80’s Flashback

Roni Griffith, (The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up, 1982. OK, so it’s summer of ’82 and I’m at T-dance at Backstreet, Fort Lauderdale, watching the fabulous Sharon Redd. At the end of her set, DJ Bob Miro booms out in his unmistakable game show host voice, “Neeeeeeext Sunday! Rrrrrrroni Griffith will be here with her coconuts!” And the following weekend I drove down from Orlando by myself and stayed at the miserable Berlin Bear (next door to the Marlin Beach), just to hear Griffith perform this insanely silly cover of an old Phil Spector hit for the Ronettes.

As I recall, Griffith did only two numbers, (The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up (which hit #2 on Billboard dance), and her other hit with producer Bobby Orlando, Desire. (Which like much of his famously plagiaristic work sounds exactly like at least three of his other records See: Passion, The Flirts. But hey, he also gave us Pet Shop Boys, so he gets dispensation.) Anyway, the point, I think, is that I miss the me that wouldn’t think twice about an eight-hour round trip drive to see a two(ish)-hit wonder perform a ridiculous cover song. The me of today says, “Is it farther than midtown? Will there be chairs?” Heavy sigh. Cue the coconuts.

RELATED: We never heard from Roni Griffith again because shortly after this song became a smash in the gay clubs, and a perilously short 24 hours before she was to perform at the evil Studio 54, she got a phone call from a missionary and was reborn in the spirit of the Lord. Praise!