When I was a kid, they used to sell music on television.
Not like those Time-Life genre-based box sets from the infomercials. These were mixes of popular music put together by companies like K-tel International. They had names like “Chart Stars,” “Funky Super Hits” and “The Country Connection.”
When I was twelve, I somehow got it in my head that I wanted a cassette called Starlite more than anything in the world.
It was a mix of what I would call soft rock. I especially remember “Steppin’ Out” by Joe Jackson and “Eye In The Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project.
For some currently unfathomable reason, I asked my father to buy me the tape. Asking my father for anything was rare, but maybe I thought he needed help with gift buying. After all this was the man who took me to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the movie theater until I practically old enough to marry Prince Charming myself. I was probably just hoping for an age appropriate gift for once.
In yet another questionable parenting decision, my father told me that I was too young for a cassette from TV and instead bought me a Peter Criss solo album.
Yes, that’s Peter Criss as in the drummer from KISS.
I ended up with the Starlite cassette anyway. I don’t remember exactly how, but I’m willing to bet that my mother bought it, even though she couldn’t afford it. She never did like me to be disappointed.
I listened to that tape non-stop. I had a Sony Walkman, a big old thing, at least 5 inches square and wrapped in a puffy, silver case that looked like it belonged on a space shuttle. Starlite lived in that Walkman.
I had forgotten all about Starlite until today when I was helping my mother re-arrange some furniture in her bedroom. She had a small case of cassettes which I opened just because it had been so long since I had seen an actual cassette.
Starlite sat in the third slot.
I squealed when I saw it. Actually squealed, which is not like me at all.
Now I just need to find that old Walkman.
Starlite Side One:
“Steppin’ Out” by Joe Jackson
“Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project
“You Can Do Magic” by America
“Nobody” by Sylvia
“Goin’ Down” by Greg Guidry
“Love or Let Me Be Lonely” by Paul Davis
“Blue Eyes” by Elton John
Starlite Side Two:
“Wasted on the Way” by Crosby, Stills & Nash
“Only the Lonely” by The Motels
“On the Wings of Love” by Jeffrey Osborne
“A Penny for Your Thoughts” by Taveres
“Personally” by Karla Bonoff
“Who’s Crying Now” by Journey
“Loves’ Been a Little Bit Hard on Me” by Juice Newton