Eddie Money's first two singles were easy to like; both "Baby Hold On" and "Two Tickets To Paradise" (unique 45 version with different guitar parts as well as different vocals) were driven by Jimmy Lyon's guitar riffs as much as Money's enthusiastically strained vocals. But the secret sauce was that both were very danceable rock pop songs. "Maybe I'm A Fool" kept the dancing angle but dialed back the influence clock to the Sixties with an easy breezy blue-eyed soul-ness that was merely hinted at on the first album's cover of Smokey's "You've Really Got A Hold On Me". Back in 1979, I would have bet you all my weekly allowance that "Maybe I'm A Fool" was a cover version. You would have been smart to take me up on that bet. Pleased to see it made the soundtrack for Everybody Wants Some!
If every Southern rock band must have their "Free Bird" then surely Blackfoot's "Highway Song" fulfills their obligation. It has guitars aplenty, riffin' and rockin' along with lyrics about the mythical never-ending road that every musician must travel. And if that weren't enough, lead singer and co-author of "Highway Song" Medlocke had actually been a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd before forming Blackfoot though he was out by the time "Free Bird" was recorded. The coolest point in all of these slow-than-fast songs, from "Stairway To Heaven" to "One", is that instant when the tempo shifts - on first listen, it comes as a pleasant little surprise but then you anticipate it every time you hear the song thereafter. Such a rush.
Her name was Sally and she was the smartest girl in our class. After a disastrous Valentine's Day gambit where I bought three crushes 45s of Blondie's "Call Me" and wrote my phone number on the sleeves only to unanimously get something akin to the "we're better as friends" polite brush-off, our teacher plays cupid and sets me up with Sally. And we hit it off. Turns out she lived about a block from me on Base but I had never seen her before because she didn't ride the bus every morning and afternoon like I did - her Mom dropped her and her same age step-brother off at school each day and then returned to pick them up in the afternoon. We had a lot in common - we both liked the same TV shows, the same books, the same movies and most of the same music. Except she liked Kool & the Gang's "Ladies Night" and I really didn't care for it. Then one particular night in our young relationship while we were kissing up in a tree in her back yard, we were listening to her beloved Ladies Night cassette (though in my meager defense, I have always liked "Too Hot") and I boldly made my move, sliding my hand up her shirt for the very first time. Second base! She went off to camp that Summer but she wrote almost daily, first on cute little stationary her Mom had got her and then in a series of about 25-30 letters written spiral-style on the front and back of paper plates. I wrote her back on my standard yellow legal pads and we maintained the relationship long distance all Summer though she never came home. Her folks had moved out of state over the Summer. She sent one last letter, saying she would always love me but that it would be too hard to continue our relationship now that we were going to be in high schools nearly a thousand miles apart. I sent her a piece of pink construction paper on which I drew a broken heart in red ink. Such a drama queen. And that's how I came to enjoy the song "Ladies Night".
Sweet Kenny Rogers has been a favorite of mine since Dad came home from Nam in the early Seventies and began buying 8-tracks of all the great and wonderful music he had fallen in love with while overseas. One of those tapes was Kenny Rogers and the First Edition Greatest Hits, which encompassed the group's singles from 1967 through 1970. My favorite track was "Something's Burning" which I also heard on Mac Davis's I Believe In Music album, another of Dad's tapes. Turns out Mac wrote it and Kenny just sang the crap out of it. While Davis only got more popular as the early Seventies gave way to the mid-Seventies, Rogers basically disappeared until reemerging in 1977 with the monster crossover hit "Lucille". Dad didn't buy the Kenny Rogers album that "Lucille" was on but in early 1978, the Ten Years Of Gold album showed up next to his turntable. It was a compilation of First Edition hits and "Lucille" and a few other country singles. Then The Gambler - Rogers third studio album of 1978! - hit and Sweet Kenny Rogers ruled the Country, Pop and AC charts for the next decade and change. "She Believes In Me" is the second single after the title track off The Gambler. While I was instantly drawn to the track as an adolescent teen, often singing along without even thinking about it, the song has come to mean oh so much more after nearly thirty years of marriage to the most patient, understanding, kindest, smartest, strongest, softest, most loving and sexiest woman alive. I'll never know what she sees in me but I am oh so glad she does.
Mark Knopfler's clean guitar tone stands out as does his croaking voice but man "Sultans of Swing" just rolls with character-driven lyrics and Knopfler's furiously fluid finger-picking. Talk about your auspicious debut. Naturally, the rest of the album did not live up to the benchmark set by that initial single for me. I didn't care for their second album either but 1980's Making Movies, especially the three songs that makeup Side 1 of the album, swung my allegiance back for Knopfler and Company.
Another in a short list of softer songs I loved to hear on WLS but would rather hear on WLRW because that FM Stereo signal just sounded so much better: fuller, deeper, richer. I knew Suzi Quatro as Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days and later discovered her swaggering glam rock of the early Seventies discography which was sadly ignored here in the US but was pretty huge over in the UK. I was very vaguely familiar with Chris Norman thanks to my British neighbor Samantha, who was a fan of his band Smokie's 1976 single "Living Next Door To Alice" which later turned up on the 1978 K-Tel albums The Hot Ones and Super Star Collection. "Stumblin' In" appears on the K-tel albums Starflight (1979) and Hitline (1980). The song is another in a long line of Chinnichap compositions.
You'll have to head over to my super secret site - currently averaging three page views a day - to read my "Planet Claire" story. Go NOW! Highlights: Frankie Goes To Hollywood concert, dancing in the face of certain death, Belouis Some opening act, Phoenix, "Planet Claire".
This was unlike anything else on the radio. WLS didn't play it at all that I remember but I heard it once on WLRW courtesy of Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 episode that aired originally on December 15, 1979. Casey introduced "Video Killed The Radio Star" as one of three debuts that week and said it was a bit of "social commentary". Also in the countdown that week, having fallen from number 14 to number 25 after topping the chart a mere five weeks prior, was M's "Pop Musik", which will appear later in the Hideaway 100 of 1979. In my little mind, the songs were linked, two sides of the same coin. They were fresh and exciting and worthy of my attention. But as time went on, my interest in the Buggles faded until Art of Noise emerged five years later in 1984. In short order, I acquired the two Buggles albums, learned that both members had briefly been in Yes and that another version of "Video Killed The Radio Star" existed, recorded by the third member of The Buggles who split just before they were signed. My new found enthusiasm for The Buggles didn't last long though I did pick up the CDs when they were released years apart and then again when they were reissued with bonus tracks. Never ever saw the famed video on MTV but I like the cover versions by Ben Folds Five and The Feeling.
This one is straight out of Roy Orbison's songbook and it sounded awesome pouring forth from Dad's massive Pioneer speakers, strategically placed on the left and right side of the long wall in our basement as we listened to WLRW. His stereo set-up and his album collection sat on the short wall, opposite the speakers. The miles of speaker wire was stapled neatly along the intersection of the ceiling and wall. Up above the stereo, in the otherwise empty space beneath the staircase sat the Heathkit television set he built. There was no case, nothing protecting his creation, it just sat there in its metal frame which we were warned not to touch because we might get an electric shock. This was where I would sneak listens to Dad's LP collection as well as catch those late night movies on Home Box Office. For Christmas 1978, my folks put down cool carpet in the basement that looked like a casino gaming table, all green and gold and red and black and white with images of roulette wheels, playing cards, poker chips, backgammon boards, and dice. And they installed a pool table and I briefly became the most popular kid in the neighborhood. But yeah, I like J.D. Souther's song and marvel at his many connections and contributions to my favorite music from the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and others. "You're Only Lonely" is a great chilled out under the stars by the pool tune though I enjoy it each and every time it pops up on shuffle.
Have no recollection when or where I first heard this song but I really like the interesting mix of heavy metal, hard rock and power pop that can be heard. Ritchie Blackmore ruled Rainbow like a tyrant, dismissing entire line-ups of the band on a whim. With Graham Bonnet behind the mic for the Down To Earth album, Blackmore chose to cover Russ Ballard's "Since You Been Gone" from Ballard's 1976 album, Winning. With Bonnett suitably muscling up the vocals, Blackmore played Ballard's original keyboard parts as crunchy guitar riffs and a rocker arose from a popper, while still retaining the hook. When I finally get around to compiling my lost K-tel album, Rainbow's "Since You Been Gone" will be on there.
By my count, Donna Summer had half a dozen singles from five different albums on the radio and on the charts in 1979 and each one of them is a favorite. Probably my most favorite is "Heaven Knows" which was included in the Hideaway 100 of 1978. Donna's other duet from 1979 made the list of A Dozen Great Twelve Inch Singles from 1979 and the back to back Number One hits "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff" are listed as Runners-Up for the Hideaway 100 of 1979. Which leaves "On The Radio" which may show up on the Hideaway 100 of 1980 (psssst, it's on the Runners-Up list) and "Dim All The Lights" which is right here at number 48. Though Dad had Bad Girls on 8-track, he mainly listened to the album-opening 1-2 punch of the scorching rocker "Hot Stuff" and the title track - I don't recall ever hearing any other songs from Bad Girls unless they were on the radio which "Dim All The Lights" most certainly was. I would posit here that the song was robbed from its rightful and deserved place as the third consecutive Number One single off Bad Girls album by "Heartache Tonight" and "Still" as well as being leapfrogged by that rush-released super diva duet. I fell in love with "Dim All The Lights" on the On The Radio compilation where it mixes right into "Sunset People" which was yet another song I had never heard from Bad Girls. As my neighbors can attest, this wonderful two-song segue can often be heard on hot summer nights here at The Hideaway. Sometimes, I'll shake things up and play the Live & More Encore! version with the Rod Stewart-style intro or the twelve-inch disco mix.
Though I enjoyed most of the Little River Band songs I had heard up till then "Cool Change" went in one ear and out the other. It was slow and I didn't like the lyric about the whales and albatross being my brother because I was an only child. Well, except for my little sister. But you know a man can grow and mature and his tastes can change and the song and I grew closer. "Cool Change" is one of a trio of tunes that I must hear together for their full potential to be realized. The other two songs are Christopher Cross's "Sailing" and Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Southern Cross". (Lots of C's and S's in that sentence.) Which reminds me, I need to feature Little River Band's Greatest Hits album as one of the Greatest "Greatest Hits" Albums of The Hideaway. Still don't like the lyric about the albatross and whales but I think I understand it better.
Quite possibly the first Tom Petty song I ever heard on the radio and still one of my favorites, "Don't Do Me Like That" sounds as fresh to me today as it did back in 1979 on WLS. I like Petty best when he's defiant, the Rebel and this one certainly has that quality. He's issuing a warning that he will not be treated by his own baby/honey like his friend was treated by his girl. Back in 1979, I could have cared less about the story the lyrics were trying to tell; it was all about the riffs and Petty's swagger as he spits those lyrics, especially the chorus. Pretty sure I had almost all of the verses wrong until I got an issue of Song Hits which had the song's lyrics. Or maybe it was a WLS Survey...
My love for The Muppet Movie has been documented HERE and sure this song is from that film's soundtrack but what makes it stick for me is the songwriting of Paul Williams. The Muppet Movie was the third time I had seen his name in a film's credits, following Bugsy Malone (1976) and Smokey & the Bandit (1977). Then as I began buying more records, filling in the holes in my collection, I began noticing his name on a few of my favorite songs by the Carpenters and Three Dog Night and then I got long time Home Box Office favorite Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas on VHS and saw Williams was responsible for those songs as well, which I had never noticed in the credits before. Which led me to his own solo albums cause that's what you do is trace it back to the source. And that's where I am today: still in love with "Rainbow Connection" while exploring the Paul Williams back catalog.
We can all agree "Dance The Night Away" a beautiful disco rock hybrid, right? One of the all-time great jukebox songs.
Maybe it's just my self-loathing but I've always loved this song, track one on Side 1 of Foreigner's third album, Head Games. "Dirty White Boy" rocks from the start but the misogynistic lyrics are fun to sing along with, especially the line "I've been in trouble since I don't know when/I'm in trouble now and I know somehow I'll find trouble again". I bought the single before Dad got the album from Columbia House though I don't think he wanted it cause he gave it to me after just one listen. The single's B-side "Rev On The Red Line" was another favorite song from the album. I also preferred "Women" over "Head Games" but as we all know you can't have the former without the latter.
Donna Summer's label mates Village People always seemed like they would be perfect for a duet back in 1978 or 1979 but to the best of my knowledge, the two acts never shared a stage let alone a recording studio. Dad was a disco fan and he had the first two 8-tracks from Village People which I still adore to this day but he took a pass on the next two, Cruisin' and Go West. People went googoo gaga over Cruisin's "Y.M.C.A." (still do) but it ranks in the middle of my favorite Village People songs. Go West's "In The Navy" is one of my favorites, though. Bought the 45 and played it a lot. Sometimes my father would shout AIR FORCE whenever they sang Navy though it didn't really fit with the next line about sailing the Seven Seas but I get his point of pride.
We've discussed before how our minds deceive/protect us sometimes and that our memory of events may not actually be the reality of said events. My memories of "Renegade" have recently been obliterated by the unearthing of my yearbooks from the sixth (1977-1978), seventh (1978-1979) and eighth grades (1979-1980). I remembered a certain music teacher from junior high but it turned out she was from elementary school so she couldn't have possibly had anything to do with my memory of "Renegade" as the times and the places just don't line up. Still a great song, though. It's been heard on Supernatural before, right? If not, it should be.
Next time around