Monday, July 29, 2019

Mix Tape

Cat Stevens, 1976. Wikimedia Commons
At the end of our first year in college, several of my dorm mates put together that most typical of late-'80s youth artifacts, a mix tape. Each student in our dorm entry contributed one favorite song. I suspect most of us left out guilty or geeky pleasures in favor of something more reflective of our preferred identity. I kept and periodically listen to my copy, and offer here the playlist, for anyone interested in what privileged college freshmen liked to listen to thirty years ago:

1) The Unforgettable Fire - U2
2) Father and Son - Cat Stevens
3) Higher Ground - The Feelies
4) The Bitch Is Back - Elton John
5) In the Winter - Dusty Springfield
6) La Femme Accident - OMD
7) Unexpected Song - Bernadette Peters
8) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word - Elton John
9) Blue Sky - Allman Brothers Band
10) In the Name of Love - U2
11) On the Road to Find Out - Cat Stevens
12) Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
13) Laura - Billy Joel
14) Runaway - Del Shannon
15) I Get a Kick Outta You - Nancy Sinatra
16) The Powers That Be - Roger Walters
17) Imagine - John Lennon
18) Three Little Birds - Bob Marley*
19) Knights in White Satin - Moody Blues
20) Love the One You're With - Stephen Stills
21) Angels Don't Cry - The Psychedelic Furs
22) I Fought the Law - The Clash
23) Uptown Girl - Billy Joel
24) Songbird - Fleetwood Mac
25) Eyes of the Girl - Wang Chung**
26) Redemption Songs - Bob Marley
27) Rocky Raccoon - The Beatles
28) Suicide Machine - The Germs
29) Bamboleo - Gipsy Kings***
30) Sweet Home Alabama - Lynard Skynard
31) Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton

Some agreeable stuff here, but on the whole I find our collective taste rather sedate and old-fashioned. The playlist includes a fair number of show tunes and 1970s popular music, plus a little U2 and a handful of '80s obscuranta, but very little popular music from the decade during which we all attended high school. A historical analogue would be a playlist created by college freshmen in 1969 that included Rogers and Hammerstein tunes, some Fabian and Buddy Holly numbers, a few early '60s folk songs, and nothing by the Beatles or the Who or the Rolling Stones. I have long considered my generation a conservative one, and artifacts like these do not challenge that view.

* As required by law.
** If you liked Wang Chung, you were an insufferable geek. This song was my choice.
*** Probably the best thing on the tape.

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