(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Remember the days when it was cool to walk around with a boombox? enid parker recalls a golden era of audio cassettes smash hits magazines and one unforgettable radio host
the news of radio legend casey kasem’s death last week brought back vivid memories of dubai’s music scene years before big stars began to make their way to the emirate on a regular basis.
everyone knows the city has firmly established itself on the tour map for international acts. but the dubai i grew up in was relatively quieter.
let’s rewind to 1987. like many pre-teen girls i was obsessed with rick astley never imagining i would get to see him live in dubai more than twenty-five years after spending my pocket money on whenever you need somebody from a popular store in karama.
buying music was a personalised affair back then. with helpful suggestions from the extremely knowledgeable salesman behind the counter (whose name i sadly cannot recall) i would walk back home every month with a tape or two… and a smile.
those fond of creating their own mixes could always record off the radio - dubai 92 was the only english station back then - and proceed to feel justifiably annoyed when a great song was cut short by an rj the news or a jingle (though all these years later it’s nice to dust those tapes off and hear voices like phil blizzard’s for a bit of nostalgia).
because big-name concerts in the city were practically non-existent back then music lovers of all ages clung to syndicated programmes like chart attack which had simon potter counting down the uk’s top 30 hits. for the younger lot (like us) exams looming proved no hindrance provided you could press record on the family vhs after attempting to explain to your parents why it was a matter of life and death that you tape the show. they weren’t always convinced.
i remember the catchy la bamba by los lobos being at number one on the first chart attack i ever watched.
many younger fans of the american top 40 countdown may not be familiar with its original host casey kasem. long before ryan seacrest made his mark in the entertainment industry and took over the show its co-creator kasem (also renowned for being the voice of shaggy in the animated scooby doo series) could be heard counting down at40 fridays on dubai 92.
especially memorable were the ‘long distance’ dedications kasem read out his made-for-radio voice breathing life into the sentimental stories behind song requests sent from all over. my best friend stayed up all night one new year’s eve just to record kasem’s special year-end countdown.
any reminiscing along these lines would be incomplete without a mention of the sony walkman which went almost everywhere i did and that funny and brilliant resource for all things musical smash hits which sadly breathed its last in 2006.
i sneaked a copy to school once only to have it snatched away by a bunch of older girls who spent the next few minutes swooning over a poster of an ageing alice cooper (poison was a big hit at the time) while i scratched my head in perplexity.
my first gig was peter andre playing dubai’s wonderland park sometime in the mid-90s. it was surreal seeing a pop star in person; and i’m happy to report the erstwhile heart-throb did not disappoint oozing charm as he belted out a selection of hits to screaming girls at the venue.
dubai will doubtless continue to grow as a top class destination for big stars and residents will always be spoilt for choice as far as concerts are concerned.
but once upon a simpler time it was people like casey kasem who ruled the city’s weekends creating an indelible impression especially on us kids as he signed off each show with his trademark phrase: “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” (enidkhaleejtimes.com)