Showing posts with label tony orlando and dawn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tony orlando and dawn. Show all posts

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1971 ~ A Year No One Ever Commemorates

(No one dressed like this.)

 Apparently the biggest news of 1971 is that cigarette ads were banned from TV (too late!)

I was fifteen-going-on-sixteen and in the tenth grade, which is a lowly teenage status. Not quite as lowly as a freshman, but at least freshmen had a distinct identity (losers). Sophomores were only semi-losers, but definitely not cool. Zit-afflicted; hair that only looked good on lucky days, we didn't walk the school halls as cowed as we did as freshmen, but we shrunk from making eye contact with anyone in the cool grades, for fear of contemptuous glances. Being overlooked was a much preferable state. 

I carried a fat geometry textbook that I never once cracked open. Perpendicular lines and isosceles triangles only mattered if they were incorporated into something I was doodling in class. Math in general was useless, but I was forced to take a couple of math classes in my quest to graduate with a "college prep" diploma. In English class, we were reading Julius Caesar, which was minimally more interesting than geometry. World History was perpetually boring. We learned about places like Constantinople and other European cities that no longer existed, so who cared? I never quite grasped what started World War I until I saw a documentary on AHC many decades later.

Since the FCC banned cigarette commercials, catch-phrases dwindled.

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" was cool because it was spoken in such a malevolent tone.

"My wife; I think I'll keep her" is apparently offensive, because irony is a lost art.

Who can forget the spicy meatball?

In pop music, George Harrison got a bum rap for supposedly plagiarizing "He's So Fine". The truth is, if anyone ever creates a melody that's never been heard before, it will be cacophonous crap that shreds one's ear canals. Everyone borrows from someone, and when it happens, trust me, it's subconscious.

We went to the movies and saw The Exorcist, which was "stupid", rather than "scary". 

George Carlin was subversive and we loved him for it.

If George Carlin was alive today, he could kiss his career goodbye. I bought his albums, AM and FM, and Class Clown, and hid them between Merle and Connie Smith.

We watched Marcus Welby, MD and especially Mannix on TV. 

The hottest inventions of 1971 were the Intel 4004, which was supposedly something called a "microprocessor". I have no idea what possible future that sad conception could hold. Sorry, Intel; better luck next time. Keep trying! Some quirky coffee shop named "Starbucks" opened in Seattle, Washington, but no one cared. Folgers (or in my case, Coca-Cola) was everyone's intravenous caffeine delivery device.

A plug-in cooker dubbed "The Beanery" wasn't exactly a commercial success until Rival changed the name to "Crock Pot". I hope the person who came up with the moniker, "Crock Pot" got a huge bonus, but I bet they didn't. I'm guessing the CEO of Rival thought "The Beanery" would be a fab name, because that's why, after all, he earned the big bucks. Some lowly clerk hunkered in a walled cubicle thought up "Crock Pot" and got to keep her job until the next round of layoffs.

In the newly-found freedom of my brand-spankin'-new bedroom, I read paperbacks like "Love Story", which was a putrid book and a complete waste of my free time; and "Airport", which was at least somewhat captivating; albeit brain candy. But that's how paperbacks were. Reading books written by the likes of Jacqueline Susann left one with a desperate need to scrub their skin raw when they finished them. They were late-night reads. If I was to add up all the time I've spent in my life reading worthless books and watching worthless TV shows, I'd be able to tack on, at a minimum, one year to my life. All these complete wastes of time are important life lessons, though. One has to learn what is valuable and what is crap, and be able to discern the difference.

The hit songs of 1971 may have, at the time, seemed like revelations. Now they sound like hackneyed dead weights.

Like this one:

At least this song had a melody:

And, FYI, I wasn't down and troubled and I didn't need a helping hand. Okay, I was down and troubled, but James Taylor wasn't about to fix that. And I was insulted that he even thought he could.

Sorry, Jimmy. A little ditty was not about to solve all my existential problems. Besides, this song is maudlin.

If you want to make me happy, sing this one:

1971 saw the rise of "cuteness" in music; artists who tried hard to be hip, but their dimples gave them away -- The Osmonds, The Jackson Five, The Partridge Family. These were my little sister's artists. This is what pop music had become. I ignored all of that. I was frankly into country music by then anyway, although I couldn't escape pop culture any more than I could overlook this:

This song is famous for the most repetitions of the phrase, "I know". Weird thing to be remembered for, but there it is.

The reason no one commemorates 1971 is that music basically sucked. 

"What were the top songs of 1971, Dad?"

"Well, son, someone sang a song about his dog that he gave a really stupid name to."

"He sang about his dog?"

"We had very little to sustain ourselves with back then, son. If we wanted to take our music somewhere, we had to find a crate and stuff our LP's in it and load them in the trunk of the car."

"What's an 'LP'?"

"It's not important now. Just listen to Lobo on this here eight-track cartridge I fished out of our neighbor's garbage can."

The primary reason I've never discussed 1971 is that, aside from the fluff posted here, I barely remember it. I can conjure up snippets of memories, but it was a lonely time. I did my best to fill my days and nights; nevertheless, every day was a day to slog through. It was paper I crumpled in my hand. 

I hadn't yet figured out who I was or who I wanted to be. I thought that once '73 arrived, purple butterflies would flutter and alight on my outstretched hand.  And the secret of life would unfold.

I'm still waiting.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Bad Hits of the Seventies

Ahhh, the nineteen seventies. A time of Richard Nixon and Jimmy "The Peanut" Carter.

The time of Ford Pintos that exploded, and, on the somewhat safer side, Chevy Vegas. Not "Vegas", as in "Las Vegas". No, I mean "Chevy Vega". Yes, I had one. I didn't even remember what it looked like, until I found this picture. All I remembered was the orange.

Orange was a HUGE color in the seventies. Orange shag carpets, orange fiberglass draperies. Oh, we had it all. Orange, and GREEN. Those two colors just screamed alchemy.

I think the reason for the orange and green color combo was that the sixties were so BEIGE. Sure, you think of the sixties, and you think "flower power", and paisley mini-skirts and ties (for the really "hip" corporate executive), and Peter Max's psychedelic posters. But in the decorating world, one was not allowed to stray beyond beige.

So, of course, the seventies did a 180, and went with the most outlandish color palette imaginable. And we thought it was chic!

"Did you get a dress for the Christmas party?"

"Oh, yes! It's divine!"

"What color is it?"

"It's a really saturated orange, with touches of green."

"Far out!"

And then, for the guys, not to be outdone, we had the leisure suits. When one wanted to straddle the divide between suits and sleepwear. That crisp polyester.

In order to complete the leisure suit look, a guy, even a "guy's guy" had to venture into Woolworth's and find himself a gold chain. Nothing too ostentatious. No charms or lockets attached, or anything "girly". The girly part was accomplished by his heavily-sprayed and blow-dried coiffe.

Visible chest hair, of course, was mandatory. In fact, guys would get out on that disco floor and compare chest hair coverage. Even those who were bare-chested would glue some faux hair on their torsos, just so they wouldn't be ridiculed by the other boogaloo-ers.

Note Tony Orlando and Dawn.

I'm not going to quibble about the fact that Tony just grabbed some random audience members out of the pack and called them "Dawn". Where's Telma Hopkins? I bet she's pissed.

And I don't know exactly what this is, but it's either the worst Christian high school prom ever, or all the guys in attendance are stoned. It's really hard to judge.

But here's Tony (and "Dawn") in his leisure suit, singing "Tie A Yellow Ribbon". And frankly, this song is so monotonous that I'd like to tie a yellow ribbon around his neck, and squeeze hard.

And what better sums up what the seventies were than this song by something called the "Unlimited Orchestra"?

I was trying to figure out where Barry White came in, and then I realized that he's conducting this thing.

Don't tell me that doesn't remind you of this:

Remember this from the seventies? Those organ/muted guitar riffs that start the song?

Sure, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Swiffer Wet Jet. Well, that's what happens to obscure semi-hit songs. They become the soundtrack for cleaning product commercials in the next century. I'm guessing Player, or whoever wrote that song for Player, isn't crying too many tears.

You know, the Native Americans suffered many atrocities. If you know anything about American history, you are well aware of this.

I don't presume to speak for the Native Americans, but I'm thinking that in the lore of their oral history, they reserve a special place for Paul Revere & The Raiders.

From the Swatch-watch wearing "Paul Revere", to Mark Lindsay's hair, there are so many things wrong with this video. But on the plus side, the drummer seems to be heavily featured, so he's down with that.

I will mention that Freddy Weller is ashamedly part of this group. But he did go on to bigger and better things, thankfully.

I don't know about you, but I really miss the three-cornered hats and the revolutionary war tab-coats. But I suppose progress can't be denied.

I'm sort of a fan of falsetto singing. From Roy Orbison, when he went into his high register, to even the Eagles sometimes.

However, much like I hate Lou Christie, I hate this performance by Leo Sayer. And what, by the way, ever happened to Leo Sayer?

And, I know it's stating the obvious, but I'm thinking all those sexy backup dancers probably didn't even ring a bell with Leo. But at least he felt like dancing. That's the main thing.

In conclusion, there are so many avenues to explore in this world we call "the seventies". It's an alien world. But as much as we try to pretend it never happened, the evidence is here ("YouTube") for all of us to see.

I really, truly, blocked most of it out. I think that's a human defense mechanism.

But I say, embrace it! It can't be denied.

And, musical historian that I am, it is incumbent on me to remind everyone of a time that we would much sooner forget.

Oh, that we could.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Camp Classic Du Jour

I decided that I should start posting some camp classics (those songs you are ashamed to admit that you like).

And believe me, this video is unusual in a queasy sort of way. Great chest hair, though. And the background is so "realistic".

And then, suddenly, the song ends. Well, what can you do? This is the only video I could find.

And then I thought, well, how about another camp classic?

Camp Classic du Jour - part II

Okay, a couple of things: Gotta love the eighties hair (both male and female). Also, um, he plays his guitar backwards. Is this a prop? Does he actually know how to play guitar? And get some boots, man! I mean, the Nikes have got to go. Although they're handy for "running in place". Geez, great choreography there, BRC.

I do hear, though, that he's making big $$ off one of his kids now. Kudos!