Showing posts with label john travolta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label john travolta. Show all posts

Saturday, June 2, 2018


(What better way to get all the hits?)

At the start of 1977 I had a two-month-old baby and had lost my girlish figure. Granted, I'd lost that the moment I learned I was pregnant, at which time I indulged myself gluttonously. Someone remarked that she was sure I was having twins. Whatever, bitch.

A new president was inaugurated in January, unfortunately. Forty-odd years of listening to this sanctimonious guy proselytize, as if he wasn't an utter and complete failure. I blame him for ushering in an era of bad music. He had an innate knack for bringing everyone down. 

And speaking of bad music, it's not so much that disco was bad as that it quickly became monotonous, with its "four on the floor" beat, which didn't leave much room for variation. The Bee Gees, however, seemed to take to it effortlessly. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The year began with this song that was featured incessantly on the Midnight Special:

My baby and I spent many two a.m.'s in the living room rocking chair watching old Maverick reruns. He couldn't really follow the plot, but he gave two little thumbs up to James Garner. This episode featured some no-name actor who was never heard from again:

Rich people in 1977 owned something called an "Apple Computer", although they couldn't really do anything with it except show it off to their envious friends, because there wasn't yet anything called the "internet". Plus it was ugly as hell. At some point in the future these Thurston Howells were able to utilize their pricey trinket to play Pong.

In winter fashion, we bulked up on cowl-neck sweaters. All the better, in my opinion, to conceal the baby fat. These were best paired with tan polyester wide-legged pants.

In February, some band called "The Eagles" had a hit song. These guys apparently didn't get the Disco Memo that was circulated to all artists with record contracts.

These guys were around, with their Conair-styled hair:

Prime-time TV was devoted to Little House on the Prairie and Happy Days (when Richie still had a big brother named Chuck, who later entered the witness-protection program) and my personal favorite, Barney Miller.

There was apparently a lot of killing going on in '77. We had the Son of Sam and Gary Gilmore, who was big news because he chose to be shot as his form of execution (I preferred the Tommy Lee Jones portrayal to the actual real-life event). 

CB radios were things that people bought and then didn't know what to do with. Rod Carew of my Minnesota Twins was named MVP. 

Elvis died. 

There was a song by a female vocalist that I liked a lot. She would later go on to sing Baby and Johnny's theme song.

Speaking of babies, a Baby Gibb brother would foreshadow the tsunami that was to come, by having a disco hit with this:

Sure, disco was bad, but put in perspective, nothing could be worse than these two hits:

We washed out our ears with this:

Late in the year, I got a night out (with my mom). She wanted to see the year's hot new movie. If you've never watched an R-rated movie with your mom, it's an awesome experience. As you slump down in your seat during the sex scenes and huddle on the floor amidst yesterday's spilled popcorn kernels, you wrack your brain trying to decide how to comment on the movie on your way out of the theater. "John Travolta's silk shirt was pretty." "Wow! Those...disco lights!"

Nevertheless, aside from Patrick Swayze, this was the awesomest dance routine performed in any movie, anytime:

And thus, this little band of brothers from Australia embarked on a whole new career and will forever be known as THE phenomenon of 1977:

Thanks, Bee Gees, for the leisure suits and gold chains.

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.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Movie Music

Did you ever hear a song in a movie and search it out? I have.

There's something about the context of a movie that makes a song seem so much better. It's that tugging at the heartstrings thing, I guess. Listening to the song in isolation isn't near as nice as seeing it played out on the screen, usually during the big dramatic ending.

I was re-watching Rain Man awhile back, and heard this song, and I honestly couldn't even remember hearing it the first few times I'd watched the movie. I had to search it out, because I had no idea who the singer was. Turned out it was that annoying falsetto singer from the early sixties, Lou Christie. Who knew? He actually is a good singer. Wonder how he ended up saddled with all those crummy songs.

There is no video available of Lou performing the song, but I did find a nice homemade video:

Remember the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? Steve Martin and John Candy. Timeless John Hughes movie. John Hughes was a great filmmaker, and he also instinctively knew just the right songs to include to enhance his stories. Here's Paul Young:

Speaking of that movie, which will always have a special place in my heart, how about this one from Ray Charles:

Remember Beetlejuice? Featuring a very young Alec Baldwin. Here is Harry Belafonte:

This is a great song, with our without the movie, but I confess, I am a Patrick Swayze fan. Here are the Righteous Brothers:

I could include lots of John Travolta movie moments, but I'm not going to go with the obvious. Here's Boz Scaggs (love Boz Scaggs!) with a song from Urban Cowboy:

There are so many great movie soundtrack moments. But bear with me. Sorry if I've posted this before (and I know I have), but this is my favorite:

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: