Recently, a young lady generously gifted me $30 itunes gift card in recognition of my 30th birthday. She suggested it may be a good idea to get 1 song from each year of my life. I thought that was an excellent idea. And considering that (like President Bush) I spent much of my 20s in an alcohol-induced haze, it may be a smart idea to get some of these reflections down on paper.
The only issue is that I do own a lot of music, so most of the songs + albums I like, I already own. But we move forward nonetheless, starting in 1978, and praying I wasn’t conceived in the aftermath of a ”key party.”
1978: Glory (Television): This song truly kicks ass and may have been released in anticipation of my triumphant birth. From what I remember, I was born in December. 2 weeks later, serial killer John Wayne Gacy finally confessed to his lawyers that he raped and killed 33 boys/men after months of denial to authorities. Apparently, he lost the urge to kill after he heard about the beautiful young boy with the lopsided head born 2 weeks earlier in Grandrapids, Michigan…Too soon?
1979: The Ballad of Lucy Jordan (Marianne Faithful): This was actually written by Shel Silverstein, whose amazing books filled me with both wonder and an occasional nightmare. The synth-pep of this song masks a depressing downer. Little known fact: this was the song that played in the background when Margaret Thatcher was sworn in as Prime Minister that year.
1980: Romeo & Juliet (Dire Straits): As a child of the ’90s with a burgeoning comfort with his own sexuality, I was first exposed to this song through the Indigo Girls. It gave me a feeling of warmth, yet not nearly as warm as how Richard Pryor must’ve felt when he burned his face freebasing coke in June, 1980. Later on, I came to enjoy the Dire Straits’ original just as much. Great to get this back in the catalogue. Thanks Jana!
1981: Tainted Love (Soft Cell): Have you ever heard of Soft Cell? Me neither. But I doubt anyone had heard of John Hinkley before he shot Reagan in the chest in March, 1981. Yet their legacies carry on….
1982: Here I Go Again (Whitesnake): In 1982, the family moved from Michigan to Kansas City, Kansas. I’m sure this song was big there. Maybe not “George Brett” big, but probably “Dan Quisenberry” big. Certainly, many midwesterners suffered from what “Quiz” once referred to as “sore armness” from too much air guitar.
1983: Soldier’s Things (Tom Waits): At the end of 1983, the family moved back to Chicago, but this time to the suburbs. And I came with! This song reminds me of that song “these are a few of my favorite things,” but less obnoxious and more depressing. Fun fact: On September 5, 1983, Tom Brokaw became lead anchor of the NBC news. And he still won’t go away.
TO BE CONTINUED…