Showing posts with label carpenters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carpenters. Show all posts

Friday, August 3, 2018

I Like Most Styles Of Music, But...

There was a time during the early seventies when the singer-songwriter came into fashion. I'm not sure why. It may have had something to do with the doldrums the country was suffering from -- the  "misery begets misery" thing. "Everything sucks, so we may as well just wallow in it."

We had a string of hapless leaders. Gerald Ford never wanted to be president, but he assumed the office by default and tried to make the best of it. It didn't work. Ford will best be remembered for"WIN" buttons ~ Whip Inflation Now. Because pinning inane badges to our lapels would solve the country's problems.

He will also be remembered, thanks to Chevy Chase, for falling down a lot. He fell down the Air Force One steps. He bumped his head on doorways. He hit a golf ball into the visitors' gallery and bonked a spectator on the head. Gerald Ford carried a  look of perpetual confusion. He did not inspire confidence.

Worse was Jimmy Carter, the eternal scold. Jimmy did not hesitate to tell Americans that the country's problems were OUR fault. If we'd just buck up and live the straight and narrow, everything would be great. Never mind that I was already living the straight and narrow and nothing ever got better. All I got were stern lectures from Jimmy on TV about my "bad attitude". Interest rates were eighteen per cent, but dang, if I just atoned for my sins, HIS life would be so much easier. We all apparently worked for him. What Jimmy really needed was a button ~ "Repent Now".

 (Any man whose campaign button features Mr. Peanut is a guaranteed failure.) 

Amidst these doldrums, came along the singer-songwriter. James Taylor was the most notorious representative. James ascribed to the Jimmy Carter philosophy ~ if we'd just do our freakin' jobs, everything would be fine. "Just call out my name (you idiot) and I'll be there". 


Even at age sixteen I knew that was BS. I called out and nobody was ever "there". Maybe God, but I wasn't entirely sure about Him, either.

James was by far not the only offender. We had to contend with Bread and the precious Jackson Browne, and the even more precious Cat Stevens. Music essentially reeked. Worst of all was Crosby, Stills and Nash, who the pop culture mavens tried to convince us were musical geniuses, when what they really were were three-part harmony singers who needed much, much better songs.


Granted, not all soft rock recordings were bad. 

But you get the picture.

The Eagles are classified as soft rock, but they weren't. They were country-rock. There's a huge difference. 

I would be remiss if I left the impression that soft rock singer-songwriters were the only artists played on Top Forty radio in the early-to-mid seventies. Thank the lord for Elton John. But I will say that early seventies music was for the most part tame. We were supposed to think about the songs and "absorb" them. 

F that. That's not what music is about; that's not what sears our souls.

There will always be a place for soft rock. The eighties gave us Air Supply. The nineties brought forth John Mayer. 

If one is a passive person; if one prefers music that's not too challenging, why not? I don't make judgments; I just tell you what I like and don't like. 

But this retrospective will provide, at the very least, a snapshot of how music was, and why I truly hated it.



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.


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....)


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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:


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: