Please welcome friend of the blog HERC, of HERC’s Hideaway. I asked if he would do a guest post about some of his favorite tracks from the summer of 82. As you see, he has kindly obliged!
I turned 16 years old in April 1982, six weeks from the end of my sophomore year at Tucson High School. School ended in early June and my Texas Grandma showed up to whisk me away to Navasota for the summer, where I worked various jobs, with my Uncle Sam (sandblasting barns and cattle trailers), my Grandpa Harold (hanging barbed-wire fences) and my Texas Grandma, Miss Skeeter (packaging and distributing fresh-from-The-Gulf jumbo shrimp by the pound).
Spent most of the summer listening to two radio stations (AOR powerhouse KLOL and a really good, mostly upbeat R&B station whose call letters I have unfortunately forgotten) out of Houston and one station out of Bryan/College Station that played edgier music, you know, that new wave. In addition to the radio, I heard music from Uncle Sam’s constantly expanding tape collection as well a steady blend of Top 40 and Country hits on the Cow Talk Steak House jukebox. Texas Grandma was the night manager of Cow Talk and my Grandpa would come in and cook most nights after working all day at his other job. Lastly, I had my trusty Unitech Walkman-clone with dirty orange foam headphones and a few tapes I had dubbed during the school year. What follows is (some of) the soundtrack of that special Summer of 1982, as I remember it.
“Dancing In The Street” – Van Halen
Diver Down had been released just before my birthday and it was an immediate hit with me. “Intruder” was quickly adopted by the school’s swim team as their theme song for reasons I never knew. While I enjoy the brief album as a whole and the “Intruder”/”(Oh) Pretty Woman” segue, in particular, it is Eddie Van Halen’s effects-laden cover of “Dancing In The Street” that has always been a favorite of mine.
“Lookin’ For Love” – Johnny Lee
From the Urban Cowboy soundtrack in 1980, this track was still a hot pick on the jukebox in the summer of 1982.
“You Dropped A Bomb On Me” – The GAP Band
First heard this one while hanging barbed-wire in a pasture with my Grandpa Harold. He was a great guy and tolerated my need to listen to music while we worked, even if it was just blasting the truck’s radio with both doors open. The song was an instant favorite of mine and Grandpa liked the whistling sound of bombs falling.
“I Ran” – A Flock Of Seagulls
Love the way guitarist Paul Reynolds peels off riffs and that sweet solo in this one. I bought two records that summer, the self-titled debut album from A Flock Of Seagulls and a twelve-inch single of Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”. Played both of them on the giant console stereo system that occupied a corner of a giant living room when no one else was around. The booming bass would rattle the windows.
“Love Will Turn You Around” – Kenny Rogers
“Love Will Turn You Around” was the theme song for Rogers film Six Pack I saw that summer. Whenever my four younger cousins would spend time at Grandma’s house, she would either have us all do chores around the house or take us to Bryan/College Station for an afternoon matinee. Somedays, we did both. I rarely watched the movies my cousins and Grandma saw (E.T. was the only exception I recall) but she was cool about it and let me see what I wanted to see, even if she had to buy me a ticket for the R-rated ones. One time, I chose Six Pack for reasons that now escape me.
“Put Out The Fire” – Queen
Queen’s “Put Out The Fire” is the hardest-rocking tune on the band’s under-appreciated Hot Space album. I had dubbed it with their Greatest Hits album on the other side of the tape. After so many plays over the summer, that tape snapped shortly after school started again in the fall.
“Partytown” – Glenn Frey
While everyone else was hot for the smooth and saxy “I Found Somebody” and “The One You Love” from Frey’s first solo album, I fell hard for “Partytown”. After all these years, I’m still surprised that some tatted-up, cap-wearing wannabe hasn’t recut this ballsy track and topped the country charts with it.
“Let It Whip” – Dazz Band
Man oh man what a groove. Grandpa Harold’s baby brother was named Sylvester but everyone called him Selze. He was a successful construction contractor, capable of building an entire house from scratch which is what he did in 1981, in a wooded area between Navasota and College Station, just off Highway 6 before you get to Texas World Speedway. Selze’s middle child Darryl loved “Let It Whip”, and even devised a choreographed routine to the song with his little sister. “Oww-hoo!”
“No One Like You” – Scorpions
Could be the loudest love song ever recorded. The whole Blackout album remains a favorite to this day.
“Her Strut” – Bob Seger
I was in the backyard when my Uncle Sam drove up in his new 1982 Camaro for the first time. He rolled down the window, told me to get in and off we went. As we got onto an open stretch of road, he turned the volume up on the radio and dropped the hammer. KLOL was playing “Her Strut”, another older song from 1980 that I’ll always associate with the Summer of 1982.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High soundtrack
My Texas Grandma bought me two tapes that summer: REO Speedwagon’s A Decade Of Rock And Roll 1970 To 1980 and the soundtrack to Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Initially, my three favorite tracks on that album were Hagar and Squier’s similar yet different takes on a rockin’ Fast Times theme and Donna Summer’s surprisingly good “Highway Runner”. Nowadays, I’m all about the Jackson Browne, Ravyns, and Oingo Boingo tracks but I still listen to the whole album all the way through. If I had to sum up the Summer of 1982 in just one album, Fast Times At Ridgemont High would be that album.
Special thanks to Will for inviting me to share a small part of the music of my life.
Note from your host: on Thursday, my own companion piece to this.