This is the ninth entry in a “soundtrack of my life” project — one song that is representative of each year of my life since about 1977, when I was five years old and was approximately the time when I have specific memories of music.
This song was huge at Wurzburg American High School, and the people who managed to get ahold of it on mix tapes didn’t give it away freely. I can’t remember the name of the guy I begged my copy of the tape from; I can picture his face, but can’t for the life of me remember his name. I just remember he had a Jheri curl with a pick in it at all times. 🙂 Anyway, I managed to get ahold of this song toward the end of my tenure at WAHS, just a few months before my dad was transferred and we moved back to the U.S. Since the Internet didn’t exist, you couldn’t just look up the song lyrics; I remember listening to this song repeatedly and trying to write down all the lyrics so I could learn to sing along. Chris Grammiccioni and I compared notes on this a few times; he was attempting the same project and was the one who informed me that it was not “snatched cold cheese when the cops ain’t lookin’,” but “gold chains.” In retrospect, that makes significantly more sense. So, thanks Chris.
The tape eventually got lost, and I went many years without hearing this song. I managed to find it again in the late 1990s on Napster, during one of my random “hey, I remember this song, let’s see if I can find it” moments at work one afternoon. I still have it in my MP3 library on my computers, and it’s a lot of fun when it makes an appearance during a long afternoon at work. This is a great song, and a near-perfect example of mid-1980s rap awesomeness.
Another serious candidate for the 1985 position on this list was Jermaine Jackson’s Dynamite; it’s pretty much Jermaine’s only really great song, and I still love singing along with it to this day. Plus, the video is completely 1980s bat-shit crazy, which is a nice bonus. Jermaine looks like an Alley Viper.
The Soundtrack of My Life
1977: “Yesterday When I Was Young,” by Roy Clark
1978: “Main Title” by John Williams (“Star Wars” theme)
1979: “The Gambler,” by Kenny Rogers
1980: “The Imperial March,” by John Williams
1981: “I Love a Rainy Night,” by Eddie Rabbit
1982: “The Number of the Beast,” by Iron Maiden
1983: “Beat It,” by Michael Jackson
1984: “Rock Box,” by Run D.M.C.
1985: “Boogie Down Bronx,” by Man Parrish