Rolling With The Kid


dk's high school ride | 1972 VW Bug

I spent most of yesterday looking around on Facebook and making contact with people I haven’t talked to in years. I discovered that roughly half my graduating class from high school (Springfield High School, Class of ’87) is on there, and, well… what a trip. Seeing the people I grew up with looking like adults and posing in pictures with their spouses and children is both disorienting and flashback inducing.

In the spirit of the flashback, I decided to take a few minutes to reflect on some of the music that accompanied my high school years. The town I grew up in (Springfield, OR) is a very blue collar place, supported mostly by a dying wood products industry. In her book about child-murderer Diane Downs, author Ann Rule described Springfield as an ugly step-sister to neighboring city Eugene (and I’m not sure which hurts more – the semi-truth of that analogy, or that I just cited Ann Rule as an “author”). She may be right, but Springfield is a place with many interesting nooks and dramatic vistas, and I spent a lot of my teenage years behind the wheel of a red 1972 VW Bug, driving all over that town and dreaming of the day that I could leave its sawmills and orchards behind.

All of my trips up Hayden Bridge Road and down Main Street were punctuated by music from my modest collection of cassette tapes – remember those? Some have held up pretty well, others are as embarrassing as the bowl haircut I sported in my 5th grade photos, but they were all part of the soundtrack of a time when I was a restless kid, rolling down the road to somewhere else.

Prince | Sign O' The Times
Prince | Sign O’ The Times

dk says: Prince was an essential for me in high school. Around The World In A Day, Under The Cherry Moon, and 1999 all got play, but Sign O’ The Times was the dominant tape in my deck.

Listen: [link removed]

AC/DC | Who Made Who
AC/DC | Who Made Who

dk says: The original AC/DC best-of, this compilation leans heavily toward the Brian Johnson years, but rocks from start to finish.

Listen: Ride On

INXS | Kick
INXS | Kick

dk says: The band behind my first concert, it seemed like everyone at Springfield High listened to these guys in 86/87…

Listen: Need You Tonight

Beastie Boys | Licensed To Ill
Beastie Boys | Licensed To Ill

dk says: This tape stayed in the deck for two straight months during spring term of my senior year.

Listen: The New Style

Def Leppard | Hysteria
Def Leppard | Hysteria

dk says: This one really speaks for itself.

Listen: Animal

LL Cool J | Bigger And Deffer
LL Cool J | Bigger And Deffer

dk says: I knew every word of this album back in the day, but it hasn’t held up well.

Listen: Get Down

Bon Jovi | Slippery When Wet
Bon Jovi | Slippery When Wet

dk says: This one also speaks for itself, although it led to a good debate here.

Listen: Or not.

Dead Or Alive | Youthquake
Dead Or Alive | Youthquake

dk says: This one has drawn some verbal fire from friends and family over the years, but it’s still a thumbs-up in my book.

Listen: Lover Come Back To Me

The Cars | Greatest Hits
The Cars | Greatest Hits

dk says: Not necessarily a favorite, but a staple nonetheless…

Listen: Since You’re Gone

Billy Idol | Vital Idol
Billy Idol | Vital Idol

dk says: Billy Idol is funny. And another debate ensued

Listen: Catch My Fall


QUESTION: What did you listen to when you went cruising during high school?

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29 Responses to “Rolling With The Kid”

  1. Aldo Velasco Says:

    Woah. Youthquake. I had no idea. I really had no idea. I’m going to have to take some time out to do some reevaluating….

  2. Jason Says:

    Pearl Jam’s Ten, Vs & Vitology
    Soundgarden’s Superunknown
    Green Day’s Dookie
    Stone Temple Pilot’s Purple
    Tribe Called Quest’s Instinctive Paths… & The Low-End Theory
    Spin Doctors’ Pocket Full Of Kryptonite

  3. John Says:

    95.5 WPLJ in New York was my station of choice: pretty much a Top 40 jukebox. Some of the cassettes that remind me of high school cruising: Storm Front, Billy Joel; Bad, Michael Jackson, and a lot of other vacuous pop. So help me god, though, if I hear ‘Kokomo’ by the Beach Boys one more time, I’m going to shoot myself. Crap, it’s already playing in my head!! Aaack! Aruba, Jamaica …

  4. foo Says:

    Paul’s Boutique was the most memorable
    The Hooters
    The Dead Milkmen
    Butthole Surfers

  5. Aram Says:

    I had two sets of friends in high school, the hard rockers and the prog rockers. And all the girls I knew dug the singer-songwriters. Of course I was also just finding out who that singer from New Jersey was.

    Aerosmith: Get Your Wings, Rocks, Live Bootleg
    Ted Nugent: Ted Nugent, Cat Scratch Fever
    Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town
    Jackson Browne: Running on Empty, The Pretender
    Kiss: Love Gun
    Al Di Meola: Elegant Gypsy
    Return to Forever: Romantic Warrior
    Yes: Fragile, Yessongs
    Genesis: A Trick of the Tail
    Steely Dan: Aja
    Rick Wakeman: Journey to the Center of the Earth

  6. esbandido Says:

    Holy smokes! Carol Miller from 95.5 WPLJ in NY was my favorite DJ growing up.

  7. Shelby Drayton LaBadie Says:


    Sign of the Times.

    That tape was stuck in the deck of my 1979 brown Volvo sedan for the entirety of my senior year in high school, so every inch of every song is permanently programmed into my brain.

    If I could play Name That Tune with any of the songs on that album, I’d win in a nanosecond.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Dan.

  8. craig Says:

    Depended on who was driving:

    Pete J. = The Doors. Lots of The Doors. Occasional Stones, but mostly The Doors.

    Pete B. = The Police

    Patrick = AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Scorpions, Def Leppard, the Cult, U2, Beasties, Soundgarden, Aerosmith. Luckily, Pat drove most of the time.

    Dave = Dead or Alive; at least until everybody started yelling at him to stop, and then we listened to what we damned well pleased.

  9. Arlo Chingaderas Says:

    I was listening to LOTS of gangsta rap back in the day (Spice 1, Ice Cube, RBL Posse, The Click, Brotha Lynch, C-Bo, 2Pac, etc)… I thought I was cool cause I had bass in my ride; two Pioneer 12″ woofers + a Jensen 400-watt amp (a ghetto-ass system up for some ghetto-ass tunes). Fun times, though.

  10. Rob Says:

    Love this one. OK, so i had this go to cassette tape with the Doors’ Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine on one side and a bunch of Beatles tunes on the other. could have been White Album. not sure. but it had ‘Blackbird’ and i listened to it over and over again. That and ‘The End’ from the Doors side. But it was this gold tape. really heavy. And the sound was amazing. best i ever heard on a cassette. think it was metal. But also listened to Floyd’s The Wall a lot and Bowie’s Changes. As you can imagine there was a two foot contempo stuffed under the passenger seat. (am i allowed to say that.) wouldn’t want the south carolina police pressing charges or anything.

  11. DancingTool Says:

    Top of my head selection below…this really was the time in my life when mix tapes we’re king. Driving around in a ’78 orange Vega with a Sears reverse tape deck…

    The Clash
    Heaven 17
    The Alarm
    Thompson Twins
    Adam and the Ants
    Gary Numan
    Rick Wakeman
    Allan Parsons Project
    Jean Michel Jarre
    Gary Oldfield
    The Ramones

  12. kdub Says:

    How DARE you say Bigger and Deffer hasn’t held up well! LL Cool J is a rap god. I *still* listen to that album, though, it’s not the same when I’m not riding in a BMW, cruising the main drag of Friendswood, Texas, and drinking cherry limeades spiked with vodka stolen from my parents’ liquor cabinet.

    Ah and INXS…I spent many a wine-coolered buzz rocking out to that album…

  13. Neek Says:

    That picture of the old VW Bug sure does bring back some memories, like the time I cracked the windshield with a water balloon, haahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

    Good times.

    /I remember jamming to Whitesnake in your car, if you’re man enough to admit it.

  14. dkpresents Says:

    Alas, Whitesnake was on the playlist…

  15. Flava Furr Says:

    Only lame if it’s anything after Slide It In. That album kicks ass.

  16. dkpresents Says:

    Actually, I was playing the self-titled album from ’87.

    Most definitely lame…

  17. Flava Furr Says:

    Love Ain’t No Stranger wasn’t half bad

  18. Flava Furr Says:

    Aside from that, yep, pretty much sucked

  19. hip Says:

    Noticed that the long post from JD, that she worked on so carefully this morning and then lost her conncection with the internets, has not found it is way back into the mix. it was good
    For me I love the first one was a 1955 with a cloth push back “moon roof” and 200K miles. Turn indicators were little arrow arms with lights on the end that came out of the door posts. It ran on a lot of Chuck Berry, Motown in general (Four Tops/Temptations/Martha and the Vandellas), early Beach Boys, Dick Dale and the Deltones, Bud Shank (did a lot of jazz sound track work for surf movies), the Beatles, early Stones, the Animals-long version of A House in New Orleans. Wolfman Jack seemed to be on every station along with Kasey Kasem.
    Yeah I know I am really really old.

  20. Flava Furr Says:

    A sign o the tImes, indeed.

  21. Jimbo Says:

    Scorps, dude!

    Also, Def Leppard, “Photograph” was the flashback favorite for St. Helens, class of ’87!

    And throw in some sappy Chicago for the teenage melodrama years.

    Cars, “You might think.”

    Peter Gabriel.

    Huey Lewis & The News

    The music was one of my favorite parts about last summer’s 20-year class reunion.

  22. Jonesy Says:

    I remember cruising around in Matt’s corvair convertible with a BoomBox in the back seat listening to Souixie and the Banshees, Beasties, David J (which I hated back then too, but Matt insisted I just hadn’t given it a good listen), Madonna, MJ, and Sir Mix A Lot.

    Matt had a Yellow and Black striped Mullet, wore eye liner and preferred to wear knee length pajama bottoms with bears on them, while I was stylishly clad in a polo shirt and outdated bell-bottoms.

    My own collection of music consisted of Paula Abdul, Bobby Brown, Atlantic Starr, Phil Collins, Air Supply…basically stuff my mom didn’t mind listening to. A self-styled audio prison of the mind, no wonder I went and lived at Matt’s house after high school.

    I do remember shooting baskets at home my junior year when Billie Jean came on the radio for the first time. I thought it was the best song I had ever heard. Still love it.

  23. Simon Peacemaker Says:

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  24. Crafty Lefty Says:

    Hey Dank…enjoyed the trip back down memory lane. No doubt I remember (most of it) those days. Just wanted to share my past love of Men Without Hats/Saftey Dance. Pathetically, and hopefully you have forgotten/forgiven, I had a 90 minute cassette tape with that looped on both sides. Shot baskets every summer day to that bad boy. For that I will forever hate that song!! Thank goodness for the wonderful video that accompanied it. PS I have your back when it comes to Dead or Alive, oh what fun to dance to…I think they are probably the only band that could possibly get me back on the dance floor. Last time I heard them out and about was at the downtown lounge…you guessed it, I boogied my tail off. At least that was what I was told the next day:)….Peace buddy, Bobby.

  25. dkpresents Says:

    Thanks for dropping in BE. If memory serves, you also had every Prince cassette (Controversy, Dirty Mind, etc), all the INXS (Shabooh Shoobah, Underneath The Colours, etc), and a Rick Astley tape that used to get some serious play.

    Good times!

  26. Matthew Says:

    Did you have a vanity license plate on your Bug?

  27. maxi cab Says:

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  28. 13 seater mini bus Says:

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