Thursday, November 01, 2018

Songs of '78: "Jet Airliner"

From the beginning of this series, I've been up front: these blog posts are about the pop, rock, funk, punk, and other songs of 1978 which wormed their way into my memory and have stuck with me--and that includes songs that weren't released in 1978, or that I have no specific 1978 radio-listening memories of, but which I just associate with 1978. I've already confessed that some creative cognitive reconstruction was going on with the way Cheap Trick or Sniff 'n' the Tears or Bruce Springsteen appear on this list, but "Jet Airliner," my absolute favorite Steve Miller song, probably takes the cake.

Why? Wasn't that song, and many others by the Steve Miller band, staples of the pop and rock and roll AM and (later) FM radio stations that I gained my earliest musical education from? Absolutely. But it was mostly just beloved background stuff for me until 1990 when, in a break from my tape-buying tradition, I actually started buying CDs (which didn't mean I stopped buying tapes, though). The Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits 1974-1978 was one of the very first CDs I purchased, because the possibility of having all that great music from my youth available in one place ("Jungle Love"! "Take the Money and Run"!) was far too much to resist. Most of all though: "Jet Airliner," a soaring, rocking, yet also dreamy composition of moving along, moving away, and then moving back home. The song itself was released in 1977 on Book of Dreams, an album which I have never listened to all the way through, but no matter: the greatest hits collection was released as an album in 1978, so that's good enough for me. This was a song that I had playing in my head as I ran around, all alone, way back at the rear of the playground of Sunrise Elementary School, so it's a song of my 10-year-old, 4th-grade year, so far as I'm concerned. 1978 it is.

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