Just How Terrifyingly Tuned I Am to the Early 80s

I’m listening to one of my online radio stations, whose app I minimized and volume I turned down to talk to my wife on the phone. When I hung up I turned up the speaker volume I heard two bars of a song I’d never heard before and instantly thought “Damn, that’s the Three O’Clock.” […]

I’m listening to one of my online radio stations, whose app I minimized and volume I turned down to talk to my wife on the phone. When I hung up I turned up the speaker volume I heard two bars of a song I’d never heard before and instantly thought “Damn, that’s the Three O’Clock.” Who I hadn’t heard in, oh, twenty years. Maximized the radio program: “With Cantaloupe Girlfriend,” by the Three O’Clock.

Two bars, man. I’m scared. My brain should be filled with things other than the basic tonal template of The Three O’Clock, you know?

So that you may be afflicted with the same horrifying condition, the video from the one song of the Three O’Clock most people who survived the 80s have even the slightest memory of: “Jet Fighter.”

Yes, it’s damn catchy, in that distinctive and oh-so-odd early 80s way.

That’s two early 80s videos in two days, I know. I apologize for that.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

32 replies on “Just How Terrifyingly Tuned I Am to the Early 80s”

Hey, I went to college in the 60’s, and I have in my head the complete lyrics to about a million REALLY STUPID songs — “Incense, Peppermints”, for example. The payroll adjustments I promised my boss yesterday are totally forgotten, but if I hear the inrtos to any of that music, it all comes back to me. So why in the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed world did we evolve a capacity for that?

Heh. That reminded me of Van Halen’s atrocious MTV video of “Jump”. Basically some footage of the Blue Angels flying around, inter-cut with Roth doing his famous mid-air split jump. Must have cost them all of $600 to produce that video.

OT, wow, John. For the past couple of days I’ve developed this habit of watching the list of “most recently commented on.” Dang, that is a lot of spam. But on the plus side I’m discovering a lot of cool older posts of yours. That and I now know when sunrise is over the other side of the Pacific.

Wow. My brother was into the Three O’Clock. I kinda like them, though I think I appreciate them more now than back then. Back in the dizzle, I thought it was all crap unless it played a synthesizer and came from Britain or Germany.

Hey, cool! Coop’s here!

Be very glad that what pushed the quadratic equation or your cousin’s current address out of your head was not ancient commercial jingles. Not to mention the fragment of a Beatle song which will not match up with anything and keeps trying to mate with “Help.”

Also, that probably should have been “botulistic.” The tang, that is.

Awww, I think that ‘only room for so much stuff’ thing is downright wrong. Eighties music may have allowed for MORE stuff going into your beain by stimulating white matter over grey.

At least that is what I tell myself.

I’m zero for two on the early eighties bands.I was in school in those years and working harder than I ever did before or since so I guess that’s why.

Either that or one of my other personalities was in control then. Or maybe I have amnesia.

I know I had a kid in late ’82.She just had her 24th birthday.

My son told me that when you think “current rock” is the stuff you listened to in school, and your 10 year reunion has passed you by, you are officially becoming an Old Fart. I think he graduated in 1989.

there is a new-ish commercial radio station here in the L.A. area called Jack FM. I think there are others just like it across the country. It’s perfect for playing ‘name that tune’ with your highschool class of ’87 loved ones. And like The Three O’clock, nearly every song can be recognized and its name called out within 3 seconds or less of intro.
The memory trigger thing is fun because there are songs I’d NEVER consciously think of again, after lying dormant in the brain for 20 years. Hear 2 bars and it ALL comes back, lyrics included. Fun to sing along, especially now that, with age, it no longer matters whats cool or not.
Not that John ever cared for peer pressure in music tastes – with his ever-burnin lighter-in-the-air for Journey.

I had a similar episode driving home a few weeks ago. One of the radio stations in Chicago will occasionally play an album straight through without commercials, and I happened to turn to that station at the tail end of one such album.

Even though I probably hadn’t heard the song since 1980 my first thought was “that sounds like Supertramp”. It turned out to be the next to last song on Breakfast in America – “Casual Conversations”. The only thing is I was bummed out that I had missed all the great songs earlier in the album, so I ended up buying several of them on iTunes the following week.

I am pleased and proud to announce that, not only have I never heard the song before, I have never even heard of that band before. The eighties were the decade that music forgot. If you go through my CD collection, it pretty much ends at 1981 and starts again at about 1988. A Flock Of Seagulls? Well, that pretty much descrbed his hair, anyway,

Anyone remember The Specials, “Ghost Town”?
The Vapors, “Turning Japanese”?
Thomas Dolby, “Hyperactive”?
Fun Boy Three & Bananarama, “It Ain’t What You Do, Its The Way That You Do It”?

Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing… :)

Thanks for posting that! My wife was thrilled to see the video again after 20 yrs. She was a HUGE 3:00 fan back in the day – went to all the club gigs and joined the fan club (and stepped on Bob Dylan’s son’s toes).

I hadn’t heard of them, being in the midwest, until I met her.

Wow. Flashbacks.

Our local PBS station is doing pledgefunding right now and they’re doing a 60s musics retrospective… and damn if they didn’t just play “Incense, Peppermints…”

Soundtracks get wired deep into the psyche, baby, and it is a visceral kick when you suddenly know in two chords it’s “Incense, Peppermints…”

Dr. Phil

I would have loved to see the Three O’Clock open for Echo. As it was I had to see them with… REM. Which was every way just as good.

I saw Echo a half-dozen times back then and with the exception of the Church they never had much luck with opening bands. Gene Loves Jezebel, the Fleshtones, Screaming Blue Messiahs… all. Sucked.

On a totally unrelated note: if you’re ever thinking of making a totally random-seeming early-80s mix set, try “Cantalope Girlfriend” leading into the Dead Kennedys’ “Moon Over Marin.” Perfect segue, like they were made for each other.

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