It was the summer of 1977. Every adolescent had discovered three albums, “Frampton Comes Alive,” “Rumours,” and “Hotel California.” Now anyone with a knowledge of 70’s pop music might scratch their heads at this. “Frampton Comes Alive” and “Hotel California” were released in 1976; “Rumours” in early 1977. But we lived in the rural South. Plus we had just hit our teens. Naturally we were a bit behind the curve on music. But these three albums were the staples for the summer of 1977 for us youngsters (throwing in the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Carolina Dreams,” Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Champagne Jam,” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Street Survivors” – we were in the rural South).
But back to the most important album of my youth, “Hotel California.” The Eagles had long been the chosen group for all the kids in town. “Desperado,” “On the Border,” “One of These Nights,” and the ubiquitous “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” had established the group as rock heroes. The greatest hits collection was played so universally (at home, at the swimming pools, on the school buses) that I honestly do not believe that I could listen to it all the way through today.
But “Hotel California”… I do still listen to that today. It’s currently on my iPod.
Picture this. Four hormone-charged teens. One girl’s bedroom. “Jackie.” “Jimmy.” “Lynne." "The Queer." Jackie and Jimmy were officially "going-together." Lynne and I had been girlfriend/boyfriend on-and-off since the first grade, but weren't formally together at that particular time.
When Jackie dropped the needle into the first groove of the album and the acoustic guitars began to play, we two couples fell on the bed and began to make out. It was quite hot and heavy for a while. Since the title track builds to a respectable crescendo, it pushed the passion envelope a bit. Jackie and Jimmy became a tangled mess of arms and legs. Lynne and I were getting along pretty well too. She showed me how to French kiss (and I swear, her tongue was the softest thing on the planet).
As "Hotel California" gave way to "New Kid in Town," the mood mellowed. Well, at least for Lynne and me. Lots of staring into one another eyes and giggling (hey... you already know I'm gay). But Jackie and Jimmy were still at an inferno heat.
When the country shuffle of "New Kid" faded and the rock guitars of "Life in the Fast Lane" kicked in, Lynne and I were through. We held hands a little, and I kissed her on the cheek. But the passion was done. She was one who knew me better than most and with that knowledge, probably knew that I was not really absorbed in the moment. She began to brush her hair, and I began to look at the liner notes of the album. I even pulled out the insert poster and noticed how cute Randy Meisner was and what a great smile Don Henley had. I also noted that Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Don Felder look seedy and stoned (more my sister's taste ... just kidding, sis).
And Jackie and Jimmy? They had rolled off the bed in their ecstasy and were actually under the bed.
Without warning, the door opened. And there stood Jackie's mom. She looked from Lynne to me, and asked puzzled? "Where's Jackie and Jimmy?"
Without thinking, I immediately responded, "They're under the bed."
Lynne's eyes widened and her mouth dropped.
Jackie's mom pointed at the door and yelled, red-faced, at Lynne and me, "OUT!!!"
Lynne and I rushed out of the house. We hurried across the street to the vacant lot opposite Jackie's house. Jimmy soon exited, running toward us. He said the Jackie's mom had went berserk, slapping Jackie and calling her a whore and a slut. The three of us retreated to the park that was a couple of blocks away.
But things change quickly for you at that time of life. Jimmy and Jackie broke up shortly after that afternoon. Jimmy, who had been my constant friend that year, quickly abandoned me for a guy like him who liked outdoorsy stuff (leaving the door wide open for a new best friend, who became my first boyfriend and taught me all about that outdoorsy stuff). Lynne went her own way and discovered new, older friends. She traveled through high school always one step ahead of her former peers.
I don't know if any of the others still feel those raging hormones. I know I do, but I live a bizarrely wonderful life. But I've completely lost track of Jimmy. Jackie is a close friend of my sister's now, but I honestly do not know a lot about her life. And Lynne ... well, we lost Lynne about seven years ago in a car accident. She wasn't wearing her seat belt. She always had a deliberate disregard for danger.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the music had continued to play, and Jackie's mom would have never entered the room. I can imagine it exactly. "Life in the Fast Lane" would have surrendered to "Wasted Time." Which would have been the perfect make-out song: slow, tender, lots of strings. Jackie and Jimmy could have continued making out under the bed. And I probably would have taken the brush from Lynne's hand and danced her slowly around the room. She had green eyes.