Sing Sha Na Na Na Na Na My Lady…

I was standing at a Superamerica last night pumping gas in -5  with something like -25 wind chill (note to Speedway/SuperAmerica management; here’s a great idea for you – put the building north of the gas pumps in Minnesota and the Dakotas) and was struck by the incongruity of hearing “Thunder Island”, the 1977 hit by Jay Ferguson, playing on the overhead speaker.

Just about the summer-iest song ever written. A song that oozes “tropical”.

I mentioned that on Facebook, where Mr. D noted that the song came out in the deep winter of 1977, and it was probably just about as cold when we of a certain age heard this song for the first time as it is now.  Or, since I was in North Dakota, 10 degrees colder.

And it’s true; I remember it now.  I’d sit in the little nook in the corner of the room I shared with my little brother, doing my homework with the radio tuned to KFYR in Bismark for the “Tuesday Torrid Twenty”, my guitar in its case down at my feet.  If I heard a song I liked, I’d grab it and try to figure it out.  Which may be why I’m so very, very difficult to beat at “Stump The Band, Late Seventies/Early Eighties edition”.

And yet I always associate the song with heat and humidity. Maybe it had something to do with being a fourteen year old guy.

One song I always do associate with terrible weather? “Glycerine” by Bush:

I was a solid seventeen years older, married, had a kid or three, was scrambling to make ends meet, and heard it for the first time as I was driving home from Eagan to Saint Paul through a howling snowstorm. I always associate it with being cold, on edge – I was on 35E, for crying out loud – and worn out.

But it, also, came out in January. So at least I got the time right…

5 thoughts on “Sing Sha Na Na Na Na Na My Lady…

  1. My memory of “Thunder Island” is hearing it on the radio as we were going to games with our 8th grade basketball team and wishing I could go to Thunder Island instead of the gym at St. Margaret Mary in Neenah, WI. There were three brutal winters in a row back then — ’77, ’78 and ’79 were all nasty as hell. Got down to -25 more than a few times as I recall.

  2. Great song, Mitch. Classic one-shot, but a song that still tuns through my head from time to time. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Jay Ferguson was previously the lead singer for Spirit, a late ’60’s critical fave, albeit not much of a commercial success. You can hear in them more than a little foreshadowing (although I wouldn’t go so far as to call them a precursor) of Steely Dan. If you don’t know them, the album you’d want to get is definitely “The Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus”.

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