Category Archives: Shalamar

Radio II.1, side A, track 7: “cassette library compilation” by various artists and me

Oh, Columbia House Music Club, you were always such a temptation.  For years, you would send me solicitations offering 12 tapes for a penny, along with a huge sheet of stickers of all the albums I could get from you.  It was too good to be true, but it wasn’t too good to be true, right?  My dad informed me that it WAS too good to be true and tried to explain that I didn’t just get these tapes for a penny and that was it, I still had to by more tapes at the “regular club price” and if I didn’t send back my selection of the month card back in time, they’d also automatically ship me something I may not have even wanted.  And since this money was coming out of my parents’ pockets, your siren song of limitless tapes was always beyond my reach.

But after my parents got me my stereo system, and after I convinced them (i.e. whined a lot) that just getting Jan and Dean and Lovin’ Spoonful tapes from the bargain bin at Shopko wasn’t appropriate for a young man with a state-of-the-art Sanyo dual cassette AM/FM stereo with turntable, they finally grudgingly gave in (I could be very whiny. . .er. . .persuasive).  And so when Columbia House sent me their next solicitation, all those stickers were now cassettes I could actually own!  The pressure!  I could only pick 12 out of hundreds, and it was made very clear to me that after these 12 I wouldn’t be getting tapes any time soon (and I’d better be sure to send those cards back every month declining my selection). 

So I had to make some good picks, and as hip as I wanted to pretend I was, I actually didn’t know much about music beyond what I’d learned from my parents’ collection of vinyl, which included The Captain and Tenille, Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys and Eddie Rabbit.  And they didn’t have anything after 1985.  So I went with my gut and what I’d heard were good from cousins and aunts and uncles and friends from school.  And to this day, I think I did a pretty good job.  I got the soundtracks to “Top Gun” and “Footloose” and “Dancing On the Ceiling” by Lionel Richie and “Invisible Touch” by Genesis and “Different Light” by The Bangles and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson” and “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen (which was actually kind of defective and sounded warped but I didn’t dare let my parents know about that) and “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge and “True Blue” by Madonna (which I really only got because the cover to it looked sexy) and “Fore!” by Huey Lewis and the News. 

And I played the hell out of those tapes.  And I wanted to hear more.  And then I realized that I could tape songs off the radio, and I realized that I’d found an alternative to Columbia House.  I could make my own tapes, and it would only cost the price of some Sony blank tapes which were far cheaper than “regular club price”.  And since this was one of the few moments in my life where I showed any kind of fiscal responsibility, my parents were fine with buying me 3-packs and 5-packs of tapes for me to make my own non-Columbia House music. 

But I did still love my “real” tapes, and at one point I sat down and made myself a little compilation of all the songs on all my tapes, fast-forwarding and rewinding and recording just the singers singing the titles to their songs.  And eventually I no longer had the “real” tapes, but I still had my compilation to remind me that I shouldn’t have gotten rid of those tapes (except maybe for the Bruce Springsteen one since it didn’t play well) because man those were great songs.

My cassette library compilation

Highway to the danger zone,
Right into the danger zone,
On your mighty wings,
Playin’, playin’ with the boys,
Lead me on (lead me on),
Take my breath away,
Hot summer nights,
I can see the heaven in your eyes,
Through the fire, to the wire,
Oh, destination unknown,
You could fly if you’d only cut loose, footloose,
Let’s hear it for the boy, ah let’s give the boy a hand,
Oh, almost paradise, we’re knockin’ on heaven’s door,
I need a hero,
I’m holdin’ out for a hero ’til the end of the night,
Dancin’ in the sheets (dancin’ in the sheets),
Heaven helps the man who fights his fear,
Somebody’s eyes are watchin’,
Somebody’s eyes are seein’ me lovin’ him,
The girl gets around,
She knows what she likes, I got what she needs,
You can never, never, never ever, never, never, never ever,
Oh, what a feelin’, when you’re dancin’ on the ceilin’,
We have to say, se la, se la,
Ballerina girl, you are so lovely,
Don’t stop movin’ baby, tonight’s the night,
Deep river woman, lord I’m comin’ home to you,
There’s no need to worry, love will conquer all,
‘Cause tonight will be all right,
Say you, say me, say it for always,
That’s the way it should be,
All aboard the night train, like a smooth alligator,
Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.,
Come on baby, cover me,
Down to Darlington County, me and Wayne on the Fourth of July,
Workin’ on the highway pavin’ down the blacktop,
Workin’ on the highway all day long I don’t stop,
And I feel like I’m on a downbound train,
Oh I’m on fire, oh I’m on fire,
We’d always remember, no retreat baby no surrender,
Bobbie Jean,
When I look into your eyes,
I’m goin’ down, down, down, down,
I’m goin’ down, down, down, down,
Glory days, well they’ll pass you by,
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye,
Glory days, glory days,
This gun’s for hire even if we’re just dancin’ in the dark,
My hometown, my hometown, my hometown,
She seems to have an invisible touch,
She reaches in and grabs right hold’a your heart,
‘Cause tonight, tonight, tonight, oh,
Can’t you see this is the land of confusion,
You know I want you but I’m in too deep,
I won’t ever, no I’ll never get to know her,
Or be the cause of anything she does,
Here in the glow of the night,
Prime time, people are feelin’ better,
Prime time begins,
But the heart is not so smart,
Can’t always trust it,
No, the heart is not so smart,
I keep wonderin’ who’s holdin’ Donna now,
And I keep wonderin’ whose heart she’s knockin’ around,
You’ve got to give it up, I know you’re strong enough,
Single heart (single heart), looking for another,
You wear it well, you wear it well, you wear it well,
And the walls came tumbling down,
I want you, I need you to share my world,
Share my world,
Oh, to the beat of the rhythm of the night,
Dance until the morning light,
Forget about the worries on your mind,
You can leave them all behind,
Said you wanna be startin’ somethin’,
You got to be startin’ somethin’
Said you wanna be startin’ somethin’,
I need you night and day so baby be mine,
Baby you gotta be mine,
Because she’s mine,
The doggone girl is mine,
‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night,
Beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it,
No one wants to be defeated,
Billie Jean is not my lover,
She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one,
Why? Why? Just tell him it’s just human nature,
I want to love you (PYT), pretty young thing,
You will always be the lady in my life,
Step by step, rung by rung,
Climbing Jacob’s ladder,
I am happy to be stuck with you,
Whole lotta lovin’, you got a whole lotta lovin’ ta do,
Doin’ it all for my baby,
It’s hip to be square,
I know what I like, I know what I like,
I never walk alone,
The forest for the trees,
Everything will work out naturally,
It’s as simple as that,
Please papa don’t preach,
Open your heart to me, baby,
My love is dangerous, this is a bust,
Hope I live to tell,
Where’s the party?
True love, you’re the one I’m dreamin’ of,
La isla bonita,
Jimmy, Jimmy, oh Jimmy, Jimmy,
Love makes the world go ’round,
It’s just another manic Monday,
I see you in a different light

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