By junior high, I was hearing the name Peaches daily on one station or another out of Cincinnati. The record store was one of the outlets rattled off at the end of commercials for tickets to upcoming concerts.
I’m not sure how many Peaches there were – there’s little about the chain on the internet – but one of the more iconic record stores of my childhood was the one on Colerain Avenue.
(this is the same Colerain Avenue as the one where Dustin Hoffman professes to purchase his underwear at K-Mart in Rain Man)
Above the entrance and the windows, looming up on the building were large reproductions of the biggest albums of the moment. Inside, there was a lot of wood. And a lot of aisles.
It was the size of the place that was memorable.
Between our hometown and Cincinnati was forty-five miles of mostly small towns and farmland. The only place to purchase music for us was a small section of the discount store in the town square – three bins of albums and one of 45s, a section of the adjoining wall devoted to racks of cassettes.
(thank [the diety of your choice] for the Columbia Record and Tape Club)
Peaches was more music then any of us had ever seen.
And it was primarily vinyl.
Once my friends and I were old enough to drive ourselves into The City, Peaches wasn’t necessarily a guaranteed shopping destination. We were mall rats and there were several malls with several record stores in each that offered us a more efficient use of our time.
(oddly, I don’t recall those chain stores – places like Record Bar, Musicland, and Camelot – being quite as homogenized as they would become)
Instead, it was dependent upon who was with us whether Peaches was a stop or not. If Beej or Bosco was in our group, it was more likely that we’d make an attempt. The rest of us were listening to cassettes.
I liked those trips to Peaches. I’d browse the LP bins, taking mental notes of titles which I wanted to snag on cassette. Sometimes, I’d find a copy at there; other times, I’d have to wait ’til we made our way elsewhere.
The first time I set foot in Peaches must have been in the spring of 1981. Being several years from having my license, I had tagged along with my parents and negotiated a stop at Peaches. I was on the clock, but I knew what I wanted and I checked out with a copy of Styx’ Paradise Theater on cassette.
Here are four songs that I was hearing a lot on radio in April, 1981…
Styx – The Best Of Times
from Paradise Theater
There was no escaping Styx on the radio during the late ’70s and early ’80s in our world. It wasn’t happening.
I loved them. This was deep music. I was in junior high.
But it was their Paradise Theater album that landed me in Peaches for the first time. The Best Of Times was mammoth that spring and the radio stations I was listening to were playing Too Much Time On My Hands, Nothing Ever Goes As Planned, and Snowblind heavily, too.
Journey – The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love)
Journey, too, was a midwestern staple. By the end of ’81, Escape would make them one of the biggest bands in the US, but, that spring, they had released the live/stop-gap album Captured.
The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love) still sounds very cool.
Donnie Iris – Ah! Leah!
from Back On The Streets
The fine folks over at Popdose have kind words for Donnie Iris this week much to my delight. I’ve loved his songs since I first heard Iris while listening to local radio on family vacations to Western Pennsylvania (from where Iris rose to semi-prominence and still resides).
I didn’t hear his songs as much back home. Ah! Leah! did. It was too monstrous to ignore. It’s a towering, glorious behemoth of a song. It thunders and shudders and Iris wails like a man possessed.
Jefferson Starship – Find Your Way Back
from Modern Times
Is it me or does Grace Slick get overlooked a bit?
I know that a lot the Airplane fans were none too pleased with the direction the band took in the late ’70s, but songs like Find Your Way Back and their other hits of the period were, if not essential to the band’s catalog, engaging arena rockers nonetheless. I seem to recall seeing them perform this song on Fridays around the time it was a hit.