SotD: Blaze, “Silver Heels”

I wrote a bit in Monday’s post about a Cincinnati band that crashed the local pop station’s year-end survey for 1982. That’s made me think about other local acts that got airplay during my middle- and high-school years (the Raisins came along with the epic “Fear Is Never Boring” early during my time in college, and I no doubt heard it frequently while home on breaks). One that stands out me to now is this funky cover of a track from the Bob Welch era of Fleetwood Mac.

I haven’t been able to track down any info about Blaze; I can’t even tell if there was an album to accompany the single. Rob Parissi of Wild Cherry fame has “additional production” credit and, according to our host on the video below, plays some guitar on it as well. “Silver Heels” peaked at #95 in a two-week run on the Hot 100 in December 76—I really wasn’t listening to FM radio at that time, so either WSAI was playing it then or Q102 was still spinning it a year or two later.

This version actually exists on CD, which I totally lucked into getting. It’s on an obscure but sweet compilation from 93 called Guilty Pleasures. I bought the CD a few years ago because it also contains “Almost Summer,” by Celebration featuring Mike Love; I was totally stoked to find that this one came along on that ride, even if it doesn’t quite sound like I remember it. I’m wondering if there was a locally-produced version that the Cincy radio stations played instead.

From The Archives: WKRQ’s Top 102 of 1982

Happy 2018, everyone! I wish all of you a successful and joyous year ahead.

Thirty-five years ago today, I spent much of the day listening to WKRQ (Q102), Cincinnati’s pop hits radio station, and their annual Top 102 Countdown. This was apparently the third time in four years I’d spent New Year’s Day with Q102 (I don’t have a list for 80 written down).  It also seems to have been the last; by January 84, we’d moved from Walton to Florence, and I was 16 months removed from regularly tuning to the station.

It’s fascinating to me to look at this list again after so much time. Here are some notes and observations:

–Q102 loved Joan Jett that year.  They played “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” to death in the spring, so it’s no shock to me that it came in #1 for the year, or that the Blackhearts placed four tracks in the survey (more about another of those songs in a bit).

–You can easily tell what other acts they really dug: Loverboy, Asia, Men at Work, and .38 Special.

–There were a couple of single releases here that didn’t hit AT40.  “I’ll Fall in Love Again,” a Sammy Hagar song I actually like pretty well, peaked out at #43 on the Hot 100 in the spring, while Eddie Money’s “Shakin'” only got to #63 late in the year.

–There were also a few album cuts that made the survey. Glenn Frey’s “Partytown” was inescapable in those weeks immediately before I left for college, so I’m hardly surprised it’s in the Top 10. “Flamethrower,” (if a song wasn’t on the national charts, apparently I was pretty likely to split up compound words in its title) by J. Geils, also got a bunch of play from them.  I remember both of them well.  The one that didn’t mean anything to me when I went back over this list was “You’re Too Possessive”–I didn’t even remember it was a Joan Jett song.  After looking it up last week, I can say, “Yeah, I heard that one,” but listening to it on this countdown was likely the last time it’d been played for me before that.  It sure sounds like something that appealed to Q102’s target demographic at the time, though.

–Because I’d gone off to college on Labor Day weekend, I have no feel for what Q102 emphasized those last four months of the year (plus, I had already been transitioning over to WLAP-FM that summer).  It’s interesting to see “You Keep Runnin’ Away” (#38 on AT40) in the same neighborhood as the top 10 hits “I Ran” and “Gloria.”

–How awesome is it that Eye to Eye’s “Nice Girls” is at #59?  That cool, smooth Steely Dan vibe sure is present on this one (of course, they were employing SD’s session musicians and producer).  It only peaked #37 nationally, but it’s a Grade A tune.

–I’m guessing the reason that “Centerfold” isn’t on here is that it made #29 on their 81 countdown; I assume they didn’t allow tracks to appear twice on year-end surveys?

–Finally, what’s that song at #28? Both WKRQ and WEBN were very supportive of local bands during my high school years.  Wheels came from Cincy, and Q102 played “Amaretta” a ton that spring.  I didn’t care for it all that much back then, but see for yourself.

Tomorrow will be the first day I’ve not posted anything to this blog since I started.  I can’t sustain the pace (plus, I’m starting to run a little low on material I’d written before July that I’d want to move over here), so posts will probably drop to about three or four per week.  I’ll still be doing the weekend PastBlasts and sprinkling in plenty of music and memories.  I’m grateful for visitors both regular and occasional and I hope to interact with you more in the coming year!