Monday, February 8, 2010

My Remorse About REO Speedwagon (Part 2 of a Series)

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I started listening to "America's Top 40" with Casey Kasem when I was about 7 or 8 years old. For the first two years or so, it was a grand experience, and something that introduced me to music that I still enjoy (no, I'm not kidding. Not only Michael Jackson and Prince, but "Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder and "One Thing Leads To Another" by the Fixx, too). Somewhere around 4th or 5th grade, though, something started to go awry. Maybe even 3rd grade. Somewhere around there, the music started to go south, REALLY fast.

Some time in 2009 my wife and I were on tour, and we were spending a lot of time in the car listening to XM radio (the previous owners of our car had failed to cancel their subscription when they sold it, and we were reaping the benefits). The 80's station, though not consistent, did offer a great many moments of enjoyment. On Sundays, they rerun "America's Top 40" shows from the 80's. We sat ALL THE WAY THROUGH one of these reruns, and it started to really get painful around number 15 or so. We went all the way to the end, though, because, as I said at the time, "Well, we've come this far..." The broadcast must have been from some time in early 1985, because the number one song was "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon.

That particular composition falls into a category of song that I wish I could eradicate entirely from my early life, that category being "Songs I Heard Too Many Damn Times That Weren't Any Good To Begin With" (this category will from here forth be referred to as SIHTMDTTWAGTBW). I am filled with GREAT REMORSE about the time lost to said REO Speedwagon song, as well as many other SIHTMDTTWAGTBW's. I want those hours back, even if just to listen to "When It's Love" by Van Halen a few more times (yes, I think that song's better. Sorry if you strongly disagree, but in terms of power ballads, it f'ing buries the Speedwagon tune), or even "Mother's Talk" by Tears For Fears.

My devotion to "Top 40" was pretty unshakable, though, I must admit. I have a clear memory of being at some sort of Sunday afternoon Cub Scout activity (probably circa '85 or '86) and being really pissed off that I was missing my show. I remember getting in the car with my dad, immediately turning on the radio hoping that there was still some of it left to hear, and being so disappointed when the strains of "Oh Sheila" by Ready For The World came through the speakers. I knew that song couldn't possibly be in the top 10 that week because of how long it had been out. I knew I had missed my show entirely (ultimately, this anecdote is REALLY telling in regards to how much I enjoyed my Cub Scout & subsequent Boy Scout other words, very little). Maybe I want my hours involved in Cub/Boy Scouts back, too. I can't say for sure. I do know that my exclusive devotion to top 40 pop music continued through 6th grade, and then the system started to break down. It had to, because 6th grade was probably the worst year yet for for the top 40 in my short life, containing myriad SIHTMDTTWAGTBW's...

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