(Above: The 1969 Buick Electra I bought for $400 in February of 1986.)
In the last post I referred to buying a ’69 Buick and driving around listening to mixtapes put together full of Oldies music. I was a constant anachronism in high school: whatever was in, I wanted no part of, instead choosing to remain static in terms of taste. Many of the same records I inherited when I turned four stayed in rotation at home, and trips to the record store after that helped to fill in the gaps.
One of the tapes survived. Very little else did: on the way to a Tom Petty and Bob Dylan show in June of ’86, the Electra caught fire, charring everything that didn’t have the sense to get out of it. (I’ll write more about that at the end of June, when the anniversary hits.) For some reason I removed one of the cassettes that was my constant companion in that car, the “60s Cruising Tape,” and that’s the only reason it survives.
It’s awfully faded from years in the sun (it went into other cars, too), but still tracks pretty well.
“Little Miss Sad” – The Five Emprees. This is a record I did not own until some time later. I got lucky and recorded this from Bob Stroud’s weekend Oldies show on WLUP. The group is from St. Joseph, Michigan, and managed to get to #2 on the WLS chart in the summer of 1965.
“Little Bit O’Soul” – The Music Explosion. This was the segue on the Stroud show, and I let the tape roll. We often joked about our expeditions driving around to meet girls as “going fishing,” and the lyrics to the song seemed appropriate.
“96 Tears” – ? and the Mysterians. Now, we delve into the 45s I had begun to accumulate by this time.
“Glad All Over” – Dave Clark Five
“Bits and Pieces” – Dave Clark Five
“Do You Love Me” – Dave Clark Five. These three are all in a row, proving that I don’t yet have a handle on artist separation when it comes to programming. I was into the DC5, and was likely one of maybe a half-dozen people at Andrew HS who could say the same.
“Don’t Hang Up” – Orlons. Another 45 I was lucky to find, although I preferred “South Street.” (Apparently, this cassette had also been used and not erased, since a second or two of “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops is audible between tracks.)
“Let’s Dance” – Chris Montez. I am pretty sure I knew this song from the food fight scene in Animal House, which probably justified it being included here. Copied from 45, complete with the voice counting it in.
“At the Hop” – Danny & the Juniors. Released in 1958, it clearly doesn’t belong on this mix tape, but at least it segues well. A pretty scratchy 45, too.
“409” – Beach Boys
“Little Deuce Coupe” – Beach Boys. As I was getting more into cars and engines (I had just upgraded from a Chevy with a 327 to the Buick with a 430), car songs seemed appropriate, and I had Volumes 1 and 2 of the band’s greatest hits to work with.
“You Really Got Me” – Kinks. This sounded really good at full volume.I believe this came from an LP.
“Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In the Shadow?” – Rolling Stones. NOW we’re getting somewhere. I apparently had a penchant for digging deep into the library at an early age. I found a used copy of Through The Past (Darkly) and dubbed this from that LP.
“Girl Watcher” – The O’Kaysions. If the end of my senior year of high school, or this car, had a theme song, it’s this. I fell in love with this song, and played it a LOT driving around. This song will likely get its own post at some stage. For anyone who remembers riding around in this car with me, this is the song they’d probably think of.
“Mony Mony” – Tommy James & the Shondells. Years before it was fashionable to sing additional lyrics to this in bars, I was driving up and down 159th Street playing it at full volume. It’s a bad dub from another cassette.
“Catch Us If You Can” – Dave Clark Five. This comes from a 45. It was yet another theme song of the spring of ’86. We thought we were always pulling something over on the old people. Now that I’m the old person, watching groups of teenagers thinking they’re pulling something over on me, I sorta get it.
“Little Honda” – Beach Boys. Again from the Greatest Hits LP, and it should be the Hondells version. Either way, it’s impossible not to drive quickly when this is on.
“Oh, Pretty Woman” – Roy Orbison. This is from one of the original 45s I got from my parents. Ten years later, when I was picking songs for WJMK, it was consistently the most-requested song on the station.
“Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison. This comes from the original Bang 45, with the “dirty” lyrics (“makin’ love in the green grass”) intact.
“New Girl In School” – Jan & Dean. This is the flip side of “Dead Man’s Curve.” I probably intentionally chose not to put a song about a car accident on this tape for good reason.
“Surfin’ Bird” – Trashmen. I have no idea what this is dubbed from, but it somehow sounds even worse here than it normally does. I should have saved this for the “Obnoxious Cruising Music” tape later that year.
“Louie, Louie” – Kingsmen. Classic song, but another bad dub.
“Gloria” – Shadows of Knight. This sounds much better, but I don’t have the 45 anymore (I don’t think I ever did), so I am unsure as to the source on this.
“Too Many Fish In the Sea” – Marvelettes. Deeper Motown. I think this was playing when I bumped into my junior year English teacher, Mr. Rose, who mentioned the appropriateness of me “driving around in a deuce and a quarter listening to old soul.”
“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” – Temptations. Another bad dub. I had seen The Big Chill the fall before that, and – for better or worse – that movie put a lot of Oldies back in peoples’ heads. Or, in my case, in there for the first time.
For an early attempt at the mixtape, this one is actually pretty solid. It does what it says it’s trying to do. A little bit of refinement in terms of definition of genre and artist separation, and it would probably sell quite a few copies. In at least one car in the early spring of 1986, it was #1 on the charts.