Hey there. Amy, the wife of my old friend, Phil, sent me an email in response to yesterday's Basement Song posting. We had a couple of exchanges and I thought they were really nice. So here's what we had to say:
I read your blog and felt compelled to respond since we are 2 of the "ten". I love Rainbow Connection. I love it so much that when we were doing our son Connor's nursery we had a mural painted with children's song lyrics and the phrase "someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection" was the first to go up. This song also brings a tear to me eye everytime Connor is listening to his Kids Stuff radio station and that song comes on. Right now he is too young to fully understand what that song means, and I think that is the genius of the song. It means different things when you are 5, or 12, or 21 or 36! All I know is when I hear that song, I am overwhelmed with a multitude of emotions. From sadness to hope, from calm to regret. The writer of this song knew what he was doing. I think this is a great basement song.
Another great basement song..."Change" by John Waite. LOVE that song! Thoughts?
I also LOVE "Change" by John Waite. I think the song got totally overshadowed by his next hit (something about missing somebody). It's funny, "Change" was one of those songs that I learned through my brother's garage bands. I always dug the drum part to it and that opening line "People talking..." Then, whenever it was when the movie "Visionquest" came out(remember that movie? Man, Matthew Modine was so cool. Best wrestling movie, ever. Wait, are there any more wrestling movies out there?). Anyway, I borrowed the soundtrack from the library. It was then that I first paid attention to all of the lyrics and discovered what a really awesome song "Change" is. Talk about a song taking you back and stirring up emotions, "Change" makes me feel like I'm back in the North Olmsted High School Cafeteria, worrying about some ridiculous Algebra test.
Thanks so much for writing. What is it about "Change" that makes the song so meaningful to you?
This song gets to me because for one thing 15 is an awful age! I really don't think there is a harder year than that one. I completely wanted to be someone different that year. I dyed my hair, wore lots of blue eyeshadow, and would strut around in neon pumps and pegged jeans. Ahh the 80's! I felt like an idiot. But I was getting a lot of compliments so kept at it. Then I saw the video to Change. That one part where the blond is also singing "we always wished for money"etc made my heart freeze. She looked so sad and trance-like. It scared the shit out of me. It was probably the first time in my young life where I had the revelation that you are who you are. And I was a fake. I know this sounds straight out of a Growing Pains episode but it is true!
Plus 1985-86 was such crazy time. MTV and guys in eyeliner, crazy fashion fads and Russia. Trivial things seemed SO important. Quite frankly I would love to be there again. I think it was probably the last really innocent year for people our age. SAT's and College decisions were right around the corner. But in that year nothing made me happier than sitting in my living room at night, slightly in pain from the sunburn I got at the pool earlier, munching on some Planter's Cheese Curls, watching Friday Night Videos and hoping to see Change...or anything Duran Duran. Or Michael Jackson. Or Thompson Twins. Or Huey Lewis.
By the way, the Vision Quest soundtrack is a CLASSIC! One of Journey's best teen angst song is Only the Young...Steve Perry's voice would break your heart! And a great use of Lunatic Fringe.
I had never thought about the age of 15 like you just described it. My only concern in high school was getting girls to like me. College was never an issue because I knew I wanted to write and I would wind up wherever I wound up. But I hear what you're saying about it being the last innocent time before all of the major decisions are thrown on you. It's hard to believe that at that young of an age, you're expected to make a decision that is supposed to give you direction for the rest of your life. No wonder so many people change their majors, suffer breakdowns, or just drop out of college. It's just too damn much to have to deal with in high school (on top of the cliques and grades and sex and all the other crap). Thanks for the great insight. The image of neon pumps and pegged jeans is cracking me up. I'm so glad you mentioned Friday Night Videos. We didn't have cable when I was growing up (back then you could actually tune in your television using an antenna) so my only source of music videos was FNV. My sister and I would record all of our favorite videos using my parents flip top behemoth VCR. The first time I ever heard of U2 was when FNV did a special night dedicated to them and showed a couple of the videos from War. My initial thoughts of Bono and co. were: Cool songs. Big hair.
I couldn't agree with you more about the Vision Quest soundtrack. One of my favorite Sammy Hagar songs graces it, as well as Madonna's classic ballad. The Journey song is still one of my all time favorite songs by them (and I'm a Journey fanatic). True story about the song "Only the Young." A dying teenager in Cleveland's Rainbow Children's Hospital was able to meet three members of the band thorough the Make A Wish Foundation. This was around 1984. Perry, Jon Cain and Neal Schon brought a cassette of their next single for the boy to hear. It was "Only The Young." I've always held that story close to my heart because a) This story happened in Cleveland and b) I love Journey's music and I love that song. About 6 months ago I was doing some research on the band and I came across more details of that story. The boy who passed away died from the effects of cystic fibrosis. How weird is that? This song that could essentially be one of my favorite songs is now tied to my life in another way I never would have thought imaginable. Now when I hear that song, I don't think of Matthew Modine racing down the street trying to sweat off pounds, I think of the children suffering from CF and the race to find a cure.
PS- I edited out a couple of sentences that weren't important to the context of our exchange. Have a great weekend.