The other day I was blabbing about how I hate August. Oh, but I hate August. And I mentioned that August’s favorite bands were Night Ranger and Quiet Riot. Now, it was kindly suggested to me that maybe I shouldn’t put Quiet Riot in the same category as Night Ranger as Night Ranger gave us “Sister Christian” which is one of the best steering-wheel drumming songs of all times.
Oh, so true.
Now, here’s the thing about August and Night Ranger. August is the guy who would tell you that “Sister Christian” got him through a really hard time, man. Night Ranger was there for him when no one else was. See, when I was writing about him, I was picturing August in the park at night. He had “Sister Christian” blaring from the tape deck of his AMC Pacer. The door was open and he was practicing his martial arts poses and singing. August was singing away the pain with Night Ranger. ‘Cause that’s just the kind of badass August is.
Women don’t really do the whole steering wheel drum thing, but we do belt out some stuff. I put “Sister Christian” firmly in the same camp as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Come On, Eileen”. If you are of a certain age, there is no way to resist their cheesy gravitational pull. And yeah, admit it, you’ve got NO CLUE what the hell he’s saying in “Come On, Eileen” so you TOTALLY make up the words. I will also admit to buying Ouiet Riot’s opus, Cum On, Feel The Noize (Or Noise. Maybe I just want it to be spelled with a z), and I believe I purchased it at the Laurel, Mississippi TG&Y. I cannot be certain. It was either there or Sound Shop at Sawmill Square Mall. If that’s the case, I’m sure said purchase was followed up with a sticker-buying spree at Coach House Gifts and then corndogs at Corn Dog Heaven or Seven, I don’t remember. Also I know if it came from Sound Shop I IMMEDIATELY affixed the tape guarantee sticker to the back of the cassette case. I just tried to find a picture of one of those stickers, but I couldn’t. So now I haz a sad.
Point is, I openly and freely admit–without coercion of any sort– to buying that Quiet Riot album. It did not get me through a hard time, man. It did not speak to me. I had a Bad Music Moment. And I shall own up to it. Oh, please, like you didn’t buy that Nu Shooz album in 1986? Don’t you dare judge me. We’ve all been there. Nena? “99 Luftballons“? The 45, son. Scritti Politti? Don’t remember them and their one song, “Perfect Way“? Give me a while and I bet I could dig up the album. Blow Monkeys? Check. Swing Out Sister? Yup. The Hooters? Hellz yeah.
Oh, there was a sad, two-year fascination with Eddie Van Halen and the Eddie Van Halen band. Please don’t give me shit for putting Van Halen on my list. Make your own damn list. And I cannot let it go without saying that anyone who has known me for any length of time knows about my near-obsession with Adam Ant. And by near-obsession I mean I’d have licked him had I ever been in the same room with him. I was totally blown away with Nirvana, but now all I can hear when I listen to them is The Beatles, and I’m a Stones girl. Yes, there was a time when I thought Sex Pistols were punk, but I got over that quickly. I’ll even own up to a dalliance with that Phil Collins song, “Separate Lives“.
My favorite songs when I was little were “Afternoon Delight” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” so you can see I’ve always had a range from crap to classics. And classic crap, for that matter. Also, can we just take a moment to salute my parents for letting four-year-old me get down to songs about gettin’ some at lunch and then ditching your old lady? And let’s talk about Cher. There were three women I idolized in the ’70s: Cher, Dolly Parton, and Charo. Yes, I was a tiny drag queen. Sonny and Cher? Oh yeah. I own that. I don’t care how crappy. Okay, to be honest, I couldn’t finish the song I just linked to. But I blame that on Sonny, not Cher. And have you HEARD Charo shred some flamenco? You can kiss my ass in Macy’s window if you think you can do better than that.
My tastes have changed significantly since 1984, thanks be to all. But I still find myself defending the unsung heroes. Like Rush. I know, I know. I never really understood Rush until Primus. And now, every year when the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame inductees are named I shake my fist and yell at anyone who will listen that IT IS A CRIME Rush is not listed. Oh, and don’t get me started on Warren Zevon. The man is more than that one song about werewolves, okay? You know what, I’m not going any farther down this road because it will make me bitch all day and I’ve got to pack so I can get in the woods this weekend.
Here you go. My Top Three ’80s Singing Out Loud In The Car Songs (in no particular order):