The core sample of stacked years which aligns with the 18th week of top-40 hits brings an interesting mix of hits.
1977: Alan O’Day, “Undercover Angel”
I have heard this song before, many times, though I don’t know if I was aware of it in early May 1977. I would have been seven, living in Jackson, and just finishing up second grade at Parnell Elementary school. Do I remember anything of Parnell Elementary? Faint shadows of learning left from right, and playing on huge piles of snow. King of the hill. The playground equipment of the 70s which would possibly be a violation of the Geneva Convention were it in use today. So though Undercover Angel is one of those songs that everyone of a Certain Age has heard, I couldn’t say that I heard it when it was on the charts.
1982: Genesis, “Man on the Corner”
In 1982 I was just finishing up seventh grade at Springport Junior High and hating every second of it. That doesn’t make 1982 special in any way; I hated all nine years I spent in the Springport school system, and though there were several bright spots, making the best of a bad situation is not at all the same as being in a good situation. So “Man on the Corner” is a good pick for a theme song for my adolescent years.
1987: Smokey Robinson, “Just to See Her”
Ahh, Smokey Robinson. I do remember this song, though I have not heard it in a long, long time. This would have been a month before I graduated from high school, and I was seventeen and carrying at least two torches for unwise and unrequited loves. I spent most of my junior and senior years listening to oldies, which in 1985 – 1987 meant songs from the fifties and sixties. So I may not have heard this song until after I left for college.
1992: Ozzy Ozbourne, “Mamma I’m Coming Home”
Ozzy again, with a repeat from earlier in the year. This is a really good ballad. I would have been listening to it as I drove to work at the terrible moving company where I worked for a few months, or possibly as I was walking the mile from the off-campus apartments to the student cafeteria where I worked a few hours a week for minimum wage and a free meal per shift which, considering minimum wage was around $3.50/hour, was a good deal.
1997: Kenny Lattimore, “For You”
I don’t remember hearing this song before putting this list together, but I have certainly heard of Lattimore in years past. I would have been working at the bookstore, special-ordering books by the truckload to make up for the gaps in the store inventory, and dating co-workers, as one does when working retail. I would have been growing restless with my living situation and looking for a new apartment, I believe. This is a beautiful song, and definitely would not have been my style back in my mid-twenties.