Rise by Herb Alpert (A&M, 1979)

After being one of the biggest artists of the 1960s, Herb Alpert didn’t have a song of his hit the Top 40 until the last 4 months of the decade. It rose all the way to #1, making Herb the first artist to have a #1 song as a vocalist and a #1 song as an instrumental. In fact I’m not sure anyone else has even duplicated this feat or ever will.

The story of Rise starts in early 1979 when the 3M company gave A&M records a brand new 32-track digital recorder to experiment with. Herb decided to try out this top-of-the-line equipment pby recording some new material. Someone suggested to disco versions of his old catalog, like The Lonely Bull, but that sounded pretty cheesy to Herb. That’s when he got a call from his cousin, the aptly named Randy Badazz. Aptly named, because he handed the man that once outsold the Beatles during the 60s, a funky tune written with his buddy, Andy Armer, that would extend Herb’s fortunes through the next 20 years.

Herb dug Rise, bu thought it might be a little too fast for his crowd. So he slowed the tempo from the coke-fueled 120 BPM down to the Arthur-Murray-dance-lessons speed of 100 BPM. But the switch worked and it created a nice steady groove for Herb to blow his Spanish horn to. You could couples dance to it. You could pump up the bass in your low-rider to it. Or you could wind down a romantic evening to it. It went #1 on the Pop & Adult Contemporary charts and Top 10 on the Disco & R&B charts. A nice little crossover. But as good as the tune was, it needed a little help to get there. And it got some in the creepiest way possible.

Anthony Geary was an actor who got his big break on the soap opera, General Hospital, in 1978. His character, Luke Spencer, was a college student running the Campus Disco, when he first met, Laura Webber. His character was brought in to help break-up Laura’s marriage and add some youth to the show. His character would fall in love with her and slowly torture her at the same time, once almost causing her to die in a car accident. But his big scene was around the corner. He was about to confess his love to Laura by raping her. Yes, you read that right.

The writers on the show planned a big rape scene. I’m not playing this up – that’s what they called it. In fact it was gonna be pretty brutal until they toned it down (whatever that means). Geary suggested to the music director of the show that play this new song by Herb Alpert called Rise during the scene. It worked, at least from their end. The rape was big news and everyone wanted to know what song Laura was raped to. Again I’m not making this up. And whenever Laura replayed the rape in her mind, there was Herb’s trumpet – da da da da daaaaaaaaa da da da-dee daaaaaaa.

Flash over to Herb’s office in the late Summer of 1979. Someone tells him, ‘Man your song is really moving up the charts. People are diggin’ it.’ Here’s Mr Whipped Cream & other Delights, Mr. This Guy’s In Love With You, finally climbing back with a hit on his hands, due to its popularity during a fictional rape scene. General Hospital didn’t back down for a long time either. They played it up as much as they could. And when the Luke & Laura characters became so popular, they tried to turn the rape into a seductive moment. Nice try, sickos. You had a rape victim fall in love with her raper using Herb’s song as a backdrop for hundreds of thousands of impressionable young girls or whoever watches that crap. And they had to know this was wrong, cause they had the actors go to counseling sessions before they filmed the scene. Guess that sensitivity didn’t extend to their audience.

Maybe the song would have been popular on its own. Maybe not. Most people probably thought Herb Alpert was a square in 1979. Didn’t hurt that his song was played daily for weeks on a popular soap opera, this before MTV. But man, how icky!

If Herb was uncomfortable being associated with that, imagine how he felt being linked to Notorious BIG’s hit Hypnotize which Puff Daddy sampled, days after he was shot and killed in a drive-by. Now he was making money on a dead guy’s song.

I think about my life in a new house in a new neighborhood in a new school, trying to make new friends. Rise brings back Fall colors and slowly disappearing warm breezes. A quiet and questioning young boy adjusting to his surroundings in 3rd grade, creating a soundtrack of his own.

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes (Infinity, 1979)

The very last #1 single of the 70’s. Escape hit the peak on December 22nd, 1979 for 2 weeks, fell out of the Top spot to make way for K.C.’s Please Don’t Go, then climbed back up in the a week. So it was #1 in 2 different decades. But at its heart it’s a perfect song to represent the Me decade.

Rupert Holmes’ 70s success had its own bookends, with a tune he wrote, Timothy, for the Buoys hitting the Top 20 in early 1971. The fact that either was a hit was a miracle. While Timothy had its own controversies, the record label that Escape was released on went belly up as it was climbing the charts. MCA, who was distributing the 45, picked it up and kept the promotional train going. Was it the faux tropical groove, the sudden interest in Pina Coladas or the hey-that’s-me storyline that kept people engaged? Irregardless it was the prefect song to end the 1970s.

Not bad for a song that was written out of desperation or rather on a low budget when an album needed another track. Rupert sampled a groove from a song recorded years back and tried to write lyrics over it, but nothing sounded right (Sampling back then meant cutting, splicing and taping recorded tape many times over. A very tedious and time consuming process.) And since the groove was repetitive, Rupert needed the focus to be on an interesting story. That’s when, while spotting an add in the personals on the Village Voice he was inspired to construct a story based on a scenario where ‘he’ answered that ad. It turned into a story about a guy bored in his relationship answering a personal ad, meeting the woman only to find out it was his girlfriend who place the ad. Everyone has a good laugh at the end and many pina coladas and some champagne were downed.

Now, imagine that the song was a movie. Here is a guy reading the personal ads in bed next to his lover. He’s planning on cheating while she snores next to him. What a sleazebag, we think. We then find out that the girl who placed the ad loves pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, the feel of the ocean and the taste of champagne. Wow, sounds like she likes getting wet & drunk. We wanna know what she looks like. So he plans to meet her at a bar called O’Malley’s where they’ll plan an escape. Don’t know what they’re escaping from, since I assume they have jobs and a house, but we go along with it.

The final scene – the guy is waiting nervously in O’Malley’s. Then in walks his girlfriend. Now how does he know that she placed the ad? SHouldn’t he be more like,’ Oh hi, my lady.. what…are… you…doing here? I’m just meeting….Jim for a drink and to watch the, uh, Battle of The Network Stars…‘ something like that. Instead he & she immediately realize that they were answering each other’s ads. Really? What a bunch of self-absorbed Yuppies! They do belong to each other.

If that was me, I’d be pissed off. I’d make something up like, ‘A-ha, I caught you. I knew you were up to something.’, at least, play it off somehow. And by the way how does someone not know that their partner likes pina coladas? What did they think all that coconut snow in the pantry was for?

Rupert recorded the vocals in one take and actually changed the opening chorus line from ‘If you like Humphrey Bogart’ to ‘If you like Pina Coladas’. That change made his career. The song, originally titled Escape was eventually changed upon 45 release when radio listeners started asking about that Pina Colada song. The funny thing was that Rupert had never had one before, but eventually boosted its recognition in bars, outside of tropical locales. Don’t know how much he boosted cheating on one another through personal ads though.

Contrary to what you think, that is not Cheri Oteri singing backup.

Sad Eyes by Robert John (EMI America, 1979)

Almost 22 years after his first chart single, Robert John hit the top with Sad Eyes in October 1979, somehow kicking My Sharona from the #1 spot. Not bad for a guy who was only 33 at the time. So how does all this math add up?

Well, as 12 year-old Bobby Pedrick, R.J. hit the Hot 100 in 1958 with White Bucks and Saddle Shoes. Then, nothing for another 10 years, until he hit #49 in 1968 with If You Don’t Want My Love. Another 4 years would go by before Roberts’ first Top 40 hit, a cover of the Tokens’ The Lion Sleeps Tonight, would peak at #3. He wouldn’t have any success again for another 7 years and no one could predict that a tune Robert wrote himself and was rejected by tons of record companies would ever hit #1.

In fact, Robert was working in construction in 1978 to pay the bills, not necessarily retired from the music industry, but really making any bucks off of it. Imagine laying foundation bricks next to a guy who starts singing Wimoweh and it giving you chills of deja vu. You might turn to him and say, Hey, that sounds pretty good. You should be a singer.”, unaware of the fact that the guy currently had spot on in a bin at Record World. Producer George Tobin was about to change all that. Having already worked with Robert and looking for new material, he was inspired by hearing Toby Beau’s My Angel Baby on the radio, insisting that Robert should be singing those kinds of ballads. With his soft yet soaring falsetto voice, how could he lose?

So George contacted Robert about his idea and had him write a song. Robert did, but like most things in his recording career, nothing happened fast. It took almost a year of record label rejection for EMI to say yes and release the 45. And then once it hit the Hot 100, it took almost 5 months to steadily reach the summit, which tied a record with Nick Gilder’s Hot Child In The City.

For me Sad Eyes reminds of me of that time in my life where I made the first big move to a new house, a new school and new friends. It stuck out on the radio at that time, mostly because it was being crowded with disco pop and new wave rock. A sweet tender ballad about breaking off an affair, molded in the style of Kiss & Say Goodbye or Me & Mrs. Jones, both of which were #1s. We love those cheating songs, don’t we? Or maybe we like to feel good about admitting our mistakes, although with Sad Eyes, it feels like Robert used this chic. I know he says he didn’t, but he keeps telling her while he cares about her, it’s her own fault for falling harder than she should for him. She should have known it would end, which it does now, cause his wife is coming home today. Guess she was on a business trip or something. Hopefully she wasn’t visiting a dying relative. That would be creepy.

At least she can console herself with the magic they shared. Yeah, that should make her feel better. Maybe she can just cuddle up in a fetal position and warm herself with Robert’s pitch-defying vamping at the end of the song.

Pop Muzik by M (Sire, 1979)

Pop Muzik by M is like the Seinfeld of 45s. There’s a whole of talking going on but ultimately it’s about nothing. Robin Scott, the man behind the M(oniker), had been in the music biz off & on for 10 years before striking gold with a song that he says ‘captures the last 25 years of music’. Kind of an electronic Life Is A Rock.

If ever there was an entry in the dictionary for New Wave Disco, this song would be listed first. Then again Linda Richmond might proffer, this song is neither pop nor muzik…discuss. Dated as it seems, Scott deliberately made it a disco tune to show the similarities between that and pop music because ‘Disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale’. Or maybe it’s because it was selling like a hotcake. At the end of the day no matter what the beat, where you listen or what you listen to, it’s all pop music.

Scott delivers his message with the least amount of notes you can possibly sing before someone considers it rapping. Reading the lyrics I get the feeling that Scott considers pop music to be fun but ultimately ridiculous and nonsensical. How else do you describe lyrics like these?:

Radio, video
Boogie with a suitcase
You’re living in a disco
Forget about the rat race

Let’s do the milkshake
You’re selling like a hot cake
Try some, buy some
Fee fi fo fum

Talk about pop muzik

(Shoobie doobie doo wop)
I wanna dedicate it
(Bop bop shoo wop)
Everybody made it
(Shoobie doobie doo wop)
Infiltrate it
(Bop bop shoo wop)
Activate it

New York, London, Paris, Munich
Everybody talk about pop muzik
Talk about pop muzik
Pop, pop, pop muzik

Sing it in the subway
Shuffle with a shoe shine
Mix me a Molotov
I’m on the hit line

Wanna be a gun slinger
Don’t be a rock singer
Eenie meenie miney moe
Which-a-way you wanna go

Like I said – a whole lot of nothing. And we proved his point by making the song #1.

Now you know what to do – hit it!

Fun fact: Scott gathered many musicians together on his 1st & 2nd album, who would meet & play together for the first time and eventually form Level 42.

What You Won’t Do For Love by Bobby Caldwell (Clouds, 1979)

Bobby Caldwell shot out of the gate at the end of 1978 with his first 45, What You Won’t Do For Love, reaching #9 in March of 1979. And although he never again reached the Top 40, Bobby wrote hits for Boz Scaggs, Peter Cetera & Al Jarreau and has continued a prolific 30 year music career, most recently as a jazz singer. And all because of a song that wasn’t even on the album to begin with.

I think we’ve heard this story before, but let’s tell it as if I just made it up. Bobby finished his debut for TK records in 1978, but owner Henry Stone just didn’t hear a hit among the tracks. He sent Bobby and the band into the studio and recorded some smooth Miami grooves. Bobby quickly wrote some lyrics over one of them, recorded it and voila, What You Won’t Do For Love was born. And with it, Bobby’s career. Cause this song, beside being played on various formats such as 70s, soul, Lite FM – you name it, has been recorded and/or sampled at least 100 or so times. Ka-ching! It’s not like anyone really knew it would be this big, especially considering how’s it’s buried on Side 2 of his debut LP. But when it took off they decided to re-release the LP with the song’s name – shades of Sanford-Townsend Band. As Bobby’s popularity waned Stateside, he became Mr. AOR in Japan and even today has a huge following overseas.

The song itself is so smooth. Bobby sings with a soulful easy-going voice over a steady midtempo groove, with a horn intro, I swear Johnny Mandel ripped it off for the Too Close For Comfort theme song. It actually peaked higher on the Soul charts going all the way up to #6. TK Records tried to disguise the fact that Bobby was White. But when people found out, no one cared, cause the song is so good. The best time to listen to it is a sunset on the PCH or driving home at the end of an evening out.

I thought this song was a dream until I heard it in a Phar-Mor drug store in 1990. I searched forever to find the CD and it was a happy day when I got a copy. I put it in a portable CD player, went outside on a cool Spring night at sundown, got into a jacuzzi and played it over and over until I fell asleep in the water. I suggest you get your copy and make your plans accordingly.

My Sharona by The Knack (Capitol, 1979)

There was a time where singers & musicians had to pay their dues, struggle and work hard for success. Those days are mostly gone, wherein all you have to do is win a contest or post a Youtube video to start your career. But in 1979, The Knack made a mockery of that concept, inciting a 13-way bidding war between record labels after only a few months on the L.A. circuit. Then, one year after their first live show, they had a #1 hit with their debut 45, My Sharona, which stayed at the top for a month & a half and gave all of the ‘Disco Sucks’ army a sigh of relief. By the end of the year, San Francisco artist created a Knuke The Knack kit, complete with a “Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Listen to the Radio” Jaws-style T-shirt, Knuke The Knack button and “Honk If You’ve Slept with Sharona” bumper sticker. Wow! May I also remind you that people were heavily into coke back then?

This also may have been an underhanded attempt to get back at the disco haters by Brown, but who knows? What I do know is that the record was crisp and fresh when it was released, buoyed by a big drum sound, chopped guitar riff and the dirty mind of Doug Fieger. And since Capitol signed them, they decided to play up as many comparisons to the Beatles as they could. Which I guess worked in a world where people were still hopeful of a Beatles reunion or anything to pull Lennon out of his recording hiatus.

And of course how many women did you know in 1979 named Sharona (compared to those born with that name in 1980)? Everything seemed new about the Knack and although their hearkened back to late 60s Who/Kinks rock sound, they were putting some much-needed gas into the New Wave powerpop revival. No one even seemed to notice that the riff was just Gimme Some Lovin inverted. Or that Ma-ma-ma-ma-my-ee may have been ‘borrowed’ from Roger Daltrey singing My Generation. From singing about one’s generation to singing about one’s girlfriend – the 70s were truly the Me decade.

Then there’s the women who inspired the song in the first place, Sharona Alperin, soon to be Fieger’s girlfriend and band fan booster. She not only has no regrets, she seems to have based her living off of it. Yes, her work website is MySharona.com. Should the Knack be angry? Or grateful that Sharona never pressed charges? See, she was only 17 when she & Doug hooked up. Doug always gets up for the touch of the younger kind. It seems only R. Kelly could get away with that kind of talk these days.

Sharona getting the knack, illegally

Turn it up and enjoy!

And what’s with the ties tucked into the shirts? Did they just get back from an Italian restaurant?

Da Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart (Warner Bros, 1979)

Rod the Bod decided to put a toe in the disco waters in 1978 with a song styled after the Rolling Stones’ Miss You. He ended up waist deep in the lake with a massive hit which a spent a month at #1 in early 1979. While I never mistake Miss You as a disco song, it’s hard not to think of Sexy as one, a very very bad one.

The prancing peacock ended up spending 17 weeks at #1 in the 70s with only 3 hits. When Rod hit the ball, it landed in the stadium parking lot. This 45 was selling at 200K a weekly clip, eventually going over the 2 million mark. It was huge around the world and inspired millions of women to answer his question with a loud Yes! Really. It also inspired many critics to accuse Stewart of cashing on the disco cow. surprisingly it never really hurt his career, save for the occasional stomach pumping rumor.

For me, I just laugh at what a poor recording it is. It sounds like Rod got this together after a late night of drinking. Let’s break it down in pieces:

First, the lyrics. Rod had recently hooked up with ex-Vanilla Fudge Carmine Appice who was last heard from trying to destroy the sound of Motown. When Rod mentioned that he’s like to sort of to do a kind of disco tune, Carmine commenced on writing lyrics for a story that when read feel like an excerpt from American Psycho.

She sits alone waiting for suggestions
He’s so nervous avoiding all her questions
His lips are dry, her heart is gently pounding
Don’t you just know exactly what they’re thinking?

I’m thinking she’s thinking why is this guy sweating profusely and ignoring everything I ask him. I’m thinking he’s thinking she looks good enough to eat, with some fava beans.

If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on, sugar, let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on, honey, tell me so

He’s acting shy looking for an answer
Come on, honey, let’s spend the night together

Wait a second, he has yet to ask a question. In fact he’s avoiding her questions.

Now hold on a minute before we go much further
Give me a dime so I can phone my mother

This confuses me because which one need to call their mother? Her? How old is she? ‘Mommy I think we’re gonna have a sleepover after the movie’. Him? ‘Yes she’s very pretty, but not as pretty as you, mommy.’

They catch a cab to his high rise apartment
At last he can tell her exactly what his heart meant

This is starting to sound creepier by the moment. Also apartment & heart meant – nice rhyme Carmine.

His heart’s beating like a drum
‘Cause at last he’s got his girl home
Relax, baby, now we are alone

And cue, meat cleaver…

They wake at dawn ’cause all the birds are singing
Two total strangers but that ain’t what they’re thinking
Outside it’s cold, misty and it’s raining
They got each other, neither one’s complaining

How exactly do you hear the birds singing when you live in a high rise apartment in the city. And are the birds really singing when it’s raining? Also sounds like he chickened out with psycho stuff and just screwed her instead.

He says I’m sorry but I’m out of milk and coffee
Never mind, sugar, we can watch the early movie

She can’t even get some breakfast. She needs something to eat to distract her from her loss of self-respect. Maybe an early showing of Carrie will do the trick?

Now let’s talking about the music. Rod stole the chorus of this from a 1976 Jorge Ben tune called Taj Mahal. And when he thieved it, he didn’t even try to disguise it. Take a listen 38 seconds in:

Jorge sued and Rod smartly gave the royalties to UNICEF. Not sure if Jorge Ben ever got any money and I have never seen his name listed as a writer on that song. And it doesn’t stop there, the string hook was directly stolen from a 1975 Bobby Womack tune called (If You Want My Love) Put Something Down On It. Listen to this 17 seconds in:

I don’t think Bobby sued or got any money and he sure didn’t get any songwriter credit. Unbelievable, huh?

And then there’s the issue of the drummer. If you want to create a disco song, or at least something with a beat, after Animal from the Muppets the next worse choice would be Carmine Appice. It’s obvious he’s never kept a beat in his life, let alone listened to a disco track. He sounds like he has clubs for hands and feet. Anyone from the cast of Quest For Fire would have done a better job beating on a dead wooly mammoth. Don’t believe me? Listen to his drum fill at 3:28. Also why the hell is this song so long – 5 1/2 minutes? Well mostly because no matter how much the rhythm players push Carmine, he can’t keep up and actually drags the song down. Plus it sounds like he loses one of his sticks towards the end where a probably frustrated Rod signals keep going and pretends it’s a break it down moment. Until Caveman Appice loudly stumbles back in or trips over his drum kit – I can’t tell.

This song more than any other one is the reason for the Disco Sucks movement. Real disco would shrink away from the spotlight back to the clubs where it started and spawned many sub genres including new wave, house and techno. Rod gave us a Love Touch.

The Logical Song by Supertramp (A&M, 1979)

Breakfast In America is one of my all-time favorite albums and this 45 was the first song released from it, making into the Top 10 in the Spring of 1979. And every time I hear this song, I think of one thing: Roy Rogers. Not the cowboy, but the restaurant named after him. We must have eaten their every week that Summer. So the memory of driving there for lunch and having this song come on the radio is forever linked in mind. As is the fact that we always ordered an apple cheese crisp for my Dad. I never ate one because it sounded disgusting. Mixing apples & cheese for dessert…what the hell is logical about that?

Roger Hodgson, the writer and singer of The Logical Song had a great way of making the insistent repetitive staccato hits of the Wurlitzer electric piano sound inviting and warm. You can’t hear those opening chords and not think of Supertramp, so signature was that sound. Also a trademark was their wry humor and sometimes bitter commentaries in their lyrics, but in this one the message was simple: when we grow up the world steals our innocence and replaces it with confusion. OK maybe it’s no so simple and brings up more questions than it answers, but it certainly something everyone can relate to. Especially in 1979 amid an impending recession, nuclear meltdowns and political unrest. And the US & England were ready to make the illogical moves of electing Reagan & Thatcher, forever changing the political landscape affecting generations to this day.

But I digress, cause this song kick ass, even before John Helliwell rips into a late 70s pre-requisite sax solo. Can you listen to a line like, “Watch what you say. They’ll be calling you a radical, a liberal, a fanatical, a criminal.” and not think about the agenda of news channels such as Fox News? In fact what government doesn’t want their constituents let alone their employees to be “acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable”? OK maybe not #2, but certainly #4. 1-2-3-5!

Special note: I love that they when they sing digital, they use the sound from the handheld Mattel Football game. I was always partial to the Soccer handheld myself.

2nd special note: A group called the Barron Knights recorded a parody of this song in 1979 called The Topical Song in which they lamented about the Oil Crisis. Topical song, yes. Good song, no.

Stumblin’ In by Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman (RSO, 1979)

How did a hard rocking leather clad glam rock star turn into a cool glass of milk? Chinnichap. That is the brand of music created, written or produced by Mike Chapman & Nicky Chinn that was so huge in the late 70s and early 80s. And it was that team that finally helped Suzi Quatro break onto American radio in 1979 all the way up to #4.

Suzi had been tearing up the UK charts with her bubblegum glam pop, but couldn’t break over in her homeland of the US. She had a kick ass rock name, which was real, wore black leather, sang and played bass – what more did she need to do? I guess, work her image on middle America, which meant, get on TV. Legend has it that Happy Days producer, Garry Marshall saw a poster of her on his daughter’s wall and decided that she wanted her to play Pinky Tuscadero’s sister, Leather Tuscadero on the show. Her character was pretty much Suzi Quatro, looking like Suzi Quatro, playing in a band like Suzi Quatro, and being awesome like Suzi Quatro. Who can forget the way she would leave Arnold’s with two leg slaps and two finger guns – pow, pow – the only one who could break Fonzie’s heart and still get an ‘AAAAAYYYY’. She first showed up in 1977, so by early 1979 when this 45 was released, people could finally put a face to the name.

I’m sure at the time this duet made sense. Both Suzi and Chris Norman of Smokie had worked with Mike Chapman and were looking to break into the US market. But the pairing of voices is nearly a disaster. Suzi definitely holds her own, but Chris sounds like barbed wire ripping through a raccoon. Suzi’s music went from whiskey to a cup of hot tea. She even tried to change her image a bit by wearing shiny blouses tucked into tight corduroys. She looked a chic you would see milling outside of Jeans West at your neighborhood mall.

That being said whenever I hear this song I think about how cool I thought she was, how I wanted to hang out with her and play music, tag along with her like she was my older sister. And when I hear Chris sing I just laugh. I also have a memory of being in a Woolco which was going out of business and checking the Top 20 and learning for the first time that Leather Tuscadero was singing something so soft and sweet that even my mom would like it, or Grandma for that matter.

Today also happens to be Suzi’s birthday and she still looks great at 61. Happy birthday, Suzi!

You Take My Breath Away by Rex Smith (Columbia, 1979)

Teen idol Rex Smith hit the Top 10 in the summer of 79 with this dreamy ballad. It was from the soundtrack of a coming-of-age NBC TV movie called Sooner or Later, which is basically about Rex as an upcoming musician and the 13 year old that falls in love with him. Somehow it hinges oh her lying to him and saying she’s 16, as if that would hold up in a court case against Rex. But I digress..

I’m sure every young girl who saw this movie pretended she was the moony-eyed Jessie looking up at Rex hoping she was the one who took his breath away, which probably accounted for its popularity and Gold single status. Every time I hear this song I think of Vicki, the older daughter of a woman who babysat my brother and was a few years older than me. Whenever I would go over to house I would go up to her room which was a converted attic. We sit on the floor and she would give me all of her Grease trading card doubles. She would put this 45 on her portable record player and stare at her Rex Smith. I would watch this puzzled yet fascinated, this girl so moved by this song, just like poor Jessie, irregardless of cheesy sentiments, like ‘you’re every song I sing, you’re the music that I play” and unable to take her eyes off a guy who’s hair was every bit as long and feathery as hers.

I wonder what she think now if she heard that song again. If you hear this again Vicki, tell me what you think…

As an aside, take a look at the Columbia logo on the 45. The C resembles Pac-Man and the A resembles one of the ghosts. Did this logo come out in 1979, a year before Pac-Man debuted. Is that why Pac-Man Fever was released on the Columbia label in 1982?