“SANDY (4TH OF JULY)” BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Growing up in Wisconsin, a local classic rock radio station would have “BS Weekend” where they’d play nothing but artists with BS in their name: Bob Seger, Black Sabbath, Billy Squier, Bon Scott (AC/DC), Bruce Springsteen, Buffalo Springfield, Brian Setzer (Stray Cats), Boz Skaggs……. thankfully Britney Spears wasn’t on their playlist. One of the earliest Springsteen songs, Sandy, is a love story set on the Jersey Shore with a backdrop of carnival rides, boardwalk lights, and eternal optimism. Ironic now that Sandy and The Jersey Shore will always have a new association after the historic 2012 hurricane.
“IN THE DARK” BILLY SQUIER
Who can forget the worst rock and roll video decision of all time? “Rock Me Tonite” was released as a follow up single and video at the apex of Billy’s career. The song went to #1 but essentially killed his career. Dancing unintentionally effeminately while dressed in a bright pink tank top in a pastel decorated bedroom, viewers couldn’t believe it! It clearly gave the distorted impression that Billy was gay (he’s not) and flaunting it, not a popular career move for a rocker in the 80’s. It’s been voted “Worst Video Ever On MTV” despite being a great song. Here’s Billy Squier with one of his best, “In The Dark” from his multi-platinum debut album.
“PEPPER” BUTTHOLE SURFERS
Don’t Mess With Texas. In the early 80’s, this new alternative band led by Gibby Haynes started creating hardcore punk songs mixed with some Texas rock attitude and electronic beats. They obviously weren’t looking for commercial success with their choice of a band name. Yet, they stumbled onto MTV with a 1996 alt-rock hit, Pepper. The song romanticizes people making dangerous life decisions and despite the consequences, loving the thrill of taking chances. “Flirting with death” and surviving to tell the story has been an ongoing theme of human history and likely will likely always fascinate people to the end of time.