Showing posts with label disco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disco. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Far Out! It's The Seventies!

That's right. The seventies. Who knew?

The popularity of American Hustle and Anchorman II has revived that lost decade. And by lost, I mean lost. I don't even remember the person I was in the nineteen seventies - it sure isn't anyone I recognize - but it's an indisputable fact I was there.

Let's face it - the music in the nineteen seventies was oftentimes cheesy. And yet, as I sat in the movie theater, watching that Oscar-nominated film (obviously not Anchorman - I mean the other film), I began to think, hmm - maybe it wasn't so awful after all.

Anyone who wasn't around back then would peg this as the ultimate representation of the 1970's:

And who could blame them? I love ABBA. Aside from John Denver, who best to take on the mantle of the nineteen seventies with such panache?

Thing is, the seventies encompassed ten whole years, and one can't sum up a whole decade with just the Bee Gees and four Norwegian pop singers. There were the Eagles and Olivia Newton-John and the Carpenters and Barry Manilow and Elton John and Wings and Fleetwood Mac and Helen Reddy (wow - haven't thought about her in decades). And don't forget Tony Orlando and Dawn. The whole thing was schizophrenic.

My taste in seventies music runs more toward England Dan and John Ford Coley than Boogie Oogie Oogie, but there's no denying that the seventies could get you out on the dance floor (that is, if you were a woman. Men don't dance, and when they try, they just look ridiculous).

So, bear with me as I indulge my country leanings first....

...with the Eagles:

...England Dan and John Ford Coley:

...Fleetwood Mac:

...John Denver:

...BJ Thomas:

...the Carpenters (ahhh):

...Olivia Newton-John:

...Ray Stevens (yes, Ray Stevens):

...and one just can't forget Blue Swede (or can they?):

...Andy Gibb (rest in peace):

But, you know, the decade rolled along and things got louder and even weirder than Blue Swede. But didn't everybody have fun?

The Village People (okay everybody - on your feet!):

Oh, I would never forget the Brothers Gibb:

Rod Stewart:

Okay, I don't care - this was from the seventies - and it happens to be one of my all-time faves, so give it up for John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John:

Did anyone actually do the Hustle? Well, I never learned the steps, apparently. Nevertheless, here is Van McCoy:

Which leads me back to the iconic images and sounds of the seventies. From ABBA to this, and I'm betting this is what everyone is going to remember:

In hindsight, I guess the seventies are kind of fun to look back on, in a nostalgic, cringe-worthy way - from Watergate to WIN buttons, from typewriters to Cabbage Patch dolls.

From eighteen per cent interest rates to my mom paying for the two of us to see Saturday Night Fever, during which I sank lower and lower in my seat, embarrassed to be watching an R-rated movie up there on the big screen (with sex scenes!) accompanied by my mom!

My sons were born in the seventies, and I'm sorry they don't have a "cool" decade to claim as their own, but hey - I was born in the fifties, so I had Pat Boone and Perry Como. And those guys are really hard to dance to.

I should say thanks to American Hustle for reminding me of those times. I guess it's a whole cottage industry now - movies about the nineteen seventies. It started with Argo, and I guess it'll run its course.

And then they'll start making movies featuring eighties songs from the likes of A-HA and Lionel Richie.

And then everyone can laugh and laugh.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thank You, Bee Gees

I went with my mom to see Saturday Night Fever.  That wasn't awkward at all.

Of course, we had no idea what the movie was about.  All we'd seen were the promos with John Travolta dancing.

The Bee Gees are indelibly connected to Saturday Night Fever, and thus, to disco music.  That's not entirely fair.

If you weren't around, listening to the radio, in the mid-to-late nineteen sixties, you would think that the Bee Gees sprang onto the stage in 1977 (dressed all in white, of course), the minute that John Travolta strolled out onto the floor and started.....DAAN-CIN....YEA!

But no.  They began their career in their native Australia, in the early nineteen sixties, but didn't really catch fire until around 1967.

It's always been said that, for duos (or in this case, trios), you can't match the sound of family harmony.  The Everly Brothers are one famous example.  That family sound can only be matched by you singing with yourself, and of course, you can only accomplish that in the studio.  It's difficult to take the You & You duet out on the road. 

Thus, the Bee Gees created a beautiful sound.

Here are some of their earlier (pre-SNF) hits:

 How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

To Love Somebody

Massachusetts (one of my favorites)

 Words (good grief ~ when I saw this, I thought it was Andy!)

I've Gotta Get a Message to You

I'm not sure if this next song was done as a joke on country music or not, but even if it was, I still like it!

Don't Forget to Remember Me

 Lonely Days

The sea change began around 1975.  Yes, before Saturday Night Fever.  The Bee Gees' sound began to evolve.

Take a look:

Jive Talkin'

I've always found the word "jive" amusing.  I can't help but think of this:

 Nights on Broadway

Again, sorry, but I am now reminded of this:

And here we go!  A little night fever!

 You Should Be Dancin'

I think this next song is beautiful:

How Deep Is Your Love

Sorry, this was the best video I could find of:

More Than a Woman

 Too Much Heaven (I like this)

Oh, look.  Who's that walking down the sidewalk?

For better or worse, the Bee Gees will always be remembered most of all for this next song.  And you know, it's been parodied, and it's been pilloried, but it's a catchy song!  I'm not a big falsetto fan, but it worked.

Think about the singles that will be pulled out of a time capsule in the year 2077; the songs that exemplified the past 100 years of popular music and popular culture (of course, no one would actually have a turntable, so they'd just look at the discs quizzically and scratch their heads.  And then someone would say, "Oh, I know!  I heard that people used to throw these things to each other, and to their dogs!  It was some kind of sport, I guess!  Or am I thinking of something else?")

This single would be there; no question:

Stayin' Alive

It's the end of an era, really.  I know that cliche has been used a million times, but if you look back at the career in pop music that the Bee Gees had, from the mid-1960's through, well, the 1990's, that's thirty years of  hits, and thirty years of being embedded in our consciousness.

That's a hell of a thing.