I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s

The Abbess and I in 1980 at Cal State Northridge

Note: Many of the links on this page are now dead. I have done a new article about this which is linked here: 

Spendin’ the Nighttime Reminiscing: Padre Steve Remembers the Music of the 1970s and Early 1980s

If you like this post please see the sequel:  More about Why I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s unfortunately many of the links are dead on this one too, but the article is interesting.

I don’t know about you but the music that I really enjoy is the music that was popular when I was in Junior High, High School and College.  For that period spanned the years 1971-1983.  For those of that were alive back then it was a turbulent era, Vietnam was ending, Nixon was resigning due to the Watergate break in cover-up, assassination attempts both successful and unsuccessful were common, two attempts on Gerald Ford, Aldo Moro of Italy and Anwar Sadat of Egypt fell to terrorists and both Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II were felled by bullets which did not prove fatal. The Cold War was tense, the Middle East a mess, and the economy…well kind of like now in a lot of ways.  There was a major recession the auto industry needed bailouts, inflation was running in double digits as was the unemployment rate, the dollar was weak and OPEC wreaked havoc on world oil markets. Jimmy Carter was ridiculed worldwide for his “malaise” speech and the Iranian revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini swept into power and with it the seizure of the US Embassy and the 444 day hostage crisis punctuated by a failed rescue attempt demoralized the United States.

The 444 Day Iranian Hostage Crisis Helped End the Carter Presidency

The Soviets invaded Afghanistan which became their Vietnam.  In Lebanon 247 Marines were killed in the bombing of their barracks, Cubans were fighting in Angola and well. Terrorist groups killed Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and the Red Brigades, the Bader Meinhof gang, the Weather Underground and the Irish Republican Army provided a constant string of terrorist attacks even as Middle Eastern terrorist groups highjacked airliners in daring fashion, matched at times by equally rescues by Israeli and German anti-terrorist units. As you can imagine there was a lot to be down about.

Gas Lines 1974

However with the passing of the 60’s the music of the 1970s and early 1980s provided a diversion for many people looking for respite from all the bad news that echoed around the airwaves and in the newspapers.  Thankfully there wasn’t a 24 hour cable news cycle yet and had there been people would have probably been jumping off of buildings.  As for me I had countless 45s and LPs of my favorite groups and artists, Doctor Donald D Rose of KFRC in San Fransisco was my favorite DJ and my car had a retro-fitted 8-Track tape player.

Today while much of the population gathered around TVs to watch NFL Wild Card playoff games, I needed some peace, so I started putting music DVDs on as the Abbess and I worked about the house.  First was Blondie’s Greatest Hits and Abba Gold followed by the Eagle’s Farewell Tour I concert album.

Great groups and artists ruled the pop and rock airwaves and save for the disaster known as disco the 70’s and early 80’s produced some of the more memorable music of a generation.  It was not “message music” like much of the music in the 60’s but focused on entertainment.  Power groups like Journey, Starship, REO Speedwagon and Boston made power ballads, while AC/DC and KISS shocked and entertained at the same time.  Groups like the Blondie, the Eagles, Chicago, Paul McCartney and Wings, Abba and the Commodores dominated the pop charts while individual artists such as Olivia Newton-John, Elton John, Carly Simon, John Denver, Lionel Ritchie, Barry Manilow and others satisfied the more mainstream pop crown.  R&B enjoyed a renaissance due to the unlikely duo of the Blues Brothers who helped re-launch the careers of Aretha Franklin, Johnny Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway and a host of others.  As the 80’s came along new groups and styles were introduced including New Wave and Rap. It was music that helped us through those times.

As I listened and watched I mentioned to the Abbess that I missed those times.  It certainly wasn’t the fact that things were great in the world, but despite all of what was going on there was still some sense of that things would work out okay.  Music helped provide part of that sense of hope, even disco as much as I would hate to admit that. It was an escape and the music of that time is still with us, somehow those groups haven’t gone away and people look back with fondness to the music of the era.

Here are some of my favorites with links to the videos, they are in no particular order nor are the representative of all the groups that I have in my library of CDs and DVDs, but I enjoy the heck out of them.  Have fun and enjoy.


Padre Steve+

The Eagles “Take it Easy”


“Heartache Tonight”


and “Hotel California”


Olivia Newton-John “Magic”


and “I Honestly Love You”


The Commodores “Sail On”


Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night”



Dr Hook and the Medicine Show “On the Cover of the Rolling Stone”


and “Sharing the Night Together”


Abba “Waterloo”


and The Winner Takes it All


Fleetwood Mac “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”


Journey “Don’t Stop Believing”


Laura Branigan “Gloria”


Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart”


Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”


Blondie “Dreaming”




and “Island of Lost Souls”


Chicago “Saturday in the Park”


Linda Ronstadt “When Will I Be Loved”


Air Supply “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”


Foghat “Third Time Lucky”


Elton John “Bennie and the Jets”


The Captain and Tennille “Do that to Me One More Time”


REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You”


Joan Jett and the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll”


Starship “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”


and “We  Built this City”


Finally, the Blues Brothers “Everybody Needs Somebody”



Filed under History, music

14 responses to “I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s

  1. seraph

    Padre Steve:

    Wonderful post…great pictures music and memories! Does this mean we are getting old?


    Miguel +

  2. Stephanie

    I accidently found this this webpage and I love it! Thanks for this column and the memories.

  3. David

    Like Stephanie, I too found this blog by accident, but I rather enjoyed the reading. Lot of good memories, lot of good history.

  4. I trust you would not mind if I placed a part of this on my univeristy blog?

  5. Lynn

    Those years for me were 1967-77, so a lot of overlap–with the same memories and feelings. I even got into the fun of disco dancing. All that music still resonates for me.

    I found your blog when my husband forwarded the post about the sad loss of Eric Inge; prayers are ongoing. I read a post on Lent, too, and found out you’re Anglican. Thanks for all your work.

    God bless,

  6. Nina

    I was searching for something else and I accidentaly found this blog… and I love it. It’s like instant happy childhood memories; great music from my early childhood, which I miss so much in todays busy life. Thank you for this lovely break!

    Lots of love,

  7. greg

    Thanks for the history lesson, but you sure like some crap music. Did you ever get beyond the AM dial back in the day?

    I loved Rod Stewart, but “Tonight’s The Night” was the start of his long slow decline into mainstream hell. As a matter of fact, you have a good chunk of 70’s and 80’s mainstream hell represented here. (And when did John Lee Hooker start calling himself “Johnny”?)

    • padresteve

      I guess by “mainstream hell” you mean that you like the fringe, often unpopular and frequently pretty bad stuff that only a few people like? Anyway, to each his own in music tastes.

  8. Kalan

    I’m with you all the way but actually, I enjoyed the Disco era for what it was, a celebration of high beat, dance music. I still enjoy listening to it but I love the music you have listed. God, I would toss the laptops, cell phones and all the modern conveniences just to be back in the good old days. They may have been rocky, both politically and financially, but they were the good old days for me.

  9. greg

    They were “good old days” for me too, Kalan but politically and financially rocky? Those days were a walk in the park compared to what’s in store for us in the near future…

  10. Pingback: Padre Steve’s Top 25 Articles of 2010, some Statistics and a Big Thank You to My Readers | Padresteve's World…Musings of a Passionate Moderate

  11. Pingback: Padre Steve’s World Top 12 of 2011: A Big Thank you to my Readers | Padresteve's World…Musings of a Passionate Moderate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s