My Life In Music, Part 1, 1975 – 1979

Prologue

1. The Music Of My Life

Music means everything to me. It has for as long as I can remember. Each night I fall asleep listening to music. Every morning I wake up listening to music. I play music in the shower. I play music in the car. I play music at the gym. If I am not actively listening to music, I hear songs in my head. When somebody is talking to me, I hear lyrics in their words, and start singing to myself. While I have never completely written or recorded anything original, I have made mix-tapes and play-lists since the Seventies.

I have spent almost all of my free time and “disposable” income on music and music-related experiences. My first job was delivering The Daily News to a six block radius around my house on Long Island, New York. I took the job because they offered a free cassette tape of my choosing if I signed up 3 new subscriptions on my route. I took care of that task quickly, and scored what may be my most favorite album of all time – the self-titled debut from the Long Island based band named Zebra. I continued to find bargains and build my catalog thanks to the marketing efforts of BMG and Columbia House music mail order services. Eventually, I bought cheap guitars and amps, and later more expensive guitars. I have too many guitars.

Once the concert floodgates opened for me when I went to the University of Virginia, I started going to as many shows as I could, no matter where they were located. Music festivals began, locally and small at first, then larger ones able to draw a national audience of freaks like me who were willing to drive or fly all over the country, sleeping in any hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, tent, RV or Air B’n’B I could find. Woodstock ‘99, Rocklahoma, Rock On The Range, Carolina Rebellion, Welcome To Rockville, Aftershock, Earthday Birthday, Vans Warped Tour, Coachella, Voodoo Festival, Once Upon A Time in the LBC, Rock USA and KAABOO Del Mar – these are a few of my favorite things. Then the rock cruises came along, which I have enjoyed as a customer, staff member, charity worker, journalist and photographer – ShipRocked, Motörhead’s MotörBoat, MegaCruise, and Monsters Of Rock Cruise.

From 2010 to 2020, I was able to get up close and personal with the music, the musicians and the fans. I have been a photojournalist for several print magazines and online websites. I have previewed and reviewed concerts, albums and livestreams. I have interviewed artists backstage and on tour buses. I have photographed shows of every kind, from the smallest and darkest of clubs, to the largest of outdoor festivals. I have captured local artists, new acts, living legends and lifelong loves, from Aerosmith to ZZ Top.

During this mostly silent year, I decided to take a look back, to appreciate the journey so far, and perhaps to make some sense of my decisions and choices along the way. This isn’t exactly a memoir or biography, as I don’t believe that I have done anything of such consequence to merit such documentation. I won’t know if there are any lessons to be learned, or advice to carry with me on my second half, until I write it all down. The songs have been chosen, the memories have come rushing back. We will see where this experience takes me.

With 52 years of special songs to revisit, I also plan to really focus on learning to play complete songs on guitar. That gives me 2 songs to learn per week. That should hold me to a good working cadence. Is everybody in? Drop the needle on the record.

2. The Way I Chose The Songs

Choosing only 2 songs from an entire year was quite an ordeal. Some years had many releases that had a major impact at the time, others not as many. I chose songs based on the year that the album they came from was released. This means that the song itself may not have even been released as a single that year. Sometimes a song hits you right away, sometimes it builds slowly, and other times you discover it well after it was released. In many cases, it takes some new experience to bring the importance of the song into focus.

I suppose it generally takes some passage of time for the songs that mean the most to you to bubble to the surface. Only time will tell which ones continue to swim around in your brain, forming the soundtrack to your life’s story.

I chose the songs that have had the most lasting impression on my life, the ones that instantly take me back to a time, or a place, or a person, or an experience, or all of the above. The names will be changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike. These are the songs that mean the most to me, and nobody knows me better than I know myself, so I can’t really say if others share the same memories in the same ways.

Looking at the final list, there are sooo many songs that I love that did not make the cut. There are lots of artists that I cannot believe are not represented. I guess this should not be too surprising. Think about how hard it is to make a top 5 list in any given year. There are just so many artists and songs that I love, it is no wonder that I am almost always listening to, writing about, or photographing music. Out of the 104 songs chosen, 8 are from bands that appear twice. Those are obviously among my all-time favorites, and they are among the ones who have meant the most to me throughout my life. They are Alice In Chains, Candlebox, Creed, Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Rush and Shinedown.

Act I

3. The 1970’s – The Record Era

I have been wandering this spinning rock for over five decades now. Conveniently for retrospective purposes, I arrived at the end of the 1960’s, so I can organize my playlists and analysis by decade. Generally, each decade is defined by the methods most often used to collect and listen to music. From record albums to cassettes, to Compact Discs (CDs), to digital files (mostly MP3), to digital streaming services and apps, the song remains the same. Specifically, I landed on this planet the very same day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 made history mere hours after Johnnie Crow was born in a hospital in Hollis, Queens. The Eagle had landed after a long journey, and the Crow had begun a journey of his own. Most of my musical memories of the 1970’s revolve around listening to old records with my Mom or my Dad in our suburban Long Island basement, and listening to 45’s with my little sister in her bedroom, on a cheap yellow plastic record player.

 

16. 1975 – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Queen is just, Queen. Nobody has ever been, or ever will be, as bold and risky and adventurous and unexpected and just plain awesome as Queen. I really got into Queen when they released “The Game”. I had that one on vinyl, and it featured “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Dragon Attack”. They cemented their place in my heart later that year with their theme song from the movie “Flash”. Ah-ahhhhh!! I mean, it was a superhero movie, in 1980, and the hero’s secret identity was New York Jets quarterback!

In 1981, they released a greatest hits album, cleverly titled “Greatest Hits”, and literally every single song was a bona fide hit. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is an entire musical in 6:00 minutes. It is epic, and so much fun to sing along to. Just ask Wayne and Garth. Way!!

In 2005, I worked in London for 2 weeks every month for over half a year. My best friends from Germany came to visit one weekend. They love Abba and really wanted to go and see “Mamma Mia!” in London’s theatre district. As I was about to buy a ticket to go with them, I realized that I would much rather see “We Will Rock You”. Abba is cool and all, but, QUEEN!! We decided that we would not be talking to each other for the next few hours anyway, so we should all see what meant the most to us. I am so glad that I did.

Watching that musical, in London, is my second favorite theatre experience of all time, right behind “Miss Saigon” in Charlotte, NC. I scalped the only ticket available, which was in the last row of the main level. I have a thing in stadiums and theatres, where I hate having seats directly above me. I feel claustrophobic, like I am on the outside looking in. I would rather be on a balcony level or upper level of any kind, and have sky or at least a high ceiling above me. During the first act, I noticed an empty seat in the 2nd row. At the intermission, I waited a beat, and then walked up the aisle, “returning” to my seat. Another great move, as I was able to feel 100% part of the show for the 2nd act. It was life-changing, opening my eyes to the possibilities of live entertainment. It even inspired me to write a musical of my own while quarantining during the pandemic, but that is another story for another time.

My favorite lyric:

“So you think you can love me and leave me to die?”

Desperation, betrayal, solitude, the full weight of consequences – all brought to bear in a single question. Freddie Mercury was a genius.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Written by Freddie Mercury

Performed by Queen

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go, little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooh, didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time
Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooh (Any way the wind blows)
I don’t wanna die
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me
(Galileo) Galileo, (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro magnifico
But I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go
(Let him go) Bismillah! We will not let you go
(Let him go) Bismillah! We will not let you go
(Let me go) Will not let you go
(Let me go) Will not let you go
(Never, never, never, never let me go) Ah
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh, mamma mia, mamma mia) Mamma mia, let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me!

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby!
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here

(Ooh)
(Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah)
Nothing really matters, anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me
Any way the wind blows

17. 1975 – Crazy On You – Heart

At one point in high school, I started journaling in a notebook. Each night I would list my current favorite movie, TV show, artist, album, baseball player, football player, actor, actress and celebrity crush (although that is not what we called it back then). I found that book a few years ago, and I definitely had a major crush on Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson throughout high school. She was beautiful, she dressed amazingly on album covers and in videos, she played guitar and she sang. What more could a growing rock and roller want out of life. She actually married a writer from San Diego, so in another life, I might actually have had a shot!

I finally got a chance to photograph Heart after I moved to San Diego to become a writer (mostly of software, but I’m working on it). They were doing a special tour where Jason Bonham, the drummer son of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, was performing the music of his Daddy’s band. The encore each night was both bands joining forces for one more set of Zep classics. Heart had toured with the mighty Zeppelin in the 1970’s, and you could feel all the emotions coming through Ann Wilson’s voice. Heart is one of the most gracious acts around. Knowing how special the encore was, they invited us back up to photograph the encore of Led Zeppelin songs with Jason Bonham on drums. So grateful.

I have seen Heart in concert many times, and they are one of those bands who always sound better live than they do on record. Ann Wilson is born to be on the stage, with the most beautiful and powerful voice in rock and roll. Whether singing her own songs, or paying tribute to Led Zeppelin, she puts her all into every single note. The first time I saw them was on Long Island in the 1980’s at Jones Beach Theater, a scenic amphitheater right on the beach. Michael Bolton opened up, and at the time he was still a rocker, right before he switched to pop. One of the best recent shows was after my cousin’s wedding in Indiana. One of my cousins and my uncle joined us at an amphitheater literally in the middle of farms. We came upon a school bus tailgate party, and the women who had set up tables of food, drinks and jello shots invited us to join them. It was a perfect setup to a Hall of Fame concert from Joan Jett, Cheap Trick and Heart.

“Crazy On You” was one of our most played couch-standing, pre-gaming, ready to go out partying songs in college. It really gets you motivated and excited, with its ebbs and flows.

My favorite lyric:

“I was a willow last night in my dream
I bent down over a clear running stream”

Beautiful, lush imagery.

Heart ©2013 Johnnie Crow Photos

Crazy On You

Written by Ann Wilson & Nancy Wilson

Performed by Heart

If we still have time, we might still get by
Every time I think about it, I wanna cry
With bombs and the Devil
Little kids keep coming
No way to breathe easy, no time to be young

But I tell myself that I was doing all right
There’s nothing left to do at night

But go crazy on you
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you, oh

My love is the evening breeze touching your skin
The gentle, sweet singing of leaves in the wind
The whisper that calls after you in the night
And kisses your ear in the early moonlight

And you don’t need to wonder, you’re doing fine
My love, the pleasure’s mine

Let me go crazy on you
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you, oh

Wild man’s world is crying in pain
What you gonna do when everybody’s insane?
So afraid of one who’s so afraid of you
What you gonna do?

Ah
Ooh, crazy on you
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you

I was a willow last night in my dream
I bent down over a clear running stream
I sang you the song that I heard up above
And you kept me alive with your sweet flowing love

Crazy, yeah
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you, oh

18. 1976 – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult

The only album I ever owned from Blue Öyster Cult was their double live album “E.T.L. Extraterrestrial Live”. It had a fold out record sleeve that is completely covered in sci-fi graphics. The band is drawn as astronauts, which was wicked sweet for a young moon baby. I didn’t really know much about the band or the recording or anything else, other than the fact that it was full of really cool songs with amazing titles like “Godzilla”, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”, “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”, “Black Blade”, “Burnin’ For You” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”.

“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” starts with a cool guitar riff and drifts into a chilling story of life and death, but it is delivered so smoothly that you don’t necessarily see the darkness behind the beauty. It features a lot of harmony vocals, and all band members contribute vocals. When songs have extensive call and response vocals, I usually listen to them twice in a row, one time singing the lead, the next time singing the harmonies. This extensive training came in handy one night while visiting one of my college roommates in Philadelphia. He was playing a gig where he played piano and sang along to just about any song you could think of. One night, he started playing this song, and I seamlessly added every harmony vocal along the way. We had not planned it or said anything, we just did it. At the end, he was shocked at how perfectly I had remembered every line and delivered them flawlessly.

I later learned a few interesting things about B.Ö.C. and the “E.T.L.” album. Most live albums document a single performance, or a couple of performances in the same venue if they want to pick the better take. They may also be pulled from highlights of a tour. This album is actually pulled from multiple shows at many venues over 2 years of touring. It still sounds like one complete show, so kudos to the producer and mixer. The band is from Long Island, just like me. I have developed this theory over time that it is much easier to sing songs from artists who come from the same place as you. Their accent, timing and word choice are more natural, which seems to make it easier to replicate. This is probably one of the reasons I was able to easily harmonize with my college buddy.

I got to see Blue Öyster Cult live at the Outlaw Jam in western Maryland in 2010, along with Bad Company, Candlebox and Black Stone Cherry. I was just beginning my concert photography, I was shooting from the crowd, and I didn’t even have a decent camera yet, but I still had a blast being there.

My favorite lyric:

“40,000 men and women everyday (Redefine happiness)”

That is really dark – they “redefine happiness” by dying, and flying off, somewhere.. What kind of “Cult” is this again? ;p

Blue Öyster Cult ©2010 Johnnie Crow Photos

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper

Written by Buck Dharma

Performed by Blue Öyster Cult

All our times have come
Here, but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

(We can be like they are) Come on, baby
(Don’t fear the Reaper) Baby, take my hand
(Don’t fear the Reaper) We’ll be able to fly
(Don’t fear the Reaper) Baby, I’m your man
La, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la

Valentine is done
Here, but now they’re gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity (Romeo and Juliet)
40,000 men and women everyday (Like Romeo and Juliet)
40,000 men and women everyday (Redefine happiness)
Another 40,000 coming everyday

(We can be like they are) Come on, baby
(Don’t fear the Reaper) Baby, take my hand
(Don’t fear the Reaper) We’ll be able to fly
(Don’t fear the Reaper) Baby, I’m your man
La, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la

Love of two is one
Here, but now they’re gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn’t go on
The door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew and then disappeared
The curtains flew and then he appeared

(Saying, “don’t be afraid”) Come on, baby
(And she had no fear) And she ran to him
(Then she started to fly) They looked backward and said goodbye
(She had become like they are) She had taken his hand
(She had become like they are) Come on, baby
(Don’t fear the Reaper)

19. 1976 – Peace Of Mind – Boston

I first heard Boston while riding around northern New Jersey with my uncle, listening to his 8-tracks. They completely blew my mind. I asked him how many guys were in the band, as it sounded like 5 singers and a dozen guitar players. There was some studio magic created by guitarist Tom Scholz, who earned a Master’s Degree in Engineering at M.I.T.. He built his own studio, invented his own distortion sounds, and played most of the instruments. Vocalist Brad Delp could hit notes previously unheard of. The entire album is classic rock perfection.

“Peace Of Mind” is my favorite Boston song, for its guitar sounds and its message. The song has always stayed in my brain, especially whenever I need to make major life decisions. It helped me decide not to use my degree in Finance to work on Wall Street after I graduated from the University of Virginia. I had worked for the New York City Board of Education each summer during college, and I met a lot of people who lived in New York City. I feel like living in a congested city leads to the stress brought on by competition. When nobody owns (or rents) a piece of land, they are competing on a daily basis for the very air they breathe. They compete for parking, for a place to stand, for a subway seat, for food, for any place at all to just kick back and relax. I didn’t want that life. “All I want is to have my peace of mind.” This was the same driving force which led me to go to college in the South. The Ivy League schools are great, but when I visited schools in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, I saw people rushing about, in a small area, stacked together, with traffic all around. When I visited campuses in Virginia and North Carolina, I saw people playing soccer, riding bikes and hanging out on sprawling campuses full of grass and trees. That is why I moved to Virginia Beach after college, with no job prospects, but plenty of sunshine and friends to enjoy nature with.

Who knows what would have happened if I had tried to climb the company ladder on Wall Street. Perhaps I would have worked for “The Wolf”. Perhaps I would have created financial software that made me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Perhaps I would have dated and married one of my high school friends. I like to believe that things work out the way they are supposed to. It is more zen to accept things in their own time, rather than forcing them or constantly wondering about the paths not taken. After all, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.

My favorite lyric:

“I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind”

I have always been super patient, seeing so many steps ahead, mentally exploring every potential outcome I could conceive of, and waiting for the right opportunity or the right move. This has not always worked out, but being impulsive generally doesn’t work for me. I have gotten caught up in the moment, living in competition, and made quick decisions. I am not a gambler, I know that the house always wins, so I don’t get a thrill from playing a losing game.

Peace Of Mind

Written by Tom Scholz

Performed by Boston

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been payin’
Future’s comin’ much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’
Can’t decide on which way to go

I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind
People living in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind

Now you’re climbing to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesn’t take too long
Can’t you see there’ll come a day when it won’t matter
Come a day when you’ll be gone

I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind
People living in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind

Take a look ahead
Take a look ahead
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Well everybody’s got advice they just keep on givin’
Doesn’t mean too much to me
Lots of people have to make believe they’re livin’
Can’t decide who they should be

I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind
People living in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind

Take a look ahead
Take a look ahead
Look ahead!

20. 1977 – Paradise By The Dashboard Light – Meat Loaf

My most memorable time listening to “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” is from high school. I had a friend who I would see movies with. We would call each other up on the house phone (the only kind that existed), look in the newspaper, pick a movie that was starting in minutes, hang up, shower quickly, and then I would drive over to his house to pick him up. We were always running late, and in a hurry. This one time, he had forgotten his wallet, so we had to turn back. At his house, I had paused my cassette player while he ran inside. A minute later, he came sprinting out, jumped in the car, slammed the door and said “Go! Go! Go!”. He was silent for blocks and would not tell me what had happened. Finally, he let me know that as he went to his room to grab the wallet, he saw his parents doing it in their bedroom. I tried not to laugh, because he was not laughing. He was trying not to laugh, as he was processing it. I asked if I should just put the music back on. He agreed. The song was on the part where the boy and girl are both singing, 4 times in a row:

“We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night”

We looked at each other and just bust out laughing as hard as we ever had. We laughed all the way to the movie theater.

I have other memories of large groups singing this song at parties, and one time at a wedding, where the DJ split the room into boys and girls, so we could all sing the appropriate parts to each other. But nothing will ever top my buddy walking in on his parents and my car’s impeccable comic timing.

My favorite lyric:

“I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

So now I’m praying for the end of time”

This combination of lines, with a short musical interlude between them, completely sums up the theme of the song. After finally agreeing to say what the girl wants to hear, the boy quickly second-guesses himself. He wants to stand by his words, so he begs for external forces to get him out of his hasty commitment.

Paradise By The Dashboard Light

Written by Jim Steinman

Performed by Meat Loaf

Part 1: Paradise (0:00 – 3:30)
Verse 1: Meat Loaf
Well, I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday
Parking by the lake and there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school, they were wishing they were me that night

Pre-Chorus: Meat Loaf
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
Well c’mon! Hold on tight!

Chorus: Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light

Post-Chorus: Ellen Foley
Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed
‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed
Ain’t no doubt about it, baby got to go and shout it
Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed
‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed

Verse 2: Meat Loaf
Baby don’tcha hear my heart? You got it drowning out the radio
I’ve been waiting so long for you to come along and have some fun
And I gotta let you know, no, you never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes, I got a big surprise, it’ll feel all right
Well, I wanna make your motor run

Pre-Chorus: Meat Loaf
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife
C’mon! Hold on tight!
Well c’mon! Hold on tight!

Chorus: Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
Paradise by the dashboard light

Post-Chorus 2: Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley
You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest
Ain’t no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
‘Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely-

Bridge: Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night
We’re gonna go all the way tonight
We’re gonna go all the way and tonight’s the night

Part 2: Radio Broadcast (3:30 – 4:26)
Instrumental Breakdown

Spoken Interlude: Phil Rizzuto
OK, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here
Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth
There’s the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle
Look at him go. This boy can really fly!
He’s rounding first and really turning it on now
He’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna try for Second
The ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the throw
And what a throw! He’s gonna slide in head first
Here he comes, he’s out! No, wait, safe – safe at second base
This kid really makes things happen out there
Batter steps up to the plate, here’s the pitch-he’s going
And what a jump he’s got. He’s trying for third, here’s the throw
It’s in the dirt-safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
He’s taking a pretty big lead out there
Almost daring him to try and pick him off
The pitcher glances over, winds up, and it’s bunted
Bunted down the third base line, the suicide squeeze is on!
Here he comes, squeeze play, it’s gonna be close, here’s the throw, here’s the play at the plate
Holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!

Part 3: Let Me Sleep on It (4:27 – 6:56)
Verse 3: Ellen Foley
Stop right there!
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?
Do you need me!?
Will you never leave me!?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?

Verse 4: Meat Loaf
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning

Verse 5: Ellen Foley
I gotta know right now
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me? (Let me sleep on it)
Will you love me forever?

Breakdown: Ellen Foley
What’s it gonna be boy?
Come on, I can wait all night
What’s it gonna be boy? Yes or no?
What’s it gonna be boy? Yes or no?

Verse 6: Meat Loaf & (Ellen Foley)
Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Well, let me sleep on it
I’ll give you an answer in the morning
(I gotta know right now!)
Let me sleep on it
(Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?)
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
(Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?)
Well, let me sleep on it
(Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?)
I’ll give you an answer in the morning, morning, I’ll tell you in the morning
(Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now
Before we go any further
Do you love me!?
Will you love me forever!?)

Call & Response: Meat Loaf & (Ellen Foley)
Let me sleep on it
(Will you love me forever?)
Let me sleep on it
(Will you love me forever?)

Part 4: Praying for the End of Time (6:57 – 8:28)
Verse 7: Meat Loaf
I couldn’t take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
Started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

Verse 8: Meat Loaf
So now I’m praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don’t think that I can really survive
I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I’m praying for the end of time
It’s all that I can do
Praying for the end of time
So I can end my time with you!

Outro: Meat Loaf & (Ellen Foley)
Well, it was long ago and it was far away (it never felt so good)
And it was so much better that it is today
Well, it was long ago and it was far away
(It never felt so good)
And it was so much better that it is today
(It never felt so right)
It was long ago and it was far away
(And we were glowing like)
And it was so much better that it is today
(A metal on the edge of a knife)
It was long ago and it was far away
(It never felt so good)
And it was so much better that it is today
(It never felt so right)
It was long ago and it was far away
(And we were glowing like)
And it was so much better that it is today
(A metal on the edge of a knife)
It was long ago and it was far away
(It never felt so good)
And it was so much better that it is today
(It never felt so right)
It was long ago and it was far away
(It never felt so right)
And it was so much better that it is today

21. 1977 – Cold As Ice – Foreigner

Foreigner had a ton of songs that I love. The one that always brings me to a specific place and time is “Cold As Ice”. When were in elementary (grade) school, our Moms were still of the “Stay-at-home” variety. This meant that summer time meant a big change to their lifestyle. Now they had to deal with us rugrats 24-7. I am very confident that they signed us up for summer camps as a way to get a break from us. We had a public pool in our small suburban town. They had summer camps, with the usual arts & crafts, snacks & drinks, but mainly they just set us loose in the pool. This was the glorious time when we had diving boards, including the high dive which was about 3 stories high over the deep end (at least that is how I remember it). Great fun.

Our biggest decision each day was how we should enter the pool for the first time. Even in summer, pool water up north is quite chilly, especially first thing in the morning. You definitely could not walk in slowly, or climb down the ladder, chilling each body part as your went. Oh no, that would not do. Technically, you weren’t supposed to dive or cannonball into the low end, which was where the water warmed up sooner. The best choice was to dive in, preferably from the high dive. That would leave you in the coldest water, but completely submerged 12 feet below the surface. If you could make it all the way down, you could push off the bottom and rocket back upwards to the warm sun. During the summer of 1977, when “Cold As Ice” was topping the charts, it was played often on WBAB Babylon. As one of our Moms was driving us across town to the pool, my friend and I always prayed that we would NOT hear the song, because whenever we did, we just KNEW that the pool would be extra cold that morning. When we did hear it, we would yell “Nooooo!” and laugh all the way across the parking lot into the facility.

I very recently had the chance to photograph Foreigner, although founder and guitarist/keyboardist Mick Jones is the only original member left. Most photo passes come with the same rules, which are typically explained verbally by someone on staff at the venue – First 3 songs, no flash, from the photo pit or the soundboard area. For this show, along with our laminate pass, we were each handed a printout. The printout asked us to attempt to capture very specific poses, which they showed examples of, mostly centered around Mick Jones. This was humorous for the photographers, since they were pretty much standard poses that anyone would want to capture at a rock concert. The entire situation became farcical when we all started to realize that Mr. Jones had not shown up for the concert. We later found out that he had somehow missed the bus from the hotel and ended up appearing halfway through the set. Fortunately, they had also offered us the chance to shoot the encore song “I Want To Know What Love Is” from the soundboard, as they were having local school choruses join them on stage for this song. In the end, I was able to get a few long distance shots of Mick Jones, although not in the requested poses.

My favorite lyric:

“You’re as cold as ice”

That’s really it. The pool, the extended outro in 4 part harmony. I was 8. I didn’t get any other meaning from this song at the time.

Foreigner ©2018 Johnnie Crow Photos

Cold As Ice

Written by Mick Jones & Lou Gramm

Performed by Foreigner

You’re as cold as ice
You’re willing to sacrifice our love
You never take advice
Some day, you’ll pay the price
I know

I’ve seen it before, it happens all the time (Ooh-ooh)
You’re closing the door, you leave the world behind
You’re digging for gold, you’re throwing away (Ah, ah)
A fortune in feelings but, some day, you’ll pay

You’re as cold as ice
You’re willing to sacrifice our love
You want paradise
But some day, you’ll pay the price
I know

I’ve seen it before, it happens all the time (Ooh-ooh)
You’re closing the door, you leave the world behind
You’re digging for gold, you’re throwing away (Ah, ah)
A fortune in feelings but, some day, you’ll pay

Cold as ice
You know that you are
Cold as ice
As cold as ice to me
Cold as ice

Ooh, ooh, ooh, cold as, cold as ice
You’re as cold as ice
You’re as cold as ice, cold as ice, I know
You’re as cold as ice, yes I know
You’re as cold as ice, cold as ice, I know
You’re as cold as ice, oh, yes I know
You’re as cold as ice, cold as ice, I know
You’re as cold as ice, oh, yes I know
You’re as cold as ice, cold as ice

22. 1978 – Shadow Dancing – Andy Gibb

My Mom used to take my sister and I grocery shopping every week. The store we went to the most had a small area where they would sell a few 45 singles for 99 cents. Every time we went, we would beg my Mom to let us buy one. Once in a while, she let us pick one, which she had to approve of. We had a tiny yellow plastic 45 record player in my sister’s room. We ended up with a small collection of records, carefully and slowly curated from the limited grocery store selection. We had Kiss, Rod Stewart, Gloria Gaynor, and the Bee Gees. Our top artist, with 4 singles, was the Bee Gees little brother, Andy Gibb. He was a great talent, who like way too many artists, could not take care of himself, and torpedoed his career and his life at a young age. For a few years though, he provided 2 little kids on Long Island plenty of fun music to sing and dance to.

My favorite lyric:

“How can I hold you when you ain’t even mine?”

I love questions in lyrics. It makes the piece more poetical and philosophical.

Shadow Dancing

Written by Andy Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb & Barry Gibb

Performed by Andy Gibb

You got me looking at that heaven in your eyes
I was chasing your direction, I was telling you no lies
And I was loving you
When the words are said, baby, I lose my head

And in a world of people, there’s only you and I
There ain’t nothing come between us in the end
How can I hold you when you ain’t even mine?
Only you can see me through
I leave it up to you

Do it light, taking me through the night
Shadow dancing, baby you do it right, uh-huh
Give me more, drag me across the floor
Shadow dancing, all this and nothing more

All that I need is just one moment in your arms
I was chasing your affection, I was doing you no harm
And I was loving you
Make it shine, make it rain, baby I know my way

I need that sweet sensation of living in your love
I can’t breath when you’re away, it pulls me down
You are the question and the answer am I
Only you can see me through
I leave it up to you

Do it light, taking me through the night
Shadow dancing, baby you do it right
Give me more, drag me across the floor
Shadow dancing, all this and nothing more

And in this world of people, there’s only you and I
There ain’t nothing come between us in the end
How can I hold you when you ain’t even mine?
Only you can see me through
I leave it up to you, oh

Do it light, taking me through the night
Shadow dancing, baby you do it right
Give me more, drag me across the floor
Shadow dancing, all this and nothing more

23. 1978 – Summer Nights – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

“Grease” is a classic that everyone knows. It’s packed full of fun sing-along songs and high school hijinks. John Travolta showed his range and youthful exuberance by going from TV high school student Vinny Barbarino on “Welcome Back, Kotter” to movie high school student Danny Zuko in “Grease”. With a Long Island accent and suspect singing voice, I felt fully confident belting out the songs along with him, alone in my basement. Back in the dark ages of technology, it was difficult to make a play list. They were called mix tapes, because we used cassette tapes to record a mix of songs. We either had to record straight off the radio, which required listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, waiting until the songs you wanted were played, and timing it perfectly, or record from our record collection.

“Summer Nights” has always been my favorite tune from this soundtrack. It sets the scene, introduces all of the characters, and has a fun back and forth between the boy parts and the girl parts. Naturally it was going to be part of one of my first mix tapes. When recording onto a boombox from stereo speakers, the microphone is going to pick up any external sounds. I made sure to be alone in the basement, and to not make any noise. I was lip synching quietly to myself, but I must have gotten caught up in the moment, and sang the last part out loud. Even worse, I mistimed it and belted out “ni-ii-iiights” a beat too soon. Worse still, my sister had been sitting at the top of the stairs the whole time, and cracked up at my combination of being off beat, off key and ruining my recording. I laughed along with her and she insisted that I keep the tape as is.

My favorite lyric:

“We made out under the dock
We stayed out till ten o’clock”

As a pre-pubescent, there were many things about “Grease” that went over my head for a long time. Things like almost all of the plot, dialogue and lyrics. Things like 30 year olds playing high schoolers (all old people look the same to a kid). Things like “making out” made me giggle and sounded dangerous. Staying out till 10:00 seemed crazy and definitely forbidden, and therefore dangerously cool.

Summer Nights

Written by Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs

Performed by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

Verse 1: Danny + Sandy
Summer lovin’, had me a blast
Summer lovin’, happened so fast
I met a girl crazy for me
Met a boy cute as can be

Both
Summer days drifting away
To, uh oh, those summer nights

Chorus
T-Birds
Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!
Tell me more, tell me more
Doody
Did you get very far?
Pink Ladies
Tell me more, tell me more
Marty
Like does he have a car?

Verse 2: Danny + Sandy
She swam by me, she got a cramp
He ran by me, got my suit damp
I saved her life, she nearly drowned
He showed off splashing around

Both
Summer sun, something’s begun
But, uh oh, those summer nights

Chorus
T-Birds and Pink Ladies
Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!
Pink Ladies
Tell me more, tell me more
Frenchy
Was it love at first sight?
T-Birds
Tell me more, tell me more
Kenickie
Did she put up a fight?

Verse 3: Danny + Sandy
Took her bowling in the arcade
We went strolling, drank lemonade
We made out under the dock
We stayed out till ten o’clock

Both
Summer fling don’t mean a thing
But, uh oh, those summer nights

Chorus
T-Birds and Pink Ladies
Woah, woah, woah
T-Birds
Tell me more, tell me more
Sonny
But you don’t gotta brag
Pink Ladies
Tell me more, tell me more
Rizzo
Cause he sounds like a drag

All
Shooda-bop bop
Shooda-bop bop
Shooda-bop bop
Shooda-bop bop
Shooda-bop bop
Shooda-bop bop
Shooda-bop bop
Yeah

Verse 4: Danny + Sandy
He got friendly holding my hand
Well, she got friendly down in the sand
He was sweet, just turned eighteen
Well, she was good, you know what I mean

Both
Summer heat, boy and girl meet
But, uh oh, those summer nights

Chorus
T-Birds and Pink Ladies
Woah, woah, woah
Pink Ladies
Tell me more, tell me more
Jan
How much dough did he spend?
T-Birds
Tell me more, tell me more
Sonny
Could she get me a friend?

Bridge: Danny + Sandy
It turned colder, that’s where it ends
So I told her we’d still be friends
Then we made our true love vow
Wonder what she’s doin’ now

Both (T-Birds and Pink Ladies)
Summer dreams ripped at the seams
But, oh, those summer nights
(Tell me more, tell me more)

24. 1979 – Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2 – Pink Floyd

I have always fallen asleep to music. Once I started using streaming services, I started making sleep play lists. Pink Floyd is my most played list, made up of their slow and trippy songs. I call most of my mixes Rocker’s Dozen, a play on baker’s dozen, with 13 songs based on a theme or an artist, or both. R12: Pink Floyd Quiet Storm contains “Comfortably Numb”, “Hey You”, “Mother”, “Goodbye Blue Sky”, “Us and Them”, “Breathe (In The Air)”, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “Wish You Were Here”, “On The Turning Away”, “Sorrow”, “A Great Day For Freedom”, “If” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. None of which has anything to do with this chapter, but I like to share things that make me happy.

“The Wall” is a legendary concept album masterpiece, complete with full length feature film to bring the story to life. But the first single was “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2”, and I was introduced to it as a stand alone piece, concerned with the eternal struggle between teacher and student. As a 5th grader, this song resonated with me on so many levels.

One day at school, during lunch, I led all of my friends in singing this song. We were also banging our fists on the table to keep the beat. Unbeknown to me, our giant mean terrorizing principal had walked into the cafeteria. One side of the table immediately stopped singing and banging, but those of us who couldn’t see him kept going. Eventually it was only me, singing loudly “Leave us kids alone!”, pounding the table, until the principal was standing directly behind me. He ordered me to follow him to the stage at the far end of the cafeteria. I asked why, and he told me if I liked singing so much, I could sing for the entire school. Panicking, I narc’ed on one of my friends, the boldest of us all, and asked why he wasn’t also in trouble. He was then ordered to accompany me. As Darth Principal led us to the stage, the bell rang, but not a single student left the cafeteria. The next period lunch crowd also started entering. My friend and I had a huge audience to perform in front of. We debated what would happen if we actually sang “Hey! Teacher! Leave us kids alone!” in front of the whole school. We kind of wussed out, thinking that we would get suspended if we actually sang that song. We had a few seconds to decide what to sing instead as he pulled us up front. We went with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, which prompted laughs from hundreds of elementary school classmates. As we turned as red as Rudolph’s nose, that apparently satisfied the Sith Lord and we were sent back to class.

There have been so many times throughout my life that I have pondered what really would have happened if I had not caved, and went ahead and sang “Another Brick”. Had I sang Pink Floyd, on stage, in front of the whole school, as a 5th grader, would I have gained the confidence to actually pursue my lifelong dream to be a rock singer? Would I have become a “cool kid” instead of the “brain”, “geek”, “nerd” or whatever people classified me as? Self esteem and confidence have always been lacking for me, and this event is one of those potential life-altering chances to change the direction of your existence on this planet. Whenever I mentally go down that road, the thing I land on is the fact that my friend had my back, even though I dragged him into my punishment, and he never thought less of me or ever turned his back on me throughout his life. I really miss him, he was taken from us too soon.

My favorite lyric:

“We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom”

School is tough for kids. It doesn’t matter if you are smart, athletic, attractive, clever or none of those things. Every day is a battle for survival. I have always felt that teachers are either outstanding or horrible. All of the ones that I remember either inspired and motivated me, or made me feel small and insignificant. I am not sure if the bad ones realize the power they have to destroy the hopes and dreams of children, or if they are just too ignorant to know what they are doing. Either way, in my opinion, their job is to open the mind and encourage creativity. “Thought control” and “dark sarcasm” create scars that never heal.

Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2

Written by Roger Waters

Performed by Pink Floyd

Verse 1: Roger Waters & David Gilmour
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

Chorus: Roger Waters & David Gilmour
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

Verse 2: Islington Green School Students
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers, leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave us kids alone!

Chorus: Islington Green School Students
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

Outro: Roger Waters
Wrong, do it again! (*Children playing*)
Wrong, do it again!
If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding!
(Wrong, do it again!)
How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?
(Wrong, do it again!)
You! Yes! You behind the bike sheds! Stand still, laddie!
(If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding!
How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?)
(You! Yes! You behind the bike sheds! Stand still, laddie!)
*Children playing*
*Phone beeping sound*

25. 1979 – The Devil Went Down To Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band

I had to listen to this song in secret. My parents hated it. I don’t think they were opposed to Georgia. After all, we spent 2 weeks a year in South Carolina, and we would drive down I-85 now and then. There was one particular Easter weekend where we visited the original Cabbage Patch where the real dolls were made, and you selected them from an actual patch, well before the dolls went plastic and commercial. Perhaps they were concerned that their “Johnny” would be swayed by the devil, and all of his “Rock n’ Roll”. Actually, it was due to one little word, that somehow was so evil it could not be spoken, or even heard, in my house. “Bitch”, as in “son of a bitch”, was a dirty word. Even though Joan Collins used it on TV’s “Dynasty”, it was verboten in my household. I find that a rather tame way to cuss out the actual Devil, but it was enough to get this song banned in my house.

I still found ways to listen to this classic tale of Good vs. Evil, played out over the sickest violin solos ever put down on wax. This song grooves, it is dramatic and dangerous, and it takes the listener on a journey. Don’t tell anybody, but this is one of the coolest songs of all time.

My favorite lyric:

“When the Devil finished, Johnny said, “Well, you’re pretty good ol’ son
But sit down in that chair right there and let me show you how it’s done.””

If I learned nothing else from being raised Catholic, it was how to say NO to temptation. I like to think I would have Johnny’s confidence in an actual satanic showdown.

The Devil Went Down To Georgia

Written by Charlie Daniels, James W. Marshall, Charles Hayward, Fred Edwards, “Taz” DiGregorio & Tom Crain

Performed by The Charlie Daniels Band

The Devil went down to Georgia
He was lookin’ for a soul to steal
He was in a bind ’cause he was way behind
He was willing to make a deal
When he came across this young man sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot
And the Devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said “Boy, let me tell you what.”
“I guess you didn’t know it, but I’m a fiddle player, too
And if you’d care to take a dare I’ll make a bet with you
Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the Devil his due
I’ll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul ’cause I think I’m better than you.”

The boy said, “My name’s Johnny, and it might be a sin
But I’ll take your bet, and you’re gonna regret, ’cause I’m the best there’s ever been.”

Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard
‘Cause Hell’s broke loose in Georgia and the Devil deals the cards
And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold
But if you lose the devil gets your soul

The Devil opened up his case and he said, “I’ll start this show.”
And fire flew from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow
And he pulled the bow across the strings and it made an evil hiss
And a band of demons joined in and it sounded something like this:

Demonic violin piece

When the Devil finished, Johnny said, “Well, you’re pretty good ol’ son
But sit down in that chair right there and let me show you how it’s done.”

“Fire on the Mountain” Run, boys, run!
The Devil’s in the house of the rising sun
Chicken’s in the bread pan picking out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No, child, no

Non-demonic violin piece

The Devil bowed his head because he knew that he’d been beat
And he laid that golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny’s feet
Johnny said, “Devil, just come on back if you ever wanna try again
I done told you once–you son of a bitch–I’m the best there’s ever been.”
And he played:

“Fire on the Mountain” Run, boys, run!
The Devil’s in the house of the rising sun
Chicken’s in the bread pan picking out dough
Granny, will your dog bite? No, child, no

 

My Life In Music, Part 1, 1975 – 1979 first appeared on Game On Media.

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