It’s New Year’s Eve! Stand back!

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It wasn’t until we owned our first house that Janet and I felt grown up enough to host a New Year’s Eve party.

Until then, we were out at the bars with all the other amateurs on New Year’s Eve. We were young enough that New Year’s Eve was essentially one big high school or college reunion night.

But as 1988 turned into 1989 — as best we can remember — we hosted a New Year’s Eve party at our rambling old house on the east side of Madison, Wisconsin. We had lots of food, drink, friends and party favors.

Our lingering memory of that party is that of one of our friends — who shall remain nameless — holding court in our dining room, holding party poppers and blasting away.

“Stand back!” our friend would shout. Then our friend would pull the string — pop! — and shower the room with confetti.

Ever since, every time we see a party popper … “Stand back!”

Or, every time New Year’s Eve rolls around … “Stand back!”

Having a New Year’s Eve party? You may want these tunes for your mix.

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“Thank You for a Good Year,” Alexander O’Neal, from “My Gift to You,” 1988.

Or one of these three versions of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” That familiar tune was written in 1947 by Frank Loesser, who also wrote “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

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A bluesy instrumental version by King Curtis, from “Soul Christmas,” 1990. Recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York on Oct. 23, 1968. That’s a young Duane Allman on guitar.

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A swinging big-band version by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, from “Dig That Crazy Christmas,” 2005.

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A laid-back acoustic version by Mindy Smith, from “My Holiday,” 2007.

Oh, and be sure to get plenty of party poppers.

Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept.: The photo of the party popper was taken by Hazel Jones of the UK and was posted online in July 2007 at the Museum of Temporary Art.

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Filed under December 2007, Sounds

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