One song that would steal our hearts before they turn into silver and gold
I started listening to HFS in the summer of 1991, when it was the station which came through best while I was shelving books for a summer job. I was still pretty much a "classic rock" guy at the time, so waking up to this icon of alternative music was quite an experience. (Remember "alternative" music? Back when it was alternative to something?) I can still remember them playing every song from Achtung Baby on the day it was released.
(And if late U2 doesn't really strike you as "alternative", just think about a radio station which wasn't limited to the big singles for a second.)
Time passes, of course; people who were paying attention in the '70s and '80s would say the golden years were already behind them. Over the '90s, it gradually became harder to tell "alternative" HFS from "hard rock" DC-101, and then some of the older alternatives bled into the "classic" stations. The DJs with musical genius and voices for print were gradually turfed out, and DC radio sounded even more corporate.
There's a lot to say for Spanish-language radio. I've got nothing against salsa, merengue, or bachata (not that I could tell them apart, or even know what that last one is). Maybe, to some 20-year old kid who gets to hear music he hasn't heard on DC's dial before, this is every bit as exciting.
(Side note: can anyone positively identify either "tearing down the Strand" or "the radio keeps playing the same damn song again" as a song lyric? I swear I've heard them both, but I can't match them to an artist/song combo.) Oh, and The Lyrics Meme will be coming soon to a blog near you, so study up.