This was one of the stops on the Great Heat Wave Road Trip earlier this month.
That day, July 5, brought plenty of sun and temperatures in the 90s. It didn’t seem all that different from 34 summers before, when I’d walk to that park, set my AM/FM radio at the base of that pole, flip it on and start shooting baskets.
In the summer of 1978, I was 21 and lived a couple of blocks away at a place we called Beaver Lodge. It was a three-bedroom cement-block house in a gritty, seen-better-days business district just off Highway 53 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
All the fuss over the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary brings me back to this place. That summer, the “Some Girls” LP came out. Starting with “Miss You,” its songs lit up the radio that sat at the base of that basket.
I picked up “Some Girls” so quickly that my copy has this early version of the original — and quickly withdrawn — die-cut cover. It featured several celebrities who hadn’t approved of the use of their image.
That’s Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball in the top row, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot in the second row, Farrah Fawcett in the third row and Raquel Welch in the fourth row.
The songs, of course, are what I remember most. Rocking out to “Respectable.” Digging the laid-back cover of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).”
And on that basketball court at Highland Park, getting into a groove to the background vocals of “Shattered.” They got into my head and stayed there. They’re still there.
“Shadoobie, shattered … shadoobie, shattered, shattered.”
It is by far my favorite Stones record. Any one of its 10 cuts takes me right back to that hot summer of 1978, to that basketball court at that park. Yet as I listened to it again the other night, a most unexpected cut jumped out at me. Either I didn’t appreciate it much at the time or I’d forgotten how much fun it was.
“Far Away Eyes,” the Rolling Stones, from “Some Girls,” 1978. (The buy link is to a deluxe edition released in 2011.)
In which the boys go country, taking a road trip through Bakersfield and listening to the radio. Mick Jagger’s twang is not at all convincing but I dig it nonetheless. Ron Wood’s pedal steel guitar is much more authentic.
Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.