Head Games

When this album came out I was given a copy on 8 track, and I listened to it a lot on one particular camping trip in the Poconos. I thought it was great, but I knew there was some controversy about it, both the album cover and the first single, “Dirty White Boy.” I deduced that the girl on the cover had just clearly made a mistake and walked into a men’s room, and people were probably afraid that the cover, like women’s lib, was just one more stepping stone to the futuristic horror of unisex bathrooms. And I figured that white people didn’t like being called dirty. That song featured my favorite lyric: “I’m a loner but I’m never alone / Every night I get one step closer to the danger zone.” As I was cruising around the lake at the campground on my bike by myself, I kept thinking about that — I could relate to the danger zone, because I couldn’t swim.

I was most puzzled by “Head Games.” What was wrong with head games, I wondered? I liked head games — I was into Rubik’s cube and solving logic puzzles in the Dell Crossword books. I figured a relationship in which “instead of making love we play head games” was a perfect one, but clearly Lou Gramm wasn’t pleased with the arrangement.

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