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SoundTRAX: "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"

 A pair of Vans shoes is encircled by the names of the soundtrack's artists.
Elektra Records
Universal Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Today is Cameron Crowe's 66th birthday and there's a reason his movies have been the subject of several SoundTRAX segments already.

The man knows his music.

Those early days as a journalist for Rolling Stone undeniably shaped his films and the many memorable musical moments he created within them.

But today we're going back to the beginning with Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

It started as a book in 1981 inspired by what Crowe learned by pretending to be a high school student for a year, which led to him writing the screenplay for the film the following year.

I'm pretty sure no one would guess that three actors from Fast Times would go on to win Academy Awards: Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker, and Nicolas Cage. It was also Eric Stoltz's film debut.

The soundtrack is very early-Eighties, with tunes by Stevie Nicks, Sammy Hagar, Donna Summer, Billy Squier, The Go-Go's, Jimmy Buffett, and nearly every member of the EaglesDon Henley, Joe Walsh, Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmit all show up.

Good news/bad news though.

The bad news is I know some of you are probably assuming I'm going to play "Moving in Stereo" by The Cars, but guess what? It is, inexplicably, not actually on the official soundtrack.

The good news is, now I don't have to attempt to explain how it's used in the movie.

So for today's SoundTRAX selection I'm going with what is probably the second most enduring tune.

In honor of Cameron Crowe's 66th birthday, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it's Jackson Browne with "Somebody's Baby."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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