Friday, April 13, 2012

Whatcha tryin' to do to my heart?

When I think back to the dawn of music television I of course think of The Buggles.
Yes, yes, yes - we all know that Video Killed the Radio Star was the very first video played on my MTV.

Ummm, Sting,can I call you back?

I miss music on MTV. I miss videos. I did what The Police told me to do; I called my cable company and said I WANT MY MTV!

Burned out, bright light white, old school storytelling music television. How I yearn for the days where I could see Chrissie Hynde dressed as a waitress singing to the other Pretenders about how special she was, hear the Rapture as told by Blondie, or see the hilarity of Blotto’s I Wanna be a Lifeguard.

Come on, I was ten years old, that Blotto video was pretty funny.

Before Madonna, before Cyndi Lauper, before Nena watched her 99 luftballons go by there was another video star on my television. She was tiny yet tough, rocked tons of black eyeliner and shiny lips, could actually sing, and was super sexy.

She also had the second video MTV played on August 1st, 1981.

You Better Run by Pat Benatar made quite an impression on me.

The snap at the beginning, the attitude, and good God, those shiny tight leather pants – I of course wanted to be her.

But alas, even at ten, I was unable to wear a shirt with a low cut back without a bra like Pat did.

I remember watching that video for the millionth time – it was in heavy rotation since MTV didn’t really have a lot to choose from – with my Uncle Bob and Uncle Tom who were visiting from upstate NY. They were both commenting like crazy on things other than Ms. Benatar’s singing ability.

My grandparents were out in the car, they had been honking the horn, ready to pull out of the driveway – but my uncles could not be torn away from Pat Benatar’s inescapable power. They were mesmerized, fixated, as she threw her head back and ran her hands through her short brown hair while hitting the high notes.

Bob and Tom continually yelled, “JUST A MINUTE” to the yells and horn honks from their parents outside I watched them – eyes fixated and heads bobbing up and down in sync to the catchy guitar lick.

This is awesome, I thought.

A hot chick, singing a hot song. My uncles, who I thought were super cool liked it, and I liked it too. My Uncle Bob had already introduced me to The Stones, we had gone over every inch of every album of theirs together, from Let It Bleed to Some Girls to Tattoo You. And now we were all getting into this music video - I mean - I can’t explain it - but I remember the feeling - and it all felt very cool and grown up. I stood up next to them and began bobbing my head along with them to the guitar riff, trying to do it in time - like they were doing.

The door flew open, it was my grandfather who I rarely saw get angry or raise his voice.

“BOBBY, TOM, COME ON. Say goodbye to Lori and LET’S GO.”

They stayed just one more minute until the song ended, and threw their arms in the air, shouted WHOOOOO and dramatically clapped when it was over. I giggled and looked up to them as they hugged and kissed me goodbye. Then they high fived me - they had never done that before.

When they left I went upstairs and got out my pink and turquoise Goody brand hairbrush and began singing into it. I stood in front of my white mirror and pointed, pranced, and ran my fingers through my hair (and brushed it a little, with the Goody brush right there and all) as I sang my ten year old brains out.

FROM MY SIGHT…Yeeeeeaaah.”

Whenever I hear Pat Benatar today I think of my uncles. I doubt they remember that moment together - but I sure do. And I don’t care what anybody says, You Better Run kicks Love is a Battlefield’s ass.

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