Continued from yesterday… (actually, this post got screwed up, so I am reposting it this morning).
Here are a couple more new release dates that were memorable to me as a kid…
Fee Waybill – You’re Still Laughing
Read My Lips, October/November, 1984
This one sticks in my memory more for the circumstances than the music. My friends and I liked The Tubes, but our friend Bosco was fully committed to their cause. And so, on a Friday following the Tuesday release of Tube’s frontman Fee Waybill’s solo debut, Bosco, our pyro friend Kurt, and I skipped out and headed to Cincinnati.
It was in a Record Bar in a mall in Tri-County, Bosco acquired Read My Lips from a clerk who looked like David Lee Roth and initially informed Bosco that the album hadn’t been released. This disinformation flustered Bosco to such a degree, he mentioned it when he signed by yearbook the following year.
Bosco was a more coherent Spicoli, so, obviously, our next stop after he bought Read My Lips was the stereo store on the third floor where Bosco headed for the nearest turntable and cued up his purchase.
During my lifetime (or at least during the years in which I followed music), U2 is arguably the band who – like The Beatles – has had an impact beyond music (albeit not to the same degree). So, each of their release dates since 1984 has been a personal, observed holiday. It will be the same for their new, upcoming album (rumored to be November 18, now, apparently, early ’09).
The periods of my life that correspond to each release seem to be engrained in my mind with greater detail than many other periods. Achtung Baby provided hope during a time of major transition, the disappointing Pop couldn’t puncture a stretch of great calm. But good or bad, those times are easy for me to conjure in my head at will.
The first was October 1, 1984 – The Unforgettable Fire. Maybe more than any of their other albums, I think I hold it in higher regard now than I did then.
The rock stations I was listening to had been playing Pride (In The Name Of Love) for weeks and I expected the rest of the album to be equally as unbridled. A couple of friends – again, Bosco and Kurt, as I recall – and I had skipped school and found ourselves to be in the same Record Bar in which we had encountered “David Lee Roth.”
This time, we were helped by “Cyndi Lauper.” She complimented my purchase and I asked her to marry me. It was all rather whirlwind and, fortunately, it ended with Cyndi’s answering my proposal with an indifferent shrug.
I didn’t listen to the cassette until I got home which is strange considering Bosco had turned me on to War. It was late and I sprawled out on my bedroom floor with my Walkman.
I was confused that the jagged edges which had drawn me to War were now soft like watercolors. There were elements of the past, but I didn’t know what to make of the hints of U2’s future. I remember reading the credits, seeing Eno and Lanois, and wondering who these two names were that had muddied my band’s sound (I, of course, know now and, if you’re looking for an unusual read, Eno’s diairies, A Year with Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno’s Diary, is quite engrossing).
The direction in which U2 was moving would find its destination with The Joshua Tree two-and-a-half years later (which was the first compact disc I ever bought on day of release). But I slowly embraced the more subtle nuances of The Unforgettable Fire.
The title tracks was one of my favorites at the time. Since then, it’s only become more dear to me. Nearly twenty-five years later, I’d consider the song to be four of the finest minutes of their career.
And, given the historic events of the past twenty-four hours, it’s more than fitting to also include, Pride (In The Name Of Love), U2’s anthemic tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.