My Purple Funk: My Favorite Prince Songs of the Eighties

Well, I’ve spent the passed several days with severe back spasms. I hate it when they get extra bad because I will have many nights in a row where I won’t sleep much. Then, all of a sudden, I will have one day during which I will sleep nearly the whole day. I’m not sure why I’m in that kind of cycle, but I am. The other thing about my failed back syndrome is how I can barely walk a couple hundred feet before I am hurting. And I mean devastating pain that takes your breath way. So now, those that have know me a long time remember how much running, cycling, weight lifting & basketball playing I did. Now, I am a non-exercising gelatinous mess. Now, instead of burning the candle on both ends teaching and coaching, I am now researching rock music, which has always been my way of relaxation.


And all of this is in the middle of one of my all-time favorite rock artist’s death – Prince. I first heard his music on the radio during the winter of 1979-1980, when his song “I Wanna Be Your Lover” was a Top 15 hit. I loved the song, but when I saw him “perform” on American Bandstand, I became a fan. Someone was finally making an amalgam of all of the different genres of music I enjoyed into one party-time music. So, from his 1979 self-titled album through Controversy, his 1981 release, he remained one of my “secret artists”. But, then, as I wrote earlier, Prince release 1999, and it was all over for me. Prince was now up there in my Favorite Seven Artists, with Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Hall & Oates and Talking Heads. Now, I was beginning to collect everything Prince. But, this was going to be worse than the normal artist, since Prince was producing other artists, writing songs for other artists, and so on.

Today, I would like to present to you my Twenty Favorite Prince Songs of the Eighties.

20. “Dance with the Devil” (1989) Unreleased. This song was pulled from the Batman soundtrack because Prince felt it was too dark for the album. He replaced it with the cheesy “Batdance”. “Dance with the Devil” is a dark song with a Hendrixian guitar solo. The title was a take on a line that the Joker spoke in the movie. Try to find this one because it is worth it.

19. “The Cross” (1987) Sign O’ the Time. This bluesy song establishes his faith in this song, which was the climatic song on the Lovesexy Tour in 1988. Once again, here is another example of Prince’s mastery of the guitar.

18. “1999” (1982) 1999. This song kicked off the whole Prince-MTV relationship, though the song needed to be released twice before it became a Top 20 hit. This song could get every college dance going at Ball State.

17. “When You Were Mine” (1980) Dirty Mind. This song was never released, but it did show Prince’s mastery of new wave/power pop genres. The song has been covered by many, but may be best known as a Cyndi Lauper song on her She’s So Unusual album.

16. “D.M.S.R./Let’s Pretend We’re Married” (1982) 1999. This is Side 2 of 1999, and these two songs were a D.J.’s dancefloor dream. The crowds love this simply because it “had a good beat and was easy to dance to.”


15. “Controversy” (1981) Controversy. Mission accomplished! Prince started a controversy with this single and album. “Am I black or am I white? Am I straight or am I gay?” With lyrics like that knew he was courting controversy.

14. “She’s Always in My Hair” (1985) B-side of “Paisley Park”. Prince is known as a prolific artist, and this masterpiece as a B-side of a single proves this claim. You know, allegedly Prince created a song a day, so there could be all kinds of gems that still have not been released. During the 1980s, Prince created some fantastic songs that were relegated to B-side status. Still, this is Prince’s greatest B-side.


13. “Alphabet Street” (1988) Lovesexy. On the surface, this song sounds as if it were a Sesame Street song. But, upon closer scrutiny, this song has more to do with oral sex and should never be played on Sesame Street. Still, it is a fun dance song.

12. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (1979) Prince. For me, this is the song that jump-started my Prince fandom. The song was a little bit funk, a little bit rock, and a lotta bit of fun.

11. “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” (1987) Sign O’ the Times. This song begins as the ancestor of “When You Were Mine”, but does not stick to the three-minute power pop song but turns into a eight-minute psychedelic garage rock freak-out. This song would fit perfectly in a new Nuggets compilation if only Rhino Records would create a new collection.

10. “Erotic City” (1984) B-side of “Let’s Go Crazy”. Now, this song was played so much on the radio and at clubs that we could say the song was part of a double A-side. The real question about this song is “Does Prince say ‘funk’ or the f-bomb?” When you’re young, you prefer the latter. When you’re older, you kinda what the former.

9. “Purple Rain” (1984) Purple Rain. I know! How can I have the “Stairway to Heaven” of the ’80s down so low? I guess I am simply burned out on the song. Radio played the hell out of it. Consensus says it is Prince’s song. Oh well, I simply prefer eight others.

8. “The Beautiful Ones” (1984) Purple Rain. Never released as a single, this cut is probably the most emotionally powerful song on the album. I simply love to listen to this song, but does anyone else out there believe it would make a great metal song? Hey Mastodon! Or Metallica! Better yet, how about Anthrax? Someone make it happen.

7. “Kiss” (1986) Parade. Sure, this album supplemented that first crappy Prince movie, Under the Cherry Moon. Yet, this piece of stripped down funk rule the spring of ’86. What is it about Prince removing the bassline of song? He did it one other time.

6. “Let’s Go Crazy” (1984) Purple Rain. The album’s opener was a stunning anthem. From the warped televangelist opening to that Eddie Van Halen on Ritalin closing guitar solo, this song has a little something for every kind of music lover.


5. “U Got the Look” (1987) with Sheena Easton, Sign O’ the Times. Prince always seems to bring the naughty side of the women with whom he works. But this song exudes Prince’s brand of humor. C’mon, “the World Series of Love.” Hahaha!!!

prince - raspberry beret

4. “Raspberry Beret” (1985) Around the World in a Day. This is a funky slice of Beatlemania. It is simply brilliant.


3. “Sign O’ the Times” (1987) Sign O’ the Times. This song is the “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”/”What’s Goin’ On” of the 1980s, where Prince bemoans the societal issues of the day. Once again, this song only grew when he played it live.


2. “When Doves Cry” (1984) Purple Rain. The lead single off Prince’s masterpiece album, started and ended with a wailing guitar that sandwiched what might be Prince’s most personal lyrics every. And, this slice of funk was done without the bassline. The effect made the song much more eerie.


1. “Little Red Corvette” (1982) 1999. This is the song that launched Prince on MTV and into the Top 10. What a great song with a new look at the car as a sexual metaphor. Like many Prince songs of the 1980s, this song was both funky and totally rocked!

So much for my mourning trip through the 1980s. I hoping to put away this Purple Funk I am in. And, I hope it helps you as well.

I Want 2 See You Underneath the Purple Rain

I couldn’t believe the text I had just gotten. One of my long-time friends asked me if it was true that Prince was dead? I immediately turned on the TV to msnbc, and to only add to my shock I was hearing that Prince had indeed died at the age of 57. I could NOT believe what I was seeing. One of my long-time musical heroes was truly gone.

Prince 2016

I text my boys to see if they had heard, since the poor men had grown up hearing Prince music throughout the house. My youngest even said he was near tears when he walked into his class to teach. My oldest was “bummed”, which is his speak for sad. I am beyond bummed and nowhere near tears. I am numb, completely numb.

After watching the news coverage for a few minutes, I decided to walk the dogs to collect my thoughts for this blog. Sure, David Bowie’s death had hit me hard, but this was Prince! Prince got me through the Eighties. Prince was the only artist to truly take rock, New Wave, punk, funk, R&B, heartland rock, and whatever else he liked, and synthesized those influences into an amalgam that was called the Minneapolis sound, since that’s where Prince came from. His music and lyrics were a call for racial harmony, and, hell, he even lived that harmony in his band selection. Nearly every band with whom he performed was interracial and had men and women playing. Being from a predominately white town in the Midwest, I appreciated this racial unity and gender harmony.


Many people will look back to the summer of 1984 as the pinnacle of Prince’s career. He had number one songs with “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” (plus, a number 2 hit with “Purple Rain”), the number one album of the summer and fall with Purple Rain and the number one movie during the summer of Ghostbusters with Purple Rain. The man was seemingly unstoppable. All of his previous albums had been building toward Purple Rain. But he became an artist beyond reproach with everything he released in the aftermath.

He followed up the Purple Rain blockbuster with what Rolling Stone called a pastel Easter egg album called Around the World in a Day. While most did not care for this Sgt. Pepper/Paisley Underground-infused album, I darn near wore out my copy. I loved the psychedelic touches to his funk. And, as the Eighties progressed, that sound only grew. Sure, he made a clunker of a movie called Under the Cherry Moon, but the “soundtrack” to the movie, Parade, was a long-simmering masterpiece. It took us ten years to decipher how great that album truly was. Next, he released another double-album masterpiece, Sign ‘O’ the Times, which was a summation of everything from Purple Rain to the present.

Unfortunately, at the last minute late in 1987, Prince decided to pull the plug on what would have been another masterpiece of an album called The Black Album. Prince said he had a vision from God telling him to pull those dark forces off the shelves and replace it with something more spiritual. Rumors say it was due to Prince taking too much ecstasy. For whatever reason, a great was replaced by a more challenging album, Lovesexy, whose stock has been rising with music critics as the years pass. Eventually, Prince did release The Black Album to less fanfare in the Nineties than it deserved.


When the Eighties ended, so did Prince’s commercial appeal. Although he would remain prolific to the end, he would only intermittently achieve commercial success. Sure, his recent stuff has been lyrically homogenized, but who really could keep changing music? As we now know, no one can maintain that kind of impact forever. Heck, the Beatles may have made the best commercial decision to break up when they did, so we will only know their successful music. C’mon, their subsequent solo careers showed that their impact would have waned by the mid-Seventies with the occasional “comeback” every couple of years. Sound familiar? Uh, see the Rolling Stones’ career.

prince the dawn

We were blessed to have had this musical genius called Prince. Yes, I am very sad at his passing. But, my music room is full of vinyl albums, 12″ dance mixes, 7″ singles, CDs and mp3s of his music to last a lifetime. My advice is to find a bootleg of his Nineties output called The Dawn. This piece of masterwork was the whole reason changed his name to that symbol. It was supposed to be a triple-CD release, but the company rejected it. Subsequently, much of the material was released on three lesser albums: Come, Gold and Chaos & Disorder. I have heard a recreation of what that album supposedly was to sound like, and I think it is brilliant. To me, that album would have put him back on the map, commercially speaking. To me, that lost album is his most satisfying artistic vision of his career. You have to hear it to believe me, but he proves he is the funkmeister of our generation, as well as THE guitarist of our generation.

Prince’s death will put an end to his musical creativity. But, supposedly, he has over 500 songs left in his “vault”. That will remain to be seen, but at least we still have his fantastic library to pour through as we wish. Personally, I am sorry to see him gone, but I will continue to revel in his music until my own passing. RIP Prince.

This Is NOT a Cheap Trick

In the middle of October 1997, I had my usual weekend of no sports between my Cross Country and Basketball seasons. It was my weekend to stay with my dad, which was really Saturday night, since Friday had been the Sectional Cross Country meet, and I always liked to sleep in my bed after a sporting event. But, I also knew that this was new album weekend, not to sound like the guys on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and their “New Comics Wednesday”. But, I could usually count on getting one new album every other month when I went with Dad, which was kind of cool, all things considered, though I would have rather had my parents back together then.Cheap_Trick-logoOn “New Album Day”, Dad would take my brother and me to Service Merchandise (remember that place?) and let us get something. In the weeks leading up to this day, I was doing my due diligence by pouring over the album reviews in Creem, Circus and Rolling Stone magazines. In all three cases, they were pushing a relatively new band’s sophomore album. This band was from Rockford, Illinois, and was called Cheap Trick, and their new album was In Color. This album was getting great marks from the magazines, but I still wasn’t sure.

In those magazines, I learned about the dichotomy of their image: two guys who were the “sex symbols” and two guys who were the “music nerds”. Well, that appealed to me for some reason. The writers and critics all talked about the sense of humor in the band being sarcastic and parodist. Of course, even at the tender age of 14, those sensibilities appealed to me. Then, at the time, for some reason, the band was being lumped into the American brand of punk and new wave music. Finally, I got a look at their artwork of the album, and I was sold. This album had move to the top of the Keller list with a bullet.

Cheap_Trick_In_ColorWhen I got to the store, I noticed posters hanging up around the music section displaying the album cover. That was “cool enough” in my mind, seeing the “sexy half” of the band on the cover on motorcycles. So I flipped the album over. And, lo and behold, this was the image I saw.


I laughed and laughed! Now, that’s what I was talking about, putting the “nerds” upside down on mopeds in a black-and-white photo on the back in order to contrast the two halves of the band.

The only thing is that when I got the album home and gave it a listen, I heard a band that played and created with a unity that was unparalleled at the time and ever since. These guys were diving back into the music of their youth – the Beatles, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, Small Faces, the Move – assimilating that music and using it to create their own muscle power pop sound that would go on to influence new wave music, power pop music, hair metal music and alternative music. But, I did not realize Cheap Trick would go on to continue to influence musicians to this day. What I had on my turntable was an album called In Color, and it was blowing my mind.

Throughout the record, I heard potential hits, from “I Want You to Want Me” to “Southern Girls” to my personal favorite “Downed”. I was hooked. This band was playing directly in my undiscovered musical wheelhouse. From the opening chords of “Hello There” through the slamming ending of “So Good to See You”, and all points in between, I was hit with an album that could easily be the setlist of a concert that year.


No other band had a guitar hook that sounded like an old clock chiming the hours that Cheap Trick put into “Clock Strikes Ten.” They could blast the listener away with a punkish “You’re All Talk”, all the while creating a pure pop song that you were certain would pop in concert with “I Want You to Want Me.” And with songs like “Big Eyes”, “Oh Caroline” and “”Come On, Come On” rounding out the set, I knew I was listening to MY band.

During the ensuing years, many people have been disappointed with In Color‘s glossy production. The band even went as far as to re-record the whole album with Nirvana-producer Steve Albini in the mid-1990s in order to make it sound like it should. The album has never been released to the public, but bootleg copies can be found on the internet. The Albini-mix is much more muscular, and probably conveys what these songs actually sound like in concert than the original mix. Now, as to why this new production has never been released as been the speculation of many, but it may come down to the one reason that Cheap Trick never really took over the music world that many thought would, and that has to do with poor management and lukewarm backing from their label. If the life and times of the band known as Cheap Trick interests you at all, there is a fantastic book from the mid-1990s that covered the band as well as any musical artist before or after. The book is titled Reputation Is a Fragile Thing: The Story of Cheap Trick by Mike Hayes with Ken Sharp. Currently, I have seen the book listed on eBay from upwards of a $1000 (no kidding!). However, it was recently announced on Pop Geeks Heaven website run by Bruce Bodeen that a second run of the book will be released soon. You might look at Bruce’s great website about all things power pop in order to get the details.

Of course, since Cheap Trick was just recently inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (my faux boycott is now over!), they have become a “hot” commodity. On April 1, 2016, the band released their first new album of material since 2009’s great The Latest. The new album’s title is Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello. Plus, on Record Store Day, they had two special releases. First, they released a 10″ EP called Found New Parts, which had four new songs on it, three from the new album and one that was unreleased, titled “Arabesque”. The other RSD release with a double vinyl album release of their 1997 CD, The Complete Budokan Concert, which includes all of the music played for that immortalized Japanese audience from the 1979 classic album Cheap Trick at Budokan.

If you are not familiar with Cheap Trick, I can only encourage you to take the plunge and purchase one of their first five albums, which will give you the best overview of the band. If you were a fan, go back and listen to them to rekindle your friendship with the band’s music. Cheap Trick has the ability to cover all emotions from loneliness and sadness to joyfulness to party time! Plus, they are still together, without original drummer Bun E. Carlos, who has been replaced by guitarist Rick Nielson’s son Daxx, touring and knocking concert fans out with the energy. They are still a very vital band, though many of us have forgotten about them.

1983: The Summer My Musical Tastes Changed Forever

I needed a job for the summer of 1983, so I participated in a series of interviews that could allow me to spend the summer being a counselor at a summer camp. Most of these camps were sports camps. I was hoping to parlay my basketball, track & field, cross country, cycling and/or baseball backgrounds into a summer job. While I was interviewing for those kind of jobs, I was interviewed by a resort barely across the Wisconsin/Illinois state line. Once again, I was trying for a sports activity director job. Instead, I was offered a job as a waiter/busboy. Since I could make more money, I took the resort job.

Needless to say, the job was interesting. There was a definite “look” the employers were going for when you were hired for a position. Case in point the sports activity directors were some of the least athletic people I had ever met, but they looked athletic. The intelligent/cynical people were put in the dining room. I worked with young people from all over the Mid West, like Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, etc.

The work was demanding. Some weeks, your patrons were very demanding and simply enjoyed watching the workers jump through hoops. But, most were laidback and tipped you well. Of course, I got to know a group of people who were musicians. One young man in particular, his name was Ted, was a DJ as well as a musician. I loved talking with these people about popular music. They all believe there was two types of music: good and bad. If it moved you, it was good. If it sounded as though a small group of people were exploiting the talent and/or the listener, the music was bad. Simple enough. Now, I could intellectually justify sticking with my love of Styx all the while backing the whole punk movement. It was all pop music.

At the time, my favorite artists were The Police, Talking Heads, Tom Petty, Prince, Cheap Trick, Bruce Springsteen; you know, pretty much everyone I still listen to today. One day Ted came up to me, holding a cassette tape in his hand, yelling, “This is the greatest album of all time.” Now, I roomed with another blonde-headed guy whose name was Scott, so I was known as “Sid” up there. Ted continued, “Sid, pop it into your cassette player.”FG - Shake Some ActionSo, I popped the cassette in and pushed play. We were listening to an album from 1975 called Shake Some Action by a band called the Flamin’ Groovies. What I heard was a pure power pop album with all of the nods being made to ’60s artists such as The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces, and, of course, The Beatles. This album was true manna. I was hooked. How could I have missed this band? Well, radio didn’t play it, of course. Later, he introduced me to Big Star, Raspberries and so many other Power Pop bands, that music began to make sense to me. No longer was I in pursuit of the bands with a new sound, but bands that were able to take old influences and make them new.

A couple of weeks later, Ted came running up to my room yelling about another album that will blow my mind. This one was a compilation of ’60s songs done by artists who basically sounded like all of the current punk, new wave and power pop bands we were listening to that summer. The album was called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968. All of a sudden I was hearing songs that had been played at my parents’ schools during the sock hops I stayed for after my dad’s basketball games he coached. Memories came flooding back, along with sounds that were eerily similar to bands today. My transformation was complete. I was back to being a pop music aficionado and less of a classic rock person.


So, there you have it – my evolution as a music listener. I no longer was going to limit myself to what Q95 played. After that summer, I was diving headfirst into Motown, English Mod music, soul music, disco, funk, west coast hardcore punk, and all kinds of other types of music. My listening has become so much more pleasurable when I don’t limit myself. Hmmmm, maybe that should be my philosophy of life. 1983 was my year of enlightenment, I guess.

Ted, the greatest song of all-time is not the Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)”. I still say it’s the Raspberries’ “Go All the Way”. Agree to disagree, oh well.

Record Store Day 2016 Recap

Record Store Day 2016 was another fun day for me, though I physically paid dearly for it yesterday. Let’s just say that for an hour-and-twenty minutes of driving plus a couple hours of standing/slight walking resulted in my sleeping nearly all day long yesterday along with severe back spasms that are still blessing my life today. You see, every time I try to do something fun with family and friends I will be “down” sleeping and in severe pain. The pain is incomprehensible for most of you out there. It’s not a little headache pain nor the pain you feel when you sprain your ankle or break your wrist. This pain is on a whole new level, with a whole rating scale to use and everything. The scale runs from 0 to 10. 0 is the lowest, meaning you have NO pain whatsoever. 10 means that the pain is so intense that you are seeking help from an emergency room and have passed out due to the pain. Though my symptoms yesterday sound like a 10, they were not. I had not passed out; I was only sleeping. Simply put, I was at an 8 on the scale and nearing a 9, which would have required a visit to the ER. Fortunately, I only felt like I had played three hours of basketball, followed by a six-mile run, and finished up with someone beating my body with a baseball bat for a couple of hours. But, today, I feel a little better, so I am going to tell you about RSD 2016.

Saturday was a successful dayF for this frugal shopper. Unfortunately, I tend to stay away from the big album releases since they tend to be pretty expensive. That way I can focus on some special 7″ 45 rpm releases, 10″ EPs and maybe a single album here or there. In my opinion, the coolest purchase of the day was a special 45 release by The Monkees for my older son Graham. The vinyl is clear, but it has the Monkees guitar symbol jutting through the center of the record. It is such a beautiful record that I’m certain he will hang it in his home. For Seth, I purchased this year’s Frank Zappa 45 since he has a little Zappa RSD collection going throughout the last few years.

Me? I pretty much got what I was looking for. The first thing I found was the special 10″ Cheap Trick EP release called Found New Parts. It is the follow up to their 1980 10″ EP release called Found All the Parts. There are four songs on this new EP, three of which are on their new CD, along with one new song that was unreleased until Saturday. Being a huge Trick fan, I needed the record for my collection.

Five years ago, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers released a RSD 12″ EP called Kiss My Amps Live, that had songs from the band’s previous tour. This year, Tom & the boys made another live collection of songs entitled Kiss My Amps Live, Vol. 2, which was a full album. Well, when you have the first volume, the completist in my needs Volume 2. Now, the rest of my purchases were singles, also known as 45s. Eight years ago, Tom Petty got his original band, Mudcrutch, back together to create music. They released a brilliant, laidback southern rock-type of album. This year, Mudcrutch has reconvened to create their follow-up album. As a special teaser, the band release a 45 for RSD. It is a remake of a Heartbreakers B-side from 1985 finally recorded the correct way by Mudcrutch. The song is called “Trailers”, and I picked up a copy.

The rest of my purchases of special RSD 45s are from a special set of singles that Rhino Records has been releasing since 2011. The series is known as the “Side By Side” Series. First of all, a song is selected by the original artist and printed on Side 1. Then, Side 2 is reserved for a “cool” cover version of the song, and the single is printed on some crazy colored vinyl. For example, my favorite record of the day was from this collection. Side 1 was “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads, record way back in 1983. The Side 2 cover version was done by Echosmith, of “Cool Kids” fame. The vinyl of the record is half opaque white and half a clear cool mint blue color. Since records today are being made of thicker, higher grade viny, the sound is much better than the original 1983 vinyl album.

The other singles in the series are Bee Gees/Faith No More doing “I Started a Joke” (mint green vinyl), Albert King/The Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s recordings of “Born Under a Bad Sign” (olive green & white mix vinyl), “Truck Drivin’ Man” by Willie Nelson & Uncle Tupelo (brown & black mix vinyl) and “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon/Flamin’ Groovies (a werewolf picture disc – very cool artwork!). And for the past four year, the Series has included a “Mystery Single”. This year it was a clear red vinyl version of MC5 and Melvins doing their renditions of “Rocket Reducer No. 62”.

The “big” records that I passed on for budgetary reasons that I will keep an eye out for in the next couple of years are a bunch of double albums or expensive albums on colored vinyl, or some combination of the two. Those releases for which I will continue pining include Big Star’s The Concert at Columbia, Missouri (2xLP); Cheap Trick’s The Complete Budokan Concert (2xLP); Goodfriend, a double-album remix of his Girlfriend album by Matthew Sweet; Fleetwood Mac’s alternative mix to their successful 1979 double album Tusk called Alternative Tusk, and a special double album addition to the Nuggets collections of Sixties songs that were forerunners to the punk, alternative, power pop & metal genres of the late 70s and beyond called Nuggets: Hallucinations.

Record Store Day is a fun day for record collecting. Plus, you can meet new friends and join them in their quests to discover the gems for which they are looking. In the past, I have visited Luna Music in Broad Ripple, Indy CD & Vinyl in Broad Ripple, The Exchange in Castleton and Village Green Records in Muncie, which is quickly becoming a favorite place of mine at which to shop and browse. Still, wherever you frequent, at least go out to support your favorite independent record. Keeping vinyl alive keeps a whole era of history alive as well.

Record Store Day: My Favorite Holiday

In 2010, my older son, Graham, said he had requested a local record store to reserve a record being released on this new day called Record Store Day. Record Store Day is the third Saturday of every April and was created to celebrate vinyl records and independent record stores, initially in the U.S.A., and now, throughout the world. It was the music world’s response to Free Comic Book Day held by those Comic Book stores popularized on the T.V. show The Big Bang Theory.

Now, the first year the “holiday” was celebrated was 2007, though it did not become a nationally-slash-internationally recognized event until the following year in 2008. Yet, I still had not heard of this thing called Record Store Day until Graham called me about it in 2010. Now, I am not sure if the record stores in Indianapolis had been celebrating this event before 2010, but that’s when Graham told me about it. And, the big thing was that he had been chosen by the store to be able to purchase the only copy of an unreleased Rolling Stones song from the Exile on Main Street sessions called “Plundered My Soul”. He told me that single was being held for him to go purchase, which meant that I would buy it since he was a poor college student. He then emailed a link to the other special record collector’s vinyl to be released that year. I noticed that R.E.M.’s first EP called Chronic Town was being released in a small number on blue vinyl. It turns out that both records were numbered to verify their authenticity about the “special-ness” of that release.

So, I brought my younger son, Seth, with me to pick up Graham to travel around Indy to a couple of record stores in search of the R.E.M. album, which would be difficult to find since we did not request it in the past month. First, we picked up the Stone’s record, but that store did not have R.E.M. any more. Then, it was on to the next store. Oh, cool! They had the debut album of The Band at the next store. We bought it even though it wasn’t a special release for that day. So, we jumped back in the car and resumed our quest. Believe it or not, we found the R.E.M. album at a store in downtown Indy. But, during that quest, the three of us had so much fun that we were all hooked on Record Store Day.

In the subsequent years, the three of us would frequent to find what was going to be released on that year’s RSD. Each year we plotted which records we were interested in buying since they were no longer taking requests for these records. We would leave early to get in line to wait for the 8 AM door opening and wait our turns to get in the store. By 2014, we were waiting an hour to get in. So, we started looking for stores that were flying under the radar, so to speak, in order to get in quickly and not stand for a long time. Remember, I have a bad back with constant back spasms, and Seth has permanent nerve damage in his right ankle that causes him to walk with a cane, so neither of us liked to stand in line. But, we have found those stores that would have short lines, until others found out about those stores. Then, it was on to another.

But, the best part was hanging out with my boys. We would try to find the lamest artists’ music at the store and try to sneak it in one of the others stack to be purchased. We had so much fun, and I will always treasure those days. After a little shopping, we would go grab some breakfast, then go visit some more shops, until after a couple of hours that Seth and I would be physically spent.

From 2010 to 2015, that was the Keller men’s big bonding day. There were no wives or girlfriends, just the three of us. Once, my nephew, the boys’ cousin, Michael, joined us. Michael seemed to enjoy it. Another time, the three of us talked my brother into joining us. Needless to say, he was not impressed. Oh well! Personally, I love the day more to be with the boys, as adults, than the records.

Tomorrow is Record Store Day 2016. But, I will be flying solo. My boys are growing up. Graham and his wife Kaitlyn have moved out of state. He is hoping to see how it goes in his new town. And even though Seth lives nearby, he has something else going on tomorrow, so he can’t go either. Although I am still excited by RSD, it will not be the same of three adult men flitting around Central Indiana checking out various independent record stores to see what special releases they have and what old vinyl they have. This was the moment in life that I was not looking forward to, but my boys are growing up and getting on with their lives.

At least I will ALWAYS have the memories of the three of us on Record Store Days 2010 through 2015, as well as the Black Friday celebrations we have done between the years of 2012 and 2015. I hope record stores will still be standing after I am long gone, so my boys can build similar memories that I have had with them over the years. Both of them had grown up going with me to record stores long before this faux-holiday ever started. Knowing my progeny, they will always be looking for music. I’m going to miss you two this year! I love you guys!

What’s Going on Here? Thanksgiving Break 1982

I came home for Thanksgiving Break in 1982, with my dirty laundry, records and stereo in tow. The best part about my college experience was the fact that we had one whole we off. A whole week! So, what’s a college “man” going to do with a whole week off? In my case, find some college from my hometown and cruise the record shops. At least, that’s what we did before Thanksgiving.

While in one store, I kept eying a double album that was priced at a single album’s price. The album cover was some psychedelic take on a purple version of space with faraway white dots representing the stars of the universe. Then, using various G-, PG-, R- and subtly X-rated characters to spell out “Prince 1999”. Before leaving on our excursion, I had read about this album. I knew Rolling Stone gave it a 4 out of 5 stars rating. So, I decided I was going to purchase this album.

Now, I was familiar with Prince’s work. I loved his song “I Wanna Be Your Lover” from the winter of 1979/1980. Then, I knew about the controversy about his 1980 album Dirty Mind, and I had listened to his next album called, ironically enough, Controversy. But, I was not prepared for what I had just prepared. So, that week, I listened to the whole double album five or six times. Sides 1 and 2 are five classic songs that could keep a whole fraternity party dancing all night long. I’m not kidding! Side 1 consists of what seems to be one long dance version of a small medley of songs that are now considered classics: “1999”, “Little Red Corvette” and “Delirious”. That album side could be played nearly anywhere without any problems.

But, to me, Side 2 is THE side to dance to. Side 2 consists of only two songs, once again seguing into each other. The first song is “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, and the second song is “D.M.S.R.” [FYI: D is for Dance, M is for Music, S is for Sex and R is for Romance.] Now, Side 2 is more adult oriented with its content. But, you can sure burn a dance floor with this album side. Being a socially-backward guy, I was taken aback the first time I heard college women singing the vulgar lyrics of both songs at the top of their lungs.

Now, I do enjoy Sides 3 and 4, but they weren’t made for the dance floor. Those sides did hint at what Prince would be doing the rest of the 1980s.

What was strange is that yet another dance-pop oriented album was about to be released the following week. I was prepared to pick that album up, since I had enjoyed his previous album, Off the Wall. Michael Jackson had made an album in 1979 that I was still using to get the frat dance floor going nearly three years later. Now, he was dropping this new album called Thriller. Even though the first song he released a lame duet with the great Paul McCartney called “The Girl Is Mine”.

But, remember, Off the Wall had some great dance songs. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, “Rock with You”, the title song, they were all great for dance mixes. But, I was not ready for what Thriller was going to hold. Fortunately for Michael Jackson, “The Girl Is Mine” is the third song on Side 1. Because, the first two songs are “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and “Baby Be Mine” were great dance songs. And, Side 1 ended with what I thought was somewhat of a novelty song, “Thriller”. Now, that song is ubiquitous because of a video that was going to be released almost a year later. In the meantime, I was lukewarm on the album. So, I flipped the album over to play Side 2.

Side 2 was another great dance side. Look at this line-up of songs: “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, “Human Nature”, “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” and “The Lady in My Life”. Side 1 still had the dance fire-brand “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, but the dance floor could be filled with Side 2’s line-up of songs.

So, all of a sudden, now I had two of the greatest dance albums of all-time in my album collection, and they both came out within a month of being released. For the rest of the decade, the two would be competing with and against each other musically. Remember that Eddie Van Halen guitar solo in “Beat It”? Prince had his own in “Little Red Corvette”? Remember the new wave sounds of Prince’s “Delirious” that Michael rode his own new wave with “P.Y.T.” It was like Michael Jackson and Prince were listening to every different kind of radio and were now incorporating these sounds as they changed rock, dance, R&B, well, music throughout the 1980s.

Looking back, Michael musically peaked with Thriller, while Prince was still an album away from peaking with Purple Rain. The two would be intertwined throughout the ’80s and into the ’90s. Prince did his work by his prolific output, while Michael milked each album with every hit song he could find. But, there was no denying what those two did for music and the reprocussions that we are still experiencing today. We all finally got pop music that incorporated all genres of music. The irony was that the two albums that changed music forever was released within a month of each other. I just can’t escaped that fact.

Before They Make Me Run

In mid-June 1978, I walked into one of the two independent record stores in town. As I was browsing through the albums, I had brought enough money to purchase three albums. I was on a mission to purchase two specific albums: REO Speedwagon’s You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish and Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf. Those two were definite. The third one was going to be one in which I was going to purchase according to the recommendation of the guy working there that day.

So, I walked up to the clerk and asked him which album was “hot” right now. He told me that I didn’t want the hot album since it was the Grease soundtrack. Instead, he lead me to the just-released Rolling Stones’ album Some Girls. The Stones?!?! The clerk and I had just been disparaging the Stones’ 1977 live album, Love You Live. We had been playing the album in the store just six months earlier, when neither of us could take it any more. Sorry Stones fans, especially to you, Troy Swafford, but that album sucked. So, totally on the clerk’s endorsement, I bought the album. Since I had purchased the album BEFORE the Stones got sued over the unauthorized use of famous women’s images on the cover, I still have an unedited cover. Lucky me…I guess. Unfortunately, thousands of records with this cover are still available so it is not as rare as I hoped it would.

Needless to say, when I got home, I listened to REO first, which was a pretty good listen. Then, it was on to Meat Loaf. I was surprised when I found out that Bat Out of Hell was actually a good album. After Meat was done cooking, it was time for the Stones. I was not ready for what I was about to hear. When the needle popped into the grooves of the vinyl, I heard the opening bottom end of one of the band’s greatest song, “Miss You”. The rock gods were stealing back the dance floor, much as Blondie would do later in the year with “Heart of Glass”. Okay, I was hooked, but I also knew these guys were pushing 40, and no rock artists of that age had created new, exciting music. At least, that’s what the Sex Pistols and rock critic Lester Bangs were telling me.

So, if “Miss You” was the Stones statement on disco and the dance world and how those genres were long part of the rock world, the next song, “When the Whip Comes Down” starts to reclaim the punk sound from the punks themselves. Yes, the lyrics were alluding to masochism, but it was also a statement to the Sex Pistols, The Clash and the rest of the UK punk scene since it seemed to have a ground zero of Malcolm McLaren’s fashion boutique called SEX. The clothing sold there included sadomasochism wardrobe, so with that knowledge, you begin to understand the politics of that song, not only by incorporating punk’s sound, but also by making a veiled threat against the punks who were attempting to throw the Stones off their throne.

As Side One plays on, the Stones remind us a couple of things about them. First, they were the masters of rock music as they blast through a Motown cover of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” reminding everyone that the Stones grew up in the R&B and Blues worlds. Then, song four, “Some Girls”, that the Stones were the original punks as the use foul language and chauvinistic lyrics against the groupies that they have come to know over the years. And, finally, the Stones end Side One with “Lies”, with lyrics that are aimed at their detractors: the punks and the critics. Basically, Side One was the Rolling Stones reclaiming their crown over the rock world.

As the turntable clicked off as Side One ended, I bounced across my old teenager bedroom to flip that album over in anticipation. I was hooked on this album. But, my relatively small sample of album listens had taught me that occasionally you will get an album that has one great side and one clunker side. So, as Side Two began, I was dumbfounded by the music of that first song. Wait! The Stones were playing country. I knew that they dabbled in country in the late-1960s/early-1970s while they were hanging out with than country gadfly Gram Parsons. But, during those years, their version of country was way different than what I was hearing as “Far Away Eyes” played on. Then, as I began to listen more closely to the lyrics that were being sloppily sung, I noticed parody and sarcasm, both which were right in my wheelhouse. Not only were these “old” geezers showing me that they could play any genre, but they also had mastered parody in their lyrics about televangelists.

After that aside, the Stones got back to the hard, fast rocking that the punks were trying to make theirs. But all of a sudden, The Stones were showing they still had life in their instruments. They burn through “Respectable”, and then through Keith Richard’s cowboy song “Before They Make Me Run”. The latter song became one of my running songs that year, especially when I took a recorded tape of the album to Colorado for that national track meet. When I had that song in my mind, I ran well. The beat seemed conducive to running, at least it worked for me.

After those two rocking songs, the Stones gave us a ballad, “Beast of Burden”. But, come on! This is NOT going to be a normal ballad. Nope, Mick and Keith dipped back into the masochistic lyrics to provide lyrics that worked on three levels: the level to offend, the veiled directives to the UK punks and a word or two to those groupies hanging around them with the hope of one the Stones falling in love with them. It wasn’t going to happen.

And, just when I thought the Stones would cruise out the last song on the album, they saved arguably the best song for last: “Shattered”. That song is an amalgam of nearly everything they did on the album. They were “out-punking” the punks, out dancing the dancers and out-rocker the-now-classic rockers. The Rolling Stones were closing out their Some Girls album with one of their greatest songs of all-time.

When the album ended, I was blown away. My jaw was probably lying on the floor. All I could do was stand up, grab my basketball and go outside to shoot 500 shots. There was nothing else I could do when I had just listened to one of the great albums of all-time. By the way, I will experience this kind of euphoria just a couple of more times between that moment and the end of 1984. There are many albums that I love to listen to, but there are few that totally blew my minds. And, Some Girls was my first. Remember, I had no intention in buying this album when I arrived at the record store that day.

The Summer of ’79

If you were in high school during the Summer of ’79 then you’re middle aged, possibly even considered “old”. It was the last summer of the “Me Decade”, though I felt like we’ve become more egocentric in the previous decades than compared to the ’70s. I’ll leave that one for the sociologists and historians to hash out. I’m hear to talk about rock music in all of its forms of glory.

During the Summer of ’79, my musical horizon expanded seemingly in a logarithmic fashion. All of a sudden, Central Indiana radio was blaring new wave, power pop, rap, funk, and for a very short time you thought that maybe the local stations were catching up to the rest of the world. It was simply that summer, but what a summer it was, musically speaking. That summer, I discovered Talking Heads (Fear of Music), Joe Jackson (Look Sharp!), Sugarhill Gang (“Rapper’s Delight”), Frank Zappa (“Dancing Fool” from Sheik Yer Bouti), The Cars (Candy-o), Bram Tchaikovsky (“Girl of My Dreams” and “Lady from the U.S.A.”), Funkadelic (“Aqua Boogie”), just to name a few. One of my all-time favorite bands became my favorite band that summer, Cheap Trick, due to the success of “I Want You to Want Me” and their ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’. But, that summer belonged to a band that I feel gets a hard knock. That band blasted out of L.A. and seemed to be playing everywhere I went that summer. The Summer of ’79 was the summer that young people my age got a STD-sounding disease called The Knack. “My Sharona” was the first single and became the biggest selling song of the year. Their debut album was the great Get the Knack. And, all of us teens, well, we got the whole thing.

But, for some reason, the Boomers didn’t get the Knack. I read poor review after poor review of the album in my sacred music magazines. Rolling Stone and Creem magazines were blasting the Knack’s appropriation of the Beatles’ images, when we all understood the parody and how the Knack was honoring the Beatles. The critics hated the Beatesque sound, while the youth understood the whole joke. But, what is forgotten by everyone is that their debut album is a straight-up, bona fied classic.

The whole purpose of New Wave or Power Pop or Punk or whatever you want to call the “alternative” music made back then was post-modern in both sound and image. Bands that sold far less than the Knack were praised for this appropriation. Yes, the Knack got bad advise from their management team to keep them from interviews in big magazines (Rolling Stone has always acted like a little girl who doesn’t get their way when artists turn down their requests for interviews. The magazine will always try to destroy the artist’s career in retribution. And, the turned down a spot on Saturday Night Live, as well. But, remember this: Aykroyd and Belushi were gone from the cast that year, so they felt their exposure was limited. Still, the members have all stated regret. The last straw happened when the band’s management turned down a performance spot on the Grammy Awards Show in March 1980. The final nail in their coffin was that the Knack listened to their label to release another album in less than a year. Everyone could have used a break, especially the creative force in the Knack, Doug Fieger. To compensate, the members of the band turned to drugs to pick them up. But, as we know now, drugs ain’t good for anybody.

However, the Knack did give us one of the finest albums from our youth. Get the Knack is loaded with great songs, with nods toward their ’60s music heroes The Who, The Kinks and, yes, the Beatles, as well as Badfinger and Raspberries. The best part of the album is the discovery that all the members of the Knack are terrific musicians.

Get the Knack opens with one of the greatest opening four songs that I have EVER heard on an album. The album kicks off with the rocking, seemingly amphetamine-charged “Let Me Out”. This was a call-to-arms of a generation tired of endless guitar solos and virtuoso drum solos. Now, we were getting a simple, straight-ahead rock song that would be a fantastic concert opener.

Their is barely a break between “Let Me Out” and the next song, “Your Number or Your Name”. Now, the momentum slows half a step, as the singer (Fieger) pleads to a girl that he just needs to know her phone number or, at the very least, her name. Guys can all relate to that moment when you met a beautiful young lady and get had to get her number or her name. Most of the time, I was too awkward to talk to the girl, so I simply tortured myself as I left the dance.

The third song was Fieger’s first song whose title is the name of a girl, “Oh Tara”. Fieger is great at voicing the unrequited love of a teenage boy for a teenage girl.

It is with the fourth song that we begin to see the nasty side of Fieger. The song is “(She’s So) Selfish”. The singer has had it with his own ineptitude with talking with women. So, the problem as got to be the girl. Now, this girl has a reputation, whether that reputation is deserved or not is up for debate, but she won’t show her reputation to the sing er, so he’s pissed. So, what’s a pissed off teenage male to do? Uh, write a song knocking the girl’s image to smithereens. Classy me? No! But, isn’t it what every teenage guy feels when in that situation? Unfortunately, yes. The only thing is that we don’t write a highly infectious song set to a modified Bo Diddley beat at a break neck pace.

On the next-to-last song of Side 1, the Knack turns down the speed a bit for their first ballad of the album. The song, “Maybe Tonight”, has some Beatlesque effects, all the while giving a passing nod to a couple other power pop ancestors, Small Faces and the Hollies. Once again the singer is putting his, uh, horniness to words and music, but with a sense of resignation that his elusive dream surrounding his virginity will never take place.

Finally, Side 1 ends with the great male putdown to an “experienced” girl who shuns the singer’s advances with “Good Girls Don’t”. So, the singer takes out this girl that he is only dating for one reason, and guess what? She’s too easy for the singer! Wow! The guy really wants romance before the connection as his first. So, he’s never going to be a guy who accumulates may notches on his bedpost with this attitude. I will always remember getting so mad that our high school radio station General Manager/Teacher would not let us play that song. As a teen, I was appalled, but as a parent I get it. Well, that radio experience is a whole other story. Next!

Of course, we get up, turn over the album, and cue the needle to play the first song on Side 2, “My Sharona”. What can I possibly say about “My Sharona” that hasn’t been said before? First, it is a great, great song. It should be remembered as one of the greatest of all Fieger and Sharona did get together for a short yet intense relationship that burned out within a couple of years.

Now, its on Side 2 that the album begins to loose a little momentum. But, how could a band on their debut album be expected to maintain the high quality of their first seven songs? “Heatbeat” is a run-of-the-mill power pop song that is nice, but not of the high quality set by Side 1 and “Sharona”. The same can be said for the third song on Side 2, “Siamese Twins (The Monkey and Me)”. The songs are serviceable, but not classic. I could say that they are the type of songs that when played live, the band can stretch it’s collective muscles and display their strengths in a concert setting. But, the studio versions are a little on the boring side.

Next, we get our third song about a specific girl, “Lucinda”. It is a great power pop love song to a girl. My guess is that Fieger used Lucinda in stead of Sharona. Regardless, the song is bitter.power pop ballad song that contains an awesome guitar solo that utilizes a “talk box,” as popularized by Peter Frampton on “Do You Feel Like I Do”. I honestly always have felt this song was placed so the listen could catch his or her breath before the last two songs.

On the next-to-last song on the album, “That’s What the Little Girls Do”, Fieger is singing about all the different way in which he has had his heart broken by a girl. He does a great job putting into words how guys get not only their hearts broken by girls, but also their egos. No one has said that in a song until the Knack did.

To close out the album, the Knack offers up “Frustrated”. This is the “Satisfaction” for the older Generation X-ers. Now, Fieger has expressed our true emotions about all the parameters of a relationship. Yes, guys are wanting “it” all the time back then, and most of the girls in their teens want their Prince Charmings and unicorns and fireworks that everyone has a different opinion how the deed should go down, leading to all of the tension of the lyrics.

1979 holds a special place in my heart from a musical standpoint. I was beginning to dabble in the non-AOR world of punk, funk, power pop and anything else that was not REO, Styx, Foreigner, Neil Diamond, etc. I could not wait to get to college to see how my musical tastes diversified. And, Get the Knack played a huge role in the development. It’s a shame that the critics played such a heinous role in the demise of the Knack. We could have really had the voice of the older Gen X generation before U2 and R.E.M. and Tom Petty all moved in to fill that void after the Knack exploded and the Clash imploded and the Police popped after being somewhat bloated. Forget “Knuke the Knack”! Long live Get the Knack!

You Wanted the Best, and You Got It!

Let’s go back to Christmas 1975. It seemed as though everyone in my world all got a copy of the classic album ‘Kiss Alive!’ My neighbor friend, Kim & Lori Dunwiddie, got a copy. My good buddy Mike Bond also got a copy. Even though that album was at the top of my Christmas wishlist, I did not receive a copy, though I did get Elton John’s ‘Greatest Hits’ & ‘Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy’. By most standards, I had a fantastic Christmas. But, being a self-centered, bratty teen, I pined for ‘Kiss Alive!’ However, the big ticket item that I got for Christmas 1975 was a combination record player, cassette player/recorder & 8-track tape player that was built like a radio station’s console, complete with a working microphone. So, that DJ record system would come into play soon enough

Now, when it came to Christmas Breaks, Mike Bond and I traded back and forth staying at each others’ house. On New Year’s Eve that year, Mike was at my house. We had planned a fun night of “DJ-ing”, listening to the 1975 year-end music countdown, listening to his copy of ‘Kiss Alive!’, watching ‘Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve’ & a special Bay City Rollers concert recording that played at 1 AM New Year’s Day right after the ‘Dick Clark’ special. When you are hyperactive teenage boys, all of that is possible!

But, to be honest, we DJ-ed most of the night. We did a Top 10 countdown with Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite” being the number one song that year. I don’t remember the order of the songs, but I do know that KC & the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight” and “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers were on that list. Of course, we recorded the whole show, which we thought was brilliant but, in retrospect, it was probably a squirrelly teenage boy mess.

So, what was it about ‘Kiss Alive!’ that appealed to teenagers back then? First, the music was aggressive, simple and fun. There was no mixture of rock and roll with some vaudeville showmanship, which is what truly captured our imaginations. From the start of the album with JR Smalling’s now classic introduction, “You wanted the best, and you got it. The hottest band in the land…KISS!” all the way through the last song “Let Me Go Rock and Roll”, the listener was hit over the head with simple hard rock songs that paid homage to glitter albums and songs by great artists such as Slade and the New York Dolls. Then, inside the gatefold album were concert images of an audience. Inside, you could read personalized notes from each band member to you. On the back cover was a photo of a packed crowd of the audience from a concert venue. But, in the front of that photo was a huge sign of hand-drawn faces of the members of KISS with the band’s name above the faces. The sign is being held by some teenage males ready for the concert.

Then, the band had the brilliant idea to include a small program that showed the band in action. You saw the demon spitting blood or getting ready to breathe fire. You can also see the cat playing drums on a high raiser, or Space Ace playing a guitar that was shooting out fireworks. How could all of the photos, the facial make-up and the hard rock pop songs not capture the imagination of a teenager, especially the males.

The music was simple, plodding music that was played aggressively at a loud volume. Something else that captured my imagination was Paul Stanley’s between-song banter with the crowd. The whole double-album could capture a teen’s imagination. Side One was perfectly sequenced to capture my attention, from the opening number of “Deuce”, through “Strutter”, “Got to Choose”, “Hotter Than Hell” to the last song on that side, “Firehouse”. For me, the middle two sides lost a little of the momentum set by Side One. The highlights of Sides Two and Three were “C’mon and Love Me” and “Black Diamond”. But the momentum was recaptured on Side Four.

Side Four begins slowly with “Rock Bottom” but builds with each successive song. Paul Stanley’s introduction to “Cold Gin” is as classic as the song. The third song is the one we have all been waiting for, “Rock and Roll All Nite”. Paul introduces the song, then the band joins together to blast the song into the listener’s chest and works its way down, making you want to both dance and make-out with that special girl you couldn’t even begin to talk to, even though you two have been “going steady” since the beginning of the school year. The whole concert ends with “Let Me Go Rock and Roll”, a call-to-arms to all teens listening to join their fanclub called “The Kiss Army”.

All in all, the album changed everything. Like I said, I was listening to the Bay City Rollers (though I think the early stuff by the band is some of power pop’s finest material) and mostly Top 40 music until “Kiss Alive!” came along. After that album, my tastes began to move in all directions. Within the next year, I will be listening to Rush, Thin Lizzy, Parliament, Ramones, Queen, et al. Still, ‘Kiss Alive!’ is the album that changed my musical tastes forever. It’s no wonder that so many people my age started metal bandsin the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Over time, I have come to enjoy the CD version of this album because you can listen to the complete concert without ever needing to “flip” sides. Still, I still love vinyl because of the warmth of the sound. One last thing: Thanks Ace, Gene, Paul & Peter for opening up my musical world.