It has been a really long time since I have done a Sunday Jukebox style entry, and as it so happens, today's featured tale from my years gone by surrounds a particular song.
A song that terrified me beyond words.
This is the story of Year Three. And, let's just say that the third year of my life was a rather eventful one. It was really difficult to select just one memory from that time period. It's also probably the time in which I remember some of my earliest memories. Everything prior to 1984 is a little bit fuzzy.
My third year of life involved a couple of near-death experiences, believe it or not. I fell down the basement stairs at my grandparents and got all bruised and bloodied up. I also nearly drowned in a swimming pool because I thought that for some reason I could walk on top of a swimming pool cover. And I also tumbled off the top of a slide and split my head open on the bottom.
I suppose you could say that 1984 was not a very good year for me. I think my parents got the majority of their gray hairs that year alone worrying about me! What can I say? I was a klutz.
But that's not to say that everything about my third year of life was that bad. I did get obsessed with the board game "Bed Bugs", I discovered my love for "Inspector Gadget", and I learned how to talk that year. Mind you, I was one of those rare kids that learned how to read before I learned how to talk, but once I said my first word, I never quite shut up since!
But before we get into today's personal story from the Pop Culture Archives, let's see what was big in pop culture during the year that Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics.
First things first, do I have a picture that was taken in 1984?
Oh, yeah. There I am. Not sure why I have such a sober look on my face. Maybe I'm just dazed from all of the falls that I took as a child. Who can say? Oh, and apparently there's a gigantic blue crayon just randomly floating above my head. It was the 1980s. Some things that decade could not be explained.
Now onto the music, movies, and television.
#1 SONG OF THE WEEK OF 5/18/84
"Hello" - LIONEL RICHIE
The song itself is wonderfully cheesy, and I liked the video...up until the end where we see the incredibly frightening bust of Lionel. I keep telling myself that the girl who made the bust is blind. She's BLIND!!!
#1 AT THE BOX OFFICE THE WEEK OF 5/18/84
I've never seen this movie, but judging by the trailer, I think it might look interesting.
#1 SHOW FOR THE 1984/1985 SEASON
I suppose that there was something hypnotic about Joan Collins and Linda Evans getting into one catfight after another...
Now, on with today's story. A story which actually starts a few months before I turned three. But by the time that I was three years old, a particular song was playing on the radio at every possible opportunity, and every time I heard the song playing, I had a full blown panic attack.
Like, picture this. Here I am on top of my beloved rocking horse wearing my sunglasses at night like Corey Hart and wearing a sweater that would make Cliff Huxtable proud. And I was as happy as a clam.
Well, that is until my siblings would turn on PAC-93 and a particular song would come on. Then I would leap off of my horse quicker than the Lone Ranger would jump off of Silver, run to the stereo as if I were an Olympic sprinter, and shut that thing off so that I couldn't listen to that horrible song ever again.
So, what song sent terror into my heart?
It was this one.
ARTIST: Van Halen
DATE RELEASED: December 21, 1983
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS: #1 for 5 weeks
You want to know what I think caused my fear of the song? I blame MuchMusic.
Well, not really. I don't blame the station that used to play music videos. You see, MuchMusic (which was Canada's version of MTV) debuted in September 1984, and some of the videos that were most played when the station first came on were the top hits of 1983-1984. And back in those days, MuchMusic was a rarity. Until my family got access to cable television in 1988, we could only get MuchMusic on special preview weeks.
As it so happened, one of those preview weeks just happened to be at a time in which they played Van Halen's "Jump" constantly.
And watching the video, I think I know why I was so scared of the song.
The video is admittedly laughably cheesy today. But at age three, seeing David Lee Roth and the other members of Van Halen in close up shots with them swinging their instruments around and making scary faces...that was enough to sour me on the song forever.
I think that's what caused so much terror in me. I thought that they were going to jump through the television screen and either beat me to death with an electric guitar or strangle me with a leopard print scarf.
Hell, there was a time in which I thought David Lee Roth was going to eat me.
And to make matters worse? The song was tied with Prince's "When Doves Cry" as one of the longest charting #1 singles that year. That meant that the radio played the song a LOT.
My fear of Van Halen kind of became a recurring joke among my family. They poked fun at my misery - which I suppose I couldn't blame them. Who in the world could be afraid of a song? I think my fear of "Jump" got so bad that when it started randomly playing at Woolco one day, my mom actually had to take me out of the store and leave me with Dad so she could finish shopping there, I got THAT freaked out.
(You know...given that I work for the store that bought Woolco out, I wonder if any of the people working there in '84 remember my freakout? Nah.)
Of course, over time, the fear faded, and at some point, I could sit through "Jump" without feeling the urge to change the station or throw a brick through the television screen. By 2005, I was perfectly cured.
Well, okay. It was a lot earlier than 2005. But, to be honest, "Jump" will never be one of my favourite songs. Might be an unpopular opinion, but I kind of liked Van Halen during the Sammy Hagar years.
Hmmm...maybe it was just David Lee Roth that I was afraid of.
So, that closes the chapter on the third volume of the blog. Oh, but do stay tuned for volume four. It's a significant chapter in my life that was filled with many firsts.