American Top 40 PastBlast, 4/30/88: Henry Lee Summer, “I Wish I Had a Girl”

At the beginning of my grad school years, my listening on the four-plus hour-long trips back to Florence was a balanced mix of cassettes and the radio. When I was channel-surfing as I drove on I-74 through west-central Indiana in late 86 and early 87, I’d often hear a pretty rockin’ tune by a native son that was apparently a regional sensation.

Yes, it was Henry Lee Summer’s “I Wish I Had a Girl.” It sure sounded like a hit-in-waiting to me, and before long the folks at CBS agreed. A year or so after I first learned of it, I started hearing a new, more polished (but, as per normal for this sort of thing, less spontaneous) version on the radio everywhere. It was definitely a case where the suits should have left well enough alone; on the other hand, it did break through nationally (peaking at #20, where it is on this show). I missed the “original,” though.

Fortunately, through YouTube we can hear that first take! Even though it’s pretty scratchy in places, I hope you enjoy (and I guess I’m hoping you agree with me that it’s superior).

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