You should’ve been gone! Knowing how I made you feel! And I should’ve been gone! After all your words of steel!
No, I’m not trying to process our relationship, dear reader. I’m quoting the mighty Steve Perry, and the magnum opus of his solo career, “Oh Sherry,” today’s choice for Forgotten Song Friday. And more importantly, one in a long canon of songs from the 1980s featuring a girl’s name.
Remember the 80s? Remember all the songs with girls names in them? Were you ever the subject of one? Remember that tingly feeling you’d get thinking about school the next day now that you, yep lil’ old YOU, had a pop song with your name in the title? Holy effing shit, were you going to be hot stuff the next day! You never knew when it might happen, but then suddenly there it would be. You’d turn the dial on your local top 40 station (In St. Louis, you know I’m talking KHTR 103.3. And if you grew up in the Lou in the 1980s, you are gonna wanna click on this. I almost peed myself when I found this!), and in an instant, your life was forever changed.
Yep, back in the day if you were a white girl or a girl of color with a white girl-esque name, you had a pretty good chance, no matter who you were, to have an 80s pop song named after you. In 1984, upon the release of “Oh Sherry,” if your name was Sherry/Sherri/Shari, the world just became your oyster.
But the fun didn’t stop with the Sherrys of the world. Hell to the no! There were a boat ton of songs with girls names in them! For example, growing up, I had eleventy hundred friends named Sarah. Cuz frankly, what white girl in the 80s didn’t? Young 80s Sarahs could choose between “Sara” by Starship or, if their parents had good taste in music (cuz you know I loves me some Hall & Oates), “Sara Smile.”
The Sarah/Saras I knew dug the Starship version. Check it.
What a video, eh? Dude has some weird Oedipal issues. First, he’s singing about his girl Sara, aka Rebecca DeMornay in this video, leaving him. Then he’s flooded with flashbacks of his mom leaving. Leave this one alone, ladies! He’s got ISSUES!
Ahh, Hall & Oates is good for what ails ya.
So maybe you were a white girl in the 80s not named Sarah. Ok. How about Rosanna? Fun fact! Patrick Swayze is in the video! And the members of Toto have hilarious hair and glasses!
Maybe you were a Roxanne? Remember when Sting was cool? You probably were too, if you were named Roxanne when this bad boy came out. Ok, it’s been too long. I gotta do it.
Gloria? I’m sure all the Glorias that were excited then are avoiding karaoke bars now. Is it truly mandatory that someone sing this song every time I go to karaoke? Seriously, just tell me. Here, practice for this weekend:
Valerie? That was popular at my school! One day I’m at my local thrift store, trying on ironic tee shirts, obvs, when “Valerie” starts playing on the speakers. The two pre-teen girls in the dressing room next to me gasp in excitement and squeal, “Gasp! Stevie Winwood!” This little anecdote would be pretty boring if you think I’m talking about the 80s as per usz. But it happened in 2009! Where did these kids come from! I want my future lil’ briggsys to gasp when they hear “Oh Sherrie.” I’ve gotta get on that.
Joanna? Ok, no children were named Joanna in the 80s, but still. Kool & The Gang kill this one. Check it out. If you’ve gotta lady named Joanna, bust this out for her tonight. She’ll be the one, the one for you. You’re welcome.
Amanda? Oh damn, there were a lot of Amandas back then. Speaking of ubiquitous names from that era, how about Jenny? Between all the Jens, Jennifers and Jennys, this is a huge pool. Funny story. For about the first year of my adult (kinda) friendship with my friend Jen, I had her number in my celly contacts as 206-867-5309. And I didn’t even realize it! One day I asked her why she hadn’t returned my calls and hilarity ensued. Modern day Jennys, it’s not nice to list Tommy Tutone’s Jenny number on your Facebook page. It may screen out the weirdos, but it confuses new friends.
Michelle? I’ll say it. Axl looked really cool back in the day. Speaking of fun facts…do you know why Axl sported this shirt back in the early 90s?
If you lived in St. Louis at the time you do! Back in July 0f 1991 at a show in St. Louis, while yours truly was a sophomore in high school and big GnR fan, Axl saw a dude taking video of him from the front row and got PISSED. Check it.
Axl screamed at the fan, jumped off the stage and into the crowd to try to take the camera away from the (now ex) fan. Axl eventually came back on stage, tossed his mic, and announced his intention to depart the stage. Slash then flipped the crowd a final bird, and a riot ensued. St. Louis went into a tizzy. My cousin was an EMT called to the scene and was famous for a hot minute! Can you imagine Axl now, getting all pissed that everyone was liveblogging and tweeting at the show? I hope you grew to accept modern technology, Mr. Rose, for your own good!
Anyway, Michelles, based on the fact that your song was by Guns n’ Roses, you were prolly kinda slutty. Tone it down, mmkay? You too, Carries!
Diana? You got the only song by MJ. Congrats!
Maybe you were born in the late 70s and your name REALLY shows it? That still counts! I’ve got half of my white girl readers born in the mid-late 70s covered when I mention Amie. You know, like, Amy…whatchu gonna do? Yep, that one. Or how about Melissa? On that note, here’s a tip to the queer ladies out there. Putting “Sweet Melissa” on the jukebox for your charming yet masculinely dashing queer squeeze who was unfortunately stuck with the name Melissa is a real party foul. Take it from me.
Or maybe you still listened to pop in the 90s. We still had a few good girls names songs in the 1990s. Remember when there were dueling Maria themed songs in 1999? Marias had a heyday while the rest of us fretted about Y2K.
Blondie did one.
Which is not to be confused with “Maria Maria.” You know, that annoying song where someone kept singing “played by Carlos Santana!” and then Carlos Santana would do his guitar solo thing. Btw, dude who sings this song that everyone only remembers as that shitty late in his career Carlos Santana song, Judges do not sign an eviction “letter” that says “See You Later.” This legal advice provided to you free of charge, from ohbriggsy, esq. Lawyered!
Anyway, Carlos Santana. Can I say that I don’t get it? Isn’t he just Chuck Mangione with a guitar? If you think you don’t know Chuck Mangione, you probably do. If you were young in the 80s, your parents probably jammed out to this.
Chuck Mangione reference! I’ll know who my real friends are when I see who gets my Chuck Mangione reference. My parents had the 8 track! That cover brings back the sweet memories.
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, yes. “Oh Sherrie.” I love “Oh Sherrie.” Ask Double S. I will just occasionally need to bust out this song. Those awesome, emotional Steve Perry-y opening lines are worth the price of admission. I just recently broke it out at a backyard bonfire here at the homestead. My neighbors know the songs I love–the songs I blast when I clean the bathroom, peel carrots, dance around the house with double S and work in the garden. So, yep, my nabes hear a lot of Steve Perry.
Backstory: “Oh Sherrie” was written by Steve Perry in 1984 about his then girlfriend Sherrie Swafford. Since I blog a lot about food preservation here, here is a pic of these two love birds doing what looks like canning to me! Meta!
In the “Oh Sherry” video we open with Steve Perry acting in some Elizabethan stage play. The early 80s paparazzi are all up in his grill, as per usz, because, shit, it’s Steve Perry acting in an Elizabethan stage play, yos! Need I say more? Wouldn’t you be all wanting to read the US Weekly of 1984, which I guess was The National Enquirer. Stars. They’re just like us! Even in the 80s! Look, Steve Perry returns his VHS tapes late to Movies-2-Go just like I do! Anyway, Steve-o goes out in the hallway to catch some air, and he starts thinking about all the drama he has with Sherry. It seems that he made her feel bad, and she spit some words of steel all up in his face. Dysfunctional much? Stars. They ARE just like us.
For some reason, I have a lot of good memories associated with this “Oh Sherrie.” First, I have an aunt named Shari. It was one of those situations where I was something like 10 when she was something like 16, and thus I thought she was incredibly cool. Oh lawd, when “Oh Sherrie” came out did she think she was hot shit, dancing all over the house, cavorting around her posters of John Travolta from Grease.
Second, and fun fact about me, I used to spend my days at the Riker’s Island jail in New York City, lawyering my ass off and whatnot. Needless to say, it’s a pain in the ass to get to Riker’s Island. It’s an island, mmkay?
I usually bussed it and it took forevs. But sometimes I got a ride from my coworker and we made it a habit of cruising to jail to the sweet sounds of “Oh Sherrie.” Cuz nothing pumps you for parole revocation defense hearings like a little Steve Perry. Am I right, friends? In my co-worker’s defense, I’m the one who squealed in glee the first time we heard it together, and then I kinda forced it into becoming a tradition. And no, I’m not sure why NYC radio stations in 2004 played so much Oh Sherrie. But, anyway, awesome.
Happy Friday everybody!