Doot Doot (The Future Must Be Now)

The movie Rain Man had a personal connection. It had nothing to do with autism, though I did have an ex-girlfriend who once accused me of being slightly autistic.

The early portion of Rain Man – where Tom Cruise first meets Dustin Hoffman – takes place in Cincinnati, a city about forty-minutes from where I grew up and known to us as The City. So, I was familiar with some of the landmarks and places mentioned.

However, the real connection was when Cruise and Hoffman hit the road. Hoffman’s character tunes the radio to WOXY out of Oxford, Ohio. You might recall Hoffman incessantly repeating the station’s tagline – “97X, Bam! The future of rock and roll.”

97X just happened to be my station of choice for several years in high school. Oddly enough, according to the station’s page on Wikipedia, it began broadcasting as a modern rock station in September, 1983 and I had stumbled across it a month or so later.

It was the station where I heard Aztec Camera, Gang Of Four, The Suburbs, and other bands I wouldn’t hear elsewhere. It was the station to hear Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, and U2.

It was even the station where I first heard Cyndi Lauper and Nena before they became mainstream pop sensations on Top 40 radio.

The thing that triggered me to think about 97X wasn’t coming across Rain Man on cable. Instead, it was a far more surprising event – a television commercial.

I’m not even sure what the commercial was pushing on me. It was the music that caught my attention. It was a song by a Welsh band called Freur called Doot Doot (not to be confused with Trio’s Da Da Da or The Police’ De Do Do Do De Da Da Da).

Freur was short-lived, but members of the band would go on to be Underworld and be global with their wonderful song Born Slippy from the movie Trainspotting. Apparently, Doot Doot was Freur’s lone hit in the UK and a small on – #59 – at that. I think it did little here in the States.

But I did hear it numerous times while listening to 97X in the winter of ‘83/84. I even had it recorded on a cassette. I haven’t heard it on the radio – or elsewhere – in twenty-five years.

I wouldn’t describe Doot Doot as rock and roll, but it certainly seems as though 97X knew something about the future.

Doot Doot and a few other songs I was hearing on 97X at the time…

Freur – Doot Doot
from Freur

Freur – Doot Doot (12″ mix)
from Freur

I was surprised to hear Modern English’s Melt With You in a commercial.

(the first time)

Of course, Melt With You was a fairly popular song in 1983 even if it wasn’t a massive mainstream radio hit. In seven years of working in record stores, I can remember seeing anything by Freur once, on an ‘80s compilation.

I hope the commercial makes it a hit twenty-six years later. It’s sparse and spacey with the earworm of a chorus being little more than the title.

Is there a more obscure song or artist to be used to sell humans products two decades after it was released?

(I’m guessing maybe Nick Drake would be in such a discussion)

Aztec Camera – Oblivious
from High Land, Hard Rain

During the winter of ’83/’84, few things could make the day less dreary than hearing the bouncy Oblivious. Whatever name you want to pin on it – New Wave, modern rock, alternative rock – there were some classic pop melodies in the ’80s.

Tom Tom Club- Pleasure Of Love
from Close To The Bone

Sure, everyone knows Genius Of Love (another ’80s song that’s made its way into a television commercial), but Talking Heads’ spin-off Tom Tom Club have released a handful of worthwhile albums.

Though not as groundbreaking as Genius Of Love, Pleasure Of Love, is, like most of Tom Tom Club’s songs and in the words of a friend, “music to eat pineapple to.”

It truly is.

ABC – That Was Then This Is Now
from Beauty Stab

ABC’s debut The Lexicon Of Love is widely regarded as a classic ’80s album. It wasn’t as wildly popular in the US as it was in the UK, but The Look Of Love and Poison Arrow got played on even the most pedestrian of Top 40 stations which I was listening to at the time.

That Was Then This Is Now, the first song from their follow-up, was something of a shock upon arrival. Yes, lead singer Martin Fry still croons (he can do nothing else), but the music is harder, more guitar-oriented, not the lush New Romantic/Roxy Music we had all come to know.

I liked it. The song wasn’t around long and I pretty much forgot about it ’til years later. It seems as though Beauty Stab is held in higher regard now than it was then.

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23 Responses to Doot Doot (The Future Must Be Now)

  1. Stephen Kuykendall says:

    I have to admit not (remembering) hearing 'Doot Doot' before. I do however remember their bonus track – 'Hey Ho Away We Go' from the album and spent some time a few years back tracking it down. I had no clue who had sung it, and I think I initially had heard a cover somewhere along the line. I still enjoy that song and am enjoying this one now as well. Thanks for the tunes and memories.

  2. Stephen Kuykendall says:

    Now feel like a complete idiot as it is the 12' that I was talking about the entire time. Well done, I like the other version as well. Should learn to hold all comments till the listening comes to a complete stop.

  3. […] Juluka, a racially mixed South African band led by Johnny Clegg, was likely the first “world music” that I ever heard and, not surprisingly, it was courtesy of 97X playing Scatterlings of Africa. […]

  4. […] have posted several times of my discovery of alternative rock when I first tuned into 97X. The station, a pioneer in alternative rock radio, is also secure in pop culture lore for its […]

  5. […] I’m sure that I first heard the song on 97X during Christmas ‘83 as I was discovering modern rock and it was immediately memorable. […]

  6. […] didn’t buy Bananarama on name alone. I had heard a couple tracks on 97X when their debut finally arrived in the States. Then following autumn, Cruel Summer was […]

  7. […] I seem to recall a lot of snow on the ground in the first few months of 1984. I was still listening to Top 40 stations, but I had also discovered album rock radio and 97X was providing my first glimpse of the future and an exposure to modern rock. […]

  8. […] for her music, I think the quirky nature of 97X would have been her tonic. So, hitting shuffle on my 97X playlist resulted in a modern classic by the late poet Jim […]

  9. […] I’ve noted on a number occasions what a wondrous discovery it was the day that I happened across the then-new WOXY in autumn of ‘83. […]

  10. […] first learned of Roddy Frame when I heard the effervescent Oblivious on 97X out of Oxford, Ohio in high school. I think that I heard Working In A Goldmine on the syndicated show Rock Over London […]

  11. […] Though Hoodoo Gurus arrived smack dab in my college years and got a lot of press, I don’t really recall hearing them much aside from the occasional trip home when I could listen to 97X. […]

  12. […] I was ridiculously intrigued by the modern rock of 97X, but reception of the station was sketchy, giving me far less oportunity to listen than I would have liked. So, I spent a considerable amount of time surfing between a few album-rock stations. […]

  13. […] by Halloween, the modern rock of 97X would become the station du juor – on nights when I could pull in the station’s […]

  14. […] But I know The Promise like the back of my hand. It pulsates and it truly sounds like it should have come out in 1983 rather than 1988. I have no trouble hearing this played as an import on 97X alongside Tears For Fears and Echo & The Bunnymen. […]

  15. […] was also the month that, in 1983, I discovered the freshly minted 97X on the radio dial. It was as momentous a moment for me as the pilgrims discovering Halloween was for […]

  16. […] Ironically, I had had more opportunity to hear the music of the nascent college rock scene during my last couple years of high school despite living in a small town in the hinterlands as I was within range and listening to 97X. […]

  17. […] The first time I ever heard Don Was was with his band, Was (Not Was), and their 1983 release Born To Laugh At Tornadoes. The eclectic album featured guest appearances from Ozzy Osbourne, Mitch Ryder, and Mel Tormé, and I used to hear the track Knocked Down, Made Small (Treated Like A Rubber Ball) often on 97X – the future of rock and roll. […]

  18. […] Over the previous year, I had begun to move away from Top 40 when it came to the radio, spending more time locked into the album rock stations and – when the reception was good enough – one of the first few alternative rock outlets in the country. […]

  19. […] I discovered the modern rock of 97X during the autumn of 1983, six months or so following the release of R.E.M.’s debut Murmur. The station was undoubtedly playing Radio Free Europe and Talk About The Passion and I’m sure that, on those evenings when I could get reception, I heard the songs, but to little effect on me. […]

  20. […] The debut album for the band Bon Jovi was released in the autumn of ’83 when I was listening to the alternative rock of 97X as much as the spotty reception would allow. […]

  21. […] By December 1983, my radio listening habits were going through a migration from Top 40 stations, which I had been listening to for a couple years, to the album rock of Q95 and, mostly in the evenings when reception was possible, the newly-minted 97X. […]

  22. […] It must have been early 1984 when Streuss introduced us to the gritty future awaiting us in Blade Runner. At the time, I was listening to the alternative rock of the newly minted 97X as much as possible. […]

  23. […] the autumn of ’83, I had opted to take German in hopes of a trans-Atlantic trip. That autumn, I had also discovered 97X, which had recently taken to the air as one of the first modern rock stations in the […]

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