Whenever I hear "Rock On," that trippy song by David Essex, Atlanta comes to mind, conjured right up, the bridge in time from high school well into college, from when I was seventeen until about twenty-one.
My Aunt Sue lived in Atlanta then, as did her friends Nancy Schenck and a woman I always thought of as a dead ringer for Joan Rivers in her evil, wicked funny way. And for a chunk of that time, Linda, one of my sisters, worked as an archaeologist on new MARTA construction pathways.
Every so often, I'd head down from North Carolina to visit and check out the frisson of the Georgia music scene. And there were so many music scenes running concurrently at the time, often antagonistic to each other, even though all of them had and still have something worth knowing and absorbing by varying degrees: punk/new wave at the madhouse that was the 688 Club (from 1980 on), some grand disco that was apparently Atlanta's answer to Studio 54, country & western, soul, the Kinks at the Fox Theatre, REM, B52s, Southern rock, heavy metal and everything in between. How cool was that?
But I digress, somewhat. Nancy Schenck is the only person I've ever met who had a vinyl copy of both David Essex's Rock On (1973) album and Golden Earring's Moontan (1973), the album that features "Radar Love" and "Candy's Going Bad."
And while this is on my mind, you can overlay "Radar Love" with "Rock On" and play them at a similar sequence and frequency, and given the right arrangement, they work in tandem like a Gysin-Burroughs cut-up.
Radio play that forgotten song ("Radar Love")
See her shake on the movie screen ("Rock On")
Brenda Lee's "Comin' On Strong" ("Radar Love")
Jimmy Dean . . . James Dean, rock on ("Rock On")
Forays to Atlanta were joyous and productive, an energetic way to learn about various happenings and music styles while also being highly entertained in between sorties by Sue, Joan, Nancy and Linda.
Of that crew, only Linda is left. Sue died of a heart attack just after one Christmas many years later; Nancy drove into a telephone pole at a high rate of speed; and Joan died, too (separately). The 688 Club shuttered and then became something else entirely. Linda left for graduate school. The whole Atlanta adventure became like a big snowflake that melted away at the approach of the sun.
Still, from Atlanta there's always the eerie memory conjure of "Rock On," and, from time to time still, too, "radio play that forgotten song . . ."
Plus, there's still always the enduring perennial question from "Rock On:"
And where do we go from here?
Only one way to find out, my friends, and that's to get there first . . .
Today's Rune: Journey.