Depending on the year, this was either the last week of summer vacation or the first week of school. Even in 1997 this would be the case, as the bookstore would have been slammed with last-minute back-to-school purchases, in that golden time between when Barnes & Noble started killing off independent bookstores, and when Amazon started killing of brick-and-mortar stores of all kinds. Even here in 2022 I feel a frisson when the sun clears the horizon just in time to illuminate the fleets of school busses gathering students for their first weeks of classes. Thus do we demonstrate that sufficient conditioning at a young age produces life-long results.
1977: Donna Summer, “I Feel Love”
Omigod, this song. It has been around for so long, and stayed so popular, that I have no memory of a world before “I Feel Love.” For me it moved from the background to the foreground most recently with the excellent cover by the Blue Man Group and Annette Strean of Venus Hum. But there is nothing like the original with the amazing Georgio Moroder.
1982: Paul Davis, “Love or Let Me Be Lonely”
“Love or Let Me Be Lonely” brought on immediate deja vu associated with car rides and cool morning crammed on an overcrowded bus with all of my academic, band, and sporting equipment festooned upon my scrawny frame like a junk-picker in a movie about the Great Depression. It’s a good song. Not great, but pleasant to listen to and has just enough of a nostalgia-for-the-seventies feel that, it probably got more air times than it would have a couple of years later.
1987: Heart, “Alone”
I heard “Alone” a LOT in the dorm at Grand Valley, into which I would have been moving on this week in 1987, a week earlier than most as marching band practice started a week before the rest of the university, and third-floor Copeland was half-empty, which meant I had all the time I wanted to watch MTV, where Heart was on heavy rotation. And I was still feeling A Certain Way about some girls from high school, so “Alone” had tender flesh into which to sink its emotional hooks.
I don’t have any particular memory of this song, likely because it was not on the play list at Jose Babushka’s on Friday and Saturday nights, when I was expediting and assisting at the cash register. And if it was ever played at the restaurant, it was immediately crushed right out of my head by the many-times-a-night repeats of “Achey-Breaky Heart.” Ugh.
1997: 702, “All I Want”
Definitely heard this one before, I just don’t remember when or where. It is catchy and beautifully performed, and now I kind of want to watch Good Burger.