Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Z-100 High 5 at 9 - April 28, 1990

So in case any of you were wondering, my penchant for nostalgia (and my absurd nearly-photographic memory) is not limited solely to toys. Nope, I tend to get those warm, fuzzy feelings over all sorts of things from my youth...  be it toys, music, TV shows, movies, candy, comic books, you name it. Some people don't get why I reminisce this way. The thing is, I firmly believe that nostalgia prevents real life from robbing us of our youth. Its a dumb cliche, but growing old and growing up are two different things, and only one of them is inevitable. And, I really don't ever want the fact that I have to pay bills, or be "a professional" to ever mean that  I also can't remember what it was like to be kid. So I do shit like this sometimes, to try and keep myself in that mindset...  or at least take myself back to it for a little while, anyway. So, with that said, anyone feel like taking a trip back to late April 1990 with me? C'mon, its just after the move JUMP jack your body...

Ok, so back in late April 1990, I was getting close to wrapping up the 6th grade. Summer was fast approaching and that itchy, restless, "can't pay attention because it's getting warm out and girls are pretty" feeling was starting to set in (a.k.a Spring Fever... and I'm glad to say twenty-two years later I STILL get that feeling when the weather starts to turn warm) Waitwaitwaitwait... TWENTY TWO YEARS!?!?!? REALLY? I'm gonna go curl into the fetal position and cry in the corner for awhile. I'll finish writing when I'm done).

Ok I'm back. So where was I... Ok I've told you guys before, I've always loved music and its played a big part in my life despite my complete absence of skill or talent when it comes to actually creating it. I always had the radio on as a kid. I like to think of it this way, whatever music you're listening to at a certain point and time, that's like the soundtrack of your life. And that's even more true when it comes to pop music. Now for 11 year old 1990 Joey, that meant Z-100. I suppose it could have meant listening to Z-100 while out doing stuff, but no... the birds were chirping, the flowers were blooming, hormones were raging,  and for that young, sweet, innocent kid, a "fun night" meant comic books, candy, and the radio. Well, a good SCHOOL night anyway, as sweet and innocent as I was, I DID go out on the weekends. Some of you even saw me! Really! But compare that to the fact that I'm pretty sure my brother was hanging out with 14 year olds at the park and drinking by the time he was 11. Man... nevermind being a "late bloomer", 11 year old Joey was kind of a boring loser!! Sigh, where was I? Oh yeah, 

Lock it in. And rip the knob off! Malrite Communications, WHTZ, Newark, New York City.

So, every night at 9pm Z-100 would play the "High Five at Nine". These were the 5 most requested songs of the day (although, from what I've since learned about commercial radio, and program director's, and DJ's and playlists and payola and just how many favors got traded for coke or money; that was probably a collossal lie, but it was a more innocent time, so we'll stick with their story). This was a great way to hear new music first, because all the songs they played weren't established hits in the regular rotation, they were on the newer side (wait... despite being the most requested that day? yup this is definitely a lie). Anyway, I vividly remember being allowed to stay up late on school nights and read G.I. Joe comics in bed, with my headphones on and my window open and eating Spree or Nerds (which at time only cost 50 cents). Like I said, this was much, much simpler time. Nowadays you wouldn't catch me dead eating Spree...  bad for the teefs. The comics and the music though, yeah still doin that.

(And honestly, for a comic about a toy, the first 85 issues or so were extremely well-written. They still hold up!)

THESE... only the wrappers were silver then. Hey, by the way, want a treat? Spree and water. You're welcome!

And THESE. Dig that retro packaging!

So anyway, young Joey would lay there munching Spree, reading G.I. Joe and listening to the High Five at Nine, and trying not to think about which girl at school he was hopelessly crushing on at the time (hmm.. late April 1990, at that point it was probably still Carisa.). You know, now that I think about it, you'd think I'd be a little madder at pop music, at the very least for tricking me into thinking girls would like me if I was nice to them. But I digress... Anyway, Kid Kelly was the DJ who hosted the High Five at Nine, and I remember thinking back then, he sounded like he was a pretty cool dude.  

Hmm... this is blurry, but I was definitely wrong. Plus, he used to refer to himself as "Kid Kelly Homeboy Fresh". Ahh dammit the guy was a tool!

Anyway, back to the point of this article. There are a whole bunch of songs I remember specifically hearing for the first time on the High Five at Nine. So, from memory, I wrote down a bunch of them down. Then I looked up the dates they first charted, narrowed five of them down to within a week, and I'm fairly confident that the High Five at Nine sounded a lot like this on April 28th 1990 (give or take a day):

#5 "Ooh La La" by The Perfect Gentlemen

Yeah, fine its a silly, sappy R&B song by a one-hit wonder group of New Edition wannabes, but man, I don't know. Something about this song gets me in that soft side I like to pretend doesn't exist. Their girl is MOVING! This is a tragedy! They'll wait for her forever and a day! How will they ever... wait... WAIT. There's like four of these dudes. Are all their girls moving at the exact same time, or are they sharing the same girl? And if they're sharing, what kind of whore is this? And does her mother know about all of them, or just the one she told they're moving? I HAVE QUESTIONS!

#4 "TURTLE Power" by Partners in Kryme

Ok, fine this song is the definition of garbage, no question. It was absolutely the result of some corporate Hollywood asshole suit going "the kids like the rap music nowadays, lets have a rap song about the Turtles!" But, I'll be goddamned if I wasn't excited about this movie, AND this dumb song at the time. Incorrect lyrics and all (Leonardo's the leader. How could they get that wrong?). I remember where I was when I first found out there was going to be a Turtles movie... my dad took me and Rob to see Look Who's Talking and Turtles was one of the coming attractions and man, I remember being so excited. I also remember where I was when I learned Michael Bay would be producing the Turtles remake, and that they're aliens now for some reason. That was the other day, and boy was I pissed!

# 3 "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground

The Humpty Dance. As was pointed out in the comments, this one still holds up today. Just some great Old School Hip-Hop right here. I wonder if anyone ever really did the Hump in the club though. Doesn't seem like anyone would...

#2 "B Girls" by Young N Da Restless

Yeah, yeah, this song ain't that great either. Its sort of typical of early 90's "mainstream" hip-hop though, which was very VERY hit or miss (Mentirosa, anybody? No?). This is still my jam though. Hey, at the very least its great for educating us guys about how many things golddigging hos like that start with the letter "B" though! Baaaaaaaaars on a Cadillac Brougham!!

#1 "I'll Be Your Everything" by Tommy Page featuring NKOTB

Ah! The perfect example of how misleading pop love songs can be to a young, impressionable, well-meaning (clueless) boy. Try telling a girl you'll be her everything - that you'll be there holding out your arms when she's lost and down seeing darkness. That you'll be the one to set her free. Go ahead, try it. Bro, that bitch will laugh at you. HARD. And then she'll tell her friends, and THEY'LL laugh at you. And then she'll go bang a guy that probably hits her. Stupid love songs.
So there you go. A five song trip down memory lane. If you liked this, let me know and I'll do more! I have plenty of songs written down to HOLY SHIT NO WAY!! I was just playing around on Google trying to get a dumber looking picture of Kid Kelly and I found THIS:

It's a  clip of his show, he's talking about "voting" for the High Five at Nine, and you hear the begining and ending of all the songs he played that night... you only get the first few seconds of the songs though, don't get too excited. Not sure if they're cut out for time or for copyright purposes. Hmmm.. this wasn't quite as cool as I thought, but check it out for a minute or two to remember what radio used to sound like.

He said it was Bon Jovi's birthday, which makes ths March 2, 1990.

Oh! In case you were wondering, the snippets of songs that are in that link above are "I'll be Your Everything" by Tommy Page; "Roam" by the B-52's; "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown; "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" by Jane Child; "Girl You Know Its Girl You Know Its Girl You Know Its Girl You Know Its... oops, sorry... Girl You Know Its True" by Milli Vanilli; "Black Velvet" by Alannah Miles; "Heaven Isn't Too Far Away" by Warrant; "If You Leave Me Now" by Jaya; "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals; "I Want You" by Shana; "Stomp" by KYZE; "Listen To Your Heart" by Roxette; "Love Child" by Sweet Sensation; "Over and Over" by Pajama Party; "The Right Stuff" by New Kids On The Block; "Escapade" by Janet Jackson; "Heaven Isn't Too Far Away" by Warrant (AGAIN); and "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" by Jane Child (AGAIN).

Wow. Listening to this douche hit the post (when the DJ talks over the begining of the song right up until the words kick in) over and over again really brought back why I hate commercial radio (and boy did my opinion of Kid Kelly take a dive over the course of this article). That and the fact that they played about twenty songs over what had to be an hour and a half and two of them were repeats.

Anyway, this was fun. Hope you enjoyed reading and listening as much as I enjoyed writing... and listening.


  1. The only time tested song there is Humpty... the other ones suck... although I remember them and I remember I had the single to perfect gentlemen and b-girls...

  2. On a detached, intellectual level, I agree with you. But B Girls and Ooh La La I have a weird, sentimental attachment to. The Tommy Page song is pure pop music dross though.

  3. Damn. Great article. Did I like it? I loved it! I have no idea how you recall all this, but I am glad you do. I look forward to more!

  4. All this stuff is attached in my head the music reminds me of the candy reminds me of the comics reminds me of the warm spring breeze coming through my bedroom window reminds me of 6th grade etc., etc. It all comes together as a picture in my head which I can then describe for everyone. It's weird.