Showing posts with label bonnie tyler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bonnie tyler. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Me And The Seventies


I'm not sure why I have a love/hate relationship with the decade of the 1970's. Truthfully, it was the most impactful decade of my life. I was young enough to experience every moment; not yet so old that the years ran together like a muddy river.

I came of age in the seventies. I was still a high school girl from '70 to '73; I got married for the first time in 1974, and I became a mother twice over between 1976 and 1978. I also landed my first "real" job and quickly learned that work was something to endure rather than enjoy. It wasn't fulfilling; it was a slog ~ a slog of menial tasks and a morass of neurotic coworkers.

Maybe I've dismissed the 1970's because I didn't particularly like the person I was then. 

If "clueless" was an actual term back then, clueless was my middle name. I was painfully naive about life. Not that it was necessarily my fault. My family wasn't exactly The Cleavers. In fact, my dad, if he worked at all, played at being a part-time bartender. But truth be told, he spent most of his time planted on a stool on the other side of the bar he owned. Thus my mother was perpetually angry. She'd carefully mapped out a way to better their lot in life by abandoning farming and purchasing a business, a motel/bar combo, but she ended up doing all the work while my dad played. Everybody always knew my dad was an alcoholic, but he kept the demons at bay simply by the responsibilities of planting and harvesting the wheat and potato fields. Give him a bar right next door, however, and a woman who could be relied on to shoulder all the work, and he was lured to whiskey like a child offered candy from a pervert in a van. 

Thus my home life consisted of pots and pans slamming and a cold shoulder. I escaped to the quiet of my room and fashioned my own sanctuary. I had one actual friend and a handful of acquaintances I only interacted with in the school hallway or in whatever classes we happened to share. 

My inner life was consumed by the music I let wash over me. I collected albums and cheap electronics, like a JC Penney reel-to-reel tape recorder and a "stereo component set", which set me back an outrageous hundred dollars, which I'd amassed from my many summer hours of cleaning motel rooms. I stayed up 'til three or four in the morning during summer vacations, my ear glued to the radio, the third component of my new stereo setup. I tuned the dial to WHO and WBAP and if the heavens allowed, WSM. I fancied myself a singer and recorded three-part harmonies on my reel-to-reel. (I actually wasn't as bad as I thought at the time.) I typed up music "newsletters" on the manual typewriter I'd somehow claimed from my mom, who'd bought it with the intent of producing motel invoices.

My life was insular.

So, I never learned much of anything except how to swish out a toilet and make hospital corners. I could fry up a grilled cheese sandwich and stir together some Kraft macaroni and cheese, which I did whenever my mom was busy manning the motel desk and Dad was, naturally, indisposed. Nobody at home ever talked to anyone else. I had a little brother and sister, who I think I must have conversed with at some point, but they were little kids, after all. How much could we have in common?

I was on my own, a strange amalgam of independence and naivete. Anything I learned, I discovered through experimentation and failure. My mom never went clothes shopping with me or taught me about makeup. I employed my talent for observation to simulate what the other girls my age were doing and I mimicked them. 

I did learn how to smoke, however, all on my own. Smoking wasn't so much cool, per se, as it was another means of escape. 

The music that dominated my senior year in high school was an incongruent mix of country at home and rock blaring from the car radio of my best friend's beige Buick (No, I hadn't yet learned how to drive, either). Alice and I dragged Main Street on Friday and sometimes Saturday nights, singing along to Stuck In The Middle With You and Drift Away and The Joker.


Our tastes in country singles matched, too ~ Ride Me Down Easy, Southern Lovin', Here Comes The World Again. 


I met my first husband on one of those Main Street runs. I thought the friend he was with was better looking, but the four of us matched up more or less according to height.

My future husband was older and had lived on his own, so he knew how to cook, whereas I did not. I could man a mean vacuum cleaner, though. We married in 1974 and since no one we knew actually rented an apartment, the thought never even crossed our minds. Instead we trudged down the highway from my parents' motel to a mobile home lot and were bamboozled into paying far too much money for a 12 by 66-foot tin box. I was thrilled. Finally something of my own that didn't require proximity to two crazed ultimate fighters.

We furnished our home with a Sears green and white flowered sofa and a set of K-Mart tables, among other cheap amenities. K-Mart and Woolworth's were my go-to's for curtains and bedspreads and collapsible nightstands. I brought my bed and my TV from my motel hideaway. That first Christmas I plopped a two-foot plastic tree atop a table and decorated it with home-crafted ornaments (it didn't require many). We inherited a console stereo, which claimed one wall of the living room and after work I spun Emmylou Harris's Elite Hotel (loved that album) and one by someone named LaCosta, who it turned out was Tanya Tucker's sister. 

The communal radio at work was tuned to rock, so I still had one foot in that world. Sundown, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Mockingbird were the order of the day.

(Not to state the obvious, James, but those drugs seem to really be kicking in.)

My first son was born in November of 1976. I worked up until his birth, albeit not at that soul-sucking job I'd landed right out of high school. Truly, that place was yet one more dysfunctional family, but I wasn't tied to them by blood, so I bailed. Where did I go? Well, shoot, back to Mom and Dad. In my defense, however, Dad was newly sober and had become an actual human being, and thus my mom was ninety per cent less frenzied. 

Once I delivered my son, however, I retired. I loved it. Achingly poor, yet happy. I knew it couldn't last, but I was willing to forego a Country Kitchen breakfast and a couple of new LP's if it meant watching my baby grow. Anyway, I still had the radio:

And I hadn't abandoned country completely.

(although this is kind of skirting the country line)


                                           (whereas this is definitely country)

In March of '78 when I became pregnant for the second time, we traded up to a fourteen by seventy-eight-foot mobile home with three bedrooms. Those extra two feet wide, boy, felt like a palace, Still a tin palace that sounded like Armageddon during a hailstorm

In December I gave birth to my second son and I knew my mom-time was fast waning.

In rock, nothing much struck me. This track was considered "rock", but come on. It's Roy Orbison dressed up in a new package:

 I dipped my toe back into country music, kind of as a farewell to the decade.


In essence, despite all signs to the contrary, I grew up in the seventies. And yes, I did eventually learn how to cook. I also learned how real life works, how to stop apologizing for my talents; how to wrangle two toddlers into a car and motor over to the mall and come out the exit doors sane. How to soothe colic. How to fall in love with an unlovable dog who loved no one but me. How a clothes dryer works so much better if one occasionally cleans the lint filter. How linens dried on a fresh-air clothesline smell so delectable. How to coax houseplants to flourish. 

How a baby's giggle is manna from heaven. 

In ten short years I went from a self-involved, self-pitying victim to an actual grown-up human. 

I was the last person to see that coming.


Friday, November 21, 2008

The CMA Awards - Yippee For 1983!

Greetings once again, fellow time travelers! I'm still here; still countin' 'em down, year by year.

And this time around, it's 1983! Yes, ten years after I graduated from high school!

Looking back to the news of 1983, I see that a record budget deficit was projected - ha! If only they knew! That's small change! Peanuts really, compared to now!

In pop culture, they were still making those new-fangled things called "music videos". This was one of the top hits (videos) of 1983:

On the TV front, apparently (since every time I search for events of 1983, this comes up), it was the final season of M*A*S*H. Now, yea, I watched M*A*S*H, too, but in the larger scheme of things, this was NOT the best television series ever. Not even close.

We lost a couple of music greats in 1983. Here's Karen Carpenter:

Dennis Wilson (and here, he is forced to keep time by clapping his hands):

But, back to country music.

We (again) saw some repeats in 1983; the first being the SONG OF THE YEAR. Now, I'm not here to judge, but I just think that the CMA's needed to stop repeating themselves. It's all well and good that they really (really) liked certain songs and certain recordings. But surely there was enough new material each year to choose something new.

But no. They liked what they liked, and therefore, once again, the SONG OF THE YEAR was this (as written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James - a true group effort):

ALWAYS ON MY MIND (and yes, this is a different video, because I really hate repeating myself)

And yes. CHET ATKINS was (again) the INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR. And no, I'm not posting any more Chet videos, because frankly, this is getting out of hand.

was, again, named FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR. As I've mentioned before, the CMA's are but a snapshot in time. And Janie certainly had her time. But to be honest, she didn't really have too many hits. I basically remember Janie Fricke as a duet partner to Johnny Duncan. (That's not necessarily a bad thing to be remembered for).

So, here's a duet:

(Did I say previously that 1982 was the most boring year ever for the CMA's? I want to change my vote.)

We can kill a couple of birds here, with the ALBUM OF THE YEAR and the VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. I promised you earlier that ALABAMA would get their fair share of awards, and I didn't steer you wrong.


ALBUM OF THE YEAR - The Closer You Get - Alabama

Luckily for all of us, there was something new on the scene, and that was the SINGLE OF THE YEAR. Good ol' John Anderson.

Here's an acoustic version of the SINGLE OF THE YEAR, "Swingin'":

And, as if that wasn't enough, we also had a new VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR! Yes kids. Something pretty good.........pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good.


The INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR, this year, 1983, was the RICKY SKAGGS BAND. Apparently, they didn't have an actual name back then, but they came to be known as KENTUCKY THUNDER. Here they are, in later years:

EDIT: Okay, this is actually NOT Kentucky Thunder. It's the Del McCoury Band. But Ricky is featured here.

Is it just me, or is this stuff great? There was a time when I hated bluegrass. Now I LOVE it. It is one of the purest forms of music. Kind of reminds you of what music was like before the "suits" got their hands on it.....and ruined it.

The MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR in 1983 was Lee Greenwood. And it was because of this song:

Yes, I'll admit, I'm a sucker for a good patriotic song. And, as patriotic songs go, this one is pretty hard to beat. I like the Star Spangled Banner, too, but this song ranks right up there.

I didn't even know that Lee himself wrote this song. So kudos to you, Lee Greenwood! This song has served us well in trying times. It kind of says it all. And it's been a staple of Republican stump speeches for lo these many years.

Of course, that leads us to the ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR category. Had I been Randy, Jeff, Teddy, and Mark, I wouldn't have wanted to follow Lee Greenwood. Who would? But, after all, this was the primo award of the evening, and ALABAMA captured it!

Here they go:

As anthems go, this one is pret-ty, pret-ty good, too. It's no God Bless The USA, but it's still good! Congrats to Alabama for winning the entertainer of the year award for 1983!

Hall of Fame

Little Jimmy Dickens

Whereas, in 1982, three folks were inducted into the hall of fame, in 1983, only one person received that honor. Little Jimmy Dickens.

Yes, he's Little. Thus the name.

Here he is, with Brad Paisley, on his 60th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ol' Opry:

So, 1983, much like 1982, was not the most exciting year ever for the CMA awards. But it still had its high points. Namely, Lee Greenwood, John Anderson, and - don't forget - Alabama. A mixed bag, to be sure.

But we've got our fingers crossed for 1984!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blast From The Past - Top Country Hits of 1978 - 30 Years Ago!

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 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:


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.


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:


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:


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).


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.


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.


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:


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.

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.


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.


I'll just end this reminiscince of 1978 with one of the hottest acts of that year:


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.