Spring of 1982, a sunny Saturday April afternoon. Junior year of college, C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University, in Brookville, L.I. Headed back to campus with a friend from the Burger King where I worked that school year, a couple miles west on Northern Boulevard in Greenvale. The radio was turned to one of the only stations that mattered: “102.7, WNEW-FM in New York, where rock lives,” as the deejays’ station ID put it.
And the jock (I want to say it was Dan Neer, since it was Saturday afternoon, which is when I have my mental pictures of Danno surfing up Third Avenue at show’s end to The Ventures’ “Hawaii Five-O”) played the latest single by Robert Gordon.
Robert was my gateway to rockabilly as a 16-year-old in the summer of 1977, when he debuted with the first of his two albums with Link Wray. I heard “Red Hot,” and especially “Flying Saucers Rock’n’Roll” all summer. And the next spring, it would be their second album, “Fresh Fish Special,” which included “The Way I Walk,” “Twenty Flight Rock” and a new song written by Bruce Springsteen, called “Fire.” (This was a year before The Pointer Sisters” smash version.)
Fast-forward four years. And the jock was introducing a bouncy yet hard-driving tune, rockabilly yet classic pop at the same time, called “Someday, Someway.” He said it was a song written by a musician I had never heard of. The way he said the name, it was as if he was familiar with him and that we should be, too. And the name definitely had a cool, rock’n’roll ring to it — a guy with a name this cool should be explored.
A couple weeks later, his own version arrived in the local record stores on his self-titled debut album. Yesterday (April 28) was the 30th anniversary of the release of that album, which has stood solidly almost alongside Pet Sounds in my personal pantheon of favorite albums. And a week and a half ago, I pulled out the 2000 Rhino CD re-release of Marshall Crenshaw and popped it into my car’s disc player. Haven’t gotten sick of it yet. Sounds pretty damn good for 30.