Spending my formative years in the small town of Harrington, Washington was an interesting experience, especially when it came to music. Most of the kids around me were listening to Kiss, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, and other heavy metal music. Me, always marching to the beat of my own marching band, was into Carpenters, Barry Manilow, ABBA, teen acts, and (shudder) DISCO. Not that everyone else didn’t have a few non-metal faves either – they did, and I know this because they would always come to ME when it came to asking questions that had to do with music. And 1979 was a transitional year for me as well – I turned 16 in March, and my tastes were growing and evolving. I loved some heavier acts, like Foreigner and Boston, and late in the year Def Leppard would appear on the scene with first album “On Through The Night“. But I was still mostly into the above. KJRB, the station of choice most of the time, played all the hits, and a few that came from left field. And I also discovered a new show on Sunday evenings that played right before “Dr. Demento” (I was a huge fan of that show) on a Walla Walla station, KSXT-FM. It was called “The Great American Radio Show with Mike Harrison” and it counted down the top 20 Album Oriented Rock songs of the week – it was on this show that I first discovered music from Dire Straits, Sad Cafe, and other harder-edged acts as well, expanding my musical horizons. And another person was also responsible for expanding those horizons as well; Harrington’s new local young barber-stylist, a woman named Kenna-Kae Elledge; she was in her mid-to-late 20s, had come to town the previous year, and we talked music a lot when we’d see each other, and we ended up becoming good friends despite our age difference, and she regularly invited me over to she and her boyfriend’s home to check out some of the newest music, and she became a trusted friend and advisor in all things music, and all things in life as well. She was the person that introduced me to a lot of the new wave stuff that would creep into my charts over the next year, and also to AOR radio – she always had her dial tuned to KREM-FM, Spokane’s Album oriented rock station, and after I’d found it, I listened to it, learned from it…and LOVED it…a LOT…it was the station that introduced me to Def Leppard (see above), The Buggles, the early sounds of The Police, and others..and my musical life was forever richer because of it…I know you’re still out there, Kenna-Kae, if you ever see this, drop me a line, I’d love to catch up on old times, heh heh…

Charts from 1979 are presently missing but hopefully to be refound and posted soon!

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