Section 25 “Looking from a Hilltop” (Version 2)
In my life, I have loved many songs. It’s a rare occurrence but there are a few which I have loved and not known their names. Worse is when their names have disappeared from my memory causing me great consternation. How do you find them again? They are usually odd or rare tunes and even if you hummed them into a phone or something, the phone would look back at you with a great big blank stare. It would be as confused as the voice recognition prompts on automated telephones that can’t seem to understand my ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and so I’m forced to punch the corresponding buttons. So I have no one to turn to, no humming decoder or Dr. Phil DJ that will identify all the random tunes floating in my head and memory. I just wait and hope that one day the song and I will cross paths again and we’ll join each other in an aural connection, love blooming once again.
To get to my point, Looking From a Hilltop is one of those songs. I first heard it when my brother brought it home from Exodus records after a vulgar shopping spree where he dropped about a two hundred dollars (his whole life savings to that point, he was 13 years old) on imported 12-inch records in his quest to be the best South San Gabriel DJ of the 1980s. I don’t think he was as impressed with the record as much as I was. It was innovative for melding new wave vocals and aesthetics with pop-locking friendly beats. It sounded so fresh and new to my ears, I felt innovative just for listening to it. I borrowed the 12-inch for long periods of time and my brother being a bit proprietary (having spent the money to get it to our house all the way from England) eventually asked for it back. Into the crates it went, lost among the Stacey Q and Tapps records.
Every few years I’d ask my brother for “the record.” Find me the record! By then his collection had grown so large it took up most of the family garage. He would look half-heartedly but never seemed to find it. Crushed and a bit obsessed, I started to think I’d never hear the song again. As time went by, I stopped asking.
Just a few years ago, I decided to look for myself. Facing the stacks of crates holding thousands of albums it dawned on me that I’d forgotten the name and artist of the song! I did remember the bright orange sleeve and the distinctive look of the British vinyl – those details recorded somewhere in my internal jukebox. Even with this information, the search was futile, too many crates filled tight with worn records, their sleeves rolled at the edges from all those DJing nights of frantic thumbing-throughs and scraped by the rough wood as the record was plucked from the crate and thrown onto the spinning turntable. No wonder my brother wasn’t so keen on helping me find it.
So guess what happens next? I’m reading the Secret History of Disco book and he mentions Section 25 and I think to myself “Hmmm, the name sounds awfully familiar…” And so I do a Youtube search and there it is, my song! My love, I’ll never forget you again! But I must be honest, you haven’t aged all that well.
The vinyl as I remember it!
I think this is probably the version popular with the DJ set as it has a very pop-locking feel to it and none of the wimpy girl vocals.