July 11, 2013

From 1979: It's All The Rage


In the summer of 1979, my next-door neighbor and best childhood friend, Suzanne, went to London with her family for several weeks.

This was no small feat for 1970s suburban Indiana.  Their trip even made the local newspaper.

When Suzanne returned, she had a treasure trove of records she bought in the Picadilly Circus shops.  Such an education for fascinated me.  I was all of eight years old, but I listened to those records constantly with Suzanne.  "Angeleyes/Voulez Vous," by ABBA.  "Gangsters," by The Specials.  "Born To Be Alive," by Patrick Hernandez.  All of the singles had those peculiar small holes in the middle; no need for the ubiquitous spindle adapters that usually littered the console on Suzanne's stereo.

My favorite record was the triumphant smash hit, "I Don't Like Mondays," by The Boomtown Rats.  Featuring soaring piano and clever, biting lyrics, lead singer Bob Geldof wrote the song in response to the Brenda Ann Spencer massacre in January 1979.  "The silicone chip inside her head gets switched to overload," remains, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant opening lines of a song to date.

Everyone knows and loves that song, right?  It deserves the adulation.  But have you ever heard the B-side?  It deserves adulation, too, as a rip-roaring punk rocker right out of Dingwalls, featuring a double-tracked vocal by Geldof and relentless guitar work by Garry Cott.  The infectious ending is particularly effective.

It's all the rage...you're putting me on.



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