On 26 January, 1980, “Memorize Your Number” by Leif Garrett peaked at #60.
It’s rare that an actor-turned-musician has a memorable music career, and it’s even rarer when that actor is a child actor, so I fully expected Leif Garrett’s “Memorize Your Number” to be a total turkey. I expected the sickly-sweet love ballads one usually gets from drug-fuelled heartthrobs whose greedy managers (or parents) decided they should press a record.
But hey, it turns out that drug-fuelled heartthrobs can occasionally put out a rockin’ power pop single. This has got an angsty itchy rhythm guitar driving a similarly angst-riddled vocal about… well, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but it’s clearly a relationship on the rocks. Is Leif trying not to fall in love? He doesn’t want to memorize her number, and he’s already predicting not only living with this girl, but also breaking up with her a year later and telling her that she’s the one who messed it up. So, yeah, he’s just met this girl and he’s already jaded about how the relationship is going to go, with all its jealousies and disappointments. That’s pretty heavy for a guy who was about to turn 18. (He was also about to get into a car crash that crippled his best friend, but hey, responsibility sucks.) So, while this song is not exactly great shakes, it’s a bit more adventurous and edgy than one would expect from a guy whose music career was supposed to make 13-year-old girls the nation over swoon at the very hint of his honeyed voice. This is a mature song and a pretty risky recording; Leif didn’t shy from risky behavior in his personal life (and sadly, still doesn’t as of his 2010 drug possession arrest) and it’s a good thing he didn’t in his venture into music.