Friday, July 8, 2016

Too Cool 4 School - 1976 Edition

To a ten year old kid, there's nobody cooler than people in their late teens - at least that's the way it was to me when I was a ten year old kid in 1976. Those teenagers with their cool cars, cool shades, the latest slang, and, since we're talking '76, shaggy hair and hip clothes. They tried to capture that vibe in That '70s Show, but didn't quite nail it.

In my little part of the world, the cool kids all attended Permian High School or had recently graduated from there and now worked in the nearby oilfields. Yes, I'm referring to the Permian High School featured in the book and subsequent motion picture, Friday Night Lights. As you can see in the map below, the elementary school I attended in 1976 (Burnet), was in close proximity to those cool kids, so they passed me in their cars, stereos blasting, as I walked to school each day.

From my 40 year old memories, here's the music I imagine blasting from the cool kids' Pontiac T-Top Firebirds as they passed me by on their way to school or to hang out at the Taco Villa.
An admittedly predictable list - if you were born in the years 1956-1960, feel free to suggest additions.

Dreamboat Annie
Billboard #7
Cash Box #6
Hotel California
Billboard #1
Cash Box #1
Billboard #3
Cash Box #2
Frampton Comes Alive!
Peter Frampton
Billboard #1
Cash Box #1
Billboard #11
Cash Box #7
Takin' It to the Streets
The Doobie Brothers
Billboard #8
Cash Box #9
Wings at the Speed of Sound
Billboard #1
Cash Box #1
Thin Lizzy
Billboard #18
Cash Box #35
Fly Like an Eagle
Steve Miller Band
Billboard #3
Cash Box #4
Jeff Beck
Billboard #16
Cash Box #12
A New World Record
Electric Light Orchestra
Billboard #5
Cash Box #10
Billboard #5
Cash Box #5
ZZ Top
Billboard #17
Cash Box #10
Silk Degrees
Boz Scaggs
Billboard #2
Cash Box #2
Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder
Billboard #1
Cash Box #1
and for the ladies:
Billboard #3
Cash Box #3

Also in my imaginary memories, a few of the very cool kids listened to these albums at home:

Station to Station
David Bowie


The Royal Scam
Steely Dan

As I was neither cool nor a teenager, none of these albums were in my house at the time (especially the Kiss album - what would my parents think?!? The world's gone to hell in a handbasket!). I've done my best to catch up with them over the past 40 years.

Looking for a playlist? Just turn on your local FM "Classic Rock" station and you'll hear at least one tune from one the above albums within the hour. Let's put my arbitrary theory to the test with my own local station, Q107.7: Boom! First song I hear is Hotel California. Would love to hear reports of your own tests of this theory.


  1. Super sweet post, Bro.

    My favorite uncle missed the stated cutoff by a year - he was born in 1955 - but he definitely was a senior member of this group. He drove a sweet baby blue 1972 Gran Torino Sport with white leather top during the final years of his high school career with a slammin' 8-track system and later, after college and a getting a promotion at work, a 1982 fresh off the lot Camaro with a cassette player and legendary Houston rock station KLOL 101.5 on all the radio presets.

    You've seen Dazed & Confused? He was the cool/creepy Wooderson character before hitting rock bottom, cleaning up and being born again in the late 90s. Drives a Honda Accord these days.

    1. Nitpicking: KLOL was 101.1 and it was awesome.