Part 238: Lightning Strikes

RECORD STORE TALES Part 238:  Lightning Strikes

September, 1994

What a rotten week. I had just started my last year of school.  Fresh with the sting of rejection from that summer’s crush, with shoulders hunched, I cut a lonely figure in the hallways.  All my old school friends were gone. I had taken a bunch of classes that I didn’t like. I had nobody to talk to at school, but thankfully I now had the record store. The store gave me something to look forward to when I didn’t have much else.

I still have lyrics that I wrote from that period, and they’re…well, they reflect my age and some of my emotions at the time:

Evil man,
With demon smell,
Down on your knees,
Back into hell.

I came home from class one morning to discover that a lighting storm had fried my stereo, among many other home appliances. It was a Panasonic deck with CD and cassette. It was just toasted. My sister’s Sony stereo had also burned out in the storm. I was essentially without a good way to listen to music. I still had my lousy Walkman with its crummy earphones, but I didn’t have any way of playing a CD.

While insurance companies sorted out the damages, I waited to replace the stereo. In the meantime, Bon Jovi had just released their new single, “Always”, from their forthcoming greatest hits set called Cross Road. I loved Jon’s heartbroken lyrics, but the really good track was a B-side called “Edge of a Broken Heart”. It was a catchy commercial Pop Jovi song, an outtake from Slippery When Wet, and one of their better tunes. Certainly one of their best B-sides. But I had no equipment to play it on.

Luckily I was going to work on the Sunday, and I was working alone for the whole day. I could therefore listen to whatever I wanted, and I brought a couple discs to work to play. One of them was “Always”, and I looked forward to listening to it. I really enjoyed the slow Sunday shift, as it was only four hours long, and I always worked alone on Sundays.

JOVI

I walked to work as I always did.  I already had a key.  I unlocked and unpacked the pack of CDs that I brought with me.  Bon Jovi was my first selection.   I inserted the disc into the player, and turned up the volume so I could hear the music as I vacuumed.

I was startled by two figures at the door.  My boss, the store owner, was one, and the other was Trevor who was our new hire. What the hell were they doing there? Meanwhile, they had that exact same question for me!

“I’m opening the store…what are you doing here?” I responded.

“I’m here to train Trevor,” my boss answered. “and Trevor’s scheduled to work today.”

“No…I’m scheduled. Aren’t I?”

A quick look at the calendar had revealed that Trevor was scheduled in, and I had the day off!

“Shit…to be honest I was really looking forward to working, my stereo is blown at home and I have these new CDs!” We had a laugh at my expense, and I left feeling a little like an idiot.  I was mostly disappointed that I didn’t get to play my new Bon Jovi.

It was another week before I finally got my new stereo. Having the ability to play CDs again was a salve, to soothe my aching soul. I could not believe how much I missed it. That brief period without the ability to play my discs was a dark start to the school year. Gratefully, it got better after that!

22 comments

      1. I vaguely remember Chris Holmes wearing one in that ‘Decline of Western Civilisation Part2’ film too, although that may be a false memory planted there by an evil hypnotist.

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      1. Ahh, maybe that’s why WASP never quite hit those same commercial heights.

        Paul’s bathrobe seems to be negatively affecting the way he moves.

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      2. Kiss looked like they hade robbed a candy store and used it for clothing in the Asylum videos. Pink. Neon green. Yuck!

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  1. Edge Of A Broken Heart was on the b-side for Livin’ On A Prayer, a great song that really should have made the album. It could easily have replaced dull songs like Without Love or Never Say Goodbye or Wild In The Streets. Also, You Give Love A Bad Name had a great b-side as well, called Borderline.
    However, that Always song is bloody awful. This was when Bon Jovi’s downfall had started, in y opinion.

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    1. I don’t know which came first for sure, but didn’t Keep The Faith come before this? Because if it did, I might trace his decline back to that god-awful Bed Of Roses song. Those aren’t lyrics, they’re a list of clichés that rhyme! Haha. Anyway.

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      1. Oh, I beg to differ. Bed Of Roses is one of Bon Jovi’s few great ballads. I love Sambora’s backing vocals as well. And Sambora’s solo is brilliant.
        I also think those lyrics are brilliant. Much could be said of JBJ but I have always found him a great lyricist. No, the decline didn’t start with Keep The Faith, it’s an awesome album, the decline started with These Days, in my opinion.

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        1. Jon, to me Bed of Roses isn’t the problem. They spent way too much time trying to rewrite it over and over again, every album… that’s unfortunate.

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        2. On that I agree. He should have been tortured for writing Thank You For Loving Me. I mean, it’s torture for us to listen to it. Eye for an eye or something…

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  2. I know the pain of being without a stereo. My trusty Kenwood died and I was adrift… it’s amazing how quickly you get itchy for tunes when suddenly you no longer have access. Thankfully now, if my stereo dies, I have both my iPod and my iMac to get me through. But when the stereo is all you’ve got, yeah man. I’m with you on that one.

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  3. I apologize for contributing to your terrible day fella! In my defence, i was just doing what i was telt jimmie! I am sure you told me this story before and i apologized then too, but hearing it again…i feel the need to once more. Sundays did rock pretty hard at the flagship store!
    Many albums remind me of working that store indeed! In a weird sort of way…i kinda miss those days….

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  4. I agree it would be horrible not having a stereo of any kind to play my tunes on for a whole week! Luckily, I now have one in my newest car ( the last car I had sucked) so it’s on all the time I’m in it. My policy is that any passengers get to pick their tunes, though, as long as it isn’t rap!

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