I had another one of those driving and music moments this morning, but this one kind of pissed me off. I have found a few “oldies” stations that I listen to on and off when I am not listening to sports radio or a newly rediscovered old CD. There are three basic stations with non-current music that I enjoy listening to. Jack-FM, WLS-FM, and the one I was listening to this morning 100.3. I have no idea what their call letter are, but they claim to be an 80’s and early 90’s station. Their tag line is Feel Good Favorites. Well I wasn’t feeling so good after what I heard this morning. As I was pulling out of the gas station, they were just coming out of a commercial break and the next song started up.
Stomp, stomp, clap. Stomp, stomp, clap.
In high school, you couldn’t go to a basketball or football game without the classic beginning to Queen’s We will Rock You exciting the crowd at various points during the night. I was quite surprised years later when my oldest daughter was a member of her high school dance squad (I learned very quickly that they are not called pom-pom squads anymore) that they still use the same tactic to rile up the crowd even now. I had really not been feeling good, and I wasn’t quite in the mood for that type of up lifting, so I was about to change the station when Freddie Mercury started his a cappella lyrics.
Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise,
Playin’ in the streets gonna be a big man some day
For some reason I stopped. Not necessarily because I like the song, but because I remembered the crossover. As we all know, We Will Rock You was just half of the anthem. After a great Brian May guitar solo to finish the first song, we are instantly thrust into We Are the Champions.
I’ve paid my dues,
Time after time,
I’ve done my sentence,
But committed no crime.
Although I never thought these songs were some of Queen’s best, the David Bowie/Queen collaboration Under Pressure tops the list for me, they maintain a place in history where times were much simpler and they were indeed “Feel Good Favorites” as the station had promised. So I turned up the radio waited for the crossover. Brian May’s guitar was now screaming so I turned it up even more, and then;
Kelly Clarkson? What the………
Since U Been Gone? You have got to be kidding me. There was nothing feeling very good just then. I had been cheated! Was Kelly Clarkson even alive in the 80’s? Where were my Champions? Like Peanut butter & Jelly or Batman & Robin, the two songs go together. In my personal world of music history, there are three recording of “paired” songs that should never be broken apart. We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions would definitely be one of them. My sister Carrie had a 45 with the two songs, one on each side, and it used to aggravate me just having to flip it over to hear the other side. In total, both songs were less than five minutes. Would it have killed them to put them together and choose another B-Side?
In frustration, I reached down in the car and grabbed one of those old CDs I was mentioning. This one just happened to have the second of my song duos that should not be broken up, and I desperately needed to hear my crossover and to get Kelly Clarkson the hell off my radio. The album is Journey’s Infinity and the songs are of course Feeling That Way and Anytime. This was actually the first album I ever bought with my own money, and much of the reason that I bought it was because of these two songs. I skipped right past Lights, another great early Journey song and started my songs. First a little piano and then;
Opened my eyes to a new kind of day,
All of the good times that you saved,
Are you feeling,
You feeling that way too,
Or am I just,
Am I just a fool
Many people don’t know this, but that is not Steve Perry singing. Steve Perry only sang the chorus of the song, with the rest of the vocals being provided by Gregg Rolie. In fact, Rolie also sings the lead vocals on Anytime with Perry just adding back-up along with the rest of the band. Infinity was actually Journey’s fourth album, but the first to feature Steve Perry. The band was originally formed in 1973 by former Santana members Rolie and guitarist Neal Schon, but they produced little sales and almost no airplay from their first three albums. Steve Perry was added to the band at the suggestion of the record label in an effort to boost sales, and Rolie eventually left the band before the height of their popularity in the 80’s. But despite the mega sales of many of the band’s future endeavours, Infinity still stands in my opinion as the band greatest accomplishment.
I was actually quite please with myself for having the songs so close at hand to save my day, and as the second song finished I suddenly remembered the third song. For some reason that I have never been able to explain to myself, this one hit wonder has always been an all time favorite of mine. Like a pizza puff, there is really no value to the song other than it is just a lot of fun. The lyrics were goofy and hard to understand, and there was really nothing new or innovative about the music. I am not even sure if the band really qualifies as a one hit wonder since there were actually two songs, although unlike the previous two combos, these two were always intended to be played together. The band was The Kings, and their debut album was simply entitled The Kings Are Here. The songs were the fast paced and irrefutably enjoyable This Beat Goes On/Switching to Glide. The song hit the airwaves like a bulldozer back in 1980, and was played just as heavily on the hard rock stations like WLUP as it was on the more mainstream pop stations like WLS. I remember that they made quite a splash on American Bandstand even though they were Canadian and that the camera had a hard time following them because they jumped around so much. I actually saw this band live way back when, out on Navy Pier before it was remodeled. Back then it was the host to Chicago Fest, and The Kings played on the Rock Stage earlier in the day, but my friend Jimmy and I had actually hopped the train from Wheaton that day to see Alice Cooper on the Main Stage. I don’t even think I told my mom were I was going.
But just as quickly as The Kings hit the airwaves, they also disappeared. And the song seemed to disappear with them. Unlike Queen’s We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions or Journey’s Feeling That Way/Anytime, This Beat Goes On/Switching to Glide seemed to just vanish. You don’t even hear it on those “oldies” stations. So when I got to work, I had to give it a try, and I looked up the band and song, and you will never believe what I found. The Kings are still at it. They still play shows and turn out music in and around their home base of Toronto. They are even available on iTunes if you care to look them up. But for those like me who still don’t own an I-Pod, here is a link to the band’s website and a video for the song. It is a compilation of the band playing the tune over the years including footage from that American Bandstand show.
Enjoy it. Because this beat does go on.