Boardwalk Music You Gotta Listen To
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Boardwalk Music You Gotta Listen To

Jersey Shore Jams from the 1980's

Boardwalk Music You Gotta Listen To

My sister Beth and I were talking on the phone last weekend, as we do every weekend, and she provided me with this golden idea to write about the music we heard on the boardwalk when we were growing up. As background, if you were a kid in Philadelphia (or New Jersey) in the 1980’s, it is likely that your family’s vacation destination was the Jersey Shore. Not to be confused with the Jersey Shore “reality” TV show you may be tuned into, (I hear there is a reunion show going around), which is shot in Seaside Heights, NJ. However, in our day, Wildwood, NJ, was all the rage and may still remain to be, although I only visit maybe once a year these days.

The main attraction wasn’t the beach, however, it was the boardwalk. Easy enough to envision: a row of boards above the beach you could walk on. After a day on the beach, you would take your sunburned ass back to wherever you were staying (in our case it was my aunt’s house on 24th Street until they moved to North Wildwood) and showered off, put your Love’s Baby Soft on and headed to the Boardwalk. For my cousin and I, it was a mini Atlantic City for teens. I remember we could exist for a whole evening up there for $10 each. Nowadays, it’s a $200 weekend; get a job kids if you want to hang on the boards.

The smells of popcorn, ocean, and cocoa butter, along with the sounds of the man who wanted you to try your luck at a big prize, the seagulls overhead, and the recorded sound of “Watch the Tramcar, please”, we couldn’t wait to get there. Plus, there were boys. Lots of boys.

We couldn’t wait to get on the rides,]. The Flyer, an old rickety roller coaster, Hell Hole, a scare fest with the head of Lucifer beckoning you to enter if you dare, and of course, The Himalaya; the granddaddy of them all. While sitting in a car with your friend, you screamed your head off going round and round, as speed increased and then when you thought it was over, the operator would send you backwards over imaginary mountains. When you got off, you thought you would vomit, but that wasn’t the appeal of the Himalaya, it was the rock n’ roll being blasted over the loud speakers while you were screaming with laughter. The music was the draw with its mix of 70’s and 80’s rock and dance pop, we often hung out there to meet aforementioned boys, but the music was the draw. With much pleasure, I offer you my Wildwood Nights playlist:

  • “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf
  • “Light My Fire” by The Doors
  • “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones
  • “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
  • “Call Me” by Blondie
  • “Crazy Train” by Ozzy
  • “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash
  • “The Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin
  • “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
  • “Round and Round” by Ratt
  • “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield
  • “Tom Sawyer” by Rush
  • “Back in Black by AC/DC
  • “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns and Roses
  • “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • “Girls Girls Girls” by Motley Crue
  • “Push It” by Salt N’ Pepa
  • “When Doves Cry” by Prince
  • “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League
  • “Born To Be Alive” by Patrick Hernandez
  • “Fame” by David Bowie
  • “Funky Town” by Lipps, Inc.
  • “Let The Music Play” by Shannon
  • “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
  • “Holiday” by Madonna
  • “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy
  • “She’s a Beauty” by The Tubes
  • “Radar Love” by Golden Earring
  • “Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
  • “Control” by Janet Jackson

Thanks so much to my 80’s ladies and gentlemen who spun their memories to help me come up with the perfect playlist: Beth P., Joanne, Karen, Beth G., Linda, Maria, Lisa, Diane, Jacqui, Mary, Kate, Maureen, Wally, Michele, Tim, Theresa and my other sis, Helene.

As The Cars once sang, “Let The Good Times Roll.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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