It was spring 1987. Me and a bunch of my idiot friends decided that we’d try out for our middle school talent show. After scribbling a few notes, me and some other people (I seriously don’t remember who they were) did a half-assed comedy routine, mainly just for laughs. I knew then that my future was not going to be as a comedian.
However, this kid Marshall, who was one of my best friends at the time, got in front of this classroom of kids and with all the heartache a 12-year old heart could possibly muster, sang the shit out of Billy Vera’s “At This Moment”. I remember staring at my friend slack-jawed, completely unaware that he could sing like that. It was also the first time I’d actually paid attention to the lyrics of the song, which had just wrapped up a stint at #1 on the singles chart.
Plenty of people who were watching the NBC sitcom “Family Ties” paid attention to “At This Moment”, sending the song to the pop summit after it was featured in several episodes revolving around the romance between the characters Alex and Ellen (played by Michael J. Fox and his soon-to-be real life wife Tracy Pollan). The sitcom’s usage of “Moment” turned a six year old song from an obscure artist (OK, let’s be charitable and call him a journeyman) into a hot commodity.
And its hotness was deserved. It served as the soundtrack to many a prom due to it’s swaying tempo, Vera’s blue-eyed soul vocals (is it me or do Vera and Daryl Hall sound especially similar?) and the most “Eighties” sax solo this side of “Careless Whisper”.
This performance video shows Vera doing maybe a bit too much vocal hotdogging at the end of the song, but he reveals quite the sense of humor during the question and answer session at the end.