33 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would eventually become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD. Today, we revisit those mix tapes for the fourth time and see how, or if, the soundtrack of my youth still resonates in today’s digital world and how much has changed over the past 3 years.
Poison was supposed to be my first concert. Hold on, I know you’ve heard that before, but this story is completely different. In July of 1990, Poison released their third studio album, Flesh & Blood. A world tour followed soon, with a date in Chicago some time in 1991. One afternoon, Hot 94.7, a local radio station, was giving away tickets to the tenth caller. I called in and, after a “game” where I had to say hot over and over again, I won and the tickets would be on their way. But, once again, fate interfered.
Poison’s bassist, Bobby Dall, broke his hand and the upcoming tour dates needed to be cancelled. To be fair to the radio station, they tried to make up for it by sending me a cassette version of Firehouse’s self-titled debut album. All these years later, I never did end up seeing Poison live. Maybe someday.
Volume 3 picks up in mid-summer 1990 and takes us through late 1990 and into my junior year of high school. Featuring another steady stream of hair metal, with small selections of pop, rap, R&B, and dance thrown in for good measure, volume 3 also overlaps with the start of my relationship with my first “real” girlfriend.
2 Live Crew – Banned In The USA
iTunes stats: 23 plays, most recently on 11/12/2019
The first song (as I recall) recorded off of B96, this protest anthem from 2 Live Crew, recorded after their previous album was declared obscene by a federal judge, somehow increased its play total by eight despite not being heard since 2019.
Poison – Unskinny Bop
iTunes stats: 19 plays, most recently on 11/10/2022
The first single from Flesh & Blood , which peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts, managed to earn eight additional plays since last time we did this check.
Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time
iTunes stats: 27 plays, most recently on 7/28/2022
Most likely originally recorded from The Blaze, the debut single from Poison’s previous album and arguably their second biggest hit, picked up an impressive ten new listens over the past four years.
MC Hammer – Have You Seen Her
iTunes stats: 17 plays, most recently on 11/10/2022
This unlikely cover of the 1971 hit by The Chi-Lites more than doubled up its number of plays over the since my 43rd birthday.
Cheap Trick – Can’t Stop Fallin’ Into Love
iTunes stats: 26 plays, most recently on 8/24/2022
Cheap Trick’s last single to hit the Top 40, the first release from their 11th studio album, which became “our song” between my first girlfriend and me, had a healthy increase of six listens over the last few years.
Nelson – (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection
iTunes stats: 12 plays, most recently on 8/23/2019
Matthew and Gunnar’s big hit, which topped the Billboard charts, added a single new play and has not been heard since well before the start of the pandemic.
Warrant – Cherry Pie
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 11/1/2022
A mere three new plays for the lead single from the band’s sophomore album, which was allegedly written in fifteen minutes on the inside of a pizza box that is currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Destin, Florida.
Johnny Gill – Rub You The Right Way
iTunes stats: 19 plays, most recently on 12/8/2022
The solo debut from the New Edition alumnus, ranked as the 23rd biggest hit of 1990, picked up three additional plats in the last four years.