I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since this song came out. I was 6 years old when it was out, and my brother would have been 10. All those legendary dance classics from the 1990s – especially from the early 90s – remind me of being a kid. I remember my Dad had a monstrous hi-fi system of the type that was popular in the 80s and 90s. Every Sunday afternoon/evening we’d listen to the top 40 singles on the UK chart, back in the day when the charts still meant something. And I would prance around the dining room to songs such as ‘The Key, The Secret’.
At Christmas I went through old photos for the present I was making for my Mum. I found a rather grainy picture from around this time. In it, me and my brother dance in our darkened dining room whilst my Dad is stood on a chair in the corner of the room flashing a torch around, just like a disco. Hilarious and a great memory.
Blah, word vomit ahead. This song conjures too many memories to count.
1. First time I saw Bruce’s bum wiggle in those jeans must have been when I was a kid watching MTV or VH1. But I remember the first time I watched it and had FEELINGS about that wiggling bum. That was around 2008 when the obsession first kicked off.
2. Seeing it live at my first Bruce gig, May 2008, one of few songs I knew at that point… phoned my Mum so she could hear it.
3. My 23rd birthday. Me and my mates in Bamboogy on King Street in Wigan. They got this played for me, it was glorious.
4. Any time in Reflex bar I’ve managed to get it on.
5. One of my top 5 songs to run/gym to. Nothing better than pummeling the treadmill whilst Bruce sings, “can’t start a fire / can’t start a fire without a spark”.
6. Dancing to it at a friend’s family party in summer 2012. Dancing with my best mates in the White Hart in London just before Christmas. Me and my friend Holly doing the classic Bruce dance from this very video.
7. One of those songs that can just pick me up when I’m down. “Can’t start a fire / sittin’ round cryin’ over a broken heart”. Thanks Bruce.
These teenage years well they don’t last / oh yeah oh yeah
No they don’t. I’m home in Wigan for the weekend and feeling nostalgic listening to all the music from my teenage years. I love The Subways and I still don’t know why they haven’t had more commercial success. They brought their debut album out when I was 17 and it played a lot during my formative sixth-form years. Good times.
I remember the summer of 2000 really well. It was one of the last very hot summers we had. I was 12-years-old, had just finished my first year at secondary school, and Robbie Williams was the biggest thing on the planet. My mum bought ‘Sing When You’re Winning’ on cassette tape (yes, we still had them as late as 2000) and it was on in our car constantly. In July 2000, me, mum, my brother, my aunt and my uncle drove to the Cotswolds for our usual week-long caravan holiday and I distinctly remember blasting ‘Rock DJ’ on the way there. Me and my brother knew the words off by heart. Thankfully, my innocent mind didn’t quite understand what “give no head, no backstage passes” really meant. Bit of an eye-opener when I realised a few years later.
This song – and the album as a whole really – remains one of the best bits of pop/rock music ever produced in this country and I still love it now. It was worth staying up until 11pm on a Friday night to see the x-rated video in which Robbie peels his skin off and flings his flesh and internal organs around. Oh, Millennium, how I miss you.
The Reflex nightclub (formerly Flares). Friday night. Some time between 2005 and 2006. A sticky, neon dancefloor. Some terrible, shitty made-up concoction masquerading as a cocktail. Me and 5 of my best girl friends. Lots of 40-something men perving on us. This song. We didn’t have a care in the world. I miss it.
Ah, “Pretty Baby”. The song that made me fall in love with Debbie Harry more than any other Blondie song. I became a Blondie fan at college and it progressed into a full-blown obsession during my first year at university. I was lucky enough to be right at the front to see Blondie perform live in Manchester in July 2007. I don’t listen to Blondie as much as I used to but my love for them is still strong, even if it’s a more mature love. “Pretty Baby” could’ve been about Debbie herself and I think of her when I listen to this song. How beautiful she was (and still is) and how her image and icon captured my heart when I was 18. “Pretty Baby” is all dreamy lyrics and vocals – but it still retains that wonderful New Wave-punk-rock sound that made Blondie famous. The album it is taken from, “Parallel Lines”, remains my favourite record of all time.
There’s very little I can say about this song and what it means to me. The person who comes to mind when I hear this song could possibly see this (but probably won’t). Needless to say, listening to this song is not easy for me and it’s one I usually skip. It’s about young love, lost love, decisions you regret but couldn’t have changed anyway, the lies we tell ourselves about the people we have to let go, and ultimately moving on and being happy for them.