here on the Hideaway.  This time around, Martin Maenza of Martin's View takes us all back to the Summer of 1985.  Take it away, Martin.

It was the summer of 1985.  I was working in Randolph, NJ, and living in nearby in Dover, NJ (just around the block from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art).  I spent a lot of my weekends at the nearby mall, seeing movies and going through the record store to find music to pick up.  One of the items that jumped out at me was the cassette for Break Dancing, a various artists compilation put out by CBS Records in 1984.  Typical me, late to the party on some things but this time it was okay.

Some of the songs I knew quite well from radio and club airplay (like Malcolm McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals” from the 1983 album Duck Rock and the anti-cocaine dance anthem “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” from Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five).  Others, like Herbie’ Hancock’s “Rockit” were exploding all over MTV.

So, I picked up a copy and popped it into my Chevette’s cassette deck on the way home.  All summer, it spent time going from my car to my portable boombox and back again. I simply loved the beats on this record!  The music from it was high energy, and always got me in the mood to dance.  It also introduced me to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, beginning a long time love of their albums.

The full line up is below (click on song titles to listen):

In my own blog Martin’s View (http://mcmaenza.blogspot.com) I have had this to say about some of the tracks (click on song titles to read full reviews):

  • “Buffalo Gals” - one of the most familiar tracks from Duck Rock. It mixes the DJ voiceovers with some amazing hip-hop beats, scratching, and calls from square dancing (trust me, if you‘ve never heard this one - it works very well). This was one I heard played a lot on the college radio stations when the single was released in 1982, both in the original album version and an extended remix version. It made for a great dance song at the time. Parts of this song have been sampled by the likes of Neneh Cherry (for her hit “Buffalo Stance”), Weird Al Yankovic and Sublime.
  • “Rockit” – a single which charted at number 10 in Sweden, number 9 in Canada, number 8 in the UK, number 7 in Austria, the Netherlands and New Zealand, number 6 in Germany, and number 4 in Belgium and Switzerland. Here in the US, it charted at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 200, number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 1 on the Billboard Dance chart. The song won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance while its innovative music video, directed by Godley and Crème, won a number of MTV Music Video Awards in 1984. This instrumental groove was a huge party track during my first year of college, both in the clubs and at campus events. With the volume cranked, the irresistible bass on this one shakes the house. D.S.T. (Derek Showard), a prominent Manhattan mix-master, provided the scratching turntable effects for the song and album.
  • “I Wonder If I Take You Home” - This one went to number 34 on the Billboard charts, number 6 on the R&B charts, number 1 on the US Dance charts and number 12 in the UK. I love how the percussion reverberates on this song and the echoing of the keyboards later on. Lisa also brings forth the emotion of the lyrics with her angelic vocals. This album version, a full seven minutes long, was a favorite dance song of mine during late 1985 and early 1986.
  • “It’s Like That” - one of the first songs ever released by Run-D.M.C.  (they did so on a simple cassette before getting a full record deal). It paints the picture of life in Queens at the time, with emphasis on some of the less positive aspects (unemployment, inflation, death, etc.). This is my favorite track from the album.


  1. Good stuff, Martin. Thanks for sharing. I'm a little disappointed that your picture didn't contain any parachute pants. Maybe next time.

  2. Mark, I never owned parachute pants. Those were 1989/1990 and by then I was engaged - and my wife to be had already cleared out my closet of those 80's fashion items (like the many tops I had picked up from Chess King during my college days).

  3. Here in the Grand Canyon State, parachute pants were de rigueur from 1982-1984. I owned four pairs: white, black, red and blue, all purchased at Chess King. They paired nicely with muscle tees which I bought at nearly every concert I attended.

    My favorite outfits were the official Def Leppard Union Jack muscle tee paired with the blue pants and the Japanese Rising Sun muscle tee paired with the red pants. And no, I never wore headbands a la Mike Reno of Loverboy.

    Chess King was the bomb - during 1983-1984, I always had something there on layaway. But don't fret, you can still pick up a pair or two of parachute pants at parachute-pants.com.