Thinking of record stores not long ago, I realized that I didn’t have a chance to frequent indie record stores until college (at that point, there were a half dozen within a few blocks of each other).
Though my friends and I spent a good deal of time trekking to Cincinnati in high school, we usually stuck to the malls. The malls had everything we didn’t have in our hometown – record stores, book stores, arcades, food courts, escalators – in one place.
And a lot of girls.
(there were, obviously, girls in our town, but we had known most of them since first grade – mall girls were exotic and mysterious)
Somehow, though, there was one record store that I have hazy memories of being an occasional stop for us. It was a funky, little store, deeper than it was wide, tucked away in a strip mall setting.
I couldn’t come up with the name.
A bit of research leads me to believe it was called Globe Records and that name does sound right. There’s not much info on the store, though – there is a mention of incense which I remember this store selling.
It was a low-key place, lots of simple wood bins and racks. I seem to remember an open upstairs level which must have served as a good perch to monitor potential shoplifters.
There were large posters on the walls, haphazradly arrayed. I think the store’s backroom (and the stairs leading to the loft) might have been separated from the floor by a curtain of beads.
I can almost picture the place.
(I couldn’t have shopped there more than a dozen times and it was twenty-five years ago)
It had to have been one of the more bohemian places my friends and I had been at that time in our lives.
It would have been the spring of ’84 when my friend and I would have been hitting Globe Records as we finally had our drivers licenses. It was a time of great change in my musical interests as I had discovered alternative rock and we finally had MTV available to us.
Here are four songs from that spring that I remember hearing quite a bit…
Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
from You Broke My Heart In 17 Places
That Tracey Ullman is quite a talent and They Don’t Know was our introduction to her, especially as the video seemed to air each and every time I had the chance to vegitate in front of MTV.
Fortunately the song was an utter and complete earworm and, though I had little frame of reference at the time, it totally capture the girl group vibe of the ’60s. It also was written and recorded by the late, great Kirsty MacColl, but I wouldn’t become familiar with Kirsty until the following year when I heard her version of Billy Bragg’s A New England on Rock Over London.
The Fixx – Deeper And Deeper
from Greatest Hits – One Thing Leads To Another
The Fixx had become fixtures on radio the year before with Reach The Beach and that album’s subsequent hits Saved By Zero, One Thing Leads To Another, and The Sign Of Fire.
Personally, I always seemed to like the idea of The Fixx more than most of their music. I dug earlier stuff like Red Skies and Stand Or Fall, but most of their output was hit or miss for me (and One Thing Leads To Another grated on my nerves).
Deeper And Deeper was a keeper, though, revealing a bit more muscle in the band’s sound. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the rock fable Streets Of Fire, a movie which I managed to miss that summer.
Human League – The Lebanon
In the spring of 1984, my buddy Streuss was eagerly awaiting the long-delayed release of Human League’s Hysteria. It had been two years since they had burst onto the musical landscape in the States with Don’t You Want Me and there had been no follow-up to its parent album Dare.
In the interim, Streuss had amassed everything he could acquire by the band – much of it as imports for us – including the dub remix collection from Dare credited to The League Unlimited Orchestra.
Of course, The Lebanon was a surprise when it arrived as the first single from Hysteria that spring – the synth-pop band who had an edict declaring “no guitars” had issued a song that was built heavily around guitars.
We didn’t care. We loved it and, though it might be a bit half-baked lyrical, I still do.
Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good
from Human Racing
Wouldn’t It Be Good wasn’t a very big hit in the States and I don’t recall seeing the video for the song. I think it was actually my friend Beej that turned us onto the song after he saw the video on the USA Network’s Night Flights.
The discontented vibe of the song – kind of a New Wave take on “nobody loves me, everybody hates me, think I’ll go eat worms” – tapped into our burgeoning teen angst. A couple years later, the song would reappear on the soundtrack for Pretty In Pink, but in a version by Danny Hutton, one of the vocalists for Three Dog Night.