Hi Infidelity

REO Speedwagon’s ninth studio album "Hi Infidelity" came out in late 1980 and became the biggest selling LP of 1981 with six songs hitting the Billboard charts, "including "Keep On Loving You" which was the band’s first Number 1 hit."

Songs:

  1. "Don’t Let Him Go" (Cronin) – 3:47
  2. "Keep On Loving You" (Cronin) – 3:22
  3. "Follow My Heart" (Kelly, Richrath) – 3:50
  4. "In Your Letter" (Richrath) – 3:18
  5. "Take It on the Run" (Richrath) – 4:02
  6. "Tough Guys" (Cronin) – 3:50
  7. "Out of Season" (Cronin, Kelly) – 3:07
  8. "Shakin’ It Loose" (Richrath) – 2:25
  9. "Someone Tonight" (Hall) – 2:40
  10. "I Wish You Were There" (Cronin) – 4:28

Nineteen eighty was a tough year for me. On the afternoon of Yom Kippur 1979, my father delivered a controversial talk before a thousand people at our Seventh-Day Adventist Pacific Union College (PUC) in the Napa Valley questioning the foundational doctrine of the church — choseness.

In January, my parents moved to Washington D.C. so my dad could organize a defense of his views. I stayed behind at PUC with friends. I was out of my dad’s shadow and I could have a childhood and do all the things normal kids do such as eat candy and talk to girls.

I started listening to pop music, tuning in at night to radio stations KNBR and KFRC.

In the summer of 1980, my father had his ministerial credentials taken away by the church and he moved to Auburn and set up his own non-denominational evangelical Christian foundation Good News Unlimited.

I was outside the warm bosom of the Adventist community for the first time and I felt desolate. My father said we belonged to the invisible church of Jesus Christ but that did not make for much practical community.

I went to a non-Adventist school (Forest Lake Christian School) and was surrounded by sinners who ate meat and did not keep the Sabbath. In my first semester I failed two classes (Algebra and Spanish) and ended up with a D average.

My few sources of solace included trips to PUC and listening to pop music at night under my pillow (most of my favorite songs are from this time).

I think it was on the powerful Los Angeles radio station KFI that I heard my first REO Speedwagon songs.

I remember us moving into a new home (7955 Bullard Drive, Newcastle, CA, 95658) in 1981. We had eight acres.

One evening a neighbor had a party in our honor. My ****** wanted to come without a bra but my dad made her go home and change.

It was a little awkward socializing with the un-churched. I did get into one good conversation that night. It was with Bob McKee. He lived about a mile away. He said his son Kevin, my age, liked a band called "REO Firewagon."

I became friends with Kevin and hung out at his house. About the only band that we both liked was REO. The other music that I liked he said his mom listened to (Kenny Rogers, Ann Murray, etc).

During one weekend trip back to PUC, I found out that my old classmate Valerie had the REO Speedwagon album "Hi Infidelity."

Late one Saturday night with the lights out and the record playing, I tangled myself up on the couch with a half dozen of my former SDA classmates. All that human contact! It was glorious. I had never felt so much. I’d never even kissed a girl. Now they were all smushed against me. I was covered in girls. It felt like they were raining down from Heaven.

God, couldn’t you let it linger?

I ran my hands over Holly’s butt. She was wearing those fashionably tight Levi jeans that made me love America. She had long black hair and was absolutely gorgeous. She was way out of my league. I couldn’t believe that she’d let me touch her.

Conquest goes to the bold!

This was the kind of Good News that I could get behind.

For a few minutes, I felt I was outside the loser’s circle.

Then Valerie’s mom came in and turned on the light and we all whooped and screamed and tumbled to the floor laughing.

We kinda cleaned up our act after that and within an hour I was on my way home.

You don’t understand how much touch meant to me. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was one. I went on to live with about a dozen different families while she took three years to die. I didn’t get the affection I needed and I’ve been looking for it ever since.

My father hates to be touched. I grew up thinking I hated to be touched too but deep inside I wanted to be touched. When people tried to touch me, I pulled away. I remember in seventh grade I had the most beautiful teacher and I was dying for her to touch me, but whenever she did, I jumped. She eventually stopped touching me. And then I told her to shut up and she wanted me to consider home schooling.

I cooled my mouth and stayed in PUC Elementary.

During the summer at PUC before seventh and eighth grades, I’d gather at the pool in the afternoon with some of my classmates and we’d play keep away games. When the girl you guarded got the ball, you put your arms around her and tried to take it away. I was awkward and more violent than affectionate but it was a licit way to touch. My girl those summers was Jeanie, a chubby blonde. We never kissed. We never did anything. We just comforted each other through awkward years.

She once called my home but my mother put the fear of God into her and she never called again.

I’ll never forget mom racing down the driveway that evening to ask me, "Who’s Jeanie? She just called for you. I told her you can’t talk to girls."

Overcome with embarrassment, I tried to get out of that conversation as quickly as I could but mom was persistent.

I felt like a right wally when I went to school that Monday and tried to explain to Jeanie about my parents.

I remember my brother got a girlfriend when he was this age and my dad marched to the girl’s home and broken up the relationship.

I became normal by touching girls. When my parents ran short of money, I enthusiastically moved to public school in tenth grade — Placer High School in Auburn.

When I was a Junior, Alice, a freshman, was my first kiss.

It took place in the school newspaper room (I was the News Editor, she was just a cub reporter). She stuck her tongue down my throat and I felt like I was drowning in saliva.

When I recovered, I figured that any girl who’d put her tongue down my throat would be willing to do anything, so I started pawing at her furiously. While kissing me violently, she fought my hands away from her tender parts.

I was so shocked and embarrassed, so afraid that I had been a lousy kisser, that I couldn’t talk to her for the rest of high school.

She later became mayor.

My next girl was also a freshman. She was blonde, my first blonde, and she had a tight body.

It was a Saturday night at Dr. Zane Kime’s house in the winter of 1982. Saturday nights are glorious times for Seventh-Day Adventists because you are no longer under law but under grace. I met her at the party and we went up to the loft with her fat friend and we talked.

I must’ve been charismatic that night because it only took about half an hour of conversation before my fumbly advances led to her leaning in and kissing me. She had the sweetest lip gloss and she let her kisses linger. I was direct and forceful, thinking about penetrating her mouth with my tongue, but she slowed me down, took control, and showed me the joys of gliding.

She glided her lips over mine. She pressed her lips into mine. She sucked on my lips and then explored the inside of my mouth with her tongue. She didn’t just stick it right in. She knew that underneath my masculine swagger, I needed to be romanced.

I loved the lingering feel of her lips gliding over mine. Glide, glide, glide. Suck. Gentle bite. Glide, glide, glide. Her tongue nips in and curls around my mouth, eventually meeting mine and letting me suck her deep. Then out she comes and glides her lips over mine.

This is Heaven!

All I had to do was follow her lead and after about an hour of kissing, I was good for life. I would never get any complaints in this department.

At school on Monday, I started telling people about what I did. I said my girl didn’t have the most beautiful face — it was scarred with acne — but she had a hot bod and she knew how to kiss.

My comments got back to her, but she laughed and made out with me again anyway.

One day she joined my friends in a game of touch football. I was the quarterback this time and she was my receiver.

We never got into a relationship. I didn’t ask her for her phone number and I didn’t write her letters.

I have no idea what happened to her. We saw each other about three times and that was it.

Before I learned to kiss, I had my time on the couch at Valerie’s house one Saturday night in 1981. My friends were all over me. We were all smushed together listening to Hi Infidelity and dreaming about sexual sin. We could lie on top of each other without being emotionally vulnerable. We were just rough-housing but in the tender way that Adventist kids had. It wasn’t a scary one-on-one encounter, it was more of a group hug.

The music rocked. It promised adult treats. We were growing up and we were happy. We were all alone and it was dark and we could gently sense each other and giggle about it. We accepted each other. There were no adults. There was no authority. There was no rejection. We were one.

I was so happy. I had my arms full of what I wanted most.

Holly, I wanted to keep on loving you, but life forced me to take it on the run.

On the album Hi Infidelity, the last song ("I Wish You Were There") was my favorite.

I know a place where you can go
When you’re flyin high or layin low
And I’ve got the time
I’ve got plenty to spare
I’ve got the time, and I’ve got the place
I just wish you were there

I’ve got the will (yeah) to have you around
Whether you’re up, or whether you’re down
And I know the way
To make you shine
I’ve got the will, and I’ve got the way
I just wish you were there

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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