Updated: May 11
In the summer of 1974 I left my home in the Canal Zone to go to college at Kings Point, NY. Stopped over in Alabama to see some of my dad's family, then flew from Atlanta to New York on my own. It was in the days before the feds deregulated the airlines, and certain routes and schedules were required, regardless of whether there were enough passengers to make it economically feasible.
It was a 747, and it was almost empty. The emptiness made for a hollow, cavernous feel that made my mind reverberate with a weird mix of anticipation and melancholy. The airline gave us plastic earphones, and as I listened to the music, two songs dug into my brain like permanent ear-worms.
One was Rikki Don't Lose That Number, by Steely Dan. The other was Sideshow, by Blue Magic. Both had been released in April of that year.
There's some combination of age and emotional state that softens the ground to let certain songs dig real deep into your psyche and stay there like buried treasure. Years or decades after the burial, a chance encounter on the radio unearths them, as fresh as ever.
Here they are: