1985 – 1987, Part II

Previous installments:
1973-1980     |     1981-1984, Part I     |    1981-1984, Part II     |    1985 – 1987, Part I

85-87_2Shortly after we moved from Lexington, Kentucky to the Dayton, Ohio area, I ended up taking a compulsory “break” from listening to Kiss. I think it’s just sufficient to say that not everyone in my household shared my enthusiasm for the band. My horizons were still expanding, though, and with 96 Rock having gone belly up, 104.7 WTUE seemed like the best option in town for rock and roll radio. WTUE embraced something known back then as “album rock.” Most of what they played at that time was a combination of what is now known as “classic rock” (like The Doors, The Who and The Eagles) and newer stuff that was largely in the same vein.

I was still immersed in comics at this point and this period offered some of the best stories of my lifetime, both up to that point and since then. The final chapter of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars was still very fresh in my mind at this point and I re-read issue #12 regularly back then. I thought the splash page of that issue, with its unforgettable depiction of Captain America’s indestructible laid to smoking waste, was a great choice for the cover of this mix CD.

Track listing:

1.  “Rockin’ All Over the World” by John Fogerty (original release 1977)
2.  “Rock and Roll Girls” by John Fogerty (original release 1985)

john-fogerty-john-fogerty-cd-cover-55994As part of my developing interest in the rock and roll of the 1960s and 1970s, I became extremely interested in Creedence Clearwater Revivial. I think some of my interest was stimulated by a series of television commercials for the mail order edition of their Chronicle collection. In 7th grade, I had a Science teacher who was just an all around cool guy who played in a band and peppered a lot of his lessons with references to rock and roll. He often talked about his extensive record collection and at one point I asked if he’d make me a mix tape of Creedence songs. He was happy o do so but when he gave me the tape, I was surprised to find that he had included quite a bit of John Fogerty’s post-Creedence solo material. I enjoyed the solo material quite a bit, especially the first track on the mix tape, “Rockin’ All Over the World,” which had been the opening track on Fogerty’s second solo album. When I started looking for that particular album on CD to get material for this collection, I found that it was pretty difficult to come by in a newer format, so I procured an import edition of the LP via eBay.

3.  What’s Happening!! opening theme
4.  “Long Train Runnin’” by The Doobie Brothers (original release 1973)

Like many kids, I was introduced to The Doobie Brothers through syndicated reruns of the old sitcom What’s Happening!! “Long Train Runnin’” actually kicked off the first episode of the Dobies’ epic two-part guest spot on that show. The more I listened to WTUE, the more familiar I became with their music. In 8th grade, I asked my Science teacher to make a mix tape of Doobies tunes. One side was labeled “Older” and the other, “Newer.” The newer material was mostly Michael McDonald stuff and, truth be told, with very few exceptions, I have never been very crazy for most of the material from the McDonald-dominated era. One thing is for sure: efforts like “Rio” and “Minute by Minute” absolutely paled in comparison to classic songs like “Black Water,” “Road Angel,” and “Down in the Track.”

WTUE Mixtape Mixdown, part one
5.  “Satisfy Me” by Billy Satellite (original release 1984)
6.  “Angry Eyes” by Loggins and Messina (original release 1972)
7.  “Roxanne” by The Police (original release 1978)
8.  “My City Was Gone” by The Pretenders (original release 1982)
9.  “In My Dreams” by Dokken (original release 1986)

satelliteMost of the above songs were captured in one afternoon as I listened to the radio and tried to build a collection of songs that I’d want to listen to over and over again. That’s just what I ended up doing with the above songs that were all featured on one side of the mix tape I’d created. For a long time, I didn’t know a lot of info about some of these songs. For example, I’d thought that “Satisfy Me” was a Molly Hatchet song for a long time until I ran across a Billy Satellite cassette in a thrift store around 2008 or so. I recognized Kenny Loggins’s voice in “Angry Eyes” and I even took my tape to school for a music class assignment in which we had to provide an example of improvisation in music (I totally smoked the pompous ass who cited the bridge from Sting’s song “Russians” as his example of improvisation. Duh.) I also thought Dokken was supposed to be cool back then but I eventually figured out that they were pretty lame. The final track on the mix tape that I made with these songs was Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero” but I really never liked that song and to this day, I think it’s horrible.

10.  “Beau Soir” (Nightsounds intro) by Bill Pearce
I was still clinging to religion a little by this point and when I’d have trouble sleeping, I would often put on my headphones and look for something interesting or quiet to listen to on the radio. Pearce’s show was really bizarre to me; it was an odd mix of hushed tones and heavy rhetoric. I can still remember some of the episodes I listened to at that impressionable stage of my life although these days, I regard them as more of a curiosity as opposed to having any true value or merit.

WTUE Mixtape Mixdown, part two
11.  “No Easy Way Out” by Robert Tepper (original release 1985)
12.  “Feel it Again” by Honeymoon Suite (original release 1986)
13.  “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins (original release 1982)
14.  “So Far Away” by Dire Straits  (original release 1985)
15.  “Manhattan Project” by Rush (original release 1985)
16.  “Blood and Roses” by Smithereens (original release 1986)

rocky-ivMy dad took me to see Rocky IV in the theater and I totally loved that movie. It’s a real Cold War classic that isn’t without some enduring appeal. Pop culture of my generation abounds with references to this film. The Rocky IV soundtrack was great, too. A mixtape that I made off the radio started through my efforts to capture the Survivor song “Burning Heart,” which was one of the most powerful songs from the film. One evening I was listening to the radio and a DJ said that a song from Rocky IV was coming up, but he didn’t say which one so I ended up with Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out.” I think I got “Feel it Again” on the same tape because it followed “No Easy Way Out” on the broadcast. I listened to that song for years without knowing anything about the artist or the song until around 2005 or so when I decided to look it up on the ‘net (after I had not heard it for a very long time). I’m so glad I found it because this song still kicks ass. I don’t really know how “You Can’t Hurry Love” made it into my mix but I suspect it was more or less an accident. Still, I like Phil’s cover better than the original.

17.  Unshackled introduction
A schmaltzy and religious spectacle, Unshackled was still aired on local FM radio when I was 12 or 13 and although I thought it was kind of weird, the show reminded me of old-time radio shows like The Shadow and Dimension X. From time to time, I’d listen to it on my clock radio in the early evening while I did my homework. I didn’t have a big collection of records or tapes and I also didn’t have a television in my room, so it passed for a form of entertainment, albeit a very benign one.

WTUE Mixtape Mixdown, part three
18.  “Jamie’s Cryin’” by Van Halen (original release 1978)
19.  “Other Arms” by Robert Plant (original release 1983)
20.  “Life’s Been Good” (edit) by Joe Walsh (original release 1978)

This was another batch of songs I grabbed off of WTUE over the course of a boring weekend or an evening after school. I’ve never been a huge fan of Van Halen and in hindsight, I have to think that I recorded “Jamie’s Cryin’” by accident but as the result of the sheer repetition of listening to the tape time and again, I suppose I came to enjoy it. At this time, I only knew Robert Plant from his solo work and his work with The Honeydrippers. I literally had no inkling that he’d been the frontman for the most important hard rock band in history. Generally speaking, I thought “Other Arms” was a pretty lackluster effort for him compared to the rest of his solo stuff that had made it on to the radio by this point. I also had no idea that Joe Walsh was part of The Eagles. “Life’s Been Good” was just kind of a funny song to me and I like the fact that it was drawn-out, unconventional and somewhat self-deprecating. It was really something of a curiosity to me. I remember telling a classmate about this song when I was in middle school and he had no idea what I was talking about.