1984 was the year I became a man. Well, I had a bar mitzvah. That hardly constituted manhood. I did get my first girlfriend, the lovely Andrea Musicant, while at summer camp. To her credit, she didn’t bring me into manhood either. She did, however, accompany me to one life-changing event, though: my first real concert. Leaving an Oingo Boingo show at the Del Mar Fair after a few songs didn’t really count but going to see the Gogo’s and the Cars definitely did.
By 1984, I’d made the conversion to 91X’s Rock of the 80’s format and dove in head first. Suddenly I was drawing British post-punk types instead of Def Leppard all over everything. I’m not sure when it happened but it had to be before going on vacation with my family to Yosemite that summer. I was on headphones the entire time listening to a tape of U2’s Under A Blood Red Sky plus Jimmy The Hoover’s “Tantalize”, Tears For Fears “The Way You Are“, Cutting Edge’s “Lonesome Cowboy” and other songs I taped off of 91X.
One night, a few years ago, we were at the end of a Musical Pursuit, Cover Me Badd’s long-running music trivia night. The quizzes always ended with one super-hard question worth five big points. There were always people at the Whistle Stop there just to have a drink, not compete. So, I made sure to remind everyone on the mic that these people were playing for as much as $400 and if they shouted out an answer, they’d either have their drink taken away or poured on them. Their choice. That night, the question was simply “What song that Mick Jones played guitar on was once #1 on 91X’s year end countdown?” A guy who was standing nearby but not playing said, “What year was it?!” I figured that no one could be nerdy enough to be able to guess it from that so I said, “1984.” He started jumping up and down, yelling, “‘TENDERNESS’! ‘TENDERNESS’!”. Then, knowing what he’d done, immediately ran out of the bar. Usually the players went insane if anyone let an answer slip but it was too hysterical for anyone to get mad.