Cold Cassette 16
Maxell UR, 90 Minutes
The Eagles: Seven Bridges Road
The Eagles: Hotel California (live—the Hell Freezes Over version)
The Eagles: Tequila Sunrise
Tom Petty: You Got Lucky
The Beatles: the last half of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” with the cycling riff and rising static
The Beatles: Her Majesty
Crosby & Nash: Wind on the Water (To the Last Whale)
The Music Explosion: Little Bit o’ Soul
The Beatles: Love Me Do
The Drifters: Up on the Roof
Looking Glass: Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)
The Zombies: She’s Not There
The Mamas & the Papas: Monday, Monday
B.J. Thomas: Hooked on a Feeling
U2: New Year’s Day
The Lovin’ Spoonful: Do You Believe in Magic?
The Beatles: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
The Guess Who: No Sugar Tonight/A New Mother Nature
Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale
The Beatles: Dear Prudence
U2: Mysterious Ways
Bob Dylan: Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35
Led Zeppelin: Good Times, Bad Times
Crosby Stills Nash & Young: Woodstock
The Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime
Electric Light Orchestra: Roll Over Beethoven
The Blue Oyster Cult: (Don’t Fear) the Reaper
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
For at least part of this tape, I must have switched over from WAQY to WDRC, the local oldies station—the end of side one and the beginning of side two are full of songs that were staples on that station, and I caught at least one sliver of a station ID, where a bunch of people sang “Big D 103” in harmony.
I always wondered about the sessions to record those station IDs. I am guessing it’s just a couple of singers, double-tracked and overdubbed, but when I was young, I used to picture, like, nineteen people crammed around a microphone in a little recording booth, counting off and then singing a 1.5-second jingle, then leaving.
I don’t know what the compensation for those singers would be—billable hours would be microscopic if you nailed it on the first take—but I know jingle singers can make pretty great money if they happen to sing the right thing. In college, I had a teacher who was one of the people singing “Good time, great taste of McDonald’s,” a jingle that ran in ads for the fast-food chain for nearly a decade. He got a royalty every time. He owned a lot of property in New Hampshire.
The classic rock station did not do fluffy little station IDs. Theirs were full of tearing, ripping, explosions, reverberating sounds of things being dropped, and a guy who sounded a little like he’d sat on a tack calling out “Rock 102, WAQY, Springfield’s home for classic rock!” in a voice that was halfway between the star of a cold medicine commercial and Don LaFontaine.
It was always a funny contrast going form that to, say, “Tequila Sunrise,” which is not at all the kind of tough or aggressive piece of music the bumpers prepared you for. Actually, on this tape, the weirdest contrast is probably between BJ Thomas and U2 at the close of side one. “Hooked on a Feeling,” with its dreamy electric sitar part and carefree vibe, is an awfully strange lead-in to fraught and ultra-earnest “New Year’s Day.”
But that’s what makes these tapes so entertaining. Well, that and seeing how little I knew. I love that I wrote the title of “Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35” as “Everybody Must Get Stoned.” Why wouldn’t you? That’s totally the title of the song—Dylan was just cultivating his opacity when he gave it its unwieldy “real” title.
Also,”extroduction”? I’m sure someone’s used that at some point, but I think I was trying too hard to come up with a word there. One thing that Beatles two-fer accomplishes is highlighting just how incredibly different the ends of the two sides of Abbey Road are. Try to imagine them reversed—“I Want You” suddenly cutting off would have made a very different statement about the end of the Beatles than the suites, the silence, and Paul McCartney’s little 23-second ditty.