Leading up to 1986 music to me was just something on the radio in mom or dads car, nothing more. I recall hearing “one night in Bangkok" and thought ‘what a weird sounding song’, but, that's what they played on the radio so that's what I heard.
Then my older sister brought home a cassette of some band called AC/DC… but I didn't get it. I should add that I was 9 going on 10. We didn't have MTV where I grew up, so everything was word of mouth, we did have “Friday Night Videos" but you had to stay up late to watch. Friday rolled around, I was awake I turn on FNV… and my life was about to change and I didn't even know it…
On my television I see a scrawny blonde haired guy and all these gorgeous women...I was hooked!!! David Lee Roth “California Girls". Amazing, why wasn't I hearing this on the radio? Did they not like it? I didn't have those answers, my mother listened to country so she didn't like it anyway.
Come to find out my sister had “Crazy from the heat “ cassette, so I got to listen to “Just a gigolo” , again I was amazed (had no idea what a gigolo was lol) but wow! What a great song!
One evening in the spring/ early summer we were all in our backyard with my sister's boombox playing the radio. While us and the neighbor who was my age were playing sports. Good summer fun for us country boys, his older brother came over presumably to collect his brother (or hit on my sister ..) I knew he liked some odd bands, (I'd seen his cassette collection) he had strange bands. Judas Priest (I recall thinking that was a dirty band name for some reason?
Maybe the mention of Judas) KEEL, some band with a red and white cover. So I asked him about DLR. He's says “Yeah Dave is great! I've been a fan for years"
Now, I thought this guy was a new guy but I didn't say anything because an older kid was being cool with me. That's when my neighbor friend handed me a cassette and said
“put this on"
So I pop in the cassette, hit play…
I can still smell the campfire we had going The fresh cut grass
That sweet fresh air Still hear that keyboard Made me want to fly
“oh my god, what IS this? “ “Van Halen"
“you just asked about David lee Roth?... You don't know Van Halen? “... “Dave used to be the singer of Van Halen…”
I was shocked.
The next day at the store with mom, I begged her to let me get “5150". I succeeded! YES! Once we got home I ran to my room and popped that tape in and cranked..it...UP. I was hooked! I memorized every word to every song. I could recite the song titles in order without having the tape case with me. I could tell you who played which instrument in the band, and who the singer was. “Summer nights" became my favorite song. I was completely hooked. I played and played and played that tape…”dreams" still takes me back…
Later that summer we were camping (sleeping in tents in the backyard lol) all the neighbor boys my older sister, older brother and me. We had the boombox going “5150" was playing, it was great! The tape ends, someone changed it to something else, that's when I heard “Panama" and “Jump" for the first time. I liked both, but neither moved me the way “5150" did. That was the night the cemented my love of music. After “1984" ended, my neighbor said
“check this out" and threw me a tape, the cover had what looked like four ugly girls on the cover. So I hit play…
“you gotta cry tough out on the streets…”
I believe I kept that cassette, I may still have it! So my introduction to hair was technically DLR, but Poison cemented my love. That summer
It all takes me back.
I've since grown to respect the early Van Halen. I still prefer Sammy over Dave, and I'm ok with that. I absolutely love Dave's solo stuff, and not so much of Sammys. But again...
Those smells Those sounds
Those “hot summer nights"
Hair Band Heaven