Friday, October 28, 2016

Lifesaver Lollipops, MTV and Pat Benatar

1981 was a pretty big year for me. It was the year that I finally turned ten, or "double digits" which, for whatever reason made me think I was a total big shot. It was also the year that I got a sparkling new bike that looked exactly like this one, but it was in pink.


 I spent so many hours zooming up and down the alley behind my house with a neighborhood filled with kids. It was always girls against the boys in whatever game we played and let me tell you, the girls were way out-numbered. We talked a good game until the boys started throwing rocks and then out came the water works and running home to tell our parents. Needless to say, the boys were always in trouble.

I also remember that some of the stupidest things ever classified as toys. Do you guys remember Ka Bangers???? The only point in banging them together was to do it without hurting yourself or anyone else.

I can still hear my mother complaining about the idea of spending $3 on something so useless, yet my father did decide to take a 15 minute ride to find a set for me when every store near the house had sold out. The summer of 1981 was pretty memorable for me and not just because Lifesavers finally did the unimaginable and created blueberry lollipops,


 it was also a musical turning point for me. Up until then I had been a total disco queen. My dad would listen to albums every night and I'd always get to choose the last song. For the longest time I completely tortured him with Abba.


"The Winner Takes It All", "Dancing Queen", etc. I was pretty obsessed. Then something happened and that something was MTV. It premiered in August of 1981 and at first it wasn't available everywhere.


 Not all cable companies back then were sure that they should take a risk on an all-music network. Chain record stores did have MTV and believe me they installed televisions just to have it playing in the store. I remember going to the mall with my dad and basically camping out in the Gallery of Sound, watching music videos. At first there was only a handful and Pat Benatar's "You Better Run", being the second video ever shown, seemed to play hourly.

This Pat chick, she was really cool and super tough. I loved the fact that she seemed to hold her own with the guys despite being so tiny. Maybe it was the striped shirt and the leather, or it could have been just the song itself but either way I was hooked. My dad, who was working at a rock station at the time was beyond thrilled to help steer me away from disco and towards the kind of music that he loved, rock. Crimes of Passion became my very first album and I think that I played it into the ground. 


It's kind of ironic to me that it took me 36 years to finally see Pat play live. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but this year I spent my birthday at one of her shows and it was just amazing. While I loved her way back then I totally respect the example that she has set for other your women trying to find their own way in the music biz. Plus she seems pretty normal and has always put her family ahead of being onstage. In fact, she and her husband didn't start touring full throttle again until after their two daughters were grown. 


It's funny because if you see her in concert, Pat always mentions "You Better Run" as being a real turning point in her illustrious career because they really had no idea what, if anything would ever come of the whole music video concept. I have to think that she probably lit a real fire under more people that she could ever imagine just by taking a chance with a camera and that song!

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