AT40 PastBlast, 10/3/87: Swing Out Sister, “Breakout”

In Fall 87 I roomed with John, a fellow math grad and one of my officemates, and Jim, who was in chemistry. We had moved into an apartment on Elm Street near downtown Urbana at the end of the previous school year, on a lease that would last until August 88. I really liked the location. We were near a bus line, yet were close enough to walk to campus if we chose. It was a quick trot to the Urbana Free Library, where I would read over Billboard regularly (I’d also check out CDs). One of my favorite local restaurants, The Courier Café, was just a couple of blocks away.

The apartment itself was okay–just three small bedrooms, a living area, and a kitchen, but that was enough. Jim provided a stereo system and John brought the television–what more did we really need? Outside of MTV, I hadn’t paid much attention to the tube for quite a few years, but John was an avid TV watcher and he got me hooked for awhile on stuff ranging from SportsCenter to Doctor Who (liked Tom Baker the best) to WWF wrestling (I dunno, maybe Macho Man Randy Savage?).

Speaking of MTV, I’d grown less interested in it (except for Remote Control and 120 Minutes) with the cycling in of new VJs, and was starting to pay more attention to its sister station around this time. This is one of the videos I remember seeing quite a bit on VH-1 that fall; I was pretty fond of the tune. I can’t find a full-color version on YouTube, so I’ll have to be content with black/purple-and-white. It was the more successful (got to #6–it’s #26 here) of two Top 40 hits for the British trio-then-duo Swing Out Sister. Five years later, they had a near miss with “Am I The Same Girl,” although I don’t understand how it peaked only at #45. I heard it a ton of times on the radio–I’m guessing it was a victim of the fragmentation in station formatting and the advent of the SoundScan system for compiling the Hot 100.

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