I’ve posted this picture before. I got my teeth cleaned this week, and when I arrived, the woman doing the cleaning said, “Hello, handsome!” I replied, “You shoulda seen me when I was 28.” I don’t have any pictures that I am sure come from that time, so I’ve posted one from right after I turned 29, and used it to give me a year for this week’s Music Friday post.
1. Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean”. The video link takes you to a live performance of the song from March 25, 1983. It was telecast on American TV on May 16 of that year. You might recall the following day, May 17, 1983, one of the biggest dates in pop culture history. On that date, millions of young people across the country were moonwalking.
2. Au Pairs, “Sex Without Stress”. Wikipedia on Sense and Sensuality, the album on which this song appears: “No singles were released from the album. The album cover wasn't approved by the band. There were errors on the recording, including it being recorded at too fast a speed.”
3. The Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men”. Co-written by Paul Shaffer. The video is mindboggling.
4. Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo, “Girls Like Me”. Hayes and the band were very popular in the Bay Area, and this song’s appearance in the movie Valley Girl brought them some wider attention. For a variety of reasons, they never really broke out. But late in the 1980s, another Bonnie, Raitt, discovered Hayes’ music and recorded two of her songs for Nick of Time, the huge hit that remade Raitt’s career.
5. George Clinton, “Atomic Dog”. Bow wow wow, yippie yo, yippie yay! I lost track somewhere past 50, but this one has been sampled many, many times over the years.
6. The Waitresses, “I Know What Boys Like”. Released in 1980, made its biggest impact in 1982 as part of the album Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?. Singer Patty Donahue died at 40 of lung cancer.
7. Lou Reed, “Waves of Fear”. Fans of Lou Reed’s guitar work suffered through a lot in the first years of Lou’s solo career. He had some fine guitar on albums like Rock n Roll Animal, but he wasn’t the one doing the playing. Reed gradually began playing again, but he didn’t find a proper guitar companion until Robert Quine joined his band. Toss in Fernando Saunders, one of the finest (and most recognizable bass players) ever, and you had what was probably the best band of Reed’s solo career.
Crazy with sweat, spittle on my jaw
What's that funny noise, what's that on the floor
Waves of fear, pulsing with death
I curse my tremors, I jump at my own step
I cringe at my terror, I hate my own smell
I know where I must be, I must be in hell
8. Flipper, “The Old Lady that Swallowed the Fly”. My cousin used to sing this to me when I was a little boy. She was, and is, a beautiful singer. Flipper is not my cousin. (Oft-told tale: when I bought the first Flipper album and put it on the turntable, my wife came from upstairs after a few minutes and told me it was the worst record I had ever brought into her house.)
9. Mission of Burma, “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate”. Quoting Wikipedia again: “In 1983, after the release of Vs., the group disbanded due to Miller's worsening tinnitus, attributed in large part to their notoriously loud live performances—during their farewell tour, Miller took to augmenting his usual small foam earplugs with rifle-range earphones onstage.”
10. The Pop-O-Pies, “Truckin’”. I find myself at a loss to explain the Pop-O-Pies. I can tell you that I was a big fan for awhile, and that once I met someone who was friends with Joe Pop-O-Pie. The idea that Joe Pop-O-Pie existed in the real world fascinated me.