“Bette Davis Eyes” made Kim Carnes a superstar in 1981, but it was her cover of “More Love” the year before that made me a fan. Carnes has such a distinctive voice that it wasn’t until nine years later, when I was working at an oldies station in Fortuna, California, that I realized that it was originally a Smokey Robinson number. Even then, Smokey was halfway done with the song before I put it all together.
The songs that were popular that summer I’ll never get out of my head. I was at Camp Shoshoni for two weeks — aged 11 and my first trip away from home by myself, and my first taste of Colorado — and we only had one radio station. And that one radio station had exactly one playlist, on a 24-hour repeat. Which means in future FNV you’ll probably also be subjected to:
• “Shining Star” by the Manhattans
• The Spinners’ Sam Cooke tribute/medley, “Cupid/I’ve Loved You For A Long Time”
• Billy Joel’s “Don’t Ask Me Why”
• “Misunderstanding” by Genesis
• and Pure Prairie League’s “Let Me Love You Tonight”
They might have even come on in that order, because that’s how seared in my brain that playlist became. Musically, it was one weird summer.
The camp is now a yoga retreat, which is more than a little salt in the eye of a fine childhood memory.