Chart Week: June 12, 1982
Song: “Fantasy” – Aldo Nova
Chart Position: #32, 12th week on the chart. Peaked at #23 for two weeks in May/June.
I only caught a few songs of this countdown, but I tuned in at the perfect time. I’m guessing I had not heard this jam in a long, long time. Which is a damn shame because kicks all kinds of ass. I guarantee it was on a [Johnny Lawrence](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Lawrence_(character)) mix tape.
I’m of two minds about this track.
On one hand, it is a pretty cutting assessment of what Aldo Nova saw on his first visit to New York. He had led a relatively sheltered life in Montreal and was shocked by the early ‘80s debauchery of NYC. Drugs and prostitutes everywhere. People losing themselves in lifestyles filled with fiction and sin to maintain some sanity in a city that would gladly chew them up and spit them out. If you strip away all of the general 80’s-ness about the song, it’s a solid critique of that world by an outsider.
On the other hand, that is overthinking things. This is just a straight rock song that is is completely cheesy yet absolutely awesome.
It begins with the artist. Aldo Nova is an amazing name. It was even cooler to a 10/11 year old kid who heard older kids on the bus say it. Aldo Nova sounded futuristic and exotic, like a sleek, rare, Italian sports car you catch rumors of but will never actually see. I doubt his parents, who were Italian immigrants, had any idea what they were unleashing on the world when they named their son Aldo Caporuscio in 1956. Dropping his family name and replacing it with Nova was a brilliant moment of self-promotion, guaranteeing every little degenerate kid in North America would think it was awesome.
Then there is the song and video. The long intro, with the helicopter and sounds of lasers firing was straight cornball. And incredible! Those sounds were perfect for a generation of kids that was blowing its allowance in arcades and had the sounds of techno-war imprinted in our minds. It also reminded me of a movie like *[Megaforce](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaforce)*, generally considered one of the worst films ever made. I was nuts about that stupid-ass flick, and the [Atari Force comics](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Force), in the summer of ‘82.
In the video, for some reason Nova has to chopper into an area secured by men with weapons. Then he uses his laser guitar to bust open the door to a building, where his band and an adoring crowd are waiting for him.
Why did he have to be choppered in? Why did the guys guarding the landing area have guns? Why did he have to use a laser to cut his way into a building where he was expected? This, my friends, is the beauty of early ‘80s videos! It didn’t have to make sense, because the prime audience was dickheads like me who would watch and scream, “AWESOME!”
Nova is also wearing an absolutely spectacular animal print bodysuit. It might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
The song begins with that big, crunchy rhythm guitar riff, which is quickly covered up by Nova’s soaring, iconic lead riff that carries the track. From there it goes through fairly standard ‘80s rock progressions. It’s worth noting that not all of this was typical yet in 1982. One article I came across suggested that Nova, in this song, created the genre of Hair Metal. That may be giving him too much credit, but you can certainly hear the roots of what would soon dominate the rock charts here.
The rest of the video is loaded with straight cheese. To my eyes, it’s an absolute work of art.
Nova had an interesting career. His debut album went double platinum in the US. He released a couple more albums, but they weren’t nearly as successful and he never had another single that charted in America. He grew disenchanted with the music industry and asked out of his contract. Eventually Nova worked with other artists. Notably he wrote the main, 1000% awesome, riff for Jon Bon Jovi’s “[Blaze of Glory](https://youtu.be/MfmYCM4CS8o).” He produced albums for Celine fucking Dion, winning a Grammy for his work. He even wrote some music for Clay Aiken.
Wacky, wild stuff.
I thank the Music Gods for allowing me to rediscover this completely kick ass song and video, which I’ve listened to/watched at least 15 times over the past week.