A Song and a Story: “If I Were John Carpenter” #AtoZChallenge


This is another song in a run of stories of songs that made me think differently about contemporary music as a teenager.  This track is by Big Audio Dynamite and it’s called:

If I Were John Carpenter

The summer of 1990, I attended a five-week program at Georgetown University for high school juniors.  One day while shopping at a Georgetown record store, I saw a discount compilation at the checkout called Theodore: An Alternative Music Sampler and decided to add it to my purchase.  The artists included Kate Bush, Living Color, The Psychedelic Furs, Public Enemy, and the Indigo Girls, along with others not so well known.  These artists were pretty mainstream at the time and Columbia/Epic was clearly trying to cash in on the growing alternative music trend with a collection of deep cuts, but it was a relevation to my ears.

One track that stands out all these years later is by Big Audio Dynamite.  “If I Were John Carpenter” was a B-side to their more well-known song “James Brown” and doesn’t really sound like anything else the band had done.  It’s a collection of beats, sounds, and samples from old movies. I think my love of electronic and atmospheric music was born when I heard “If I Were John Carpenter.”

And I listened to it a lot.  I had serious insomnia when I was a teenager, and living in the dorm at Georgetown meant sharing a room with a roommate who went to bed every night at a sensible hours.  Since we were high school students we couldn’t leave our rooms after curfew. And so I was left with laying in the dark and listening to songs like “If I Were John Carpenter,” taking in the aural collage and trying to pick apart the pieces that made the track.


2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – A Song and a Story

A: Always on My Mind
B: Baby Come Back and Baker Street
C: Cheek to Cheek
D: Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Doctor Jones
E: Everyday Sunshine
F: Fly Me to the Moon
G: Ghost Town
H: Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe

If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:

And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:

And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.

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