[Blogger’s Note: A post much like this one was written for my previous blog. I changed the title slightly and re-posted it here.]
The summer of 1985 was the summer after my first year at Washington College. It was the first year I had been away from my hometown for any length of time (though if you asked my mom, my coming home almost every weekend made it feel as if I had never left). There were lots of adjustments to make at college; being away from home, meeting new people, surviving and learning to thrive in a different atmosphere and being responsible enough to go to classes on my own schedule, and not one regimented by “periods.” One of the best things I found out had nothing to do with college, but had everything to do with music.
Prior to coming to college, and throughout my first semester in the fall, if I wanted to listen to the radio, there was only one station for me: Baltimore’s long-gone and much-loved WXYV-FM, aka V-103. Sure I would sometimes listen to Washington, DC’s WKYS-FM or WHUR-FM (there wasn’t a WPGC that we would be listening to until later in the decade), but the V was the station. One day, primarily out of boredom at college, I found out that my FM radio on my stereo could, on a good day, pull in WUSL-FM (aka Power 99) out of Philadelphia. It was as if my whole world opened up. Why, you ask? Because they were playing songs that I would never hear on my beloved V-103.
Which brings me to the song in this post. My stereo was one of those combination appliances-record player, cassette tape deck and AM-FM radio. Often times, I would use the tape deck to record songs from the radio (and if you are of a certain age, you know exactly what I’m talking about). When I was at home, I made many mixtapes from songs lifted on the radio on cassette tape-and when I went to college I did the same thing. Except once I found out I could get Power 99 on the radio, I began to get songs that my friends had not heard yet. And one of the biggest, and best songs that I put on tape was a dance track from a group called Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force.
Once I heard that song, I knew it would be going on my mixtape. When I got home for the summer, I waited and brought out the boombox, put the tape in, and let that song play. Heads began to turn, wondering what was the name of that song. When I told them the name and who sung it, there were a lot of “who?” and “what?” questions thrown my way. I don’t remember anyone saying they didn’t like the song. So as the days went by, the song gained in popularity; even finally showing up on V-103. Before the end of that summer, that song would be heard all over the place. And people were dancing all over the world to that song. But for me, in my hometown, I became something of a tastemaker. Because I brought that song with me from college, and I told anyone who would listen that I heard it first on Power 99 FM out of Philly.
If you have a memory related to this song, put it in the comments.