It’s Already Been A Long, Hot Summer (And It’s Not Even Summer)

May 13, 2010


(reposted with alterations from last June)

It’s hot today.

It was hot yesterday.

And the forecast calls for this heat wave to persist for the next week.

Though Paloma and I have central air in our tree house suite, a glimpse at the unit’s guts when it was being repaired last summer leads me to believe that it has been built from surplus bi-plane parts manufactured in the ‘30s.

The fact that I am marinating on the couch leads me to question its structural integrity and cooling prowess.

The stifling heat makes thinking an effort. Each time I begin to follow a tangent to write about, it becomes a mirage and, if it doesn’t become a mirage, it’s an oasis far enough in the cranial distance that it doesn’t seem to be worth it.

And it’s only the second week of May.

Summer definitely had a lot more cachet as a kid.

So, I thought I’d pull up Billboard magazine from this week in 1982. Music was a relatively new obsession for me, Clear Channel was years away from homogenizing radio and a heatwave simply meant summer break was within spitting distance.

Some of the songs I was hearing as summer arrived in 1982…

The Waitresses – I Know What Boys Like
from Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?

I’m almost certain that I never heard The Waitresses’ I Know What Boys Like on the radio in ’82.

Not once.

I did see the Akron band perform the song on the television show Solid Gold several times as spring gave way to summer that year.

At the time, I didn’t care much for the song, but, it was undeniably catchy and lead singer Patty Donahue’s teasing vocals were a preview of coming attractions as to which sex truly had hand as the freshman year of high school loomed at the other end of that summer for me and my friends.

Dazz Band – Let It Whip
from Keep It Live

Though the Dazz Band apparently had a string of R&B hits during the ’80s, Let It Whip was their lone pop hit during those years, but it was mammoth that summer. Smooth and cool with a laid-back groove, for some reason, the song always sounded better at night to me.

Van Halen – Dancing In The Street
from Diver Down

Diver Down might have been Van Halen’s fifth album, but as the first four were released when I had little interest in music, it was my first exposure to Eddie and Diamond Dave.

The group had already had a smash that spring with their take on the Roy Orbison’s (Oh) Pretty Woman and their version of seemed to be a declaration that summer was upon us – gurgling synthesizers, Eddie’s guitar heroics, and David Lee Roth’s vocal howl served the song well, successfully remaking the Motown classic as a hard rock anthem.

.38 Special – Caught Up In You
from Special Forces

Southern rockers .38 Special were a staple on the pop and rock stations in our corner of the Midwest. You couldn’t spin through the dial for very long before coming across Rockin’ Into The Night, Fantasy Girl, or Hold On Loosely.

With Special Forces, the band sanded off some of the rougher edges and opted for a more slick, polished pop sound. Caught Up In You was pleasant enough, but, by the last day of school in late May – when I had already heard the song several thousand times (or so it seemed) – it had lodged in my head where it would remain (as it would on radio) until summer’s end.

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