don’t you (forget about me).

As I start this blog post, it’s in the 7:00pm hour on Sunday, February 26th, 2017, and during this time for the better part of the past 21 years, for the folks of Portland, Maine and beyond, I’d be playing a lexicon of the great 80s music you remember and much more on my little 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio).  More on the amazing last STUCK IN THE 80s show in a bit.

Once the show ended, I wanted to take a couple of weeks off from the blog, though truth be told, I’ve been thinking about this post since before the last show even aired.

original STUCK logo

The original STUCK IN THE 80s logo…

After nearly 21 years, over a thousand shows, thousands of requests, tens of thousands of songs played, these two weeks later, it’s still hard to believe that the last STUCK IN THE 80s has aired on WMPG, a radio station that has been like a second home for me for nearly half my life.  Though I’m still considered a volunteer there, I’ll miss being a regular part of it.

Back in August 2015, I first announced that I would be ending the show at the end of August 2016 after 20 years on WMPG, but in April 2016, I decided I wasn’t ready to end the show yet.  The show started part-time in the Spring of 1996 (I was 29 years old), and full-time on Sundays in the Fall of 1996.  When I realized that my 50th birthday in 2017 fell on a Sunday, it just felt right; it felt cathartic to end the show then.  I’m still happy with that decision.  But the last weekend for the show wasn’t without its moments.

omg-snow

This didn’t exactly happen here in Maine the weekend of the last STUCK IN THE 80s on WMPG, but it wasn’t too far off…

Many months ago, I half-joked about the last show, saying, “Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a blizzard and I couldn’t do my last show?”  Well…I’m not sure if it was an official blizzard in Portland, Maine, but the weather was more blizzard-like than blizzard-lite.  I always planned on co-hosting my last show with my dear, dear friends and regular STUCK co-hosts, Hope and Shawn.  Shawn lives in Portland, and Hope (who did a touching radio tribute for me in November 2016 and put together a wonderful tribute video for me recently) traveled all the way from Springfield, MA to be there.   I’m so grateful to both of them.

bayside-bowl-2-11-17

Hope, me and Shawn, having a fun time at Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine 2.11.2017.

That Saturday night (2.11.2017) before the last show, I had planned on a “cheers and thanks” get-together at a Portland venue, but with the inclement weather, most folks weren’t able to attend.  The last show’s attendance was another story.

Before the last show could happen, though, I needed to contact WMPG’s fantastic Program Director, Jessica, to see if the station was going to be shut down due to the storm, which was in full force before Sunday night.  Jessica was indeed planning on shutting down the station but knew it was my last show that night, and was kind enough to let Hope, Shawn and I go on with the last STUCK IN THE 80s and then shut the station down, which was actually kinda cool in a way.

parting-shot-2-12-17

The show’s STUCK IN THE 80s “Parting Shot” playlist featured songs Hope and Shawn wanted to hear, and songs that meant a lot to me over the years (and many of those songs have appeared on this blog so far): 

  • ALPHAVILLE – FOREVER YOUNG (SPECIAL EXTENDED MIX) (1984) – This Cold War Classic was part of the inspiration for my blog.
  • BOOK OF LOVE – MODIGLIANI (LOST IN YOUR EYES) (1986 / 1987) – One of my “Desert Island” songs, or rather, one of the songs I would want to have with me if I was stranded on a desert island.
  • BLONDIE – DREAMING (1979) – Another of my “Desert Island” songs, this is my all-time favorite Blondie song, from the Fall of 1979.  I remember it well.
  • THE ENGLISH BEAT – I CONFESS (DAVE ALLEN REMIX) (1982) – One of my best memories during the show was interviewing and meeting Dave Wakeling in 2009.  I’ve seen him and the band perform in Portland almost every year since.  Hearing this song live gives me such joy!
  • THE CLASH – THIS IS RADIO CLASH (1981) – Released as a stand-alone single between 1980’s SANDINISTA! and 1982’s COMBAT ROCK, this was requested for DJ HopeyT!
  • BAUHAUS – SPIRIT (ALTERNATIVE VERSION) (1982) – The original version from THE SKY’S GONE OUT and requested for DJ Shawn!
  • PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION – TAKE ME WITH U (1984 / 1985) – This gem from PURPLE RAIN is one of my all-time favorite Prince songs that doesn’t get nearly enough love as it should, so I wanted to play it.
  • THE THE – THIS IS THE DAY (EXTENDED 12” MIX) (1983) – A true statement that night…  The end of an era and the beginning of a new one…
  • TALKING HEADS FEAT. JOHN GOODMAN – PEOPLE LIKE US (1986) – My favorite version of this spirited T-Heads gem from TRUE STORIES…
  • JOE JACKSON – CANCER – Recorded live during the NIGHT AND DAY tour on 5/8/83 at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, Australia.  One of my all-time favorites (of many) by Joe Jackson.
  • DAVID BOWIE feat. THOMAS DOLBY – HEROES – Like many others, David Bowie’s sad passing in 2016 did a number on me.  But, ever since, I’ve been inspired too.  On July 13th, 1985 (at LIVE AID), he dedicated this song to his son, “to all our children, and the children of the world.”
  • ROBYN HITCHCOCK – CHINESE WATER PYTHON (1990) – One of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, from one of the most brilliant singer / songwriter / storytellers in the world.
  • THE DREAM ACADEMY – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME GET WHAT I WANT (instrumental version) (1985 / 1986) – I couldn’t leave STUCK IN THE 80s on WMPG without playing this gorgeous Smiths cover by one of my favorite 80s bands, and from a pivotal scene in one of my favorite John Hughes films (FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF).
  • INXS – DON’T CHANGE (1982 / 1983) – A favorite gem from my favorite album by my favorite band…
  • PET SHOP BOYS – WEST END GIRLS (1986) – I remember hearing this for the first time like it was yesterday, and it was around this time 31 years ago…
  • YELLO – DOMINGO (1985) – When DJ Hope and her sister, DJ Weez, teamed up for a 4-hour edition of her awesome show, POWERHAUS, in early 2016, they played this song.  I don’t know how it was off my radar for so long, but I’m glad it’s there now!
  • THE KLF feat. TAMMY WYNETTE – JUSTIFIED & ANCIENT (12” MIX) (1991) – The origins of this song date back to 1987, when The KLF were still The Timelords.  One of THE best one-time collaborations of all-time.
  • PETER GABRIEL – IN YOUR EYES (2011 NEW BLOOD ORCHESTRAL VERSION) – Hope and I were so glad to see Peter Gabriel perform in 2016, but I wish I had also seen him on this tour, featuring orchestral versions of his amazing songs.  This is my favorite, originally from 1986’s brilliant SO album.
  • CYNDI LAUPER – TIME AFTER TIME (1983 / 1984) – Meeting and interviewing Cyndi Lauper in 2002 was a moment, much like Cyndi herself, that I’ll treasure forever.
  • SIMPLE MINDS – A BRASS BAND IN AFRICA (1985) – This amazing instrumental was the B-side of “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”
  • SIMPLE MINDS – DON’T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME) – Recorded live from The Ahoy in Rotterdam, 12.3.1985.  My favorite song for all-time.

The response to the last STUCK IN THE 80s on WMPG was incredibly overwhelming and heartfelt.  It was prolly the most-listened-to show I’ve ever had.  Wanted to share just some of the truly amazing and kind comments shared by my WMPG family, friends and fans:

  • “Better safe than sorry, I suppose…  Better to Be Stuck in the 80’s than in the low teens and a blizzard…  Big shout out to Ron for all his years on the air, and his show to end all shows, tonight… at least for a day or two…  cheers!”
  • “Thank you Ron.  Our Sunday nights won’t be the same without you.”
  • “Ron …….Rock it….tear the roof off……and then shut it down buddy!”
  • “What an end to a great run.  SHUT IT DOWN, Ron!”
  • “What a way to go – a birthday, a blizzard, and then shutting down the station.  Tonight will be epic – thank you for the tunes and enjoy the next great adventures in Life!”
  • “Thanks Ron for one last – and hopefully not final – Sunday night kitchen dance party.”
  • “Ron, Sunday nights will not be the same.  Thank you so much.  It has been a pleasure listening to your programs.  It was a thrill to program and co-host a show.  You will be missed.  All the best in what lies ahead.”
  • “Wow your birthday, last show and an epic nor’easter on its way.  You certainly know how to party!!!!”
  • “Congrats on such a great show.  I’ll miss tuning in to you.”
  • “Happy birthday Ron!  Forever grateful for your show!  You truly are the King of the 80’s!”
  • “What the hell am I supposed to do on Sunday evenings; be sociable?”
  • “REALITY sets in as Sunday evening approaches without STUCK IN THE 80s.  It’s kinda going to be like a zombie achieving consciousness and understanding that everyone’s a zombie and there are no fresh brains.”
  • “You’re gonna get me crying again…forget you?  You, Hope and Shawn were our Sunday nights….we’ll never forget.”
  • “This will be a last show you can never forget!”
  • “Happy Birthday, Ron! Congratulations on an incredible radio run!”
  • “This is the end of an era!!  No 80s show on the radio even came close to yours.  The research, the knowledge and the vast music catalog are unparalleled.  Sad to see it go, but glad you gave Portland a proper 80s experience for so many years.  I hope the next phase in your life is great as well.”
  • “What do you do when the radio show you love and have been listening to for the last 15-plus years goes silent (Wow, Ron, you really went out in dramatic fashion, this blizzard and all!)?!  Will and I miss you already!  Thank you so much, Ron – all the best to your next chapter!”
  • “Happy Birthday to you, my brother!  Today is bittersweet for sure.  Can’t wait for your next musical adventure.  Peace & Love (and birthday spankings) to you!”
  • “Mike drop!!! Thanks for 20 years Ron & crew!!!”
  • “Ron does final show.  Shuts down transmitter.  /mic drop/”  (more on that in a bit…)
me-shaxx-whitney

DJ Shaxx, Whitney and me, 1.29.2017…

And from my radio neighbor for the past 11 months, host of the wonderful LEFT OF THE DIAL, the incredibly talented DJ Shaxx:

“First, Happy birthday, friend!

“Can’t believe I won’t be there tonight for you to pass the broadcasting baton to me as I begin LEFT OF THE DIAL.  One of the reasons I love doing my show is that it has always followed STUCK IN THE 80s.  I come into the studio on a wave of positivity and grooving to your music; your legendary presence in the big chair as I walk into the on air studio.  Your personality and music has always helped me start my show with a bang.  In fact, my intro, my first song… you’re the audience.  I have so much enjoyed our conversations transitioning between shows.  And then, as you hit the road, I continue to spin music and speak on the mic and imagine you driving up interstate 295.

“With your departure, Ron Raymond Jr., a big part of what I do will change.

“Changes…  The only constant in life, right?  But change is good.  I’m excited for you and the changes coming up in your life.  The opportunities for great things to happen.  Your future is bright, Ronnie.  You gotta wear shades.

“Man, I’m gonna miss you.  I will miss your DJ mentorship, extensive knowledge and impeccable taste in music.  I will miss your humor and your kindness.

“Thank you for all that you’ve given to WMPG.  Thank you for sharing your great, great knowledge of the 80s every week.  You can feel it tonight.  Everyone tuning in.  Theirs are invisible airwaves crackling with life.  Ripe and tender, whistling with energy (as Geddy Lee would sing).  Thanks for carrying on that great Spirit of Radio.  Because of what you’ve done.  It will live on.  For a long, long time.  Someday inhabitants of a distant universe will be hearing these broadcasts and they will say, ‘Geez!  These people are stuck in the 80s.  We must rescue them.’  And then our planet will never be the same.

“Excelsior!”

stuck-collage-v-1

When you host a radio show for as long as I did with STUCK IN THE 80s, I had 20 years of thank-you’s and shout-outs to announce.  Of course, I wasn’t able to get to everyone.  That alone would have taken a whole entire show.  The last of my deserved thank-you’s were dedicated to two of my dearest and closest friends in the whole world – DJs extraordinaire Hope and Shawn, who I’d like to truly love to thank again, for their love and knowledge of music and the 80s, their mad DJ skillz, and their passion, dedication and innumerable contributions to STUCK IN THE 80s!  I couldn’t have done it all these years without them!  (BTW, at the end of the show, since we were shutting down the station, Hope came back on the air and said, “STUCK IN THE 80s OUT!”  And then, in sorta dramatic fashion, Shawn and I did drop out mics…  It was great.)

shawn-me-hope-2-12-17

Shawn, me and Hope, WMPG-FM and WMPG.org, 2.12.2017, hiding from the blizzard outside and truly STUCK IN THE 80s!

For over a year now, people have been asking me why I’m ending the show.  Well, there’s a number of reasons, but mainly, for now, I want to take a break and take some time for me, do some screenwriting, maybe some voiceover work, continue with the little bloggy thing here, and with me turning 50 a couple of weeks ago, to figure out the next step of my path in this next chapter of my life. 

stuck-in-the-80s-20-years

Thank you, for 20 years and then some…

I don’t know where, and I don’t know when, but STUCK IN THE 80s will be back, I guaRONtee.  I’ll be back too.  And don’t worry ‘bout a thing, ‘cause every little thing is gonna be alright.  And please know that STUCK IN THE 80s has been the proudest moment of the first half of my life.  Thank you.  I love you and I’ll miss you all.

So, until the next time you hear me on your radio, take care, be good, talk hard, and don’t you forget about me.  I’ll catch you on the flip side.  And as Mr. David Bowie once said, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”  So stay tuned…

shawn-hope-me

Hope and Shawn, I couldn’t have done it without you.  Thank you!

Advertisements

(real) one-hit wonder of the week – “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” | THE KORGIS | 1980 / 1981.

Between late 1979 and the end of 1989, there were nearly 500 (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s that reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just one time, a list that includes Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Timbuk 3, The Church, Bronski Beat, Nik Kershaw, The Buggles, The Waitresses, Ultravox and two different bands named The Silencers.  Once a week, I’ll highlight a (real) one-hit wonder for you.

One of those (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s – the British Pop band, The Korgis – debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 this week in 1980 with their lone American hit, “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” (from the album, DUMB WAITERS).

dumb-waiters

Ever hear a song for the first time and know instantly that you’ll love it forever?  Well, that’s how I felt the first time I heard “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime,” a simple song that apparently only took singer and songwriter James Warren 10 to 15 minutes to write. 

What I didn’t learn until much later is that the instrument played after each chorus is an 18-string Chinese zither, an instrument in the guitar family, or more appropriately, the cittern family.  A cittern is an instrument that dates back to the time of the Renaissance (14th through 17th centuries). 

guzheng1

A Chinese zither (guzheng).

The Chinese zither used in “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” is also known as a guzheng, which could possibly be the oldest instrument in history, and whose history apparently dates even further back than the cittern; I read as far back as 2500 years.  Pretty impressive.  Also impressive is the fact it was used on a successful Pop song in 1980.

“Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” would go on to spend a couple of weeks at No. 18 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 around the 1981 New Year’s holiday and spent a total of 19 weeks on the chart.  Though the band would have a couple of other hits in their U.K. homeland, this was their only worldwide hit.

everybodys-got-to-learn

Around the globe, “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” reached No. 5 in the U.K. and Ireland, No. 6 in Switzerland, No. 11 in Australia and Holland, No. 12 in New Zealand, No. 14 in Belgium, No. 16 in Canada, three weeks at No. 1 in Spain, and a whopping nine weeks at No. 1 in France.

eternal-sunshine

From ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.

There have been notable covers of the song released over the years as well, including a 1987 version by The Dream Academy (from their second album, REMEMBRANCE DAYS), Erasure in 2003 (on their covers album, OTHER PEOPLE’S SONGS), and by Beck in 2004, whose version was featured in my all-time favorite film, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.  London Folk Rock music legend Richard Thompson covered the song in 2009 during his “1000 Minutes of Popular Music” tour, saying it was the only good song to have been released in the 1980s.  Surely he’s forgetting his own albums released in the 80s, including the excellent album, AMNESIA, released in October 1988.

The latest incarnation of The Korgis has been around since 2005, comprised of frontman, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist James Warren, and guitarist, keyboardist, drummer and vocalist Andy Davis.  They organized a tour in the U.K. in 2015.

“Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” continues to be covered by recording artists throughout the world, most recently in 2012 by the Manchester, England Indie Rock band, Everything Everything, and this year by the Baltimore, Maryland Dream Pop band, Beach House.  And, though I do dearly love the versions by The Dream Academy and Beck, it was the simple original 1980 classic with the simple message that I treasure to this day.

“Change your heart / Look around you / Change your heart / It will astound you…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjfvSXclFlI

korgis

song of the day – “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” (Instrumental Version) | THE DREAM ACADEMY | 1986.

On Saturday, August 6, 2016, it will be the seventh anniversary of the passing the brilliant writer / producer / director / 80s film hero and a personal hero of mine, John Hughes.  John was in NYC when he died of a heart attack at the far too young age of 59.John Hughes 2

Many of John’s films are among the top of my all-time favorite movies list.  One of those films is John’s biggest film of the 80s, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, from 1986.  John Hughes was an amazingly talented producer and director, but I think it was his writing that I noticed most of all.  John was an insanely gifted writer.  It was rumored that he wrote 1984’s SIXTEEN CANDLES over a weekend, and it took him just a week to write FERRIS.

John Hughes moved to the Chicago area when he was 13, and he resided in The Windy City for a good portion of his life.  Many of his films are set there, or in the surrounding areas, and as for the filming for FERRIS, John once said, “Chicago is what I am.  A lot of FERRIS is sort of my love letter to the city.  And the more people who get upset with the fact that I film there, the more I’ll make sure that’s exactly where I film.  It’s funny – nobody ever says anything to Woody Allen about always filming in New York.  America has this great reverence for New York.  I look at it as this decaying horror pit.  So let the people in Chicago enjoy FERRIS BUELLER.”

johnhughes

Matthew Broderick and John Hughes chatting on the parade route for FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF.

Well, many people in Chicago, and in New York, in America and the world did enjoy FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF.  It ended up being the tenth highest-grossing film here in the U.S. for all of 1986 (fellow Paramount film TOP GUN was No. 1).

I know I’ve said this in the blog before, but John Hughes was the most influential person in music for me that I DIDN’T meet.  In 1984, The Dream Academy, at the time a London Alt-Folk Pop band without a record deal, recorded two cover versions (one vocal and one instrumental) of a then-new song by the Manchester, England Alt-Rock band The Smiths – “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.”  Little did The Dream Academy know that within two years, the instrumental version of The Smiths song they covered would be cemented in film history, as it appeared in a pivotal and moving scene of a teen film at The Art Institute of Chicago. 

museum scenes

In the film commentary John Hughes did for FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, he said that The Art Institute of Chicago was “a self-indulgent scene of mine – which was a place of refuge for me, I went there quite a bit, I loved it.  I knew all the paintings, the building.  This was a chance for me to go back into this building and show the paintings that were my favorite.”  It’s also one of my all-time favorite scenes from any film. 

cameron

Ferris Bueller’s best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), reacting to George Seurat’s 1884 painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Jatte.”

After The Dream Academy’s self-titled debut album and singles had been released in 1985 and 1986, their cover(s) of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” were released as a stand-alone single around the time FERRIS BUELLER was released into theaters, and released inbetween their debut album and their second album, 1987’s REMEMBRANCE DAYS.  The single was even a minor hit in their U.K. homeland.

Over the past 20 years on my little 80s radio show, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine), there have been various tributes to John and the music from his films.  On the Sunday following his passing in 2009, I vowed to dedicate a show every August as a tribute to John.  On Sunday, August 7, 2016, it will be my eighth and last John Hughes tribute on STUCK IN THE 80s and WMPG.  And in every year, every tribute show I’ve done for John, the instrumental version of The Dream Academy’s brilliant cover of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” is always played. 

please please please

Harkening back to the year 2000, when blank, recordable CDs were a new thing, and Napster was letting people share music before the plug was pulled, I knew a couple of friends that were on Napster, and they had the capability of recording CDs.  Both versions of this song were on my list, but especially the instrumental version.  This goes above and beyond the museum scene in FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF – it just moves me every time I hear it. 

I was moved by the song when I saw FERRIS in the theater the first time in 1986, for the 30th anniversary in the theater this year, anytime I watch it at home, and it will move me again when I play it Sunday night.  I was already enjoying the music of The Dream Academy by the time FERRIS was in theaters, but when I heard their “Please Please Please” cover, between that and “Life Is A Northern Town,” I was forever madly in love with The Dream Academy and their music.  Lord knows it won’t be the first time I admit that.

Since there’s never been an official FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF soundtrack (John didn’t think people would be interested), there’s been talk of finally releasing one for the 30th anniversary of the film’s release.  And it better the hell have this version on there, and maybe the other one too.  It has been 30 years, after all, and the instrumental version has never seen a proper album release, and isn’t even on iTunes.  So, I look forward to finally having an official copy in my collection.

In the meantime, for John, I miss you and I love you and am grateful for your films, your writing, producing, directing, introducing me to incredible music I prolly would never have learned about on my own.  And, to borrow from a line in your own movie, you’re a righteous dude and then some.  And, you were right – as I’m getting older, I realize more and more that life does move pretty fast.  You’ll be happy to know I’m doing my best not to miss it.  Take care and be good, wherever you are…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgcR3qGnBPk

museum chain

song of the day – “Life In A Northern Town” | THE DREAM ACADEMY | 1986.

I won’t lie to you.  There were parts of high school that were absolutely awful for me.  My entire sophomore year, I was called not by my actual name, but by a nickname that was given to me back in junior high school from making an ass out of myself at a few junior high dances.  At the last junior high dance I attended, I had no intention of continuing to make an ass out of myself, but I was bullied by a classmate to get out there and embarrass myself or else he’d beat me up.  This was someone I once considered a friend and never did again.

High school wasn’t all bad, though, and I got through it.  College was this whole other story.  In the Fall of 1985, I attended the one-year program at the New England School of Broadcasting, and the first year it was located on the Husson College campus in Bangor, Maine.  NESB was great!!  We had a small class of roughly 30 or so people, we all pretty much got along, and for the first time in my academic career,  I didn’t feel like an outcast or a misfit; I felt accepted.  And, I was on my way to following my radio broadcasting dream (by way of the mighty WHSN).

NESB at MTV

Most of the New England School of Broadcasting (future) Class of ’86 at the Artist Formerly Known as MTV, April 1986…

It’s hard to believe, but May 9th marks the 30th anniversary of our class graduating from NESB.  We all have our stories about our short time there, from one classmate singing along to Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby” live on the air to our fun field trip to New York City, visiting such broadcasting outlets like NBC and MTV. 

carts

Before CDs, radio stations played songs on carts! Yay!

cart machine

And this is what carts were played on! Yay again!

During the 1985-1986 school year, WHSN was an Adult Contemporary station.  We played records but mostly songs on carts (if you don’t know what a cart is in broadcasting terms, I’ve attached pictures here of some carts with songs of them and a cart machine we put them in).  This was before CDs became more commonplace in radio.  Hell, even WMPG had carts for their promos when I started there in 1996! 

I have fond memories of (then) General Manager Tim Cotton telling me (not so subtly I might add) to stop playing 12” extended mixes of songs we would play in their regular single variations.  “But, everyone wants to hear an 7-minute version of John Waite’s ‘Missing You’ and an 8-minute version of Hall & Oates’ ‘Method Of Modern Love!’  C’mon!”  By the way, Tim Cotton has since found his calling away from radio and is now a very popular and respected Sergeant in the Bangor Police Department.whsn

Long story longer, it was brought up on Facebook by one of my classmates that this is the 30th anniversary of our graduating class of 29 at the New England School of Broadcasting.  30 years later, NESB is now the juggernaut New England School of Communications (NESCom), replete with 4-year degree programs that graduate hundreds each year; Husson College is Husson University; WHSN has gone from AC to Alt-Rock; and, Bangor is way more popular than it was 30 years ago. 

LPOne of the songs released during my time at NESB was “Life In A Northern Town,” a truly lovely gem from an Alt-Pop trio out of London, The Dream Academy.  They just released three albums during their time together, but all three have been beloved in my collection for many years. 

From their self-titled debut album, “Life In A Northern Town” took a year to record, incorporates elements of Classical music, African-type chants and 60s Psychedelia, and is a tribute to singer / songwriter Nick Drake, who died in 1974  of a drug overdose at age 26, and who is referenced in the song.

life in a no town“Life In A Northern Town” is one of the most-beloved songs (80s or otherwise) I have ever known.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like or love it.  And, it’s a sentiment that was shared around the globe.  It reached the Top 10 in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and here in the U.S., where it spent 2 weeks at No. 7 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in February  / March 1986, and 21 total weeks on the chart.

The Dream Academy never again had the success of “Life In A Northern Town,” but they did reach the U.S. Top 40 one more time with their next single, “The Love Parade,” and “Life In A Northern Town” did return to the charts in 1997 and 1998, as it was sampled on another hit by another English trio, Dario G., on the song, “Sunchyme.”

sunchymeA massive hit in its own right, “Sunchyme” reached No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart and the Top 10 in at least 10 countries, including a No. 2 peak in the U.K., and prolly would have gone all the way to No. 1 there, had it not been for the song at No. 1: Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle In The Wind 1997.”

Bangor (the second-largest city in Maine) isn’t really what you’d call a Northern town, per se, and is more of an Eastern town as far as Maine geography goes, but, it was a Northern town for me for awhile, and I’ll never forget my life there, or the good people I met and are still friends to this day…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5uxQElYu68

the dream academy