I missed a lot of class during my junior and senior years of high school.
My friends and I, much like the prison escapees Gail and Evelle in Raising Arizona, felt that the institution no longer had anything to offer us.
(especially now that we were mobile)
We had our escapes down to a science. We worked through some office connections to erase any evidence that we had been absent or I would provide faked doctor’s notes using the nom de plume Dr. A.E. Lifeson, DDS, an homage to the Rush guitarist.
(I have no idea if his middle actually begins with an E, I simply liked the feel)
However, the nearest civilization was forty-five minutes away in Cincinnati. We yearned for the thrill of the escape, but time, financial or transportation constraints sometimes made such a trip logistically impossible.
And, these escapes had become too easy.
The rock station perferred by most of us at the time would play a song called Go For Soda by Kim Mitchell and its conclusion – “might as well go for a soda” – provided inspiration.
We challenged ourselves with a game we quickly dubbed Go For Soda.
We had ten minutes between classes and the goal was to sneak off the grounds and get to the nearest grocery store – about three minutes away – to get soda. We then had to return to school and make it to our next class on time.
(the best chance for success was if one of our twin friends – known as Smart and Dumb to us – was behind the wheel)
We soon became adept enough to return with grocery bags of donuts, Cheetohs, and Pop-Tarts.
We’d sit in the back of English class, munching on our provisions and plotting our next move.
Here are four songs that were possibly running through my head as I ignored Mr. Haynes droning on about Greek mythology as the school year wound down in early May, 1985…
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Don’t Come Around Here No More
from Southern Accents (1985)
It was recording the Southern Accents album when Petty broke his hand against a studio wall. I thought that I read in Rolling Stone at the time that he did so in a fit of excitement as he mixed the album.
Whatever the case, we all loved Petty and I eagerly awaited Southern Accent‘s release as it unexpectedly paired him with Eurythmic Dave Stewart as producer. The album was a bit of a mixed bag, though the title track might be the loveliest song the band has ever done.
Don’t Come Around Here No More was as wonderfully demented as I’d expected. The sitar-laden song was trippy and the video equally so.
(and it’s still one of the coolest clips ever)
Eurythmics – Would I Lie To You
from Be Yourself Tonight (1985)
Dave Stewart also had a new album that spring with partner Annie Lennox. The first song to hit radio was the surprisingly soulful stomp Would I Lie To You.
The two truly were a fortuitous musical pairing and made some of the most evocative music of the ’80s. And though Annie is undeniably cool, I’ve always thought Dave Stewart was underappreciated.
The Hooters – All You Zombies
from Nervous Night (1985)
Outside of the Philadelphia area where the band was a popular regional act, All You Zombies served as the The Hooters’ introduction to the rest of the US. With its reggae hitch and portentous lyrics, the song hooked me the first time I heard it on Q95.
Nervous Night left me mostly underwhelmed, but it had several hits over the next year or so and the band caused a stir for a brief time.
The second record came and went pretty quickly (though I thought it had a couple of decent songs).
A songwriter friend hosted a couple members of the band years later to do some songwriting and apparently they were delightful guests.
‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry
from Voices Carry (1985)
And, in early ’85, Aimee Mann’s platinum blonde rat tail was the Annie Lennox orange buzz cut of two summers earlier. When ‘Til Tuesday first came up in conversations with friends, the striking Mann and her feathery ‘do and its braided appendage was duly noted.
The moody Voices Carry was a smash and, like Don’t Come Around Here No More, featured a memorable video. It would prove to be ‘Til Tuesday’s greatest commercial success. Though subsequent albums would be stronger, fewer listeners heard them and the band shed members until Mann eventually went solo.