I will not bore you with the details but these last two posts have taken a toll on me and my trusty machine. Now that the Hideaway 100 of 1979 is complete, the Hideaway will be undergoing behind the scenes maintenance for a bit. I'll be monitoring comments as well as answering emails and texts so keep them coming.
This wasn't my first hoedown with The Charlie Daniels Band and it would not be my last. One of Dad's favorite songs was "Uneasy Rider" by Charlie Daniels, a 1973 Top 10 story song about a long-haired peace-loving pot-smoking hippie who has to make an emergency pit stop deep in Mississippi Redneck Country. Not only that but one of the songs I heard quite often while spending time with various aunts and uncles in Texas some summers was "The South's Gonna Do It Again" which they mistook for a rallying cry of the busted Confederacy when actually it is simply celebrating Southern Rock acts, mentioning eight other artists in addition to his namesake band in the lyrics. The song was a Top 30 hit in 1975 though it rarely got any airplay north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The song can be found on the Fire On The Mountain album along with another family favorite "Long Haired Country Boy" which failed to break the Top 50 in 1975 but made the Country Top 30 in 1980 when it was re-released after the success of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" in 1979. But before we get to that song, there was one more Charlie Daniels Band song I was quite familiar with as it was in the Cow Talk jukebox and got played several times a day on Saturdays, as the cowboys, cattlemen and ranchers all showed up for the livestock auctions held in the adjacent auction barn. The song is actually one of the Great Republic Of Texas's anthems and it is simply titled "Texas". Then came "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" and it was glorious; still love to crank it up when it comes on in The Blueberry. I'm fairly certain that both "Texas" and "Devil" were heard in the film Urban Cowboy but it has been awhile since I've watched it. Dad responded positively to the 1980 single "In America", a defiant patriotic anthem that I couldn't stand as a Dallas Cowboys fan at the time. "The Legend Of Wooley Swamp" the next single from the album Full Moon was a favorite of mine while Dad was all gung-ho for the Vietnam Vet tale "Still In Saigon" from 1982. In the late Eighties and early Nineties, full of pleasant memories from the music, I stocked up on Charlie Daniels Band compact discs but haven't bought any of their discs since.
The opening notes of "Jane" are kind of misleading aren't they? They lead you to think that maybe the song is gonna be one of the band's trademark spacey love ballads ("Miracles", "With Your Love", "Runaway" and "Count On Me" - Hideaway Favorites ALL) but then the bass starts to build and the drums start softly pounding at the :08 mark both gradually getting louder until the guitar comes screaming in at :15 and we have lift off. Easily one of the greatest rock songs WLS played in the Winter of 1979-1980. My favorite parts are Mickey Thomas's possessed vocal performance and Craig Chaquico's blistering guitar solo at 2:15. Fun fact: Starship's Bay Area brothers Tower Of Power supply the horn parts on "Jane" - can you hear them?
I mentioned on a previous part of the countdown that John Stewart's "Gold" is linked in my head to Night's "Hot Summer Nights", number 18 on The Hideaway 100 of 1979. Returning to our earlier theme of cover versions, the original by Walter Egan reached number 55 on the Hot 100 and can be found on his Not Shy album from 1978. It was the second single from the album, with the first being the Top 10 hit "Magnet And Steel". Night recorded "Hot Summer Nights" for their 1979 self-titled debut and it was released as the initial single from the album, eventually peaking inside the Top 20 on the strength of Stevie Lange's sultry voice and the soaring guitars of Robbie McIntosh and Chris Thompson. The title says it all - it begs to be played on those hot summer nights. The song raises the relative humidity here at The Hideaway by a couple percentage points whenever it is played.
Back at number 30 on this countdown, I offered up my three favorite Chic Organization tracks: Norma Jean's "I Like Love", Sister Sledge's "Lost In Music" (the track at number 30) and Chic's own "I Want Your Love". But this hasn't always been the case. I was one of millions of fans who rushed out and bought the "Le Freak" 45 after the first time I heard it and found Chic's C'est Chic album in the vicinity of my Easter basket in 1979. By that time, I had switched my allegiance from "Le Freak" to "I Want Your Love" and was delighted to hear the full-length albums versions of both songs. Bernard Edwards' bassline makes the song for me, with the great guitar riffery of Niles coming in a close second followed by the strings getting mimicked by the horns and then there are those tubular bells - when we finally install our programmable door bell chime, it will play the tubular bell part from "I Want Your Love" and it will be awesome. Due to all those repeated listenings then and now, the C'est Chic album ranks as one of my Top Ten most listened to albums ever. Eagle-eyed viewers will recall that "I Want Your Love" also made the Hideaway 100 of 1978 (along with "I Like Love") while others would lobby for the inclusion of 1979's "Good Times" on the Hideaway 100 of 1979 but I plead not guilty to both oversights. As I did with his remix of "Lost In Music", I wholeheartedly approve of the Dimitri from Paris remix of "I Want Your Love" from the French-produced four disc CHIC box set from Rhino.
Like the song says "The feeling's right and the music's tight" and this one is so so right. From the popping bass on the intro to the cascading jazz guitar, "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" is a celebration. It was insanely popular when I was in the 8th grade and got lots of plays at school dances, the roller rink and jukeboxes. I enjoyed listening to it on WLS until I heard it on the American Top 40 one weekend on WLRW and it just came alive; it was almost like hearing a different song! Not a lot of people know that the song is remake of an earlier song called "Soul On Your Side" from 1976. Back then, the guys in GQ called themselves the Rhythm Makers and their original version is certainly recognizable though stylistically and lyrically the track vaguely reminds me a bit of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone". When disco music exploded in late 1977, the guys reworked their song, upping the disco quotient musically and lyrically to earn a major label deal. The resulting album led off with "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" and contained a cover of A Taste Of Honey's "Boogie Oogie Oogie" which was also the b-side of the "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" 45.
Though it barely makes my short list of Top 5 ABBA tunes today, "Does Your Mother Know" was my Number One jam back for a bit back in 1979 as everything about it fascinated me. It really didn't get all that much airplay on WLS, peaking at number 28 the week of August 18, 1979 while barely breaking the Top 20 of the Hot 100 but it didn't really matter because I had the Voulez-Vous album and I was playing it like I stole it. While I admire the songcraft of Bjorn and Benny, I never really appreciated their male voices in ABBA because let's face it it was always Agnetha and Anni-Frid taking the lead on every song. But over the years, it has been the boys songwriting and production that has grown on me. Don't tell anyone but one of my most secret musical revisionist fantasies is to have them re-record the backing tracks (the music) and leave the vocals as is to most of their pre-1980 catalog with modern technology and instruments. I want the opening notes of "Does Your Mother Know" to make the Blueberry quake.
I often pair Bonnie Pointer's disco remake of "Heaven Must Have Sent You" with Patrick Hernandez's "Born To Be Alive" on playlists or just when I need a quick fifteen minute pick me up. Her original album version of the song is mostly true to the Classic Sixties Motown sound with a couple of vocal ad-libs and additional instruments. One critic said it sounded "a lot like the Supremes' Where Did Our Love Go". But this ain't that version, no no. This is the disco version as pictured above though that "classic Motown" version appears on the flipside in a 3:24 edit of the album's 5:15 cut. The disco version comes skating in on pounding drums and tubular bells (again?!?) before settling into a manic bass and hand claps groove. I know I speak of the roller rink a lot but the truth is it was mainly a hang out to play video games and listen to loud music not really a physical activity; I rarely skated. But I do remember skating to this song and feeling like I was going way too slow. This song just makes you want to scoot along, doesn't it? Give me the twelve inch version of Bonnie's disco mix with with extended version of "Born To Be Alive" and I'm good. Fun fact: According to the album's liner notes, Motown's legendary Funk Brothers James Jamerson (bass) and Jack Ashford (percussion) played on this track alongside P-Funk guitar hero Eddie Hazel and super prolific session drummer Ollie Brown.
One of my classmates, we'll call him Roy J. (because that's what we called him) could do a killer Michael Jackson impersonation to "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)". It was either in class or maybe a talent show though I don't recall ever having a talent show in junior high school but trust me, he was really good. And he picked it all up after watching one single performance. It wasn't like he had a VCR or DVR and could rewind and study everything, just one viewing of the February 3, 1979 episode of Soul Train. I take that back - Roy J. probably watched the Michael and his brothers in the same shimmery powder blue jumpsuits the following weekend on American Bandstand. Anyway, Roy J. was a great Michael, capturing his moves especially that one where Michael propels himself across the floor by kicking one leg. The song itself has groove for DAYS and when I heard the eight minute album version for the first time, I was nearly in tears from the excitement I felt. There was a twelve inch remix by John Luongo at some point but it just isn't the same song for me.
Though I didn't hear this song until 1981, it almost instantly became an all-time favorite. Picked up a used copy of the Children Of The Sun album at Al Bum's and picked up a copy of Thorpe's East Of Eden's Gate within a couple months of each other in 1982. Like a lot of music fans did at the dawn of the CD age, I made a wish list for artists, songs and albums I wanted on CD ASAP and one of the top songs on that list was "Children of The Sun" and late in 1987, I walked into Zip's in Park Mall and heard "Children Of The Sun" begin playing on the store's PA system, the wild percussion bouncing from the left side of the store to the right as the mix takes full advantage of stereo separation. I looked through the bins and listened, watching other shoppers react (or not) to the music as the guitar came fading in. The effect was exaggerated because someone jacked the volume up a couple clicks and then Thorpe's voice was heard: "People of the Earth can you hear me?" As I looked at the endcap display of new releases near the cashstand, it happened: someone asked what was playing and the clerk said "Billy Thorpe". Well, duh! Then I guess he realized he hadn't put the CD case up on the little Now Playing shelf on the wall behind the cash register so he reached down, grabbed it and put it up and I saw it was titled Children Of The Sun... Revisited and I found it in the T section and I bought it and I took it home and played it over and over again, especially the first ("Children Of The Sun") and last ("East Of Eden's Gate") tracks. (Remember programming your CD player to only play certain tracks or play the disc in a different order?) Now that I had the song on CD, I stopped playing my cassette dub of the original album. Sometime after that, after dozens of listens to the CD, "Children Of The Sun" came on KLPX one afternoon and I noticed it started differently than the version I had been listening to on disc, fading in instead of just starting cold. How had I not noticed that before? I dug my cassette out to play and sure enough, there was a noticeable difference I had overlooked in my excitement at finally having the song on CD which is plainly noted in the liner notes and on the back of the jewel case insert as being a "Digital Remix". So I put the original Children Of The Sun album back on my CD wishlist. By the time I bought that disc (it was briefly issued in Australia in 1993) in 1999 or 2000, I had long misplaced that wishlist - I was buying discs more on a whim than by plan. Well, that's not entirely true. I did have a wishlist that I was still buying discs from - I made it in 1988 after selling most of my vinyl and CD collections to pay off my newborn daughter's hospital bills and my wife wisely suggested I keep a list, so I could rebuild my collection. And that is what I did. Most recently, "Children Of The Sun" was heard in an episode from the second season of Fargo. Though my wife and I were in the middle of watching the first season when my friend Mark alerted me, I pulled that particular episode up on the DVR and watched it until I heard the song. If memory serves, they damn near played the whole song, eh.
Written and recorded at the last minute because he felt there were not enough "loud ones" on the album, Jeff Lynne was rewarded with what proved to be Electric Light Orchestra's highest charting (number 4) single "Don't Bring Me Down". It was a monster hit on WLS and sounded perfectly distorted as it was intended to and I'm somewhat certain I bought the 45 before eventually getting the album though both are no longer in the archives. I just looked it up and I have this song on 9 different compact discs:
- Discovery original CD
- Discovery (remastered/expanded - 2 copies! - one is part of 11 disc Classic Albums Collection box)
- Afterglow compilation
- Flashback compilation
- Guitar Rock 1978-1979 (Time-Life)
- Legends: Gimme Some Lovin' (Time-Life)
- Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra (actually a re-recording)
- Pop Music: The Modern Era 1976-1999
- Sounds Of The Seventies: 1979 (Time-Life)
While the disco influenced tracks like "Shine A Little Love" and "Last Train To London" on the Discovery album are great, my most favorite ELO songs have always been "the loud ones" like "Roll Over Beethoven", "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle", "Do Ya", "Rockaria!", "Turn To Stone", "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Sweet Talkin' Woman". The stomping "Don't Bring Me Down" fits the bill as well. Fun fact: This was first ELO recording not to feature strings.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I don't recall ever hearing this in 1979. (Or 1980 or 1981.) WLS didn't play it and I know it was on Casey's American Top 40 which we listened to on WLRW but I don't recall ever hearing it until I started working my way backwards through Prince's first four albums after buying 1999 in 1982. Even after all these years, I still think it holds up very well. There is probably more I could say about the song "I Wanna Be Your Lover" but I just can't right now.
Back at number 80 on this countdown, there is a song by Ian Gomm called "Hold On" - Gomm is credited as co-author of the song here at number 9, Nick Lowe's "Cruel To Be Kind" a catchy retro-rocker that stood out among the thumping disco, wailing rockers and surging synthpop heard on the radio at the time. To me, it's a perfect power-pop song. Gomm and Lowe had been band mates in Brinsley Schwarz, a pub rock band in the early Seventies. "Cruel To Be Kind" was originally demoed then recorded by the band for their final unreleased album It's All Over Now, which Gomm offers for sale on his website. (He has also released a few versions of "Cruel To Be Kind" himself.) While the original version features a slightly sped-up tempo and an organ underlying the entire track, I prefer the stripped down nearly acoustic power-pop arrangement of "Cruel To Be Kind" as recorded by Lowe and his band mates Rockpile, who would rock my world when they appeared on Fridays! performing "Teacher, Teacher" in December 1980. A favorite take on "Cruel To Be Kind" is the faithful cover by Letters To Cleo from the film 10 Things I Hate About You.
Speaking of songs sounding unlike anything else on the radio in 1979, here comes "Pop Muzik" at number 8. Back up at number 51, I mentioned that the Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star" was linked to this song in my head and this true for no apparent reason other than the timing of their respective releases and a slight similarity in their sound and production. But as you can tell by their respective rankings here on The Hideaway 100 of 1979, I really really prefer "Pop Muzik". Though she was unable to confirm this when I asked her, I remember my sister buying the M 45 before I did and then I got the Starflight album from K-tel, currently ranked number 8 in Top 10 of the K-Tel Kollection. The song also turned up on another of my favorite K-Tel albums in 1980, Rock 80. The song still hooks me in every time though whether it is the 3:20 single edit or the 5:00 album version. Like "Children Of The Sun", this was another long time want on CD - think the single edit finally showed up in 1991 on one of the Mega Hits Dance Classics from Priority. The album version aka Nick Launay 12" mix took a bit longer. The first M CD was the 1997 release on the Westside label featuring the original eight songs from the New York London Paris Munich album and thirteen(!) bonus tracks, though as is often the case, most were superfluous. A slave to the reissue game, I bought the exact same configuration of the album a decade later as a Japanese pressing on Victor though I listen more to my digital rip of the vinyl album than I do any CD.
Ranking slightly ahead of Bonnie Pointer's "Heaven Must Have Sent You" but behind Patrick Hernandez's "Born To Be Alive" over on the A Dozen Great Twelve Inch Singles from 1979, David Naughton's "Makin' It" is the third song in my personal disco triptych, three songs guaranteed to get me in a good mood. Initially recorded as the theme song to a show based (very loosely) on the film Saturday Night Fever and disco culture, the show was cancelled before the song was released as a single. Nevertheless, "Makin' It" climbed the charts and got maximum airplay on WLS, peaking at number 2 on the station's survey just two weeks prior to the city's infamous Disco Demolition Night on July 12, 1979. Over on the Billboard charts, Naughton notched a number 11 on the Disco chart, a number 48 on the Adult Contemporary chart and a number 5 on the Hot 100. The song was first added to my collection when I scored the RSO Chart Busters album. If you were thinking the song was on my CD wish list, you were thinking correctly. It was maybe 1994 or 1995 when the licensing began flowing freely, flooding my collection with copies of the song. The first one I remember was a three disc set I picked up at Costco called Dance Fever - The Best Of Disco. That was quickly followed by a couple Rhino compilations and three Time-Life discs. David Naughton's "Makin' It" is a true one-hit wonder by every definition - it was the only song he recorded.
From the opening drumbeat, I have been deeply fond of Blondie's "Dreaming", the opening track of my favorite album by the band Eat To The Beat. The non-stop energy, the non-stop blistering drumming is amazing and I can and have listened to the track on loop for hours on end. Most others would argue for "Heart Of Glass" or "One Way Or Another" as the Blondie single of 1979 but back then my music came form two sources: Dad or the radio. My Dad had Parallel Lines on 8-track (what, your parents didn't?) so I knew and loved those songs (still do) but they all remind me of the start of seventh grade in the Fall of 1978 not 1979 though for sure they got lots and lots spins on WLS throughout 1979 as did the manic and majestic "Dreaming". If you squint your ears a bit, it could almost be a Go-Go's song.
Based on my many, many years of interaction with my fellow music obsessives, I believe I can state unequivocally that I am in the minority as far as liking "Driver's Seat" by the wonderfully named Sniff N The Tears. I like just about everything about it. The lyrics, the music, the mood, the energy, the vibe - everything. It was kinda sorta but not really popular on WLS for about two months in the Fall of 1979 so it always reminds me of starting eighth grade which are pretty good memories to have. I played it a bunch of times on the jukebox at Garcia's Pizza and it became a part of my music library when I got the great K-Tel album Rock 80.
The original 1977 studio album version of "I Want You To Want Me" sounds like a demo version to me. It lacks the urgency and charisma of the turbocharged live At Budokan version that rose to number 2 on WLS's weekly music survey, unable to get past Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff". The live track's energy, both on stage and coming from the crazy crowd, is palpable and contagious making the song always a fun singalong whenever it comes on. The song is another ballsy, kickass power-pop classic. As they had done with "Cruel To Be Kind", Letters To Cleo do a wonderful cover of "I Want You To Want Me" that plays over the 10 Things I Hate About You closing credits. Even Hideaway favorite Dwight Yoakam got his trademark twang in on the song, releasing his take on 2000's Tomorrow Sounds Today album. Big big congrats to Robin, Tom, Rick and Bun E. for finally being welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame earlier this year. It certainly took long enough didn't it?
The Babys appeared on my radar with their awesome 1977 song "Isn't It Time". The day I bought the 45, I played it repeatedly like over and over and over and at a volume that could be heard outside my closed bedroom door. Maybe around the tenth or twentieth play, Dad comes barging in and says "There's too much music in this world to listen to the same damn record over and over" and then left. I took the record off immediately. Jump forward about a year or so, to February or March 1979. WLS is playing a new Babys song, the dramatic "Every Time I Think Of You" and I am loving it. It builds from a quiet, slower start just like "Isn't It Time" and it also features prominent female backing vocals just like "Isn't It Time" which was still a favorite record of mine at the time. When I finally found and bought the "Every Time I Think Of You" 45, I discovered another commonality or maybe the reason for the other commonalities in the first place - both songs are written by the songwriting team of Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, who apparently never wrote anything else together but those two songs. The Babys hosted an episode of The Midnight Special in 1979 right before my thirteenth birthday and they performed "Every Time I Think Of You" and it was sooooooo good though watching it now I can see that John's voice is off a bit.
The Summer of 1979 gave us an embarrassment of musical riches and as I listen to all these songs while writing about them, I'm reminded of an awful lot of good times. And one kind of weird one when my Grandma set me up on two dates. I've mentioned that I spent the Summer of 1979 in Texas, staying with my grandparents. My Texas Grandma had taken up ceramics as a hobby recently and my Grandpa had built her a small shed for her own kiln in their backyard. One day, she came home from the ceramics shop excited because somehow in the relatively small town of Navasota where she had lived for more than 20 years, she had made two new friends. And they both had a kid my age. And she had arranged a "date" for me with each of them. The first one was a sleepover with this guy named Mike who had a tent set up in his backyard for whatever reason. Mike basically interrogated me for an hour ("Have you ever...?") or so and then spent the rest of the night bragging about all the stuff he'd done (smoking, drinking, fishing, hunting - nothing that impressed nor interested me) before his Mom came out and said it was Midnight and we had best get to sleeping cause his Dad was going to mow the grass in the morning and the tent had to come down. No big deal. I saw Mike once more that Summer but first I want to tell you about my other date. The theater (the same one my parents went to when they were dating in high school) was on the corner of the two main streets in town and immediately to the right of it was a UtoteM convenience store where I used to ride my bike to read comics and buy baseball cards. About a week after my sleepover, Grandma drove me to the UtoteM where we met her other friend and her daughter, Anna. She wasn't very pretty or even cute but she seemed nice enough. Anna's mom walked the two of us over to the theater and bought us tickets, double checking with the ticket seller that there was no sex in the movie and what time it was gonna let out. She told Anna and that she would be at the UtoteM at that time and she told me she would tell my Grandma so she could pick me up as well. She told us both not to wander away and I thought "why would we do that?" The movie was The Force Of One starring Chuck Norris and we each bought a soda and some candy before going in and grabbing a seat in theater which looked much bigger on the inside than it did from the outside. We watched the movie and I remember Anna getting up and going to the ladies room like five times, coming back smelling like smoke each time. The movie ended and we walked out quietly until she said "Don't tell my mom, okay?" and I said I wouldn't although I wasn't entirely sure what I wasn't supposed to tell: That she might be smoking or that she seemed to have a problem with her bladder. And then she told me that she hated the name Anna and that she liked to be called "Sharona, like that song" and I said that was cool and nobody called me by my name either. We got into our respective rides and left. I didn't see Anna or Mike again until I was at UtoteM a couple of weeks later and saw them kissing up against the wall of the theater, each with a burning cigarette in their hand. We were 13. Another power-pop stomper, The Knack's "My Sharona" was probably my favorite song from the middle of Summer all the way through Halloween. That riff, that solo and the way Doug Fieger sings those lyrics always makes me want to join in. And how cool of a name is Sharona? I've never known anyone with that name. Except Anna. (Strippers don't count, right?)
Is there a more appropriate song to end the countdown with then one entitled "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"? I think not. It is my favorite Michael Jackson song, one that demands to be heard as loud and as often as possible. The production, the performance and most of all the scorching backing track are all top notch. Thriller may have rocketed Michael into hyperspace but the album prior Off The Wall and especially this track "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" put him on the launching pad and set the trajectory for his unprecedented critical and commercial successes. Me? I'll take Off The Wall over Thriller every single time.
Hideaway 100 of 1979