The Missourian’s “Five Times Five” feature recently asked respondents if they ever fantasized about being in a rock band. This is a question that hit home for me.
I’ve fantasized about being in a rock band since I was a young child and, really, still do to this day. Other than being in my middle school’s band and getting a drum set I rarely used as a result of it, then trying to write my own song lyrics when I was a senior in high school, I’ve rarely acted on the fantasy in any serious manner.
But this year marks 40 years since it really started. For me, 1982 was the greatest year in the history of pop music. This could have to do with 1982 being the first year I really became aware of the latest hits, listening each week to Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” radio show and getting my mom to buy me the latest hit singles whenever we visited Home Folks News & Records near our home in Augusta, Georgia.
But I think there is legitimate reason to think of 1982 as a great music year. There was a confluence of legendary artists, future stars and some quintessentially ’80s acts that made the year particularly fun. Artists who started in the 1960s and ’70s had hits, like Elton John’s “Empty Garden” and Chicago’s “Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry.”
Then there were artists whose careers were peaking at the time, like Olivia Newton-John’s hit “Physical,” which started the year at No. 1 and Toni Basil’s “Mickey,” which topped the charts near the end of the year.
The end of 1982 also meant the first appearance of a song off Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which went on to become the best-selling album of all time. Jackson’s duet with Paul McCartney, “The Girl is Mine,” was McCartney’s second big duet of the year, after “Ebony and Ivory,” with Stevie Wonder, spent seven weeks at No. 1.
This brings me back to the musical career in my head. Since I’m not much of a songwriter, most of my fantasies involve performing covers of other artists, sometimes with the artists themselves in front of a huge audience.
After listening to a countdown of hits from March 1982 on SiriusXM last spring, I thought it would be cool to do one of those Zoom virtual concerts that were popular early in the pandemic, where I play all 40 songs on that 1982 countdown, since they were almost all good. If only I was a big rock star who could pull off such a thing.
With all the great songs from 1982, Asia’s “Heat of the Moment” has haunted me more than any other. It’s not the best song from 1982. It’s not even the prog rock band’s best hit song of 1982 — that would be “Only Time Will Tell.”
But I have long been obsessed with the line in “Heat of the Moment” that goes, “And now you find yourself in ’82; The disco hot spots hold no charm for you.”
“Heat of the Moment” was a song I certainly wanted to cover with my imaginary band (which I never really came up with a name for). But I always thought the “’82” line meant it would be dated quickly. “No charm for you” doesn’t rhyme with “’83” or “’87” or “’91.”
That is, unless I sang it in 1992! Certainly, “’92” rhymes with “hold no charm for you.”
Well, shocker, I still did not have a music career in 1992.
Then, the next year ending in two was 2002. “Now you find yourself in ’02” or even “2002” just didn’t sound right, and, yeah, I’d still made no progress turning my rock and roll fantasy into reality.
That brings us to 2012, which isn’t even close to making sense.
But, well, well, well. We now find ourselves in 2022. I’ve now been thinking about this being my next good chance to cover “Heat of the Moment” since the last such time 30 years ago.
“And now you find yourself in ’22; The disco hot spots hold no charm for you.”
Doesn’t that just roll off the tongue? Never mind that most people under 50 now probably think a disco hot spot is where they connect to the internet. And also, never mind that Asia themselves have continued just performing the song with the original “’82” lyrics for decades, at least according to the YouTube videos I’ve watched.
While I’ve still made no progress toward being able to perform “Heat of the Moment,” I’m kind of proud of the fact that I’ve been able to remember that I want to perform this song for 30 years.
Maybe I’ll be ready to play it by 2032.