In 1984, Rhino Records, with exclusive license from Sun International Corporation, released this beautiful Greatest Hits album as a radiant picture disc. Long gone were the rights to Elvis, but each of the other legendary Sun Records icons are present. Roy Orbison doing Ooby Dooby, Carl Perkins doing Honey Don’t and Blue Suede Shoes, Billy Lee Riley doing Red Hot, Junior Parker with Feelin’ Good and Mystery Train, Jerry Lee Lewis with Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, and of course, Johnny Cash with Folsom Prison Blues. It’s worth owning even if picture discs are prone to skip (and they are).
Unexpected gifts in the form of records that accompany online purchases are, for some reason, happening more and more frequently. As I scour Discogs for random-ass one-offs and obscure Wax Trax! releases, more frequently now are sellers throwing in additional, random records with my purchases. This has happened a handful of times now, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. The Sound and their 1984 EP Shock of Daylight is the newest freebie to cross our threshold. Thank you, random Discogs seller. We’ll now enjoy six tracks of pure, new wave bliss. Free music just, somehow, tastes better, don’tcha think?
In randomly admiring the back cover to the 1984 Mystic Records comp, Mystic Sampler #1, I noticed a few key things. I present them in no particular or chronological order. 1) Discogs doesn’t have an entry for Slamulation, the comp album on which the original Suicidal Tendencies line-up released their early track, I Saw Your Mommy (also featured here). 2) There is a red vinyl version of Mystic Sampler #1 (Wantlisted). 3) The cover art to the Mystic Records cover compilation is the only advertised record NOT featured on this back sleeve. The only cover without a cover, is an album about covers.
In all my Wax Trax! Records collecting days, I’ve never seen a gold version of the iconic logo. Not sure why it’s taken me so long to secure WAX005, A Popular History of Songs’ 1984 effort, Ladder Jack, but neatly affixed to the back cover of said EP is this glittering gem. I’m a sucker for logos, if you haven’t figured that out, and beside the Grand Royal Records logo, this one may take the cake.
Chaka Khan feels for us, guys. This is, obviously, very exciting news! By the looks of things, she’s been feeling for us since 1984, or so Warner Bros. Records would like us to believe. I for one am both not surprised and pleasantly pleased about this new found observation, and with the holiday coming up, we could all use a little more feelings from Chaka Khan, am I right?
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about which record, song, or band related article of clothing could be worthy of the 1000th post milestone. I’d thought about an elaborate photo shoot involving mannequins, mood lighting, and every colored vinyl record I own, but quickly abandoned that scheme due to time and budget. So instead, I’m reaching back… WAY back to my elementary school years to one my most prized possessions, 1984’s The Music Book.
My grade school had a music house, an old, free-standing building acquired by the administration which was converted into a large singing and instrument-practicing box. From kindergarten through 6th grade, I’d shuffle across the street with my coworkers (classmates) and we’d put on our color-coded name tags and learn about the wondrous world of music. In the early years, before poorly attempting my hand (and lungs) at the alto sax, we’d sing various songs from the purple bible known as The Music Book. Rife with colorful illustrations and catchy, young crowd-pleasing songs, The Music Book sat in a long row on the North wall of the music house, and each grubby little troublemaker would grab one before taking his or her assigned seats. Our teacher, the lovely and talented Mrs. Fenske, would take roll call, then requests for which song the class wanted to sing first. At the Court of King Carraticus, It’s All Right to Cry, and The Lollipop Tree were all crowd favorites, and often sung every day.
Now, I’m not sure if it was youthful innocence, the comic-like illustrations, or the music itself, but for a bunch of us, The Music Book meant so much more than just another text book. It represented a blameless and simple era of our lives inspired by the art of noise, and served as an open door to a lifelong appreciation for the medium. Because I’m a sentimental sap, I hold this book very dear to my heart. It is a symbol of purity, of animated gaiety, and I look back at that time with fervent admiration. For my love of music, I have Mrs. Fenske and The Music Book to thank.
Novelties and Rick Dees tended to go together back in the collar-popping 80s like disco and ducks. While the majority of radio-listening ‘Merica knows ol’ Dees for The Weekly Top 40, those select, demented few among us know him for Disco Duck, and those lonely, pathetic among us know him for his early 80s comedy albums. Released in 1984, this (anything but) Orwellian approach to subjects like glue sniffing, shorts-eating, and candid phone conversations (with mainstays of the day, Julio Iglesias and Michael Jackson) make Put it Where the Moon Don’t Shine something of a, let’s say “interesting” listen. Clearly capitalizing on his radio popularity, this album was actually not, I repeat, NOT a one-off, as it was the follow-up to his 1983 debut, Hurt Me Baby Make Me Write Bad Checks! I don’t have that one, but the cover alone makes me consider hunting it down. Disco Duck on the other hand…
I never knew Ike, but as an adolescent fan of 80s pop radio (Madison, Wisconsin’s Z-104), I knew Tina Turner. I knew her for asking the simple, yet tough questions in life, like, what’s love got to do with it, and what’s love but second hand emotion? I still haven’t 100% figured that out, but I’m forced to humbly accept that fact.
Released in the Orwellian year of our lord, 1984, Private Dancer was hugely successful for this pop dragon, and proved to be one of Tina’s best selling albums (selling over 5 million copies). Four Grammy wins for Private Dancer, and this majestic beast would be forever cemented into the sponge-like minds of rural Wisconsin’s youth.
It’s difficult to comprehend that Ride the Lighting was released in 1984, or at least it’s a bit of a challenge for me to wrap my head around since I was only five at the time. When you consider the big, radio-friendly tracks de jour were Karma Chameleon, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Footloose, What’s Love Got to Do with It, and When Doves Cry, tracks like Trapped Under Ice, Creeping Death, and Fight Fire with Fire seem to resemble a refreshing iceberg floating amongst a sea of raging-radio hell. I didn’t go to the local shop expecting to Ride the Lighting, but for a cool $12, this guy here has his ticket in hand.