I started subscribing to Rolling Stone in 1987. I was just starting to refine my muddled music taste into the preferences that still stand today. At the time, there was no student-run college radio station in my immediate area–fairly stunning considering there was a major university right down the road that could make a claim to being involved in the formation of the medium–but that was the music I was largely finding my way to, and I was under the impression that Rolling Stone might be a helpful map as a I navigated this new terrain.
Then the first issue arrived in my mailbox.
This was not exactly what I was expecting. I knew Rolling Stone covered different aspects of entertainment than music, but a sitcom star wielding a guitar because he played a member of a bar band in his new movie? I wasn’t disappointed, exactly. I liked Michael J. Fox a lot and watched his TV show every week. It was simply unexpected. In retrospect, I see it as an opening admission in my relationship with the publication that, no matter my expectations, it had the capacity to be astoundingly uncool, a quality that increased exponentially as the years progressed.
Rolling Stone was naturally enamored with the rock ‘n’ roll side of the movie, with the title song penned by Bruce Springsteen garnering most of the attention. The article on Fox also devoted some column inches to his own unlikely contribution to the soundtrack, a track called “You Got No Place to Go,” which makes the briefest of appearances of in the film itself. A couple years later, when I discovered the album nestled in among the other fairly dubious selections in my college radio station’s soundtrack section, I knew I had to play the Fox song as a gag.
Thing is, I kind of liked it. It’s not phenomenal, and it sounds hopelessly wan next to most of the music, even the weakest music, that dominated our playlists at the time. But it also tapped into the soft spot I had for moony, AOR ballads that was unfortunately cultivated by the classic rock station that was one of the best options for radio listening in my teenage years. During my years at the college radio station, the song cropped on on my shows more than once, often with a bit of mockery connected to it.
But sometimes, I must admit, I was dead serious when I played it. And I didn’t even need the tacit endorsement of the Rolling Stone cover to think it was good.
(Disclaimer: This album looks out of print to me, and I sincerely doubt that, beloved as he may be, any label is currently rushing to get a Michael J. Fox six CD set to the marketplace that might change the song’s availability. So it is posted here with the understanding that it cannot be purchased in a way that provides due compensation to Mr. Fox, Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records or the proprietor of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. Regardless, I will gladly remove the song if contacted by someone with due authority to make such a request. That’s especially true if it’s Jett who get in touch with me, because I’m pretty sure she could beat me up.)