This is more of a fun, YouTube-y post than me flailing and WTF-ing over why things were so weird.
School and music go hand in hand more than you think. It wasn’t even about band. (We didn’t even get a school band until, what… 3 years after West Heritage opened. And I really wanted to join, because they’d have trained newbies!) Early on into West Heritage’s life, I’m pretty sure the soundtrack of the day was sourced from the Top 40’s station… in this case, 102.7 FM KIIS of Los Angeles for radio. In the mornings, if you weren’t watching cartoons, you were listening to Rick Dees. Oh, and for those of us who had cable, MTV actually showed honest-to-god music videos, VH1 hadn’t become a joke yet, and BET was a total newbie, just barely coasting into relevance.
At least… that’s how I recall it.
Of course, you didn’t dare mention ANY of this within a teacher’s earshot, especially the more conservative sorts because ROCK MUSIC IS BAD and we were all little kidlets who should still be playing the Wee Sing tapes (That’s “ee,” not “ii”). Or, at the least, these songs were often way too adult and grown-up to make any sense to us at the time.
You know how people say that it’s easier to remember things with a song, right? It doesn’t just apply for studying. As someone who was an unwilling shut-in and didn’t have my own TV until, what, 8th grade? I spent a lot of time with the radio during the downtime. Even now, if you were to play one of these, I’d probably recall something about this weird-ass elementary school to tell you about. This is by no means a complete archive, and much of the song names were sourced from the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Archive (bless them, encoding their previous episodes for streaming if you are so inclined to flog yourself with your childhood soundtrack).
Here’s one to start with (in chronological order of relevance):
(1991) Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
What we consider today’s classics was yesterday’s radio/MTV spam. This was part of said spam. And now we elevate it to almost hymn status in our pop culture.
Of course, now with the internet, we are much faster at determining what is true music spam and what has potential… but we’ve become so used to hating everything that even our improved methods aren’t so reliable.
(1993) Duran Duran – Come Undone
I’ve only seen the videos to, like, half of these. I remember in particular falling asleep at night to this song in particular.
(1993) The Proclaimers – 500 Miles
I made the mistake of singing this while walking to lunch-recess. It was either a proctor or one of my old teachers (likely a proctor) who caught me when I thought I was alone, and thought it would be cute to tease me about it. >_>;
(1994) Erasure – Always
Before it became associated with ROBOT UNICORN ATTACK, it got spammed on the radio all freaking day in ’94. I don’t know which cheapened the song more. This was another one for which I’d never seen the the video, and back then it made me think of unicorns.
(1995) Green Day – When I Come Around
In a way, this was ’95’s version of the RickRoll. Well, it was for me, anyway. It was that ONE SONG that got in the way of the one I really wanted. Sometimes the radio would tease one song and then run this one instead. WTF?
(1995) The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You
It was almost unheard of back then, for a TV show theme song to join the ranks of popular music. Well, this one did, and pretty much went on to become most infamous because of its association with the TV show about nothing. (Well, one of two. The other being Seinfeld…)
(1996) Robert Miles – Children
This remains in my current music pile. First encountered towards the end of 5th grade, and it was the first time I think the radio station had ever run a piece without lyrics.
(1996) Jewel – Who Will Save Your Soul?
Last day of school before 5th Grade Graduation. I heard Lia sing this… her family was moving (Riverside?) and it was then that it sank in that I probably wouldn’t be able to see her anymore.
(…at least, until she surfaced on Facebook. But in my 12 year old head, if a friend moved out of the Village, you were essentially SOL)