In 1987 the Pet Shop Boys recorded a song called “Hit Music On The Radio” from their album titled Actually. That song title very much bought to mind the story of how radio had an enormous influence on my musical taste without even realizing it. Most people of the Baby Boom generation could each make a full length documentary about how the same factor shaped not only their tastes but their philosophical beliefs as well. I’ve been told many times that my own generation had a very shallow view on music,having it supposedly “spoon fed” to them via MTV and the music video movement in general. Yet I didn’t grow up on MTV or videos to any all encompassing degree. Loved music for sure. But the radio was still the ultimate source of my knowledge of it.
One day in 1986 when I was driving along with my family,the same situation where it seems so many of my musical revelations occurred. We were passing a golf course overlooking a two headed hill called Chick Hill in the distance and I heard this song on the radio that caught my ear. Every time we’d pass this location for most of that year,I’d hear this same song. I called it the “Chick Hill Song” much of my youth for this reason. Flash forward almost two decades later. Through Internet research on British funk/soul in 2005 or so,I began to hear a lot about this band called Level 42. It wasn’t long before I began grabbing up everything I could by them. One of them was an album called World Machine. When I came to a song called “Something About You”,my mouth opened with amazement! It was the “Chick Hill Song” I hadn’t thought about in years!
Of course 1986 was a year much of this same phenomenon happened with me. Hearing “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys,”Kiss” by Prince and of course “The Captain Of Her Heart” by the relatively obscure duo Double all shaped how I view music to this day. They also whetted my personal curiosity to their origin. Realizing not too long after most individual songs actually were part of an album that could go beyond the hit,this affected my later appreciated of songs as often parts of a greater whole in the album context. I’ll excerpt Motown from that as the hit single was their primary musical vehicle. Even still,I will always feel honored that the efforts of the many talents involved in radio music broadcasting had a lasting affect on my sense of creativity.