First paper route, 1981, Stamford CT. I saved my paper money to buy the Panasonic version of the Sony Walkman. Then I did what most kids did growing up in my era: I obsessed over the perfect mixtape.
That year, I bought several albums at the local Caldor, which was walking distance to my house. My paper route earnings were such that all I could really afford were records at discount store prices.
Two records I bought in 1981 still make me smile. I can’t hear “Lola” by the Kinks - a song my 13 year old mind didn’t quite understand - without laughing. The first version I heard came from a double album: One for the Road. It remains my favorite version of the tune (and you never hear it on the radio).
Second record that stands out that year: Tattoo You from the Rolling Stones. The album cover was tough to ignore, plus most the boys I had crushes on loved the Rolling Stones. It seemed important to understand boys, so I bought it.
“Start me up” and “Waiting on a Friend” were the big hits from that record (and I loved those songs), but it was the critic-panned “Ain’t no use in Cryin’” that was in heavy rotation during the months leading up to my family’s move from Stamford back to WV.
Standin’ in the station
Gazing down the track
There ain’t no train comin’, baby
I ain’t never, never comin’ back