Showing posts with label wings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wings. 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.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November 4, 1976

1976 was a fun year in pop culture, if fun means cringingly awful. In fashion, women wore patchwork denim ensembles -- pantsuits, vests with skirts (what I will call the Little House on the Prairie look) -- while polyester leisure suits were de rigueur for men, complete with heavy gold chains (or "necklaces") and slippery patterned shirts with deep v-necks; visible chest hair required.

The top movies of the year included Rocky, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, All The President's Men, and Taxi Driver; only two of which I've ever seen, and one I only managed to catch for the first time sometime in 2016 (I won't say which one, but are you talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?)

In TV, we were diligent about not missing M*A*S*H and the Bob Newhart Show. ABC had a hit comedy that featured a real cutie. His character's name was Vinnie Barbarino. I wonder whatever happened to that actor. Fonzie was still saying, "Aaaayyyy" and weren't weren't yet sick of it. Most of the so-called comedies had terrible writing, but what were we gonna do? Sit in the dark and listen to Captain and Tennille on the radio? At least Johnny Carson showcased some new comics once in a while. George Carlin, of course, was my favorite, but I also loved Robert Klein and David Steinberg. And there was no one bigger than David Brenner (oddly).

We were desperate for laughs in 1976, because, well....

On Tuesday, November 2, I waddled into the Jeannette Myhre gymnasium, nine months pregnant, to cast my very first vote for President of the United States. I wasn't in love with Gerald Ford -- he was kind of hapless, really; but shoot, that peanut farmer? That grinning sanctimonious schoolmaster? No thanks. I had a bad feeling about that guy, and I, of course, turned out to be right. I would have to endure four years of economic hell before somebody special came along and saved the country. I don't think I've yet fully recovered from the financial setback Mr. Peanut thrust upon me.

On the late morning of Thursday, November 4, I came home from work (yes, I started work early and got off early), made myself my usual tomato sandwich on toast, sliced a couple strips of Colby cheese and settled at the spindly kitchen table to enjoy my lunch. I'd eaten exactly the same lunch for nine months. Pregnant women get a free pass for weird food cravings. Today I have no excuse, but I really don't need one. I'd informed Mom and Dad that since I was pregnant, I would no longer be their room-cleaning mule, and I demanded a front office job. It was the very first (and only) time they were taken aback by a demand from me, but to be honest, I'd never before made any demands -- I was too conditioned and too frightened.

I settled in to watch Days of Our Lives. Doug and Julie continued to be in love; and, of course, Dr. Marlena Evans was my very favorite.

Around 1:30 I felt a pinch in my tummy. I'd felt phantom twinges before; but then again, I was three days overdue...

By the time water gushed out of embarrassing places, I figured things were happening. I hesitated to call my doctor, because I really didn't want to trouble him for a false alarm, and frankly, I had no clue how this whole dance was supposed to go.

I didn't call anybody. I didn't call my husband. I sure didn't call my mom. Now, in 2017, I'm better about asking for help; but I was a balled-up mess in 1976; afraid to let people know what I didn't know. That came from no one ever wanting to help and everybody expecting me to just "handle things". It came from being the grownup to a couple of "parents" who forgot to grow up.

But I digress.

By the time my husband showed up around 5:00 p.m., I said "maybe we should think about going to the hospital"; hoping I wasn't about to inconvenience any of the hospital staff with a false alarm. Shoot, I could have had my baby at home, in my bed, if I hadn't summoned the courage to take a chance that maybe this was the real thing.

Baby Christopher was born at 10:19 that night. A seven-pound-six ounce baby boy with a full head of blonde hair.

And everything changed.

I don't know if my mom ever thought about the music on her radio in 1955. I doubt it. But I'm a music geek, so I was thinking today about the songs that came out of my home speakers and my car radio that year.

So, here you go, Chris:


This band should have a coffeehouse named after them:

Randy Meisner, what the heck happened to you? I don't care. This is the most enduring song from 1976:

Sorry, you don't get away from your mom's country that easily:

Oh, look! Vinnie Barbarino has made another appearance! Chris, if you want to know anything about the seventies, you need to know about the Bee Gees:

And if you ever care to know what kind of music your mom liked in 1976, here's a representation:

I could go on, but you're forty-one now and your patience with kitschy music is probably waning.

I have to say, though, as your mom, I like reminiscing.  

Years are like a leaf in the breeze. Once I was a kid, much younger than you are now, and I knew exactly what I wanted my son to be.

I hope those things maybe contributed somehow to the man you are today. 

I think they did.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Make Your Own Luck

I've never been a lucky person. Games of chance? Forget it. Slots? No. Prize drawings at work? I've stopped even entering. "Buy a raffle ticket for just one dollar!" Here, I'll just GIVE you a dollar. Go out and have yourself a good time.

I guess that's why I prefer games of skill. You know, I'd rather play video poker than slot machines. That way, at least, if I lose, I can blame my poor decision-making, as opposed to that arbitrary LUCK, which apparently shuns me and is ashamed to be seen in my company. Yes, I'd rather be known as a poor decider than an unlucky person. Being unlucky somehow makes people glance sideways at you, with a look of pity in their eyes. "Oh, such a shame about Gertie. She's UNLUCKY, you know."

So, what does all this have to do with music?

As an independent artist, striking gold is, in essence, impossible. For one thing, there are approximately (and I'm just making up this number) 45,000,000 independent artists out there hawking their wares.

Music licensing (you know, for TV and movies and commercials and I don't know, bathroom Muzak) once seemed like the savior of independent artists. I'm unfortunately, or fortunately, skeptical. We're hooked up with a multitude of licensing companies, from YouLicense to Music Supervisor to License Me For God's Sake. The companies run the gamut.

I get the emails. Sometimes I open them; sometimes they sit in my in-box, unopened for a week or two. The emails don't really care, mind you. They could just as well be titled, "Here Are Some Opportunities. You Don't Have a Chance in Hell of Qualifying For Them, So Read Them If You Feel Like It. If Not, Eh. We Just Send Them Out Because We're Obligated".

Sometimes, these companies send "Success Stories" emails. I bet they think these are "inspirational". They're not. All they do is make people like me feel like losers. I could just have a bad attitude; I don't know. I suppose it's great that the Shadow Sisters from Albuquerque, New Mexico got their latest quirky song picked up for an episode of "Fringe" (I hope that's an actual show).

And now, let's read an interview with the Shadow Sisters!

Q: How does it feel to have your song included in Fringe?
A: I don't know; all right, I guess.
Q: Have you had success with your music prior to this whole Fringe business?
A: Oh, this is our only song, to be honest. We just did it as sort of a joke.
Q: So, you've not been out there, pounding the pavement?
A: What does that mean?
Q: You know, promoting your music; trying to get heard.
A: Um, my boyfriend just told us, put on these short dresses and stand against that wall over there, and I'll take your picture. Oh, and take off your shoes. He said, try to look bored, and we said, hey, no problem. I guess that's what did it.
Q: Where does your songwriting inspiration come from?
A: I really was just humming.
Q: That's it?
A: Kinda.
Q: What advice would you have for aspiring artists who want to get their music licensed for television?
A: Take off your shoes? I don't know. Ask my boyfriend. I'm bored. Can I go home now?

So, you see? Luck. And a bad attitude, apparently.

Oh, don't get me wrong. The Shadow Sisters notwithstanding, there are (again, making this up) 43,000,000 great musicians and/or songwriters floating around out there in Cyberland (that leaves two million bad musicians and/or songwriters, if you're keeping score).

Those are bad odds. And don't even get me started on demographics.

So, what does an independent artist do?

Play a game of skill; not a game of luck.

Look for hidden opportunities. Be more clever than the other guy. Think local, for one. What's available out there in your stratosphere; something that will lower those 43,000,000 to 1 odds considerably? A television station? A local website looking for a theme song? A business needing a jingle? How about a local or regional contest that wants you to submit your best song about _______? How about trying to win a free vacation? (Okay, rather obscure, but more about that in a future post.)

Google is your friend. Use it. Explore the local and regional options that are available.

Think of the occasions that your song would fit. Did you write a song that would be appropriate for a wedding? Did you write something topical; something that's happenin' now? Take one of your songs; examine it; turn it upside down. Think about what its uses could be. If you don't find a matching opportunity, approach an entity and make an offer!

Honestly, you have to do it yourself. Uploading music to a licensing site is such a loooong longshot. Unless you're the Shadow Sisters.

Make your own luck.

Monday, January 24, 2011

May 19 - A Not-Too-Shabby Date For Music Lovers

Since I'm just sitting around with nothing to do; no projects on the horizon, I thought I would continue with my "Number One Song on the Day You Were Born" theme. I love music videos anyway, so it's fun to rediscover some old tunes that make me happy.

So, yes, the year of my birth (05/19/55) does not reflect the best in the annals of music. Granted.

However, to compensate for that, I checked out the charts for May 19 in subsequent years, and found stuff such as this:



all shook up elvis presley (oldies)
Uploaded by onizuka-junior. - Explore more music videos.

Unfortunately, this video is from the "Karate Elvis" years, but it was the only decent one I could find.


See, this is more my speed. Okay, the video isn't from 1958, but let's allow for better sound quality, shall we?

I was a big Everly copier, it seems. My little three-piece band, back in 1964, specialized in Everly covers. Not this one, but still. Beautiful song.


Okay, I do know that the Beatles didn't originate this song. It was Wilbert Harrison. But this is where I first heard the song, and c'mon, it's the Beatles!


Unbeknownst to me, Elvis played a big part in my early development, and I'm not even a big Elvis fan!

However, I do admit, this is one of my favorite Elvis songs. I clearly remember singing along to this, even though I just made up the words as I went, since I didn't quite catch them all:


Now we're talking. This is one of my all-time favorite rock & roll songs. And yes, I was well aware of this Del Shannon song in 1961:

Fast forward to 1964, and this:

Now, of course, we move to the truly important music of my life, this one from 1965. I love this live performance, interspersed with the "music video" the boys did for the song (which is really dumb, when you see Ringo standing over the drum kit, looking embarrassed as hell, and why wouldn't he be, with that setup?)

This song was number one in May of 1966. Here are the Mamas and the Papas lip-synching to Monday Monday.

Can anyone explain to me why the Mamas and Papas songs were mixed so strangely? Any of them you hear, half the sound comes out of one speaker and half out of the other. Who's bright idea was this? Lou Adler's, apparently. Maybe he was deaf in one ear.

1967, the summer of love. Here's an iconic song, and surprisingly, one can only find one performance video of the Rascals, doing "Groovin'". I don't know for sure, but I'd guess this was from the Ed Sullivan Show, because Ed's people did NOT know rock & roll. They focus on the harmonica player almost the whole time! Or the tambourine guy. Basically anyone except Felix, who is the star of the band. Alas. But here is "Groovin'":

I would include 1968's Archie Bell & the Drells ("Hi everybody! We're Archie Bell and the Drells! From Houston, Texas!"), doing "Tighten Up", but the only available video is of horrendous quality, so just sing the song in your head. You remember it.

Ahh, the famous rooftop performance from 1969. The swan song, as it was.

1970, from the Midnight Special. Ha ~ remember that show well. I'd come home on a Friday night, after having a few too many.....Diet Cokes....and flip on my little portable TV, and catch the last acts on the show.

Seriously, along with Felix Cavaliere, one of the greatest voices in rock & roll, Burton Cummings. Here are the Guess Who:

1971, eh? No wonder the seventies sucked for music. This has to be one of my all-time most annoying songs. Maybe it's just that I had to hear it seventy thousand times back then, or maybe it's because it's a really stupid song. No offense, Hoyt. And can you imagine how much the Three Dog Night'ers hate doing this song, as they make their rounds of the various Indian casinos? Of course, money in your pocket cures a lot of heartburn.

And, believe it or not, it goes downhill from there. So, I'm going to stop with 1971.

Oh sure, I could include "The Streak", from 1974, but really, why would I want to? I could include some bombastic Whitney Houston songs. Or Madonna, or Paula Abdul. But why ruin a nice post about music with that kind of stuff?

Well, okay, I do like 1981's selection. No, it's not Madonna or Paula or Mariah. It's someone I actually enjoy listening to.

No, really there is. Just one more. 1976. It's not entirely a performance video, alas. But it is the official video, apparently, And what's wrong with that? I'd like to know. So here I go. Again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Seventies! The Number Ones!

Here we are, back to revisit the seventies. I had so much fun with the last post, I decided to keep going! Now, don't get me wrong. I'll admit to a bit of cynicism regarding this decade, but in my last post, I found a bunch of keepers. HOWEVER, as I'm browsing the list of number one songs tonight, I'm beginning to revert back to my original opinion. Interestingly, there are not a lot of number one songs for each year, because, you see, the songs that did reach number one tended to hang on to that spot for several weeks, usually. For example, in 1970, there were only 21 number one songs.

So, to totally drive this topic into the ground, I thought I would choose one number one song from each year. (My standard proviso remains: This is dependent upon what I can find on YouTube.)


Unfortunately, there's a bunch of (bad) acting before the song actually begins. But this was the best I could find. And gee, for a song that so many people hold dear, you'd think there'd be a better video available.

I never really got into the Partridge Family, I guess because I wasn't eleven at the time. I mean, c'mon, they're no Monkees. You know, if you're choosing a pre-fab band, the Monkees are way better. But who am I to stomp all over somebody's cheesy pre-teen memories?


Let me get this straight....Hoyt Axton threw a bunch of non sequiturs together, and made a "song" that someone actually recorded? Well, cool. Sign me up! I can do that. I mean, really, if you listen to the song, it makes absolutely no sense....I guess, unless you're stoned. And to this day, old Hoyt is sitting back, counting his money.

But I really, really do have to feel sorry for Three Dog Night. Can you imagine having to sing that song over and over and over and over for decades? Face it, the song gets tiresome real fast. I mean, I'm tired of it, and I haven't heard it in about 20 years.


"There were plants and birds and rocks and things". You know, those things. Not plants exactly. I guess, not birds. Or rocks. Hmm....what do you call those things?

"Cuz there ain't no one for to give you no pain". Ahhh. Truer words were never spoken.

America had better songs, but this is a nice folk-rocker, and props for sounding like Neil Young.

However, much like Hoyt Axton, people are going to become suspicious when you just string words together. I'm just saying.


Hey! Remember that show, "Midnight Special"? I do! You'd turn that on on Friday nights, after you got home from your drunken carousing. Ha Ha! That's not true!

Too bad that this is the song that most people remember Jim Croce for, because he had a whole bunch of really great songs. And, much like, "Joy To The World", this one gets tiresome pretty quickly. But search out Jim Croce videos on YouTube. You'll find some gems.


One can never really forget the pompitous of love. If one knew what that meant. But this is one of those songs that never leaves you. I remember driving around, hearing this song on the radio. Cuz they played it every 5 minutes, I think. That's okay. I like it. And it really screams, "seventies"!


You may or may not like this song. But I like it. Believe me, if you had been cleaning motel rooms, and pushing your maid's cart from one room to another in the hot sun, this was your only salvation. Thank God for the transistor radio. And you could boogie down as you were stripping sheets off the beds and cleaning toilets. Wow, those heady days of 1975. When I was making $1.25 an hour. Cleaning up after tourists. Ahh, the nostalgia. I can almost smell the Lysol now.


Well, I was pregnant when this song came out. And while I didn't have morning sickness, hearing this song could still make me puke.

Enough said. I'm feeling a little queasy just listening to it again.


I picked this one because I really kinda like it. The Brothers Gibb also had a number one song that year, coincidentally ~ "How Deep Is Your Love". But I like this one. It's a nice pop song. RIP, Andy. Nice song.


FYI ~ Perusing the number one songs from 1978, that year sucked! This is the best I could find. So, I'm nominating 1978 for "worst year ever". Sorry, Matt. I know you were born in 1978, but it's not your fault. But hey, doesn't Paul look young here? (I'm looking for something positive to say.)


Whew! I can end the seventies on a high note. I was worried! Thank you, Eagles, and thank you, Glenn Frey. Nice way to end this! And I didn't have to include even one Donna Summer song in this whole post! Lucky for me!

So, we bid a fond adieu to the seventies. Well, maybe not fond, per se. But we do bid ADIEU!

Look for more to come! The eighties are next!