It’s Already Been A Long, Hot Summer (And The Thrill Of The Season Is Over)

June 23, 2009

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, given the events of the past week in Iran, time that would have been spent pondering nonsense has been devoted to following the history in the making.

Summer definitely had a lot more cachet as a kid.

So, I thought I’d pull up a Billboard chart from this week in 1982. Music was a relatively new obsession for me, Clear Channel was years away from homogenizing Top 40 radio and a heatwave simply meant more time at the pool.

Some of the songs I was hearing at the pool and in other places as summer arrived in 1982…

Human League – Don’t You Want Me
from Dare

Had I had interest in music a few years earlier, either disco or punk might have been the “new” sound that my friends and I would have adopted as our own. I’m grateful that, instead, New Wave and synthesizer bands from the UK turned out to be our find.

Human League’s Don’t You Want Me had to have been one of the first songs by a synth band I heard and I was hooked. My friend Chris spent the next year or so focused on collecting every single, 12″ inch single, EP, remix, and whatever else he could acquire by the Sheffield band. Personally, aside from a few tracks, my devotion to the band was uncommited.

Toto – Rosanna
from Toto IV

I have no qualms in acknowledging that I own most of Toto’s albums up through the mid-’80s and I rarely hit skip when one of their songs pops up on shuffle.

Rosanna was a constant on the radio during the summer of ’82 – all summer long – and I don’t think I ever tired of it. It’s still as joyously infectious more than twenty five years later.

J. Geils Band – Angel In Blue
from Freeze Frame

Although I was fairly lukewarm about the song Centerfold, I’d gotten a copy of J. Geils Band’s Freeze Frame as a gift and most of the rest of the album I loved. I don’t think any of us knew that the band had actually been around for more than a decade and was known to music fans as America’s answer to The Rolling Stones (I, at that time, certainly didn’t).

Although it wasn’t nearly as big as Centerfold or Freeze Frame‘s title track, Angel In Blue – a wistful ode to a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with the obligatory heart of gold – was a favorite then and, like that waitress, it hasn’t aged a bit.

Kim Wilde – Kids In America
from Kim Wilde

We didn’t know much about Kim Wilde when she arrived with the New Wave bubblegum of her song Kids In America. She was a comely blonde and I imagine that’s all we needed to know.

But we did love the song. It bounded along. It had a chanted chorus. It was about kids in America and we happened to be kids in America.

It had it all.