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Category: GenX

38 years ago today, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fourth and final week

BrianWilkins.org
October 18, 2021

I implore every child to keep calendar journals starting right now. Because I couldn’t write these stories without my own journals from childhood.

1983 was a great year for me as an 8-year-old. I was making “good” money from my paper route (about $30/week) and another $5 to $10 per week from golf ball hunting/selling during the summer months. Sure I mostly bought Star Wars action figures, Legos and comic books (the first Transformers toys didn’t come out until 1984). But one of my paper route customers held a garage sale on July 8, 1983; and I bought a used walkman and a tape recorder. At the time, walkmans were still too expensive for an 8-year-old kid to buy brand new with his paper route money. read more

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39 years ago today, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was #1 for the fifth of seven weeks in 1982

BrianWilkins.org
April 15, 2021

Damn I’m getting old! I remember so vividly playing Pac-Man at the bowling alley down the street from my house in Marshalltown, Iowa when I heard this for the first time. I got the quarters to play the arcade game from selling golf balls. We used to go golf ball hunting across the street from the golf course, and golfers would buy them. That’s Gen X economics for kids.

Some argue “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” is the greatest song of the 80s. Billboard ranked it #56 of all-time in 2008. It’s a classic for sure, with lots of childhood memories tied to it. But many people don’t know that Joan Jett neither wrote the song, nor originally performed it. Those honors go to 1970s glam rock band The Arrows. Lead singer Alan Merrill and guitarist Jake Hooker wrote the song and first performed it in 1975. read more

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The NeverEnding Story: the most influential film of my life

BrianWilkins.org
May 18, 2020

Atreyu and Falkor the luck dragon.

The summer of 1984 was a banner time for movies. See Ghostbusters, Sixteen Candles, Revenge of the Nerds, Karate Kid, et al. The Orpheum theater in Marshalltown, Iowa had a new movie playing called “The NeverEnding Story” (NOTE: last movie I saw at the Orpheum was Caddyshack II in 1988). I had $5.52 in my pocket from my paper route job. That was enough for a movie ticket, popcorn and pop in those days.

I watched “The NeverEnding Story” by myself, with only 40-50 other people in the theater. It shaped me forever. All I wanted from that point forward was to save my Childlike Empress (aka Moon Child). read more

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Who is listening in 2020?

BrianWilkins.org
April 28, 2020

This is Brian’s 1996-97 broadcasting school tape. He really thought he was cool, trying to rap! 🙂

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30 years ago today: Paula Abdul reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Opposites Attract”

BrianWilkins.org
February 15, 2020

I skipped school on Thursday, February 15, 1990. I’d met this cute eighth grader at Skate North in Des Moines the previous Friday and was going to spend the day at her house. Problem was that I was only 14 (no driver’s license) and she lived far out in Urbandale. The bus took me part of the way, before I walked the last three miles.

My journal is a bit illegible the rest of the way due to spilling something on it over the years. But her mom came home early and I ended having to hide in the closet and climb out a window when the coast was clear. In-school suspension was coming the next day for the truancy. But hey, she was really cute! read more

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RIP Marie Fredriksson: My 5 Favorite Roxette Songs

by Brian A. Wilkins
December 10, 2019

The duo of Per Gessle (L) and the lovely Marie Fredrikkson are Roxette.

My good friend Blake had a memorable, funny comment when we were roommates at Iowa State University in 1994. “Black men aren’t supposed to be Roxette fans.” He said that after observing the fact I had three Roxette CD’s in my collection. That’s what happens when you’re black and grow up in 1980s Iowa.

Roxette vocalist and keyboardist Marie Fredriksson passed away yesterday in Djursholm, Sweden at the age of 61. She had been battling brain cancer for over 17 years. She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children. read more

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Lucinda Williams vs. Mary Chapin Carpenter: Who did “Passionate Kisses” better?

BrianWilkins.org
November 23, 2019

Mary Chapin Carpenter version

Lucinda Williams version

Hung Jury

Lucinda Williams wrote the song. It was a track on her eponymous third studio album released in 1988.

The song didn’t chart in the States for whatever reason. “Passionate Kisses” reached #169 on the Aussie charts in 1989. That was the extent of its commercial success. There was/is no music video for the song. That may have contributed to its relative anonymity in the last few years of the MTV MUSIC TELEVISION era.

Mary Chapin Carpenter added her own sugar and spice to “Passionate Kisses” in 1993. The song was suddenly ubiquitous, just four years after the Lucinda Williams original. It reached #4 on the U.S. Hot Country Singles chart, and #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. Chapin Carpenter won a Grammy in 1994 for Best Female Country Vocal Performer. Williams won a Grammy that year as well for Best Country Song. read more

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5 Most Groovy Gospel Songs Of All-Time

BrianWilkins.org
August 29, 2019

My good friend Shannon loved the song “Son Of A Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield.

I told her that I’m the son of a preacher woman (Church of God in Christ, or “COGIC”), which apparently is/was pretty rare in genuine Christian institutions – female pastors. Shannon got a chuckle out of that fact since we smoked weed and drank together all the time in the early 2000s.

Generation X kids know how it is – many of us were forced to go to church every Sunday. Some of us also had to go to church on Wednesdays and even Sunday School before church. Church was so normal that there was even the sitcom “Amen” that ran from 1986 to 1991. read more

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