Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Countin' 'Em Down

So sad to hear about the passing of Casey Kasem.  He was the stuff Sunday afternoons were made of.  I had just enough time to get home from church and eat lunch before he started playing the good songs.  I mean, really, nobody liked the #40- #30 songs anyway.  They were always Dionne Warwick or Ronnie Millsap tunes.....maybe a Kenny Rogers duet.
About the time lunch was over, Casey was making his way down into the 20's.....where the more serious musical contenders were.  You'd get poised and ready to record your favorites using your state of the art recording apparatus, the boom box.  I had this top of the line beauty here....a Panasonic similar to the one pictured.  Its tape recordings were crystal clear....almost like the Tears for Fears boys were right there in your bedroom singing for you.  Brilliant piece of electronic equipment. 

Getting a good, clean recording took great skill and prime conditions.  It was imperative to press play and record at the very same time and please, oh please, don't let the tape run out before the song is over.  That was the worst.  Or.....if your mother opened the door to your bedroom right in the middle of Billy Ocean's "you wake up and suddenly, you're in"......."JONI, COME HELP ME WITH THESE DISHES!!"  Oh, for goodness sake, Mama!!! 

If you did get a good copy of your favorite song, you were all set with your own permanent duplicate.....able to listen to the love ballads whenever the mood struck......or whenever you needed to musically rehabilitate your broken heart.  And by permanent, I mean until it got hung up in the eject process and became one big, tangled mess.  If you were lucky, you could reel it back in with your finger or for more serious unravelings......with a pencil.  Either way, it never played quite the same again as when it hit that one spot, it would always sound all garbled from that day forward.  Heaven forbid this should ever happen to your DeBarge tape!!   

Let's look back to some of "the hits from coast to coast".

"Alone Again" was #1 for 6 weeks in 1972.  Love that sweater with your initial, Gilbert. Naturally, this could be why you were alone....again. 
"Physical", the "most popular song in the land" for 10 weeks in 1981. Oh, Olivia, with your scandalous video and clever play on words.  Take that sweatband off....who do you take us for?   
Debby.....So many nights, she'd sit by her window, waiting for someone to sing her this song....this song, which became the #1 song of the whole 70's decade!  Wow, Deb.....there's something to light up your life and give you hope to carry on.  Like they say, "it can't be wrong when it feels so right".....   
    "Saturday Night Fever" became the first soundtrack to score four #1's.  With pants like these, you couldn't help but have fever, boys.  I was curious and had to Google how many offspring these men in the tourniquet pants produced.  Surprisingly, they had 11 children between them. Miraculous.

Oh, Chic!  Your "Le Freak" stayed at #1 for seven weeks and you were my favorite song at the skating rink. I could skate in circles for hours to Freak Out!
What girl wouldn't have killed for her hair to do this in the 80's?  Rod had four #1 hits and, apparently, a large supply of Salon Selectives styling gel and Aqua Net. 
      
I would be remiss not to mention the long distance dedications.  Be still my heart. Nothing would touch a girl's soul like Casey reading a long, sappy letter from a listener in Kansas, recounting his passionate trip to Maine with Donna....a weekend that changed him forever and made him believe in love again.......that is, until Donna took a sales job in Turkey.  "Casey, would you, please, play "Weekend in New England" by Barry Manilow for Donna and let her know that I will never forget the time we spent together or the love we shared?"   The long distance dedication.....always a touching moment. 

"Now on with the countdown."

Oh, Madonna, with your twelve #1's.....my mother never liked you.....and with good reason.  Nice girls never wear metal, pointy bras.  Never.  The Southern Baptists frown upon this.   
 And frankly, my mother never cared much for you either, Boy George, but your "Karma Chameleon" was the biggest selling single of 1983. 
"Purple Rain" spent weeks at #1 and oh, how I loved the long, grinding guitar solo at the end.  That was the best part of the whole song. "If you know what I'm singing about up here, c'mon raise your hand."  Well, I had no earthly idea what he was singing about, but still..... I raised my hand. Oh, and Prince, I don't want to leave you out......my mother, not a fan.   
I always thought them to be an odd pair, but the Eurythmics had a #1 hit with "Sweet Dreams".  He was what you might call the maestro of the synthesizer.  Oh, the 80's synthesizer.  "Hold your head up, keep your head up, movin' on, hold your head up, movin' on, keep your head up, movin' on, hold your head up"......well, you get the picture.  Sheer masterpiece.      

"And there you have 'em, the 40 biggest hits on the pop chart.  My name's Casey Kasem reminding you to keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." 

Thanks, Casey, for the memories.  The sound of your voice will always transport us to another time. 

A good, good time. 

12 comments:

  1. So funny! This post brings back lots of memories. Glad we don't have to make our homemade tapes that way anymore! I laughed at the commentary on the artists. Their outfits and hair look silly now! :)

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    1. Yes, they do......as do my pictures from high school! :)

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  2. This post gave me chills. Music means so much in my life, my own little soundtrack, and Casey Kasem was such a big part of that. Top 40 was on Sunday mornings in Central Arkansas, and I would listen while getting ready for worship service. Then if there were no announcements, and the preacher didn't go long, I could grab the keys from my dad and hopefully hear the #1 song. I dreamed of having someone love me so much that he would send Casey a long distance dedication...like the cute boy I met at church camp who lived 20 miles away...a very long distance when you are 12 and can't drive. And I can still remember some of his comments about lyrics that I just thought were so wise!

    RIP Casey.

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    1. Yeah, Carla......the preacher going long could really mess you up! :) Love that your "long distance" relationship was 20 miles....haha. Oh, young love!

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  3. I love this post! Thank you!!! I was a big fan of Casey myself, in fact he inspired a ten year radio career as a DJ. What a wonderful tribute to this great man. www.thefreespiritedwoman.com

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    1. Oh wow! What a fun job! Thanks, Lynn.

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  4. Oh my goodness! You just made me 13 again. Recording songs on the boom box (my mom ALWAYS came in to deliver laundry)! Just hilarious! Great post!

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  5. I loved this walk down memory lane! PS - We loved to try and dress like Madonna and it was very frowned upon by my mother (the pastor's wife).

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    1. Oh, I bet she didn't! :) Thanks, Missy June!

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  6. I loved this! It brought back so many memories. I fixed my hair and tied a tightly rolled up bandana around it to get that Olivia Newton John look!

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    1. And I bet you looked just like her! Thanks, Fancy Ranci! :)

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