Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Bangles “Walking Down Your Street”

I didn’t have a CD player---they weren’t really common---until I went off to college. So all of my pre-collegiate listening memories take me right back to the carpet in the Living Room.

That’s where the record player was. And later Dad added a cassette player to the system.

If you wanted to listen to music, that’s where you went. Mom’s Living Room.

It was Mom’s Living Room, because, as she would often say, “I want one room in the house to be just for me.”

Toys could be strewn from the upstairs bedrooms all the way down to the basement, but they weren’t allowed in the Living Room. Food was strictly forbidden. Horseplay? You were looking at a one way ticket to a grounding, if you were horsing around in the Living Room.

But the Living Room was the only place you could really listen to music, so we were allowed to sit in there and listen.

So we'd sit. And listen. Maybe stare at an album cover or something. We'd quietly enjoy the music.

And let’s face it, like any kids, when Mom wasn’t looking, we jumped around like crazy.

We’d spin records and figure out how much we could jump up and down, without skipping the vinyl. We’d try to recreate the moves from “Grease Lightning.” The tennis rackets and hairbrushes and other pre-Rock Band pseudo-instruments would cross that magic carpeted boundary, into a forbidden zone of the Living Room where we imagined ourselves to be stars.

When I came home, a few weeks back, and told my wife that I’d be interviewing Susanna Hoffs, she gasped, “I loved her!”

And I said, “I know you loved her, I knew you’d be excited.”

She said, “No. I didn’t just love her. I wanted to BE her.”

When I started looking back over Susanna Hoffs’ career, and my eye wandered past “Walking Down Your Street,” I suddenly went there, to the carpet in the Living Room, where my sister Julie (who’s the same age as my wife), is dancing with her friends to that song. They’re singing it, fully, arms dramatically acting out the words, running from one end of the room to the other, in and out of the hallway and back in the Living Room.

SHE wanted to be Susanna Hoffs.

It’s a good memory. And in brotherly fashion, I can’t wait to tease her about it the next time I see her.

The official video, with Randy Quaid & Little Richard!

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