Well, I knew it would happen eventually because 1988 was one of those years. We’ve been bringing you this series in earnest since January and today we have our first repeat artist Pebbles! ’88 was definitely a marquee year for Pebbles and for those who lived it in real-time know that “Mercedes Boy” was just as big culturally as “Girlfriend” maybe even bigger since Mercedes-Benz was such an aspirational brand in the 1980’s.

I know sometimes it’s easy to forget in the mindshare that was/is “Girlfriend” and how that track is so closely tied to the careers of LA and Babyface but “Mercedes Boy” is an Uncle Charlie Wilson production. One day I think will definitely delve into the production/session work of Uncle Charlie, suffice to say he’s put in the work and he definitely put in work on “Mercedes Boy”. The song is infectious with an undeniable singable hook which I’m sure was a catalyst for the song reaching #1 on the R&B charts and #2 on The Billboard Hot 100. Feel good music. More of a riding theme (definitely one you heard from cars rolling by) than something for the dance floor, I’m instantly transported back to the warmer days of that Spring when I hear it. Prom, college acceptance letters, graduation– those events and the sound of this song are definitely intertwined.

This is another case where it’s hard to separate the visual treatment from the song. That’s not a criticism at all. Cool car. Cool outfits. Cool hair. Colors and things. That was the ’80s. More than just the surface– what the visual also represented is the fun of the cat and mouse pursuit. There are so many tools today to help aid and assist in that endeavor, but thirty years ago it seemed like you had to make things happen with your actual presence and an automobile. I think there’s something to be said for that. You know the whole I see you, in person, not a pic, not a video, but you’re right there. Now I’m going to drive away. Do you wanna ride? Do ya?

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.