If you watched Sunday night’s NFC championship game from Lambeau Field, you know it’s been cold here in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
It’s been below zero at night and we’ve had below-zero wind chills during the day for the better part of a week. By some standards, that’s really cold. By our standards, that’s just a little nippy. We usually have a week like this every winter.
It always reminds me of January 1972, when the temperature dropped out of sight for two weeks. We’d just moved. Welcome to central Wisconsin.
We moved a lot when I was a kid, but this was the first time we’d moved in the middle of a school year. It was our sixth home in 10 years, my sixth school in 10 years. I was 14 and in the ninth grade. I went directly from a junior high school into a high school at semester break.
Moving, for me, was never traumatic. You got used to it, and it often was a bit of an adventure. Yet I felt isolated that January, partly because for the first time we lived out beyond where the sidewalks ended and partly because of the bitterly cold weather.
The only advantage to the extreme cold was that it was clear at night, and I could listen to NBA and ABA games on powerful clear-channel AM stations at night. I’d long done that when we lived along Lake Michigan, and that familiar experience was one of the few comforts in those early days in a new place.
Getting the lay of the land also meant getting to know local radio. In a way, its personalities became my first friends in that new town. My constant companions, especially at night.
That took some getting used to. It was my first exposure to FM radio. The local station, WIFC, was Top 40 through prime time, then free form late at night. The latter occasionally was mind-blowing for someone who’d listened only to Top 40 AM radio before that.
Because I listened so intently to this new style of radio, some songs from early 1972 are seared into my head. Even now, 36 years later, I instantly associate them with that time, with the isolation I felt at that time: Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” and America’s “Horse With No Name.”
Of course, it wasn’t until early March that all four of those songs were together in the Top 40. The bitter cold had passed, but winter lingered, as did the isolation I felt.
There’s another song from that time that I once put in that group. However, I’ve since come to look more favorably upon it. Warmed up to it, you might say.
“We’ve Got to Get It On Again,” by the Addrisi Brothers, was rising in the Top 40 charts in early February 1972. At the time, understandably, I didn’t much care for a song about a lost love and loneliness. But it really is a pretty good song and it’s held up pretty well over the last 36 years.
Boston natives Don and Richard Addrisi were born into show business. Their parents had a trapeze act. They started singing as kids, traveling the country with their parents. The family settled in Los Angeles in 1956 and the boys — still in their teens — started working as a duo.
In 1959, the Addrisi Brothers had a hit with “Cherrystone.” In the ’60s, they started writing songs in addition to performing. They wrote “Never My Love,” a smash for The Association in 1967.
“We’ve Got to Get It On Again” actually was the B side to their first Columbia Records single. The label’s owner, Clive Davis, thought “I Can Count on You” was going to be the hit.
“We’ve Got to Get It On Again,” the Addrisi Brothers, 1972. Available on “We’ve Got to Get It On Again,” a 1997 compilation CD. (This rip, complete with a skip, is off “20 Rock Super Hits,” a 1973 Columbia House compilation on vinyl.)
The rest of the story: The Addrisi Brothers continued recording, with mixed success, until elder brother Don died of pancreatic cancer in 1984 at age 45. As of the mid-’90s, Richard was still in the business, working as an agent, talent scout and composer in Los Angeles. He’s 66 now, and his MySpace page puts him in Nashville, but doesn’t say much more.