One of my very earliest memories is riding in the car with Mom and Dad and hearing this song on 62 WHEN-AM in Syracuse. I want to say it was before my sister was born. It was definitely before my Dad bought the ’71 Chevelle Heavy Chevy, maybe in Dad’s old Volkswagen?
From 1970, here’s The Grass Roots with “Temptation Eyes”.
Someone in the house was playing Robin S’ “Show Me Love’, a big dance tune from the early 1990s. I started remembering the original version I played when I was dabbling as a DJ around 1990 or so. Back then the now famous track was by “Robin Stone” instead of Robin S., and it had a bit more of an ‘80s sound to it. There’s a sample from Jocelyn Brown’s “Somebody Else’s Guy” in this version and I feel like the more airy sound to the track is reminiscent of the vibe of the day.
I scouted around on YouTube and found a copy of this early version. I don’t believe this version ever charted outside of club charts.
From 1990, here’s Robin Stone with “Show Me Love”.
Back in my music school days we had one recording studio. There was a smattering of synthesizers and one computer in the old orchestral practice hall. The room was often in disarray. I recorded back up vocals for a fellow student in that room and it was a fun experience. I never got to play around with the synths or the computer. A few years later, when invited by a CompuServe friend to tour his studio outside of Cleveland (and record a couple more backing vocals for a track), there was more technology and it was awesome, but I never got to play around with the synths or the computer.
A few years ago I discovered the music of Anders Enger Jensen, a Norwegian producer who uses (now) retro synths and computers to create some brilliant electronic music with an 80s vibe. In this video, he takes the video “user’s manual” of the MCA Discovision system and turns it into a brilliant music track.
I much prefer this over anything coming out of commercial studios these days. This is the type of music artistry I’ve come to admire over the years. I’d probably be doing something similar (though not nearly as well) if I had stuck to my music studies back in the mid ’80s.
I’m always impressed with the artistry coming out of the Australian studio at “SingItLive”. This week they covered a song we played at the very end of my time in Top 40 radio. I’ve always liked this song and SingItLive does a fantastic job with the track. Here’s their cover of “I’m Outta Love” by Anastasia.
I’ve posted about this song before. It just makes me so very happy. I’m delighted to have found the original video I remembered, with bits of color here and there as the video progresses. The official channel has a weird monochrome version of the video which doesn’t look right at all. Enjoy “Breakout” by Swing Out Sister, in its original color incarnation. After all, the track screams for a colorful existence.
When I was hired at WOWZ/WOWB in 1994, it was as their Music Director and night time air personality. I was excited about the gig; the Top 40 radio station I had been on was sold, the entire staff was fired, and the station was switched to Classic Rock. This left a gap in the market and I was excited to be signing onto this new station to bring it to the masses.
The station didn’t have a clear direction for its first 18 months or so; they wanted to be “Adult Contemporary” during the day (for at work listening) but at night they wanted to turn up the heat with dance and rhythmic Top 40 music. A radio station will not succeed without a solid identity, a cohesive format, and most importantly, without listeners. Women 18-54 tuning into the day didn’t want to hear the rhythmic music at night and vice-versa. After a couple of poor performances in the Arbitron ratings, the Program Director was fired, I was put in place as Program Director, and I was given the green light to make it a Top 40 Rhythmic Station with a focus on dance music full time.
Earl and I would drive around the state on the weekends and listen to what other stations were doing and I stole ideas from all of them. By the end of 1996 the station had a cohesive sound in both identity and music, was starting to get traction with the audience, and most importantly, started showing decent ratings giving us two things: more advertising dollars and “reporting status” in Radio and Records. Record companies didn’t care about radio stations that didn’t have reporting status. Once they found out who we were and that what we played matter, I was suddenly everyone record company rep’s best friend.
One of the challenges I faced at the time was filling in the back catalog with music from the mid to late 1980s. The disco stuff was easy to find; there were plenty of CD collections out at the time with the likes of Chic and Blondie and Pamala Stanley and Gloria Gaynor and the like. It was the dance music that had been released in the mid to late 1980s that was hard to find, as it didn’t make it to collections on CD yet and cassette singles sounded awful on the air.
Up until the days of Napster and Limewire (and I will never admit that I played music obtained through those services because of course I didn’t, wink wink), we relied on 12-inch singles found in record shops. I’d end up recording the 12-inch singles onto reel-to-reel tape and then editing down the longer formatted tracks to a friendly radio length. Because of this we would play versions that were familiar to listeners but weren’t quite the radio edit heard back when the songs were originally released. One or two of these edits caught the attention of record reps that were visiting the station and they made their way back to the record companies to get released on compilation albums or other music services.
One of the songs I had a really time getting my hands on didn’t actually do that well in U.S. Top 40 radio but plenty of folks knew it. (It had hit #40 on Top 40 radio in 1989). The song had done fairly well in U.S. clubs but had done really well in Canadian clubs, so there was enough familiarity with the track to put it into the back catalog. The 12-inch single was scarce, but I finally scored a copy while combing through the record collection of a club DJ. I never edited down the 5+ minute mix and instead just burned it as is to a CD-R; I figured the DJs could use the track to step away from the console to use the bathroom. We’d often jump in 20 seconds to start the song, but some of the jocks didn’t do that.
I first discovered the music of Anders Enger Jensen back when we lived in Chicago. I used to listen to his album “Retro Grooves, Vol. 3” with surprising regularity while walking the North Center and Lakeview neighborhoods surrounding our condo. His music is rooted in 80s and 90s synth pop and strikes very familiar chords in my love for music. His music continues to bring me joy.
One of his tracks on “Retro Grooves, Vol. 3” is called “A Song Long Ago”. The lyrics are melancholy but the production is beautiful. I can easily identify with the lyrics. The track reminds me of a lost ABBA track from the early 1980s. I enjoy the vibe.
From “Retro Grooves, Vol. 3”, here’s Anders Enger Jensen with “A Song Long Ago”. The track and album are also available through Apple Music and Spotify, as well as Band Camp.
I’ve always been a big fan of The Human League, and while it didn’t get the attention it deserved in 1990, “Heart Like A Wheel” has always been one of my favorites from the group. When I was in radio in the 1990s and early 2000s we had this in “gold rotation” on our dance leaning Top 40 Rhythmic Station. I always thought the 12-inch single extended mix had much more punch than the original radio edit, so I did some slicing of reel-to-reel tape to create a radio friendly length of the extended mix. This is what it sounded like.
Just a guy with a husband. We've been together 27 years and he still makes me see fireworks on a daily basis. Tech Guy. Open Data. Hackerish. Aviation Geek. Private Pilot. Storm Chaser. Weird? Eccentric!