Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.
"Knock Three Times" was a huge AM radio hit when I was in sixth grade. When it played in the lunchroom at school, all the kids there naturally pounded on the table when the song prompted us to, y'know, knock three times. We were warned of dire consequences if we didn't stop that infernal pounding, you worthless kids! As the song continued, I figured that I could toe the line and continue enjoying myself by playing air drums, and silently swatting the air instead of smacking the table. Perfect plan, right? But Mr. Shannon saw the downward movement of my arms, and pronounced me guilty, my protests to the contrary be damned. I've never forgiven him, the rat!
As a voracious reader of Trouser Press magazine in the early '80s, I must have read all about The dB's and their first two albums, Stands For Decibels and Repercussions. Probably. My first exposure to the group was two live tracks, "We Should Be In Bed" and "Death Garage," on a live sampler LP called Start Swimming. A couple of years later, I fell in love with a dB's album called Like This, which we played in-store when I worked at a record store in Buffalo circa 1985. A few years later still, a reissue of Like This would become (with Past Masters, Volume Two by The Beatles) one of the first pair of CDs I ever owned. Saw The dB's at Syracuse's Lost Horizon in the late '80s, as the final incarnation of the group was touring in support of its last album, The Sound Of Music.
THE DEAD BOYS
THE DEAD BOYS: Yesterday's discussion of The Damned mentioned an album called New Wave, a sampler LP put out by the good folks at the Vertigo label. We'll be coming back to that album in at least two more future editions of The Everlasting First, but it's also where I first heard The Dead Boys (specifically "Sonic Reducer" and "All This And More," two tracks from The Dead Boys' debut album, Young, Loud & Snotty). My favorite Dead Boys track would ultimately be "Third Generation Nation," the lead-off track from their second and final album, We Have Come For Your Children. Dead Boys lead singer Stiv Bators would later release an incredible cover of The Choir's pop classic "It's Cold Outside," and his version is The Greatest Record Ever Made.
I guess it's easy to be snarky about the clunky pop music of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, but I was intrigued by them. I believe the first mention of 'em I ever saw was in the booklet that accompanied a Sire Records double-album sampler called The History Of British Rock, Volume Two. That set didn't contain any DDDBM&T, but just the mention of the group and a manic record called "Bend It" was enough to whet my appetite. I later found a used copy of the "Bend It" 45, but it didn't make much of an impression on me, I fear. "Zabadak" also left me cold. But when I heard their song "Hold Tight" a few years later, I knew I'd found a new favorite. I've purchased CD reissues of three DDDBM&T albums, but the debut album (which includes "Hold Tight" and "You Make It Move") is my go-to.
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