When I was living in Ann Arbor Michigan, we were close enough to Detroit to get WABX.
WABX was THE rock station and it was my station for the time in my life where I really discovered the importance of radio in my life. Sure, I had listened to radio before, made crappy homemade greatest hits tapes from it, but there is always that one moment in someone’s life when they discover all that radio has to offer. Suddenly I craved the sound of new bands, hot bands, classic rock and music news. Couldn’t get enough.
I heard songs that I never heard before when I lived in Indiana.
I vividly recall the first time I heard Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. I was actually taping a show (yes on cassette) and the DJ was playing the song. Just after the countdown part and before the lyrics proper began, during the bass windup, the record (yes there were playing vinyl) skipped. It went on for probably a full minute before the DJ discovered it was having an issue and got it past the skip. Not knowing the song I wasn’t aware that it was not supposed to be like that. I thought it was odd, but, it was Bowie after all. When the song was done the DJ laughed at himself and apologized.
I also remember hearing The Cars on that station. They were quirky and just rocking enough for my young sensibilities. I also heard Blondie. It was the season of New Wave and I was just impressionable enough to dig it.
I also remember hearing Queen doing “Dead On Time” on the radio. The lightning bolt noises at the end of the song blew my mind. I am pretty sure that is what led me to buy “Queen – Live Killers” which changed my life. Queen was one of my first collection bands, meaning I bought everything they had going all the way back to the first.
I also seem to recall that Steve Dahl was on the radio back then.
Yes, he was the guy responsible for Disco Demolition Night. He was in Detroit until 1978 then went to Chicago. Things are hazy for me on the timing, since I moved from Ann Arbor (WABX land) to Chicago, where I heard him on a station there.
For some reason I seem to recall Steve Dahl and Garry Meier having a commercial in movie trailers back then which included one of them hypnotizing a chicken. It was weird. Anyone remember that? Maybe I have the wrong guys…
at any rate, I remember listening to the radio while waiting for someone for an agonizingly long time and hearing Steely Dan do “Hey 19” for the first time. Whenever I hear it I think of sitting in an old Monte Carlo in a parking lot by the freeway. Strange what things stick in your head, but that is how it happens with radio.
When you are younger and don’t have much of your own music, everything seems new and dazzling. That is the lure of radio, and the power of it.
I ordered a WABX bumper sticker off of E-Bay for the man cave.
Evidently I am a nostalgic radio lover.