I had some good luck with the top hits from 50 years ago, so let's see if my luck continues.
I am not a huge fan of the seventies, music-wise, or I guess, culture-wise in general. But I'm hoping that the music will not disappoint.
So, let's take a look at some of the top hits from 1978.
As always, we like to start things off on a high note, so here is:
DON WILLIAMS - TULSA TIME
Don Williams may be the "Perry Como" of country music. You know, that old SCTV skit, with Perry Como so laid back that he's lying on the stage singing into his microphone.
But talent is as talent does, or some other mangled cliche. If you're as good a singer as Don Williams, I guess you don't need to jump around the stage. You just have to sing.
And now for something completely different:
JOHNNY PAYCHECK - TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT
Here's Johnny, in all his orange sartorial splendor, singing the timeless song that has inspired millions of people to repeat the song title on a daily basis.
To me, the title is actually better than the song itself. I'm not knocking Johnny Paycheck, because I am a fan. It's just that Johnny had better songs than this one.
And you'd think he could have afforded to replace that missing tooth. But maybe not.
WAYLON JENNINGS (MINUS WILLIE) - MAMAS, DON'T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE COWBOYS
What a treat it is to see Waylon again.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video of Waylon and Willie together doing this number, but this video is quite good! The sound quality is excellent.
I'm currently reading the biography of Willie, and I highly recommend it. I'm only about halfway through right now, and I'll be slapping up a review of it, once I'm finished, but, of course, Waylon is featured prominently in the book.
But to be honest, if we're talking "outlaws", Johnny Paycheck's got them all beat to hell. Just search the net for his prison record. I'm just sayin'.
Speaking of Willie, here is:
WILLIE NELSON - BLUE SKIES
I'm an admirer of Willie's singing style, but I'll admit, it had to grow on me. I used to HATE his voice. It's not a "country" voice. Let's just call it "country jazz". How's that?
And this is not a quibble at all, but have you noticed that the songs that were hits for Willie were almost exclusively remakes of old songs? I mean, you know, Willie actually wrote some pretty decent songs all on his own.
Not to leave out the women, here's:
BARBARA MANDRELL - SLEEPIN' SINGLE IN A DOUBLE BED
I can't tell you how much I HATE this song. This song represents everything that was wrong with 1970's country music.
Don't get me wrong. I actually LIKE Barbara. But not THIS song. Good lord, no.
I'm sorry it cuts off before it's done. Or AM I??
Now back to real country music. This isn't my favorite song by this duo, but it's still far superior to SSIADB (the Mandrell song).
THE KENDALLS - SWEET DESIRE
As much as I like Jeannie Kendall, I still can't quite reconcile her unusual wardrobe choices. She dresses worse than Johnny Paycheck!
But I like this song, and it, in some ways, captures that bluegrass sound that Jeannie does so well.
I like this next song. It's infinitely better than SSIADB. I'm just surprised it hit it big on the country charts. I mean, in 1978. Of course, it would (might?) hit it big on the country charts now. I wonder, though. Maybe it's too good.
BONNIE TYLER - IT'S A HEARTACHE
And I always wondered what Bonnie looked like! Maybe I knew at one time, but I forgot.
Bonnie must be the only example of a singer who had vocal problems that actually helped her career.
Here's one of my favorites. Because he has style. And attitude.
JERRY LEE LEWIS - MIDDLE AGED CRAZY
Oh, one of the greats of country music is coming up next. I've said it before, but it bears repeating. As far as entertainers are concerned, he's pretty tough to beat:
MARTY ROBBINS - RETURN TO ME
Here we get an added bonus, "Beyond The Reef".
I could watch Marty all day. Notice how he has the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Someday, I'm going to just post a bunch of Marty videos, and sit back and enjoy.
Well, dang. The only decent video I could find of this song is not embeddable. So, here's a link. This is (easily) one of the best songs from 1978, so I just couldn't leave it out.
JOHN CONLEE - ROSE-COLORED GLASSES
Here's a singer who's cool in any decade. This song has a special meaning to me, because I have a recording of my best friend, Alice, singing this song. Alice is singing with the house band in heaven now.
EMMYLOU HARRIS - TO DADDY
Again, we have Willie. Craggy Willie. Doing a song written by Johnny Bush. No offense, Willie. I really do usually prefer your versions of songs, but I like Johnny Bush's version better. And Johnny wrote it. You kind of absconded with it, and now people think you wrote it.
It's a matter of taste, really. But to be perfectly honest, if I hadn't heard Johnny's version of the song, I'd kind of think the song sucked. No offense.
WILLIE NELSON - WHISKEY RIVER
I'll just end this reminiscince of 1978 with one of the hottest acts of that year:
THE OAK RIDGE BOYS - YOU'RE THE ONE
You might not recognize William Lee Golden without his long, flowing beard, but that's really him!
Duane Allen, of course, looks like your everyday boy next door, while Richard Sterban is trying to come across as a sex symbol (no offense, Richard, but it just looks really cheesy, especially with that slapping tambourine). Not to neglect Joe Bonsall and his afro.
So, there you have it. 1978. Not all bad; some good; some really good.
1978 wasn't the best year ever for country music. There were a lot of forgettable songs.
1978, for me personally, was a stellar year. Matt was born in December of 1978. So, who am I to quibble about that year?
What do I remember about the year, music-wise? I remember Emmylou, and I remember the Oak Ridge Boys. I remember that there were some really bad singles released in 1978, among them, songs by Crystal Gayle (who, let's face it, was really reaching by that time) and by Charley Pride (whose days on the charts were numbered).
I remember that Waylon had become an "outlaw".
The rest is really a blur.
Wikipedia lists a lot of songs that were hits. A lot of them, frankly, I couldn't identify if a gun was held to my head. And I was listening to country radio then.
Just goes to show you that songs are like quicksilver. Catch 'em while you can.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
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