Oh, Tom Cochrane, I love this song so much. I actually bought the cassette for “Mad Mad World” because of my love of this song. Which is saying something, since I didn’t really have the money to be buying tapes. And I can’t believe it’s been 25 years since this song came out. And while this song came out when I was in high school, it’s really college where I have my fondest memories of it.
When I was a freshman, I had the meal plan for the college cafeteria, Garvey Commons. Thinking back, I don’t think I appreciated how amazing that meal plan was. 3 squares a day, and it was all you could eat each time. Good lord, Tom Cochrane, I really did not appreciate what I had.
Anyway, besides being able to eat eggs any time I wanted, my favorite part of Garvey Commons was that they had a jukebox. For free! You could just go up there and play any of the songs on there for nary a quarter. As you can probably imagine, I took full advantage of the ability to play free music. There were three songs that I played every day: This song, “Strangers In The Night” by Frank Sinatra, and “Strokin'” by Clarence Carter. The first two I knew by heart. The last one, by Clarence Carter, I had selected on a whim the first time, but immediately fell in love with it. Only being 18 going on 19, I was about as mature as you would suspect, Tom Cochrane, so listening to Clarence Carter sing about makin’ love so graphically, well, I friggin’ loved it. It’s still one of the most amazing songs I’ve ever heard. It’s hard to pin down my favorite part of that song because the whole thing’s incredible, but I think it’s when he asks “Have you ever made love on a couch?!?!?!” as if making love on a couch is one of the most preposterously exotic places one could make love on, that’s right up there. Although when the po-lice shines his light in his face and asks him what he’s doing making love in the back seat of that car and Clarence proudly exclaims “I’m strokin’!”, that’s pretty great, too.
Anyway, Tom Cochrane, don’t mean to be spending this post that’s supposed to be about your song talking about another song, but whether you like it or not, “Life Is A Highway” and “Strokin'” are inextricably linked in my head for all of time. And while neither of those songs will ever wear out their welcome in my own head, back in college, many of my fellow Commoners did grow tired of my daily playlist. At one point, “Life Is A Highway” started skipping right around when you were singing “it’s in my blood and it’s all around”. And one douchebag unplugged the jukebox right in the middle of “Strokin'”, if you can believe that. I still remember that guy’s face. He was clearly a horrible human being.
Last thing about “Strokin'” and I’ll stop. So I’d never heard that song until I was 18 or 19, but at some point my wife and I were talking about it, and apparently, that song’s a staple at wedding dances in New Orleans, so she was familiar with it at a very young age. Another reason she’s a big city girl and I continue to remain a naive, befuddled farm boy.
Anyway, Tom Cochrane, thanks for making one of the greatest songs ever and for making every one of my college meals an adventure.