Showing posts with label creedence clearwater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creedence clearwater. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fly Me To The Moon

(Stop thinking about MTV!)

It was fifty years ago that man landed on the moon. One could say they remember the day with awe, or if you were fourteen-year-old me, you would say, am I supposed to be watching this?

Granted, science was never my oeuevre (at all), but my blase reaction to the moon landing could only be chalked up to youthful ignorance. My life in the summer of 1969 was comprised of transistor radios, gabbing on the telephone, and swimming pools.

It was a Sunday night and I happened to trounce through the living room, where my dad was settled into his corner recliner and Mom was perched on the sofa, and Walter Cronkite was intoning through the console TV's speaker. Dad uncharacteristically decreed, "You should watch this." So, I obediently slumped, cross-legged, smack-dab in front of the screen, and tried to decipher what was happening. The picture on the tube was wavy; jagged white lines skittering across the black screen. I was frankly bored, but Walter was excited. I watched Neil Armstrong descend a little ladder onto the surface of the moon and say something like, "That's one (static) step for man; one (static) leap for mankind."

Okay! Can I go now?

I was as unimpressed as only a teenager could be. As I stood up to leave, I sensed my dad's disappointment in my apathetic attitude. And Walter was surely disappointed in me. At least he didn't whip off his eyeglasses. Although I'm pretty sure he shed a tear.

To be honest, I couldn't grasp the magnitude of the moment. My world wasn't that big. At fourteen, one's universe doesn't extend much further than three feet in circumference; much less two hundred thousand-some miles. I thought walking across the Memorial Bridge to the neighboring town was an expedition.

And I can't use the music of the day as an excuse. 1969 was a putrid year for music, especially during that particular week. The number one song was by someone called Zager and Evans (Ooh! Not the Zager and Evans!)

Here's the number two song (no live performance video, but it's vital that I demonstrate what a fetid band Blood, Sweat, and Tears was):

And it actually does get worse. But why dwell on that? Here are some better songs from that week's chart:

(People actually thought like that in '69.)

(People actually thought like that in '69.  And I'm aware that this is a poorly-synched video.)

(Don't you love how the lead singer dances? Sort of like Beto O'Rourke.)

The first time I saw this next group on TV, I thought, "What did these idiots do to that nice Mel Tillis song?". My second thought was, "Hey, loser with the tinted glasses and the earring ~ enjoy your career while it lasts."

It's a wonder I was preoccupied by music. I should have paid more attention to Dad and Walter. And my future science teachers would have appreciated my profound knowledge, as opposed to the befuddled looks I cast in their direction during lectures.

In hindsight, the moon landing was a pretty big deal. Sadly, I'm still not feelin' the love; but the mature me understands it was probably more extraordinary and earth-shattering than The Turtles' new hit.

Friday, March 29, 2019

50 Years Ago Today ~ The Top 40 Singles of the Week

(Not a big week for news. Is that Robert Plant? Kidding.)
 In our continuing retrospective of 1969, I thought I'd take a peek at the top forty chart for the week of March 29 fifty years ago.

What was I doing fifty years ago? Well, there was a documentary on TV about the Amazon River that Mr. Reisenauer assigned his geography class to watch. I was probably the only one who watched it ~ and took notes. I wanted an A on that quiz! (and I got one). The April Fool's edition of TV Guide had landed in our mailbox. Alice and I always giggled over the episode descriptions:  Gomer Pyle, USMC:  "Gomer changes a lightbulb." Saturday night sucked for TV. I could either watch Lawrence Welk, Adam-12, or My Three Sons (I chose "none of the above"). So, I, of course, played records.

And speaking of records, "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe still held the top spot on the charts. There's a big difference between the charts and 45-RPM singles ~ with records I could play songs I actually liked anytime I wanted, as opposed to the putrid offerings on AM radio.

Such as the #2 song on the charts, by a group that didn't really think through its name. If you've gotta add a Roman numeral to your band name, you've already lost. Nevertheless, here are the Classics IV:

The Zombies held the third spot with a much better song, and one that is played all these fifty years later. "What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich (is he rich) like me?" So many questions:

I'll just skip anything written by Jimmy Webb, because Jimmy Webb sucks. But here's something I bet you've never heard (kidding). The #5 single of the week sounds great now, but trust me, in '69 it was like someone's obnoxious ringtone that seared your every nerve, because the song was inescapable.

Let's skip to #11, because the rest of the top ten hits only the biggest sixties geek would even remember. I like this one, and for some reason I'm thinking it's been featured lately in a television commercial. The Foundations:

In scanning the charts for the week, it's interesting how many songs are utterly forgettable. Like most every year of our lives, we remember events that either touched us or infuriated us or in retrospect, actually mattered. Musically, I'm not sure what mattered. Not a lot.

But to leave you with something from the year 1969, here is a song that was new on the charts on March 29:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Transitions ~ 1969 In Music

I "graduated" from junior high in May, 1969 and transitioned to Mandan Senior High that September. I was grown-up! Shoot, I was fourteen going on fifteen! On my way to freshman renown!

Richard Nixon had become president. I'd pissed off my dad by tacking my eighth grade history project (a campaign placard) up on the wall right outside the kitchen door ~ "This Time Vote Like The Whole World Depends On It ~ Nixon/Agnew". Dad was reliably perturbed and baffled. I think he literally scratched his head as he alighted the stoop. My work was done!

That summer odd things happened. Teddy Kennedy killed a girl and the Manson Family killed a bunch of people in gruesome ways. Woodstock happened and most people didn't give a shit. My best friend Alice and I went to the Mandan Theater and saw "Butch Cassidy" and "True Grit". We learned that Glen Campbell was a terrible actor and that Paul Newman still had the bluest eyes under the sun.

Oh yea, there was some kind of "moon landing" that summer. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday night, which was really bad scheduling. Plus the optics weren't good. It was hard to make out what exactly was going on. I did park myself in front of our console TV, and I think my dad was there, too. Maybe Dad was more impressed than I. I didn't grasp the enormity of the event, but I was fourteen. I was more excited anticipating the next "World of Beauty" kit that would land in my mailbox.

(I hope it has white lipstick!)

I'd abandoned rock and roll. But old habits died hard. I still had one foot in AM radio, but mostly, thanks to the influence of my new best friend, I became immersed in country music. 

I was still aware of certain '69 hits, like this:

And this song, over and over:


This was catchy:

I liked this one because I watched Hawaii Five-O every Thursday night at nine p.m. on CBS television (Book 'em. Danno):

But frankly, the number one song of the year was one my seven-year-old sister really liked, because it was a cartoon. This is where pop music was in '69, as much as one wants to wax nostalgic over "Get Back" and "Lay Lady Lay":

On the home front, life had settled into a routine. Dad was sober "sometimes";  Mom was a harpy, mostly. I retreated to the room I now shared with my adolescent sister and spun records on my (still) battery-operated turntable. 

TV was supreme. After all, that's where I basked in Hawaii Five-O and Medical Center, and that's where I found the Johnny Cash Show on ABC TV. 

1969 was Johnny's year. He was insidious. Johnny, with his black waistcoat and his Carters and Statlers and his Carl Perkins and Tennessee Three climbed inside one's brain matter and made himself at home.

But, try as he might, Johnny could never supersede the artist of the sixties, or basically of ever; Merle:

Glen Campbell had his Goodtime Hour on CBS. It was a summer replacement for that subversive Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. I was so oblivious I didn't know the Smothers Brothers were incendiary. We tended to overlook the political screeds, because they appeared nightly on the network news, and focused instead on the comedy. 

Glen Campbell, on the other hand, was an artist I despised. Fortuitously, I later came to my senses ~ but it wasn't entirely my fault. Glen played the hayseed role so well, he was one of the prime reasons I disavowed any familiarity with country music anytime I was pinned down about my musical tastes.

"Hi! I'm Glen Campbell!" he piped up through the cornfield. If it hadn't been for John Hartford, I would have clicked my TV dial to whatever medical drama was playing out on NBC. 

It didn't help that Glen insisted on recording Jimmy Webb songs, although this one, in retrospect, is not bad:

My musical tastes ran more towards:

As a (bogus) CMA member, I voted for this next song as Single of the Year. Freddy Weller had once been a member of Paul Revere and the Raiders, whose posters from Tiger Beat I had tacked to my bedroom wall. I didn't actually like Paul Revere and the Raiders, but I thought Mark Lindsay was cute, with his ponytail. 

This Joe South song didn't win, despite my best efforts. 

Nobody (but me) remembers Jack Greene, but he had the number one song and Single of the Year in 1967, with "There Goes My Everything". 

In 1969 he had an even better song (as Ricky Van Shelton can attest). 

Porter Wagoner actually had a career without Dolly Parton, believe it or not. Alice and I sat cross-legged in her living room and played this LP (and made up our own lyrics to the song (that are NSFW):

Transitions, yes. Confusion, yes. 

Music was my lifeline. And I was just trying to get by.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Country Rock

Country rock is a strange subset of rock music.  It seems that the twain of country and rock should never meet; but at one time, they did.

I thought about that when I heard the song, Amie, on my oldies station today.  There is nothing about that song that even flirts fleetingly with rock music; and yet it was a hit on the rock charts.  

This performance, unfortunately, does not feature the long-since moved-on Vince Gill.

There are artists who immediately spring to mind when talking about country rock music.  I don't want to talk about those artists.

How about the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, from 1979?  An American Dream, a performance which eerily includes the voice, but not the actual physical presence of Linda Ronstadt.

Speaking of Linda Ronstadt, who knew, when she was with the Stone Poneys, that she had such a great voice?   Different Drum didn't necessarily show off Linda's vocal abilities.  Did you know that Mike Nesmith of the Monkees wrote Different Drum?  I didn't.  

Here, however, she takes a great Roy Orbison song and makes it her own; and makes it a "rock" hit:

The Beatles even dabbled in a bit of country rock, as evidenced by this song:

John Fogerty has never made any bones about his love of country, or rockabilly, music.  Creedence Clearwater Revival, while unquestionably recording songs that clearly fit within the rock and roll genre, also had a bunch of songs that skirted the line between rock and country.  Like this:

John Sebastian and his Lovin' Spoonful had a great example of country rock music, with their recording of "Darlin' Be Home Soon".  Unfortunately, the only video available for that song has big red letters flashing over it, yelling, "YOUR ARREST RECORD ONLINE!".  Bastards.  If you want to see the video, though, you can find it here.

"Daydream" is not the best example of John's country rock leanings, but it still fits.

Here are a BUNCH OF PEOPLE doing Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages", and as an added bonus, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door".  Take that, Gram Parsons.

Speaking of five old country rockers, how about these guys:

Many, many artists contributed to the birth of the country rock genre.  Eventually, though, everything became compartmentalized; and country rock was played only on country stations.  That's where we had to go to hear Dwight and Rosanne.

Country music purists once thought that the Eagles were horning in on country music ~ interlopers, they were.  The joke was on us snobs, though, in the end.  Turns out the Eagles were more country than most artists who audaciously dared to call themselves "country".

The Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 1 was a cornucopia of country rock songs.  I refused to buy that albums for years; thumbing my nose at these pretenders; these charlatans.  I don't remember what exactly I was listening to then, but the 1970's was really a lost decade for country music.  Had I just broken down and bought that blue cow's skull album, I would have regained all the faith in country music that I'd lost.

Better late than never, I say.

Here are the Eagles performing at the 2007 CMA Awards:

Country rock straddled the border between a teen girl's infatuation with rock and roll and her budding love affair with country music.  Country music could really be a bit too corny sometimes.  Added to that was the shame of being a country girl in a rock and roll town.  With country rock, I could relax and just let the music flow.