Destination 89

Casey Kasem’s first run as host of American Top 40 began in July 70 and ended in August 88; rebroadcasts of those eighteen years of shows have regularly served as jumping-off points for reflections and recollections (flawed as they may be) in any number of posts here. Sometime back in the summer, it dawned on me that one artifact of this arrangement is that overall 1989 has gotten short shrift on my blog. 2019 is going to be the year to remedy that.

Over the next twelve months, I’ll be looking thirty years into the past, occasionally for stuff that happened in the world and to me then (there were a few memorable events) but more often for music—I’m anticipating having a roughly weekly feature that highlights a cool tune from 89.

Not too long after I began sketching out my plans for Destination 89, I noticed that Dan Seeger at Coffee for Two was (and still is) using a “30 years ago” theme in his One for Friday series (I really enjoy those posts and highly recommend them if the college radio/alternative scene of the 80s and 90s is your thing). Even though I’ll be veering over into pop with some frequency as the year rolls on, I am curious to see how often we target the same artists or even songs (as it happens, a couple of weeks ago he picked off a song I’ll be featuring next week).  [Edited to add: One day after I posted this, Mr. Seeger announced that he is ending One for Friday after a ten-year run. His archives remain well worth one’s time.]

Destination 89 is far from the only thing I’ll be doing here this coming year, but it will be a focus. I’m looking forward to giving a theme a try.

Guess I’ll kick things off in what feels like an appropriate (though perhaps entirely predictable/pedestrian) manner. R.E.M. had released Green on Election Day of 88, and no doubt it was in my hands very soon afterward. As 89 dawned, “Stand” was getting lots of airplay and would soon be climbing the charts, becoming R.E.M.’s second Top 10 hit. But Green’s leadoff song (and third single—it reached #86 in June) seems like the right tune to play today.

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