Five Of My Fifteen Minutes: "My Favorite Town"

In the spring of 1990 my wife and I were childless and living in Richmond, Virginia. I was a little over halfway through writing my dissertation. I craved a diversion. The warming weather brought just the escape I needed: XL-102, the local FM rock station, sponsored a contest called “A Song For Richmond.” The idea was that listeners would write and record songs featuring Richmond, and then enter those songs in this contest. The prizes were modest but attractive. There was an initial airing of your song if the DJs, Jeff and Jeff, thought it was good enough to play on the radio, a second airing with an on-air interview if you made the finals, and a third airing if you were one of the twenty-four winners who made it onto the official “Songs for Richmond” tape (all proceeds to support Oasis House).

After years of fooling around with my home studio, I decided to put down the diss for a bit, write and record a song, and try my luck in the contest. So I retreated to a back bedroom (it would be the baby’s room less than six months later), set up the equipment, and began to put the tracks together.

This is the result. It’s the first airing, edited to cut out some of the patter, and it includes all the lovely smooshing and pumping that the radio station’s compressor contributed to the sound. The extra compression hides a multitude of sins in the recording and (cough) performance, though I’m sure the ones that remain will be clearly audible (and, I hope, forgiveable).

I did okay in the contest. There were 350 entries and I came in 18th, so I’m on the final tape. Along the way they played my song three times on the radio. (Maybe that used up all my fifteen minutes.) This was the last time I really did anything with that recording rig, the last time I wrote a song–now, a song from the attic.


4 thoughts on “Five Of My Fifteen Minutes: "My Favorite Town"

  1. Did you wind up doing a music video too? I could just imagine random people on street corners lip synching to the line “Hey Richmond”. Nice work!

  2. Hey man,

    Someone, somehow ran across this page and forwarded it to me. It’s been almost 16 years and I could have sung your song back to you without even hearing this blast from the past.

    What a rush. I do hope your life has been all that you hoped it would be. I can tell you that 15 minutes, or even 30 years of fame isn’t worth 5 quality minutes with the people you love. What was, and remains invaluable to me, is the chance to share moments and then memories with wonderful people like you.

    and who would have guessed that in the year of our lord, 2005, Big Star would have released a new lp? btw, ever hear Chris Bell’s I am the Cosmos cd? Bring tears to your eyes.

    very fondly,
    Jeff McKee

  3. So I was going through the archives of your old posts when I stumbled across this one, and what a cool find!
    I’ve listened to the song over and over, definitely catchy and fun.
    You need to make this available as a mp3 so I can put it on my iPod.

  4. Pingback: Gardner Writes » Blog Archive » An encore you may ignore

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