Tag Archives: 1977

Television, disconnected

Television, for 20-year-old me in 1977, was something I watched. A lot.

Television, for the same 20-year-old, was not something I heard. At all.

So here I am, standing off to the side again, feeling a bit left out, watching a parade of deeply felt and richly deserved tributes to Tom Verlaine stream past in my social feeds. It’s not the first time that’s happened.

Of course, I’ve long known of Tom Verlaine, and long known he played in Television, and long known he was highly regarded and highly influential among musicians.

I’d just never heard any of it.

None, until playing some YouTube cuts shared yesterday in friends’ and follows’ social posts. “Marquee Moon,” the much-loved title cut to Television’s debut LP? I heard it last night for the first time.

Television wasn’t played on the radio I heard in Wisconsin in 1977. Don’t know how or where else I would have heard them. Wausau and Eau Claire weren’t exactly cutting-edge outposts. None of my friends were into THAT KIND OF MUSIC.

Maybe Mike played it at Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau when it came out in early 1977. But these were the groups and artists whose records I was buying in 1977: Foreigner, Head East, J. Geils Band, Jackson Browne, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Yeah, I’m not seeing Tom Verlaine and Television crashing that party, either. Obviously, I don’t have any Television records.

New York Rocker magazines with Tom Verlaine on the cover.

(Photo credit: New York Rocker magazine covers found at this Flashbak post.)

I might have read about Tom Verlaine and Television in Rolling Stone in the late ’70s and into the ’80s. New York Rocker certainly wasn’t on any newsstand where I lived.

The old papers show Television played two shows at Bunky’s in Madison on Monday, June 19, 1978. That also would not have been on my radar.

I might have heard Tom Verlaine and Television when I listened to indie radio — WORT — while living in Madison for most of the ’80s, and again on streaming public and indie radio — WXPN, WFMU — in recent years.

But if any of that happened, it never registered in the sense of knowing the song — oh, yeah, that’s Tom Verlaine and Television! — or remembering the experience today.

Now I’ll try to tap into the love and appreciation expressed by my friends and follows and listen to their favorite songs, saying hello to Tom Verlaine as they say goodbye.

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Filed under January 2023

Can’t you see? No, not really

Heard today that the Marshall Tucker Band will be playing our local vintage movie palace-turned-performance venue in a few weeks.

That show, on April 2, will come almost 40 years to the day since I saw the Marshall Tucker Band.


Well, sort of. The Marshall Tucker Band was on stage at the Quandt gym in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on Friday, April 1, 1977. I was in the audience. I was 19. Many other details have been hazy ever since.

The Marshall Tucker Band was one of the biggest names in country rock, which itself was big at the time. They were at their peak, touring behind the “Carolina Dreams” LP and having just released “Heard It in a Love Song” as a single. Both the album and the single turned out to be their biggest hits.


It was a big deal that they’d play this small college town in central Wisconsin. Point was a half-hour’s drive south for us. When I say us, I can’t be more specific than that. Don’t remember who I went with.

We went to a house party before the show. I want to say it was a little house on Division Street, the main north-south drag in Point and just off campus. Someone knew some guys that lived there. Older guys, maybe seniors, maybe 23, 24, 25. Turned out to be way too much party for that 19-year-old kid.

Even so, I vividly recall sitting in the cluttered living room of that little house, really digging a Steely Dan record. It might have been “Countdown to Ecstasy.” That detail also has been lost to the haze of time. It’s proof, though, that I really must have been overserved. I never liked Steely Dan.

At some point, I was sure we needed to get over to the gym. Whoever I went with said, nah, we have plenty of time. So of course we were late.

This review of the show was from The Pointer, the student paper. It was written by a guy I met when we both transferred to college in Eau Claire that fall. Just about everything in his review is news to me, especially that it poured that night.


Turns out there was a mad rush to the seats. No wonder I wound up a million miles from the stage. One side of the Quandt gym has two tiers of bleachers. I found a spot along the front railing of the top tier, near an aisle. I sat and kneeled there as best I could.

There, my friends, is where the story fully fades into the haze of time.

Save for one detail. I never liked the Marshall Tucker Band, either.

Not when you could hear this fine piece of hippie country rock on the late-night free-form FM radio of the time.


“Two Hangmen,” Mason Proffit, from “Wanted,” 1969.

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Filed under February 2017, Sounds

Chatting with Michael

Never imagined yesterday morning that when I tweeted my two cents’ worth about the J. Geils Band’s prospects for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that I would wind up discussing it with a gent who knows a bit about rock and roll and fame.

Our brief exchange:

I would like to go to Cleveland and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame someday. My friend Larry was there this summer. Judging from Larry’s pictures, it looked like the Hall of Fame had a bunch of fun stuff.

But that’s the extent of my interest. You go ahead and vote for this year’s nominees. I’ll sit it out.

I’ve never been particularly interested in who’s in …

That said, of the 19 nominees for the Class of 2017, I’d vote for the Electric Light Orchestra, Chic, Janet Jackson, Joe Tex and the MC5 before I’d vote for the J. Geils Band.

… nor outraged at who’s not …

That said, Harry Nilsson, Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton and Warren Zevon are not in. Def Leppard, Yes, the Guess Who and the Moody Blues are not in. Just the tip of the iceberg. So many more are worthy as well.

Now for that brief discussion with Mr. Des Barres, who has been rocking and rolling since the earliest ’70s and whom I listen to weekday mornings on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius XM.

I’m still not sure the J. Geils Band merits enshrinement, even though I once wrote a fan’s guide to all 14 of their studio and live albums, which I have.

The J. Geils Band was a tremendous live band. They fortified their act by rescuing vintage soul, R&B and blues singles from obscurity and introducing them to new, younger audiences over the first half of a 15-year recording career that started in 1970. Those energetic covers have seemingly better stood the test of time than the original songs by Peter Wolf and Seth Justman that dominated the second half of that run.

In other words … “First I Look At The Purse,” “Lookin’ For A Love” and “(Ain’t Nothin’ But A) House Party” > “Love Stinks,” “Centerfold” and “Freeze-Frame.”

That said, I do wish them well and certainly would applaud their election.

I do. Yes, I do.


“I Do,” the J. Geils Band — then billing itself only as “Geils” — from “Monkey Island,” 1977. Also available digitally.

It’s a cover of the Marvelows’ 1965 hit. This is the studio version. They also do it live on “Showtime,” their third live album, which came out in 1982.


Filed under October 2016

The new year finally arrives

While working out on New Year’s Day, this was the first song to pop up on the iPod in 2013.


“This Time It’s For Real,” Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, from “This Time It’s For Real,” 1977. The album is out of print, but the song is available digitally.

This Jersey R&B stormer, written by Steve Van Zandt, was a great way to get the new year started. Love all those horns.

I should write that, I thought that day. But as so often happens, other stuff comes up and I didn’t write about it right away.

But now that the Packers’ season is over, so is our long grind at work. It comes with the territory when you’re part of the news biz in Green Bay, of course.

Many are disappointed after last night’s game. Me? Not so much. Feels a little like New Year’s Day all over again.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under January 2013, Sounds

I remember yesterday, too

You may know Donna Summer’s 1977 album “I Remember Yesterday” as the one that delivered “I Feel Love,” her groundbreaking techno-dance hit.

However, you may not know that “I Remember Yesterday” is a concept album. It showcased Summer’s versatility on tunes inspired by 30 years of popular music.

It was featured here in November 2008, on a day when we needed some sunny pop goodness to fend off the gloom.

Today, having heard the news of Donna Summer’s passing from cancer at 63, we again are in need of some sunny pop goodness to fend off the gloom.

So please follow this link back to our earlier post and enjoy the greatness of Donna Summer.


Filed under May 2012, Sounds