Showing posts with label orleans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label orleans. Show all posts

Friday, January 25, 2019

Everything Old...

(It didn't do anything else. It was just a radio.)

At my 5:00 a.m. daily stop at the convenience store yesterday, the piped-in music was playing a song from 1976. I thought, well, that's interesting. Are they trying to bring 40-year-old music back? I can't blame them, really. Number one, it's good to keep in mind the clientele. Who else is stopping in for a $1.49 styrofoam cup of coffee but doddering oldsters? Additionally, is there actually any real current music?

The song playing took me back ~ back to my poor times, when all I had was (essentially) the radio pictured here. It was on my bedside table, and I left it on all night, which made for some odd dreams at times, but it was my conduit to the outside world. I didn't have a TV in the bedroom (who owned more than one TV?) and wouldn't have had a place to put one if I had it.

I was newly pregnant and alone in my euphoria, with no one to confide in who'd understand. My little sister was fourteen and my mom was dealing with issues of her own (Dad). That portable radio was my lifeline. My husband was working the night shift, so it was just me alone in a little trailer that suddenly seemed cavernous and eerily dark. The DJ would announce around midnight that radar indicated a strong thunderstorm was rumbling across the prairie, and I'd shift my body to a more baby-pleasing position and try to remain awake in case I'd need to flee, but would ultimately drift off, with no ultimate harm done.

Remembering that time, I don't recall feeling lonely or afraid. In hindsight, it was a trailer park, with its requisite miscreants; but we had a stable couple living on one side who were clearly biding their time until they could move on out...and up. It would take me nine more years to move on. The neighbors on the other side liked to crank up AC/DC 'round midnight and guffaw and shout a lot through their open windows.  No wonder I shoved up the volume on my bedside AM radio. My pitiful "partying" days had ended long before I found I was pregnant. I'd attend my husband's company Christmas party and down two glasses of champagne and stagger out of the Elks Club dizzy and nauseous. I also may have danced.

But I was more than ready to get on with life. I wanted a baby. That tiny trailer had a second bedroom that I constantly fussed with, hauling home pieces of baby furniture; attaching a musical clown mobile to the crib rail, installing a rocker in the corner; tacking cheap art to the faux-wood paneled walls.

And the radio was a constant backdrop for my contemplations.

Convenience Store Song:

This song sort of took me back to my two-glass champagne days, because it was so vomit-inducing. It was a hit during the summer of '76. I was on a fishing trip to (aptly-named) Fish Creek and clearly baby-bumped, enough so that I had to accede to maternity wear. I was wearing a lime green eyelet-trimmed tunic and the radio was playing, as it always was, and this is what came out:

1976 was the nadir of Wings. John Lennon was hiding somewhere in LA, so I was left with a bunch of silly love songs. I was torn. It was like a lullaby from the womb, hearing Paul's voice; yet the songs were lacking. Nevertheless:

I sort of dismissed this at the time, but I was wrong. I know about Dan Seals; have no idea what became of John Ford Coley. I think this song may have been too "soft rock" for me at age twenty-one. But it was everywhere ~ and deserved to be:

I still maintained a friendship with Alice II. After we resigned from the State Health Department simultaneously, she got a job...somewhere...I can't remember...and I scurried back home to work for Mom and Dad. Alice II had gotten married a couple of months after me and our lives sort of paralleled one another. She was the first to become pregnant and was living in a mobile home in the country (mobile homes weren't looked down upon in the mid-seventies), on a ranch where her new husband worked. As I always had, I took my cues from her. I admired all her baby paraphernalia and immediately went to the mall to purchase the exact same items. Neither of us knew what sex our babies would be ~ technology hadn't advanced that far ~ but both of us gave birth to boys.

Meanwhile, music was changing imperceptibly.  Neither Alice II nor I knew that something that will forever live in the annals of infamy would rear its ugly head, but it started then, in 1976:

If you listen to, God forbid, classic rock radio, you'll eventually hear this song. It's not because it's by The Who or Aerosmith, but because the song is great. It's, in fact, one of the best things, musically, to come out of the mid-seventies:

But let's get real. This is the song that's powered so many commercials for forty years and the one that screams "1976" (sorry for the poor quality, but this is the only version I could find that doesn't feature seventy-year-old Orleans hawking their greatest hit in 2013):

Work friendships ultimately don't last, because the ties that connect you only exist in the work world. I'm not sure which friendships last; maybe high school bonds. I didn't have that luxury, because Alice One's life and mine had diverged so jaggedly. Alice II and her husband and baby eventually moved about a hundred miles away, and I visited her one more time, in '77. We cooed over each other's baby boys and laughed and drank iced tea, and then she was gone.

But we'd always have Elton John:

Other artists took their bow that year:  Chicago, featuring that new lead singer who'd anchor every soundtrack of every single eighties movie, Peter Cetera; Hall and Oates, who would explode in the following decade. Who could forget Barry Manilow (even if they tried)? Some band called "The Eagles" crept up. Boz Skaggs hadn't yet hit his stride as a balladeer, but would soon. Some dude named Peter Frampton was coming alive for kids like my little sister. A band called KISS wanted to rock and roll all night (right after they removed their makeup).

There was goofy shit, like "Convoy" and "Disco Duck" ~ nothing like the seventies for crappy novelty hits. John Travolta was everywhere, especially on ABC TV, where my lovely John Sebastian was now shilling for sitcoms:

1976 was still mining the fifties (yes), with a remake of an Everly Brothers song:

This song encapsulates music in 1976:

Looking back, that year was rather frenetic, musically.

But meanwhile, come November, I had my baby boy.

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: