The River's Badge

Friday, March 14, 2008

As The Decades Turn - The Seventies

We (I) like to denigrate the '70's. Who doesn't? That's truly not fair, though. There was some really good music in the '70's. And some really bad music. I think the problem, for me, is that there was so much bad music, that I tend to only focus on that.

As I surfed the net to find the top songs of the seventies (since I had totally blocked them all from my mind), I found a whole cornucopia of widely divergent songs.

So, for fun, I thought I'd mix in a few cringe-worthy songs with the good stuff. You be the judge.


ORLEANS - STILL THE ONE


This obviously isn't a vintage video (you think?) This was from a PBS show, which I happened to watch, at least up until the point where Crystal Gayle came on and slurred the words to "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue". Then I had to turn it off. Anyhoo, this song starts us off on an upbeat note. Even though the lead singer can no longer hit most of the high notes, this is still a very decent performance. Then they all hobbled off to their waiting ambulances. ha ha ~ no, that's most likely untrue. As I was browsing YouTube, I was reminded that ABC Network used this song as a promo way back when, you know to advertise their classic shows, such as Starsky & Hutch. Before we say goodbye to Orleans for now, let's remind ourselves that they really look nothing like they did back when this song was a hit:














(Wonder which one is the bald guy....)


DON MCLEAN - AMERICAN PIE


Okay, don't even get me started on this one. Here it is, in all its 8 minutes and 30 seconds of glory. You know, Don started to write a novel. Then he thought, wait! I'll make it a song instead! Some people tell me they like this song. I think I might have liked it if, say, there were 2 verses and a chorus. That's about all I can take. Not EIGHT FRICKIN' MINUTES AND 30 SECONDS! Good god! Edit, Don. Edit. Anyway, if you watch this video and like it, cool. I just don't have the time, so I'll take your word for it.









GRAND FUNK RAILROAD - THE LOCOMOTION


I bet Little Eva is turning over in her.......bed........(cuz she's probably still alive, I guess). This is a wee bit different from her version. I liked this one when it came out. Still like it. It's about as close to heavy metal as I choose to come. Well, this and Deep Purple, of course. And might I say, nothing says THE SEVENTIES more than a lime green leisure suit!


JOHN DENVER - TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS


See, you thought I was doing good song, bad song. Right? Ha! This is a GOOD song! I confess, I never liked John Denver when he was at the height of his success. In hindsight, I was wrong, for the most part. This is a great song, well performed, well arranged. It's sort of a classic (now). If this song were released today, it would fall under the heading of "Americana". And it wouldn't get any airplay, because, you know, that's just the way things are nowadays. But luckily, radio stations weren't so inanely stubborn back then. Oh, I'm not saying John didn't get his share of flack. He got a lot of flack. From the country folks. And I was one of the "flackers". "How does he deserve a CMA award?" "He's not country!" Well, today, he would be considered too country to be deserving of any type of award. My, my, my. Haven't the chickens come home to roost? Or some other saying that probably makes more sense in this context.


THE BEE GEES - STAYIN' ALIVE


Hey, I've got no quibbles with this song. Yes, it's disco. And we can basically "thank" the Bee Gees for disco, but this song is aiiight. It's got a good beat; you can thrust your arm up in the air to it. I am struck, however, by Barry's matching white teeth and tight white pants. I'm surprised he could even walk in those pants. No wonder they were walking reallllly slowwwwly at the end of this video.


THE VILLAGE PEOPLE - YMCA


Again, catchy tune. I wonder how the motorcycle cop got to do the lead on this. I guess the cowboy in the little tiny hat and the Indian were busy fighting border wars. And the construction worker was busy arguing with the leather-clad hell's angel. And the army dude was probably the understudy, in case the motorcycle cop couldn't fulfill his lead singing duties and/or direct traffic. I don't know. I'm just a viewer. I'm not privy to the in-fighting amongst the People.


HARRY NILSSON - WITHOUT YOU


Grainy video, but well worth watching. I didn't know much about Harry Nilsson, other than this song, and "Everybody's Talkin'". He sure had some pipes! When he gets to the last chorus, and the "Can't LIVE" part, wow! Nothin' wrong with this song! Oh, and by the by, a certain pop star who wears absurdly short, tight dresses, and looks AWFUL in them, re-recorded this song in the nineties. It doesn't hold a candle to the original. Nice try, though.


ABBA - WATERLOO


Well, people make fun of ABBA, but I don't really know why. I liked them. They were pop at its best. And aside from the Saab, what other Swedish import can you think of? None. I will say, however, that Agnetha (apparently) ~ one of the "A's" in ABBA, could have made a better fashion choice than the too-tight pants (sorry, but that midriff bulge was evident) and the Elton John silver boots. But, ah, the Swedes. They march to the beat of their own Swedish drummer. And here he is:









JIM CROCE - OPERATOR


Funny how fate works. Not funny, literally, but odd. Jim Croce was taken before his time, as they say. But I guess God said it was his time. But this was a uniquely talented individual. I would have liked to have him hang around awhile longer, to hear more of his songs. In 2008, he would be recording albums that somebody like me would buy. Just to breathe in his beautifully written songs. But I guess there's been a few (or more than a few) that we wish were still around. We have to console ourselves with what they've left behind.


THE CARPENTERS - CLOSE TO YOU


Gee, is it me? I'm starting to get all sentimental here. Here's Karen singing a brilliant Bacharach/David song from 1970. I'm starting to wish that these folks (like Karen Carpenter and Jim Croce) were still around, because their music was so lovely, and there's not much lovely music out there anymore. At the point in the song when they get to the "ahhhhh's", you kind of just melt. I guess my original assessment of seventies music was kind of off the mark. Because I'm finding some beautiful, timeless stuff. Glad to be wrong.



Okay, I really hate to do this, but here it is:

DEBBY BOONE - YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE


You knew this one was coming. "Finally a chance to say, hey, I love you." "Hey, love you, babe." And not to be overly critical, but why did Debby always wear her bathrobe when she performed this song? Is it because she, along with the rest of us, was verrrry sleepy?










GREASE - Need I say more?

Well, I've seen this movie approximately 3,548,019 times. And counting. I LOVE this movie.


So, bear with me, as I relive this classic moment:







And finally, to close out this installment of the seventies, I am choosing this one. From a band that just keeps going and going. And frankly, hasn't lost anything in more than 30 years:

THE EAGLES - ONE OF THESE NIGHTS























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