Back in Black

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Portland, OR. August 1980.
It was one of those perfect August days. As I looked out across Oaks Bottom from beneath the water tower in Sellwood Park , the sun sparkled off the Willamette River and Mount Hood loomed large behind me. She was 15. I was 16.

She was the little sister of a friend of a friend. She was one of those casual acquaintances that seemed to be common in the tail end of the 70’s. She got high with me and she thought I was so cool. I wasn’t, but I wasn’t going to let on that I wasn’t as cool as she thought. She was your typical Portland stoner chick decked out in Levi 501’s, t-shirt and maybe a little to much makeup. Her t-shirt said AC/DC.

Yeah, she was cooler than me. I may have had the dope, but my latest music purchase was Billy Joel’s Glass Houses. I was still floundering musically. Bands like The Eagles, The Cars and Blondie made up much of my music collection. Sure I had some Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and of course Queen's News of the World, which, like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, was required in every teenagers music collection back then.

She invited me back to her house. Her brother and more importantly, her parents, weren’t home. Her room was pink with stuffed dolls on her bed, which seemed a little incongruous next to the giant black poster with AC/DC emblazoned across it above her bed.

She dropped the needle of her record player on the vinyl and the deep ringing of bells filled the room. It was the first time I had ever heard Back in Black. Hells Bells, Shoot to Thrill, You Shook Me, Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution. Wow. It’s funny, we made out while listening to the album and I vividly remember the music, but I had to wrack my brain to remember her name. Yeah, I know, I’m a pig. Actually, I’m not a pig. I am 42 and indulged a little to much back in the day.

She opened my musical horizons, though. From there I moved on to Black Sabbath , and Motorhead, plus all the other hard rock bands of the day. It was a perfect August day.


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