There used to be a British radio show called Desert Island Disks. Guest DJs shared the 3 albums they’d want to listen to if shipwrecked on a deserted island. If you’re familiar with the classic BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley, you’ll recall the episode in which the village sets up a public service radio station for a week. Frank Pickle confuses Disks with Desks and renders the village comatose with boredom by talking about his 3 favorite desks for an entire evening of radio programing.
(You can watch the entire episode on YouTube!)
But back to the topic at hand. My first semester of college was marked by a Desert Island Disks phenomenon. My new roommate Brenda moved into our dorm room with 3 albums and a new stereo. Until Thanksgiving, when she replenished her supply, we listened exclusively to Alan Parsons Project’s Eye in the Sky, Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever, and REO Speedwagon’s You can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tune a Fish, featuring timeless tunes like Time for Me to Fly and Roll With the Changes.
In contrast to Brenda’s love for rock, my musical tastes up to that time revolved around starring roles in high school musicals, my mother’s collection of Glenn Miller and 101 Strings, The Nutcracker Suite, piano lessons, and jazz trumpeter Chuck Mangione who was also from upstate New York.
In short, Ted and Alan, not to mention the flowing locks of the Speedwagon boys, were total revelations to me and I have many happy memories of that music. Brenda and I listened to one album every night with the lights out in anticipation of sleep, discussing the boys we’d encountered that day, especially a tall drink of water named Lefty Wilcox.
But none of those 3 albums would make it onto my list of music to have on a deserted island. I’d need something to sing along to like Broadway musical soundtracks. Oklahoma, George M!, and A Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Forum. Maybe I’d finally learn all the words to Comedy Tonight, as I went about creating my own version of Gilligan’s Island.
Perhaps I’d find enough driftwood to build a desk.
P.S. An interviewer once asked me what music I listen to while writing. The answer is NONE. There’s already so many voices in my head I don’t need competition.
On that note (pun intended) the 6th Detective Emilia Cruz, 43 MISSING is in process! Subscribers to Mystery Ahead will find out the release date before anyone else so get on the first-to-know list now!
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