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December 15, 2006

Just How Terrifyingly Tuned I Am to the Early 80s

I'm listening to one of my online radio stations, whose app I minimized and volume I turned down to talk to my wife on the phone. When I hung up I turned up the speaker volume I heard two bars of a song I'd never heard before and instantly thought "Damn, that's the Three O'Clock." Who I hadn't heard in, oh, twenty years. Maximized the radio program: "With Cantaloupe Girlfriend," by the Three O'Clock.

Two bars, man. I'm scared. My brain should be filled with things other than the basic tonal template of The Three O'Clock, you know?

So that you may be afflicted with the same horrifying condition, the video from the one song of the Three O'Clock most people who survived the 80s have even the slightest memory of: "Jet Fighter."

Yes, it's damn catchy, in that distinctive and oh-so-odd early 80s way.

That's two early 80s videos in two days, I know. I apologize for that.

Posted by john at December 15, 2006 11:27 AM

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Comments

Steve Buchheit | December 15, 2006 11:29 AM

Well, it's the audio processing part of the brain that's filled with 80's music pattern recognition, not the "don't keep chicken salad out for days" side of the brain. So you should be okay.

John Scalzi | December 15, 2006 11:36 AM

But if you don't keep out chicken salad out for days, it'll never develop that special boutolistic tang!

Steve Buchheit | December 15, 2006 11:53 AM

Paprika, panko, and turmeric. Same tang, less projectileness.

Jenny Rae Rappaport | December 15, 2006 12:06 PM

I take joy in the fact that my only memories of these videos are lost in the hazy days of toddlerhood. =)

COOP | December 15, 2006 12:21 PM

Hey, don't apologize for The Three O' Clock, they were great! There was a lot of terrific music from the "Paisley Underground" of Los Angeles in the eighties.

John Scalzi | December 15, 2006 12:25 PM

I'm not apologizing for The Three O'Clock, per se. I like them too. I'm just wondering what other important things fell out of my skull so I could remember this.

sam young | December 15, 2006 12:33 PM

thanks for the flashback, john

M.A. | December 15, 2006 12:40 PM

Hey, I went to college in the 60's, and I have in my head the complete lyrics to about a million REALLY STUPID songs -- "Incense, Peppermints", for example. The payroll adjustments I promised my boss yesterday are totally forgotten, but if I hear the inrtos to any of that music, it all comes back to me. So why in the ever-lovin' blue-eyed world did we evolve a capacity for that?

Christian | December 15, 2006 01:13 PM

Heh. That reminded me of Van Halen's atrocious MTV video of "Jump". Basically some footage of the Blue Angels flying around, inter-cut with Roth doing his famous mid-air split jump. Must have cost them all of $600 to produce that video.

Steve Buchheit | December 15, 2006 01:37 PM

OT, wow, John. For the past couple of days I've developed this habit of watching the list of "most recently commented on." Dang, that is a lot of spam. But on the plus side I'm discovering a lot of cool older posts of yours. That and I now know when sunrise is over the other side of the Pacific.

Rob Thornton | December 15, 2006 02:32 PM


As a child of the late '80s, I desperately tried to like the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate, but they weren't my style.

Instead, I went for Thelonious Monster (from the late '80s, yes, but an LA band nonetheless).

Chang, who gets nothing done... | December 15, 2006 02:56 PM

Wow. My brother was into the Three O'Clock. I kinda like them, though I think I appreciate them more now than back then. Back in the dizzle, I thought it was all crap unless it played a synthesizer and came from Britain or Germany.

Hey, cool! Coop's here!

D. | December 15, 2006 03:11 PM

Be very glad that what pushed the quadratic equation or your cousin's current address out of your head was not ancient commercial jingles. Not to mention the fragment of a Beatle song which will not match up with anything and keeps trying to mate with "Help."

Also, that probably should have been "botulistic." The tang, that is.

Tripp | December 15, 2006 03:39 PM

Awww, I think that 'only room for so much stuff' thing is downright wrong. Eighties music may have allowed for MORE stuff going into your beain by stimulating white matter over grey.

At least that is what I tell myself.

John H | December 15, 2006 03:56 PM

Funny - you and I are the same age, yet I can't recall this band at all.

chris. | December 15, 2006 03:56 PM

Wow. A scooter gang. Now that's badass.

Randy | December 15, 2006 04:31 PM

Youtube ROX! I didn't know Slade even MADE a Christmas song.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=putnlqW2pKg

Eddie | December 15, 2006 05:02 PM

I'm zero for two on the early eighties bands.I was in school in those years and working harder than I ever did before or since so I guess that's why.

Either that or one of my other personalities was in control then. Or maybe I have amnesia.

I know I had a kid in late '82.She just had her 24th birthday.

Ted Lemon | December 15, 2006 05:49 PM

The weird thing about this music is that it actually feels very sixties. You can tell it's from the eighties, but it's got roots, and it's not afraid to show them to you. Hand-clapping? Wow.

Scorpio | December 15, 2006 06:26 PM

My son told me that when you think "current rock" is the stuff you listened to in school, and your 10 year reunion has passed you by, you are officially becoming an Old Fart. I think he graduated in 1989.

Jim Hall | December 15, 2006 07:35 PM

I remember that song fondly. However the 80'song that I can identify in two notes. MIDNIGHT OIL "Beds are burning!" I still love that damn song.

Ralph_Desmond | December 15, 2006 08:44 PM

there is a new-ish commercial radio station here in the L.A. area called Jack FM. I think there are others just like it across the country. It's perfect for playing 'name that tune' with your highschool class of '87 loved ones. And like The Three O'clock, nearly every song can be recognized and its name called out within 3 seconds or less of intro.
The memory trigger thing is fun because there are songs I'd NEVER consciously think of again, after lying dormant in the brain for 20 years. Hear 2 bars and it ALL comes back, lyrics included. Fun to sing along, especially now that, with age, it no longer matters whats cool or not.
Not that John ever cared for peer pressure in music tastes - with his ever-burnin lighter-in-the-air for Journey.

John H | December 16, 2006 12:08 AM

I had a similar episode driving home a few weeks ago. One of the radio stations in Chicago will occasionally play an album straight through without commercials, and I happened to turn to that station at the tail end of one such album.

Even though I probably hadn't heard the song since 1980 my first thought was "that sounds like Supertramp". It turned out to be the next to last song on Breakfast in America - "Casual Conversations". The only thing is I was bummed out that I had missed all the great songs earlier in the album, so I ended up buying several of them on iTunes the following week.

Carl V. | December 16, 2006 12:21 AM

Hilarious. A mere few seconds into it and the synthesizers annouce to the world, "yes, I'm from the 80'S!!!".

Paul | December 16, 2006 01:02 AM

I am pleased and proud to announce that, not only have I never heard the song before, I have never even heard of that band before. The eighties were the decade that music forgot. If you go through my CD collection, it pretty much ends at 1981 and starts again at about 1988. A Flock Of Seagulls? Well, that pretty much descrbed his hair, anyway,

A.R.Yngve | December 16, 2006 08:15 AM

Anyone remember The Specials, "Ghost Town"?
The Vapors, "Turning Japanese"?
Thomas Dolby, "Hyperactive"?
Fun Boy Three & Bananarama, "It Ain't What You Do, Its The Way That You Do It"?

Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing... :)

Tina Kambarian | December 16, 2006 03:09 PM

I saw The Three O'Clock live and in person at Irvine Meadows in 1984!!! They opened for...ahem...Echo and The Bunnymen. Good times.

John Scalzi | December 16, 2006 03:19 PM

Tina, you ROCK. I would have loved to see the Bunnymen back in the day. And seeing the Three O'Clock would not have been horrible, either.

Owen | December 16, 2006 04:37 PM

Thanks for posting that! My wife was thrilled to see the video again after 20 yrs. She was a HUGE 3:00 fan back in the day - went to all the club gigs and joined the fan club (and stepped on Bob Dylan's son's toes).

I hadn't heard of them, being in the midwest, until I met her.

COOP | December 16, 2006 05:40 PM

John- If it did fall out of your head, it probably wasn't that important to begin with. Thanks to Google, (and youtube!) you don't even need to remember stuff anymore.

"Beautiful World" by Devo is still the best video (and song) of the eighties.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3MxuDk7wqo

Dr. Phil | December 16, 2006 08:55 PM

Wow. Flashbacks.

Our local PBS station is doing pledgefunding right now and they're doing a 60s musics retrospective... and damn if they didn't just play "Incense, Peppermints..."

Soundtracks get wired deep into the psyche, baby, and it is a visceral kick when you suddenly know in two chords it's "Incense, Peppermints..."

Dr. Phil

Michael A. | December 18, 2006 04:36 PM

I would have loved to see the Three O'Clock open for Echo. As it was I had to see them with... REM. Which was every way just as good.

I saw Echo a half-dozen times back then and with the exception of the Church they never had much luck with opening bands. Gene Loves Jezebel, the Fleshtones, Screaming Blue Messiahs... all. Sucked.

On a totally unrelated note: if you're ever thinking of making a totally random-seeming early-80s mix set, try "Cantalope Girlfriend" leading into the Dead Kennedys' "Moon Over Marin." Perfect segue, like they were made for each other.

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