A Toast To Whiteray

Some time ago, I mentioned Roxy Music to a couple of co-workers, both older than me, one of them having spent ten years in the music industry.

That remark was met with a blank stare.

After spending ten minutes giving a rough history of the band, offering examples of their influence, and explaining their place in rock music, I realized my audience was unimpressed.

(with both Roxy Music and me)

There was a time when pretty much everyone in my orbit would have known of Roxy Music – whether they were fans or not. During my vagabond days working in record stores, the mention of Roxy Music would have prompted one friend to interject Brian Eno into the conversation.

The Drunken Frenchman would have regaled us with some tale – some more obscure than others – about Roxy Music, Brian Eno, or whatever artist that was the subject of debate and/or discussion.

(the experience of listening to rock and roll lore as told by The Frenchman was akin to what I imagine it to be like listening to an old mariner telling tales from the briny deep)

Sometimes passions flared, but it was a collective passion for music that was ever present.

Now, the deepest discussion I hear from co-workers about music revolves around some kid on American Idol performing Hallelujah with no knowledge of Leonard Cohen, who wrote the song, or Jeff Buckley, who put his indelible stamp on it.

It’s made the numerous blogs focused on music – and a wide variety of music – such a wonderful surrogate for a time when hour upon hour would be dedicated to similar banter among friends.

Which is why it’s disappointing to read that Whiteray, author of the wonderful Echoes In The Wind, is on, what I hope, will be a brief hiatus.

Like JB over at The Hits Just Keep Comin’ (as well as the other destinations to which I’ve provided links on your right), Whiteray has a knack for chronicling the music that has meant so much to him, doing so in a manner that is engaging, amusing, and informative.

It isn’t even necessarily the music about which he wrote that made me a faithful reader. Though the music sometimes doesn’t connect with me, his affection and enthusiasm for his subject matter is like listening to one of my friends from back in the day.

So, here’s hoping to read something from you soon, Whiteray. Morning coffee won’t be the same without you.

Here are some songs that were on Billboard’s chart this week in 1982, a time when my own love of music was taking root…

The Go-Go’s – Vacation
from Vacation

The title song for The Go-Go’s follow-up to their massive debut Beauty And The Beat is giddy beyond repair (even if it does detail the end of summer). Fittingly, the first time I heard it was blaring from the car radio on a family vacation.

Years later, I’d interview Go-Go guitarist Jane Weidlin which was a true highlight of my music journalism endeavors (such as they were).

Elton John – Blue Eyes
from Jump Up!

Sir Elton’s output post-’70s has been a bit erratic. Of course, how could anyone have been expected to match the heights he did during his heyday?

I don’t think I cared for Blue Eyes at the time, but, nearly three decades later, I never tire of hearing John croon this simple, uncluttered ballad.

Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby
from Fast Times At Ridgemont High soundtrack

Fast Times At Ridgemont High was the movie for me and my friends in 1982 and was endlessly quoted. It also provided Jackson Browne with a song that was always on the radio late that summer.

Eddie Money – Think I’m In Love
from No Control

Eddie Money never aspired to reinvent fire. Instead, you knew that he was going to offer up straight-ahead, no-frills rock and roll, but, when he nailed it, he nailed it.

Few songs sounded better on the radio during the late summer of ’82 than Think I’m In Love

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3 Responses to A Toast To Whiteray

  1. Sun Singer says:

    Over the years, I'm sure there's been a ton of quality music I didn't grok for one reason or another. Maybe my love of Bob Dylan and James Taylor blinded me to some stuff everyone else enjoyed. But when it comes to American Idol, I find myself sounding like my parents generation when they couldn't figure our what I saw in Hey Jude or Summer in the City: "What the hell do you see in that show?" It's always a shame when the best writers about books and music and dance and film disappear into the hiatus room, for with their voices silent, the din of the lesser ones gets very loud.

    Malcolm
    (AKA Trick Falls)

  2. whiteray says:

    Thanks. Very much appreciated, and I'll be around.

  3. halfhearteddude says:

    Excellent, magnificent post. Standing ovation et cetera.

    Seems like the Cheeze Factory has been nuked too (well, it's gone). Even more than Whiteray's, that blog had nothing but out-of-print and utterly obscure stuff. Nothing that could even remotely threaten the music industry.

    You know, it's easy to shift over to WordPress, with all your posts and comments intact…

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