Talking movies, music and other close encounters of the social media kind.
ROBBIE ROBERTSON – ROBBIE ROBERTSON (1987)
Summer of 1987/88. Was listening to a lot of blues music amid a time of high school angst and teenage rebellion. I’d watched Martin Scorsese’s film ‘The Color of Money’ and loved the music soundtrack which was done by Robbie Robertson, so got his solo album which came out at the same time. Filled with etheral beauty and a haunting ache of modern blues, I felt like I was being transported to some mythic America. ‘Showdown at Big Sky’ was like being in the middle of an epic Sergio Leone Western and the haunting ’Somewhere Down the Crazy River‘ with it’s seductive narration the track just oozes sexual desire and mystery in one hot, fever dream. It still remains one of my all time favourite music tracks.
For one young adolescent – listening to that album, that summer, was one epic ecsape.
Listen to Showdown At Big Sky:
Listen to Somewhere Down the Crazy River:
PURPLE RAIN SOUNDTRACK – PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION (1984)
Mix the soul antics of James Brown. Rock guitar skill and theatrics of Jimi Hendrix. The beat and groove of Sly & the Family Stone. The best Motown and Stax melodies. And you get this devilish fusion of sexually charged rock, soul and funk.
It was 1984 and it was the first cassette tape I ever bought. And the first rated film I saw. I’ve never recovered.
0U812 – VAN HALEN (1988)
This was my ‘get psyched up’ album. The album I’d listen to before running out on the rugby field for the Logan Park High School First Fifteen. Tracks ’Mine All Mine’ and ‘All Fired Up (Naturally Wired)’ definitely got you in that frame of mind.
Listen to Mine All Mine:
But it’s also the cheesy power ballad album of ‘When It’s Love’. It’s also the beach, beers, surfing and Summer party album when I listen to ‘Cabo Wabo’.
Listen to When It’s Love:
Listen to Cabo Wabo:
It sounded like Eddie Van Halen and the boys weren’t taking it too seriously and just having a lot of fun. And in 1988, at that point in time – I just wanted to join that party.
TUNNEL OF LOVE – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (1987)
I bought this cassette in 1987, after watching the ’Tunnel of Love’ music video one Sunday night on ‘Radio With Pictures.’ With songs ‘Tougher Than the Rest’, ‘Brilliant Disguise’ and one of my favourite (and saddest songs) of the time, ‘One Step Up’, the Boss made the themes of manhood, relationships, breaking up and vulnerability all that more personal, haunting and poetic. But I was still in High School. what the hell did I know about these subjects as a 16 year old? I was still trying to figure out the subjects of trigonometry and accounting back then. Now 31 years later – those songs still resonate, as I’m trying to figure the subject of life out.
Listen to Tunnel of Love:
Listen to One Step Up:
DREAM POLICE – CHEAP TRICK (1979)
Mt Cook School Fair. Bought this album for done dirt cheap. Had great rock riffs with Beatlesque pop melodies and Clash punk attitude to match. And drummer Bun E Carlos was one of my first drum heroes. One cool cat and dug that he could play drum solos and calmly smoke a cigarette at the same time.
Listen to Dream Police:
DESTROYER – KISS (1976)
The Demon on bass. Cat-Man on drums. The Star-Child on lead vocal and rhythm. And the Space-Man on lead guitar. These creatures of the night were right up there with Spider-Man, Superman, Iron-Man and Doctor Strange as my favourite superheroes back in 1978. They just happened to play rock music.
Listen to Detroit Rock City:
DEREK & THE DOMINOS – LAYLA & OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS (1971 / listened to this in 1987)
‘Layla’ by Derek & the Dominos was my introduction to the Blues. I got heavily into it when high school mate Roger introduced me to the music of Eric Clapton. Eric was the ’Derek’ in the Dominos line-up, and I remember buying this double-album at the Disk Den Records Store on George St in Dunedin in 1987 (it was great to see the store still there when I was back down there last Summer). With Clapton shredding it up, with another rock god Duane Allmann on slide guitar, rock & blues had never sounded so sweet.
Listen to Layla:
THE CROSSING – BIG COUNTRY (1983)
1983. My older brother bought a Sony Walkman (which was like owning the latest Apple or Samsung smartphone today) and one of the cassette tapes I listen to on his walkman was “The Crossing” by Big Country from his tape collection. In many ways my interest in rock music was triggered by listening to his music collection which at that time had albums and tapes from Pink Floyd, KISS, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, Grace Jones, Boston, Dire Straits, The Tubes, The Specials, Talking Heads… and this one. When I first listened to this it blew me away. One of those rare albums where I listened and liked every track. It had a unique scottish/celtic rock sound with a tough swagger underneath the tender melodies. If William Wallace from the film ‘Braveheart’ formed a rock band – it would’ve taken the form of Big Country.
Listen to In a Big Country:
STEEL WHEELS – THE ROLLING STONES (1989)
I remember listening to their songs on the radio in my primary school days of the mid 1970s. ’Angie’, ’Miss You’ ‘Start Me Up’ ‘Waiting on a Friend ‘ ’Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Undercover of the Night’ were personal favourites – but it wasn’t until 1989 that I actually got round to buying my first Rolling Stones album. And it was this one. Many more came after that.
Listen to Rock and a Hard Place (From Steel Wheels):
THE END OF THE INNOCENCE – DON HENLEY (1989)
Late 1989. My last year at Logan Park High School and the family are preparing for the big move from Dunedin back to Wellington. The prospect of going to Victoria University and a government job in the Audit Office awaited.
It was also the end of my teenage wonder years. I remember that last day of high school. The last day for the Class of 89. Saying goodbye to good mates after 3 years with a final game of touch rugby. With a pass, a laugh and a smile, high school was finally over and the teenage angst was done with – but also with a solemn look, a firm hand shake, a wave (and sometimes even a hug) this would be the last time we’d all see each other – before university, then adulthood, mortgages and families would slowly over time – take over. So this appropriately titled album takes me back to that year. That time. That place. Like most of these albums of my youth.
Listen to The End Of The Innocence: