A handful of you might have been old enough and local enough to remember Melbourne radio in the early 90's. It was a completely different universe from what we have today. Mix hadn't even become TTFM yet, the once famous 3AK had randomly turned into an Italian language station, Magic was about to be launched under the frankly un-marketable 3EE name and Fox FM was - for the love of god - a classic hits station that promoted Tina Turner concerts. And there I was, a stupid kid raised on one of the more farcially acquired record collections in history. My mum still claims that the Don Lane record in her collection was a freebie that she got whilst working for Channel 9, but I find that slightly dubious. The fact that I was a freebie she got whilst working there is a story for another day, but I'm quite sure that Don wasn't involved in that.
Despite a heaving LP collection featuring such classics as Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' "Going Places" (which, if you'll excuse the exclamation, is a fucking corker of an album no matter what anyone says) we didn't really listen to music at home, but I remember mornings getting ready for school and hearing 3KZ, later to be KZFM, around the house. In fact I remember listening with a perverse glee to the automated announcements that they played on the old AM frequency the day they switched over. Somewhere along the line it became Gold 104 and I had been roped in. Despite a brief and fruitful flirtation with the pop charts in 1989 (highlighted by a cassingle collection featuring more Black Box than anyone should ever need) by the time I was 10 or 11 I remember having the radio on that freaking station all day every day when I was at home. There were so many close calls with disaster as I leapt from one side of the room to hit record on a song I wanted to keep on tape that it's a surprise I never actually managed to neck myself and become a case study in why home taping was not only illegal but deadly.
Despite brief flirtations with JJJ and grunge (eww) during 1992, KISS FM and dance during 1994 and Triple J again during the britpop era I always went back to Gold. Fact - the first song I ever
And so now I present the all-time top ten (in no particular order) songs that Gold introduced me to before they lost the plot and started playing Coldplay tracks.
Gladys Knight and the Pips - Midnight Train To Georgia
More soap opera in five minutes than Neighbours has managed in 15 years. Fact - on the CD in my car this follows a Ghostface Killah track and confuses the fuck out of anyone who is in there when it comes on.
George Baker Selection - Little Green Bag
The Grass Roots - Midnight Confession
Whenever I hear this it reminds me of Grade 6 camp. The entire year level except me got poisoned on dodgy spaghetti bolognaise and the tape in my walkman was all I had to block out the sound of en masse heaving. At the time this was my favourite song.
The Hollies - Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
Sure they could have come up with a catchier title, but it was the Creedence song that Creedence never wrote.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Long As I Can See The Light
Err, and speaking of Creedence.
Gene Pitney - 24 Hours to Tulsa
More soap opera drama and hot action
RB Greaves - Take A Letter Maria
Shameful to the max, but at the time I loved it. We're about one degree from the Pina Colada Song here but fear not that WILL NOT be getting a run.
Crosby, Stills and Nash - Woodstock
To be honest I preferred Suite Judy Blue Eyes because I'd seen it in the Woodstock movie but when I rang up to request it one night the DJ had never even heard of it and I ended up with this instead. Not such a bad trade off.
The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City
A classic eventually beaten to death by being played in every single 'summer' radio promo or Channel 7 tennis ad for about five years.
Edison Lighthouse - Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
Five alarm shonk, but I'm into it.
Surprisingly I don't remember them ripping out too many power ballads. It was more Eleanor Rigby and farce like Judy in Disguise. Happy days indeed.