Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rock me tonight

In today's music section of the A.V. Club, Noel very kindly validates my 15-year-old self's taste by reviewing a 30th-anniversary reissue of one of the most important albums of my pre-majority. I don't remember how I acquired a copy of Billy Squier's Don't Say No. I just know I didn't buy it -- I didn't buy any albums for myself until I got my driver's license and headed to Cat Records to pick up ELO's Time later in 1981. Probably I won it in a radio station promotion. Between the ages of 12 and 20 I won a lot of things that way, including a copy of Phil Seymour's classic power pop debut, tickets to see Don Henley and Tom Petty, and a New Year's Eve trip to Los Angeles.

At any rate, that album became central to my 1981 self. And when a Squier concert was announced for my hometown, it became my mission to convince my parents to let me go. Not easy when the act in question was heavy, sexually-tinged rock. I remember a session where I played tracks from the album in my room for my parents to hear. But for whatever reason, they finally agreed. And I did get to see that show at the Roundhouse, with Ratt opening.

It was hard to have a supercool teenage experience in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the early 1980s. Some people manage a time and place where their enthusiasms match up perfectly with the cultural cachet to be validated by subsequent generations. I had Billy Squier and ELO; my much more sophisticated boyfriend at the time had King Crimson and Utopia. So it's nice to have a moment to look back and say yeah, those may not have been the coolest times in the world, but the things we loved were worth it in their way. We need not be ashamed that our adoration of them formed us.

1 comment:

Greg Dunlap said...

I saw Billy Squier and Ratt on that same tour in Chicago at Poplar Creek! I love Don't Say No, I'll go to bat for that album any day.