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 me that period spanned the years 1971-1983.
It was a turbulent era. The Vietnam War was ending and Nixon was resigning due to the Watergate break in cover-up despite going to China and establishing the beginning of detente with the Soviet Union. Assassination attempts on political leaders, successful and unsuccessful, were common. Two attempts were made on Gerald Ford. Prime Minister Aldo Moro of Italy and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt victim fell to terrorists while President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II were felled by bullets which did not prove fatal.
The Cold War was tense despite the beginning of detente and signing of Nuclear Weapons treaties between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Middle East was in turmoil even as Egypt and Israel hammered out a peace treaty withe the help of US President Jimmy Carter. In Iran a revolution swept the Shah of Iran out of power bringing the Ayatollah Khomeini into power. The seizure of the US Embassy and the 444 day hostage crisis punctuated by a failed rescue attempt demoralized the United States. In October 1983 247 Marines were killed in a terror bombing of their barracks at the Beirut International Airport.
The Soviets invaded Afghanistan which would become their Vietnam, as part of the Cold War this lead to US involvement with Mujahideen. The US support with the Mujahideen was a fateful alliance that brought the Taliban to prominence and introduced the world to Osama Bin Laden. The Cubans were fighting in Angola while the Anti-Apartheid movement struggled with its leader Nelson Mandela languishing in a South African prison.
High profile terrorist attacks became common. The Palestinian terrorist group Black September killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. European terrorist organizations including the Red Brigades, the Red Army Faction and Bader Meinhof gang, the Irish Republican Army and the American Weather Underground 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.
The American and the world economies were in a state of recession much of the era. There was a major recession, the American 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 with embargoes in 1973 and 1979.
However it was music in the 1970s and early 1980s that 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 otherwise people would have probably been jumping off of buildings. It was the heyday of AM Top 40 type stations and the beginning of rock oriented FM music stations. Kasey Kasem gave voice to the hits with American Top 40. As for me I had countless 45s and LPs of my favorite groups and artists.
I listened Doctor Donald D Rose of KFRC in San Francisco and my car, a 1966 Buick LeSabre 400 had a retro-fitted 8-Track tape player and speakers.
Great groups and artists ruled the pop and rock airwaves and the era produced some of the best rock, pop, R&B, soul, country-rock, disco and new-wave music ever done. It really was an amazing era both in quality and diversity of music .
It was not “message music” like much 60’s music 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. Disco enjoyed a brief heyday with the popularity of Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees. 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. Country crossovers became big with Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Glenn Campbell leading the way. 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.
I listen to that music all the time and remember those turbulent days well. It certainly wasn’t the fact that things were great in the world. That being said despite bad news there was still some sense of that things would work out okay. Music helped provide part of that sense of hope. It was an escape and the music of that time is still with us. Many of those those groups haven’t gone away and people look back with fondness to the music of the era even as the artists age and pass away.
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.
Little River Band “Reminiscing” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ_3G4xqSDQ
Olivia Newton-John “Magic”
and “I Honestly Love You”
The Commodores “Sail On”
The Eagles “Hotel California”
AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long”
KISS “I Was Made for Loving You”
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton: Islands in the Stream http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=recWNQddJeE&feature=related
Rupert Holmes: Escape (The Pina Colada Song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaOXWJKsX-U
Donna Summer: Last Dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cPIT_T3mYU
Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9jmusgMgro&feature=related
Bee Gees “How Deep is You Love
Dr Hook “Cover of the Rolling Stone”
John Denver: Take Me Home Country Roads http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukUL_I14GPw
Three Dog Night, Joy to the World http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2x3af_three-dog-night-joy-to-the-world_people
The Carpenters “Rainy Days and Mondays” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPmbT5XC-q0
Paul McCartney and Wings “Band on the Run” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qx2jEfBsqY
The Trammps “Disco Inferno” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_sY2rjxq6M
Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night”
Abba “The Winner Takes it All” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92cwKCU8Z5c
Elvis Presley: Suspicious Minds
Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
Journey “Don’t Stop Believing”
Albert Hammond: It Never Rains in Southern California http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ
Blondie “Heart of Glass”
Neil Diamond: Sweet Caroline
Boz Skaggs “Lido Shuffle” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIu0jQ5TaRQ&feature=PlayList&p=8201408B8B6E42C8&index=2
Katrina and the Waves “Walking on Sunshine” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPUmE-tne5U
Billy Joel “Piano Man” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxEPV4kolz0
Barry Manilow “Mandy” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM7SQzq3yHQ
Heart: Crazy on You
Village People: YMCA
Fleetwood Mac “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”
Laura Branigan “Gloria”
Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”
Chicago “Saturday in the Park”
Linda Ronstadt “When Will I Be Loved”
Foghat “Third Time Lucky”
The Captain and Tennille “Do that to Me One More Time”
Finally, the Blues Brothers “Everybody Needs Somebody”