To the best of my knowledge, December 31, 1989 was the first time that WWSP-90FM spent New Year’s Eve counting down the top ninety albums of the year. I took all of our charts from the yearly, dutifully compiled and reported to CMJ, the trade journal of college radio, on a weekly basis, and concocted my own little algorithm to figure out a reasonably accurate list of the albums we’d played the most during the course of the previous 364 days. We started in on the countdown at 8:00 a.m. and carried it through all day long, finishing with the number one entry at right around the point that the stroke of midnight brought the eighties to an official close. We played two songs from every album, and each one of them had a written introduction that conveyed some bit of background about the artist, the record, some significant song on it, or really anything else I could think of. I’d planned to have the whole thing written in advance, but, true to my undergraduate form, I’d procrastinated horribly, and spent most of the day in the office writing furiously, sometimes delivering the script to the DJ mere minutes before it needed to be read on the air. It was exhausting and exciting, probably the closest I’ll ever come to living the most famous scene from Broadcast News.
With so many entries to write, and with limited resources to draw upon for information, especially about some of the more obscure bands that made the chart (this was when “Wiki” was just a couple nonsense syllables, mind you), we occasionally needed to get creative. And sometimes we just had to punt. When the entry from the Fetchin Bones album Monster was reached, we went to the phone.
That previous summer, I’d jibed the host of our weekly program that surveyed the “Top Cuts” chart that appeared in CMJ, noting that when he needed to talk about Fetchin Bones and their charting song “Love Crushing,” his usual voluminous knowledge about music seemed to abandon him, and he was reduced to describing the band’s distinctive album cover week after week.
This probably wasn’t true, but it was a good gag. So when I didn’t really know what to write about Fetchin Bones, we telephoned him at home, completely surprising him, and put him on air to once again offer an impromptu description of the album cover. I don’t contend that this was brilliant radio, but it was fun for us. It was also just Lettermanesque enough to engender some satisfaction about this particular portion of the broadcast day.
Then we almost assuredly played “Love Crushing.” I’m not sure what the second song was, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the offering presented below.
(Disclaimer: I believe Monster is out of print, although a digital version of it is available
from Amazon and, presumably, other reputable online music providers. So we today invoke The Quirk Rule, and also point out that there’s no way for you to walk through the door of tour favorite local, independently-owned, brick-and-mortar record store and order a copy of the album through a means that will provide compensation to both the record store proprietor and the artist. Even so, if anyone with due authority to make such a request asks for its removal from the Interweb, I will gladly and promptly comply. The band is apparently just down the road from me in Charlotte. They can even drive over if they like to make the request in person. I’ve got an on-campus Cafe they can play in if they want. Just sayin’.)