Can you remember where you were when you heard this?

by Simon

When we came back to school after the summer holidays in 1982 there were rumours of this amazing song that some of the guys had heard during the break. They didn’t know what the name of the tune was, but it was supposed to be like music made by robots in New York. It was supposed to sound like the future, and if you hadn’t heard it you were nobody.

So yeah, some song made by some New York robots. Try asking for that in the local record shop. I did!

Anyway, one lunchtime queuing for my hotdog in a bun and chips (35p!) I heard this noise from a cassette boombox that some sixth formers had. A crowd had already gathered around the table to listen, including some of the younger teachers. It was bleepy and reminded me of Being Boiled by The Human League (the fast version – I didn’t know at that point it was speeded up for the single!) but shouty. It sounded like Martians had walked into the room. I swear you could hear everybody listening. There was an excitement in the room that was completely at odds with a dark school dinner hall in late September.

That track was Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa And The Soulsonic Force. Within six months there were breakdancing crews in the school and outbreaks of graffiti tagging in the local area. Even me, the shortass Mod had a tag. I was Blazer. So called because of a blazer I used to wear and my nasty little habit of burning things. I used to love flicking lit matches and watching their smoke trails as they shot across the pavement when we were out and about.

If there was a point where everything changed this was it.

Planet Rock – Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force (full length)

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