I spent a lot of my childhood riding around in my mom’s ’78 Camaro. She had the Footloose soundtrack on cassette and she wore that thing out. I didn’t know who Kevin Bacon was, but by the time I was eight I knew all the words to “Holding Out for a Hero.” Of course, Mom told me that “Dancing in the Sheets” was actually “Dancing in the Streets.” I guess she figured dancing in the street would be safer than the sheets.
Whenever we took a break from the 80’s dance grooves, it was all top 40 hits of the 50’s and 60’s on the radio. The Temptations, Ray Charles; imagine, an 8-year-old kid running around the house, singing Chuck Berry. That was me. Then, in December, 1987, something happened. Permanent Vacation.
My teenage cousin was the coolest. Cool in the way only a teenager, seen through the eyes of an eight year old, can be. For Christmas that year he gave me a cassette of Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation. I knew it was legit because he just handed it to me, no wrapping paper, just a casual “Merry Christmas.” Finally, I had something that was my own. It’s funny, looking back on tracks like “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” or “Rag Doll” I can’t imagine what my eight year old self thought those songs were about. What I do remember, is the sound of that wailing voice and drums like thunder. I wore that thing out in my little yellow boom box.