Reaching For The Stars, Vol. 8

I’m a bit behind on these. Mostly because of not having solid internet access (fuckers). But I have three of these posts mentally queued up from the past month that I’m going to try to crank out over the next week.

Chart Week: July 5, 1980
Song: “Stomp!” – The Brothers Johnson
Chart Position: #28, 17th week on the chart. Peaked at #7 the week of May 24.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this song, so this entry is less about the track than its time.

But, a quick refresher on the song first.

I believe when I’ve shared this song in the past, I’ve labeled it one of the great gifts from my parents to me. I was blessed with young parents who listened to (mostly) cool music. The radio/stereo was always on, and they played pop, rock, soul, disco, and even a little country. I firmly believe exposing me to such a wide range of music made me more open to all kinds of cultural aspects beyond music. “Stomp!” Is one of those songs that I feel like I knew a little better than most of my friends because my parents owned it on vinyl in the summer of 1980. I’m guessing very few of my friends’ parents owned any Brothers Johnson albums back in the day. I have several friends who have learned to love this song over the years – it is a serious jam – and I’m never shy about dropping the “I knew about it way before you” card on this one.

As I said, though, this post is about the time this countdown is from. I forget exactly when we moved to Kansas City, but it was sometime in July of 1980. I know we were in Kansas City in late June/early July – I watched the Wimbledon final at my aunt and uncle’s house – but I think that was a trip so my parents could find a place to rent. I’m pretty sure we returned to southeast Missouri for a couple weeks and didn’t make our official move until the end of the month.

Last Saturday we were out running errands and heard parts of this countdown twice. At one point I told the girls that these songs were the ones that were playing right around the time we moved to Kansas City. I thought they might find that interesting given we had just moved. But there was only a muted response from one of the girls while the other two didn’t respond at all. I was going to tell them about sitting around watching the crew load up our moving van and talking about baseball, how much I loved George Brett, and the guys asking me if I was going to go to a Royals game as soon as we got to Kansas City. And how these songs were probably playing in the background of those conversations. Their brains don’t work like mine, though, so I was left to think about all of that on my own.

As I drove, I thought more about that move, or at least as much as I can remember of it. I thought of the kid across the street of our new place coming over and digging through my boxes to see what kind of toys I had. That kid continued to piss me off for the next five years. I remember thinking how awesome it was going to be to ride my new 10-speed down the big hill that was just up the block. I thought of seeing my new room for the first time; it had this awesome box window that I could crawl up into and sit in that I immediatley loved. And I remembered sitting in that box window about two months later, listening to the Royals claw closer to a division title, when my parents called me into the kitchen to tell me that they were getting divorced.

Back then I didn’t have a satellite radio that caught a signal beamed up into space and back to me. I didn’t have an internet connection that allowed me to listen to nearly any song every recorded on demand. I didn’t have a hard drive full of thousands of songs ripped from CDs I’ve purchased over a 25-year span. I just had a little transistor radio with a single, mono speaker. Man did I love that radio. I carried it everywhere with me, scanning the bands to learn the KC radio landscape, listening to the Royals, hiding in the basement with it next to me during my first Kansas City tornado warning. That radio sewed the seeds of a lifetime love of music, and the trivia that comes along with it, that has continued through nearly 40 years of technological changes.