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I’ll Have to Say I Love You In a Song: Love Songs for Valentine’s Day

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Since today is an odd confluence of Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, and the opening of Spring Training I am going to hopefully avoid any controversy by sharing some of my favorite love songs for Valentine’s Day.

I have spent many Valentine’s Days away from my wife Judy over the course of my military career. Tonight we’ll be together she has a class that I don’t want to take her away from and on her way there she’ll drop me off at Gordon Biersch and then when she is done comes back and meet me for dinner there.

We have spent a lot of time away from each other during the course of my military career. I added up the time between when I was mobilized from the Army Reserve in 1996 to support the Bosnia Operation until when I returned from Camp LeJeune in August of 2013 and I figured at we had been apart 10 of 17 years between 1996 and 2013 due to military assignments. I am glad I am hopefully won’t have to spend months or years away from her again as I enter the twilight years of my career.

In all of these times I have loved music. I remember dating Judy and every week bring in new LP albums or pop 45 singles on vinyl back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Most of the songs were popular on the radio and I would hear them on American Top 40.

I find that music expresses love in ways that I find difficult to do on my own. Perhaps this is because of the fact that I am a historian and not a poet or artist. Here are 25 of my favorites of all time. They are songs that express the emotions of love, love embraced and love requited the joy of love and the agony of losing it.

These are songs that men and women express the feelings of those who have loved, lost and longed for love. They are songs of men and women who sometimes are geographically far away but still close and others that can be sitting next to each other but be as far from each other emotionally and even spiritually as Earth is from the furthest star system in the galaxy.

I think that in my life that many speak to the relationship that I have with the woman that I have loved since the day that I met her back in the late summer of 1978 at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton California.

It is interested because a number of years later Barry Manilow wrote a song called The Summer of 78 which expresses much of what I felt and still feel about her.

It was one of those summer’s
lasting forever
making the winter wait
a summer of music and passion
the summer of ’78
you appeared like the summer
sudden and perfect
and not a day too late
I swear there was music when I found you
that summer of ’78
it seem we floated through the days

and nights were always filled with stars
and it seemed every song they played on the radio
was ours
it was one of those summer’s
only for lovers
touched by the hand of faith
and now when the winter’s are long
I remember the summer of ’78

I think any compilation of love songs has to begin with Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England”  I think for me, as a career military man who has spent many years away from my wife, sometimes in harm’s way the questions asked in the song resonate. “When will our eyes meet?” “When can I touch you?” “When will this long journey end and when will I hold you again?” have particular meaning and they are part of the longing that I have.

 

The Carpenter’s breakthrough hit “Close to You” written by Burt Bacharach is a song that is fitting for the love that many young lovers feel when they first meet. I remember when we first started dating I could hardly stand to be away from Judy. The song is more one of infatuation than actual love, but I think unless we first have that infatuation that love often remains dormant.

 

Bread’s classic mellow ballad “If” is a song that expresses an almost eternal nature to love. Jim Croce’s hit “I’ll Just Have to Say I Love You in a Song” is one that expresses how badly the words often come out when we try to communicate with the one that we love. There are so many times the words that I have said have not come across how I meant them. So much of a relationship that is based on how we communicate that care and love for each other, the lament that “every time I’d try to tell you, the words just came out wrong” can be true for many of us.

England Dan (Dan Seals and John Ford Coley) “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” Sometimes when we love someone we somehow lose contact, or maybe have grown apart emotionally. The song begins with small talk on a phone call and is the words of someone who wants very badly to be together again with the one that he misses.

In a similar vein to “I’d really love to See You Tonight” but perhaps even more heart wrenching is Paul Davis’ “I Go Crazy” because the woman that he loves is now with someone else and he sings “when I look in your eyes I still go crazy. That old flame comes alive, it starts burning inside…”

 

 

All couples sometimes have arguments and sometimes those arguments lead to complete silence and even the break up of a relationship. Sir Cliff Richard’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” is one of those songs where one partner blames the other for the breakup and boldly states that he isn’t losing sleep over the end of the relationship. Not a very good way to go, but a very real feeling for many people in the Lonely Heart’s Club.

Olivia Newton John and Cliff Richard’s duet “Suddenly”  is a song that is a 180 out from We Don’t Talk Anymore. This song is one that speaks of a deep love and admiration for each of the two people in the relationship that they are willing to do anything and go anywhere to be with one another.

But we really do, at least most of us hope that we will find that person who will take a chance on us like in the Abba song, or in some cases if we have been hurt someone who will take a chance again as Barry Manilow sang about.

 

But “It’s so Easy to Fall in Love” as Linda Ronstadt lets us know, but holding on to that love can be a different matter.

 

When we do fall in love we hope that they will be our First, my Last, My Everything.

But holding on to love can be difficult and can end up on the rocks when our love stops bringing flowers or singing love songs.

 

The Dr. Hook hit “Years from Now” is one that always manages to bring a tear to my eye. It came out about a year after Judy and I started dating and even though it is now well over 30 years since I first heard it I imagined the future, now we are deep into it and I feel the same way. One verse says “I know this world that we live in can be hard, Now and then and it will be again, Many times we’ve been down, Still love has kept us together the flame never dies, When I look in your eyes the future I see.” Since we have gone through many difficult times it is a song that is intensely personal and one that I almost feel that I could have written the lyrics.

David Soul riding high on his success in Starsky and Hutch released “Don’t Give up on Us Baby”  in 1977. It hit number one in both the US and UK and was his one big hit. It is a song of a man trying to convince a woman that they have a relationship that is more than just one night. “Don’t give up on us, baby, We’re still worth one more try, I know we put a last one by, Just for a rainy evening, When maybe stars are few, Don’t give up on us, I know, We can still come through.” I find the Chicago ballad If You Leave Me Now evokes similar feelings.

Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch” is a song that means a great deal to both Judy and I. The words are somehow haunting and healing. One verse and the chorus really get to me. “Romance and all its strategy leaves me battlin’ with my pride, But through the insecurity some tenderness survives, I’m just another writer, still trapped within my truth, A hesitant prize fighter, still trapped within my youth. And sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much, And I have to close my eyes and hide, I wanna hold you till I die, till we both break down and cry, I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides.”

 

Van Morrison wrote “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”  in 1989. Recorded and released by Rod Stewart in 1993 it is a song that originally was written as a prayer by Morrison. It is sung at many weddings and it a song that I will stop and listen to whenever I hear it.

The Australian duo Air Supply is known for their mellow love songs and one of them“Two Less Lonely People in the World”  is one that I like. Sometimes I think that had I not met Judy that I never would have married. I am quite the introvert and often a loner that prefers the adventure of being independent and adventurous and does not like to be tied down. When my father retired from the Navy in 1974 I thought that my life was over, because we were going to remain in one place. Judy had spent most of her life in one city but I took her away from that because throughout my life I have been afflicted with this wanderlust and spirit of adventure. That being said the fact that we are together means that even though we are often apart that there are still “two less lonely people in the world tonight.”

Meat Loaf’s “I Would do Anything for Love” from his 1993 Bat Out of Hell Album is one of the big world wide rock power ballads of the past two decades. The focus is probably more on the physical relationship that some of the other songs in this list but it has a resonance because the physical is also a big part of why we fall in love with each other. “As long as the planets are turning, As long as the stars are burning, As long dreams are coming true, You’d better believe it, that I would do, Anything for love, And I’l be there until the final act, I would do anything for love, and I’ll take a vow and seal a pact…”

Elton John’s “Your Song” is a tender ballad of a musician who has little to give his love except a song.

 

One of the tenderest duets for Valentine’s Day comes from Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, the hit Endless Love  was written for the movie of the same name. The Bee Gee’s Disco era smash How Deep is Your Love  is another tender song of devotion to a love as is Al Green’s classic Let’s Stay Together.

Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” is a song that hits hard at a situation that many couples that love each other find themselves. That is when for whatever reason they find that they need to be away from each other, but the key is that they find their way back.

REO Speedwagon’s “I Can’t Fight this Feeling” is actually quite good because it is a song that sees a relationship go from a friendship to something more, something that sometimes scares the people involved because somehow we often think that we don’t want to “ruin the friendship.” I really think that any relationship that is meant to be has to begin with friendship and the words in the song “What started out as friendship, Has grown stronger. I only wish I had the strength to let it show” is a reality for so many people.

 

Anne Murray released a song called Daydream Believer   that had been recorded years before by the Monkees, but in 1980 it became one of my favorites as my relationship with Judy began to really develop

Bonnie Tyler’s “It’s a Heartache” has been recorded and been a hit for Juice Newton and Rod Stewart as well as Tyler. It is a song that speaks of the pain of a broken relationship when one of the people involved is more dependent on the other person than that person is committed to them, and sometimes when we fall for someone we are in over our heads, as Fleetwood Mac’s Over My Head so bluntly states.

Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” is a song that describes the breakup of what may be an illicit love affair. Since a lot of people become involved in such relationships it is a powerful reminder of the pain associated with the end of those relationships. A similar theme is part of Laura Branigan’s “How am I Supposed to Live Without You”  though it seems that this song is not about an illicit relationship but the betrayal felt by a person who finds that the one that they love is leaving them. Her song Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?  tells the story of a woman wondering if her love will still love her, but there is always the Power of Love.  However when all else fails it is helpful to know that Storms Never Last. 

 

I find a lot of commonality with Journey’s power ballad “Faithfully.”  Written about the love of a couple, one of whom spends his life on the road as a musician and rediscovers his love for his bride. I think that it is a song that any man or woman in the military, or for that matter any other profession that spends much time away from home can relate as is Elton John’s I Guess that’s Why they Call it the Blues.

The tender ballad by Kiss “Beth” is a song that I think expresses how many people deal with the tension between what they love and who they love. The song is about a man who promises to come home as soon as he is done playing music with his band and keeps calling back until finally he admits that he will not be coming home that night.

Blondie’s Heart of Glass  is another song that talks about misplaced love and how many relationships appear to be real but then end with at least one partner hurting and wondering what happened. The Tide is High  is Judy’s ringtone on my iPhone, it is about a girl who won’t give up on her love and Dreaming  is another song of dreams of love as is Fleetwood Mac’s Say You Love Me.

 

The Swedish super group Abba had numerous songs dealing love, hope, love lost and love found.  “One of Us”  is song about a relationship where one partner thinks that they can do better only to find out that they were wrong. The chorus “One of us is crying, One of us is lying, In her lonely bed, Staring at the ceiling, Wishing she was somewhere else instead, One of us is lonely, One of us is only, Waiting for a call, Sorry for herself, feeling stupid feeling small, Wishing she had never left at all….” finds an echo in many of the people that I meet. Their lesser known song, Our Last Summer  tells the story of a woman remembering her last summer in Paris with a former lover. Knowing Me Knowing You  tells the story of a breakup as does The Winner Takes it All. 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s Kenny Rogers released a number of songs suitable for the Valentine’s Day. She Believes in Me  is wonderful because it talks of an experience that many young lovers know that of having someone who believes in them and their dreams, even when they wonder. You Decorated My Life  talks about the difference a love makes in life, while Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer a duet he sang with singer songwriter Kim Carnes talks about the hazards of falling in love with a dreamer, or a person like me, and love can be difficult even when we give the best that we have, as the Eagles noted in The Best of My Love.

 

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Finally there is a song that from the first time I heard it has been a song that speaks to me about my love for Judy. It is a song that like Dr Hook’s Years from Now, is a reminder of how far we have come and how much we have been through; that song is Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years”  which was released in 1982, a year before we were married.

Of course there is one that is Judy’s ringtone for me, The Partridge Family and I Think I Love You.  I do think I love you too Judy, “So what am I so afraid of? I’m afraid that I’m not sure of, A love there is no cure for…” 

But then I am in love with a beautiful woman…

And I Will Always Love You.

So to all of my readers, enjoy the music and have a happy Valentine’s Day.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, marriage and relationships, music

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

Little River Band “Reminiscing” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ_3G4xqSDQ

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Olivia Newton-John “Magic”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7WPwH8Rd6g

and “I Honestly Love You”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zGLSnZGZts 

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The Commodores “Sail On” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg-ivWxy5KE

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The Eagles “Hotel California” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnkJcjBCG88

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AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo2qQmj0_h4

KISS “I Was Made for Loving You” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7fxN3g5sLw

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

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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

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Bee Gees “How Deep is You Love

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpqqjU7u5Yc

Dr Hook “Cover of the Rolling Stone” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJu6Up9w2Hc

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

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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

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Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night”

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1p96h_rod-stewarttonights-the-nightgonna_music

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Abba “The Winner Takes it All” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92cwKCU8Z5c

and “Waterloo” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_9CiNkkn4

Elvis Presley: Suspicious Minds

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBmAPYkPeYU

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Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kMVdazvII4 

Journey “Don’t Stop Believing” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcjzHMhBtf0

Albert Hammond: It Never Rains in Southern California http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

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Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

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Blondie “Heart of Glass” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGU_4-5RaxU

Neil Diamond: Sweet Caroline

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vhFnTjia_I

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

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Barry Manilow “Mandy” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM7SQzq3yHQ

Heart: Crazy on You

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gpNqB4dnT4&feature=related

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Village People: YMCA

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9OO0S5w2k

Fleetwood Mac “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8arvEzHsA8

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Laura Branigan “Gloria”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tVutw8rjFk

Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQZmCJUSC6g

Chicago “Saturday in the Park”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWxA3e9f6rY

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Linda Ronstadt “When Will I Be Loved”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmE7tTzJkbU

Foghat “Third Time Lucky”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj1O2KtH4kE

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNHcgk5bf7o&feature=related

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Finally, the Blues Brothers “Everybody Needs Somebody”

http://www.mojvideo.com/video-the-blues-brothers-everybody-needs-somebody-to-love/ac0b631b54ff095fd5c0

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Padre Steve’s Favorite Story Songs

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I like songs that tell good stories. Unfortunately many of them are sad stories, which makes them somewhat different than sad love songs. Sad love songs generally don’t really have to have a story other than what Lieutenant Frank Drebin said in the Naked Gun: “It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.”

However these songs are about life, disappointment, tragedy as well as real events and people. Sometimes they deal with love, other times loss and sometimes real world events and people. Some are songs that appeal to simpler times, but all tell stories.

I think that songs that tell stories speak to us in ways that we might not otherwise expect. But then for me music is something that can reach my heart in ways that written words cannot. Most of these songs come out of the 1960s and 1970s, which I really think was the time where such songs were most influential and popular. There are others that I could list her but for now I will leave you with these.

Please enjoy them.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Terry Jacks Seasons in the Sun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhQ13geD2OA is an English adaptation of Jacque Brel’s song Le Moribond.

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Gordon Lightfoot The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0DqPSF2fyo is about the loss of the large bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior in 1975.

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Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCpsD0ZDfus is a song that speaks about a father who is too busy for his son as the son is growing up and finds that when he is old that his son has “grown up just like me.”

Goodnight_Saigon

Billy Joel Piano Man http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxEPV4kolz0 tells the story of a bar musician and is a fictionalized retelling of his life before he became famous. His song Goodnight Saigon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJFmRA7ousE is an ode to the Vietnam Veterans that came out as the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial was being constructed.

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Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler’s The Ballad of the Green Beret http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34CXcgJURbg was written after Sadler recovered from wounds that he received in Vietnam.

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One song that has always gotten me is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Mr Bojangles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3YMyW0SqmU was written by Jerry Jeff Walker and recounted his meeting a street performer in a New Orleans jail.

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Elton John’s Candle in the Wind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoOhnrjdYOc was written in honor of the late Marilyn Monroe.

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Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Alone Again http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_P-v1BVQn8 is a really sad and introspective song about a man who struggles with life.

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The Beatles Yesterday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIc6AH_2TEs is about the break up of a relationship and was the first Beatles song that only one member sang, in this case Paul McCartney.

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Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHkBv-AtKDA was written by Kris Kristofferson and recorded by others before it became a number one hit for Joplin after her death to a heroin overdose in 1970.

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Abba’s Fernando http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv_-6XQyIq0 is a song of two veteran’s of the Mexican Revolution remembering their younger days in that conflict.

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I have always liked Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg

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Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods Billy Don’t Be a Hero http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0lKmznjgfQ is an anti-war song that they recorded and released just before Paper Lace in the United States and deals with a love story set amid the Civil War.

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Paper Lace’s The Night Chicago Died http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryVh9BuwOs4 tells a fictional story of a police shoot out with the Al Capone gang.

images-32

Cher’s Gypsies Tramps and Thieves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOSZwEwl_1Q is the story of the daughter of a Gypsy family and her struggles to survive.

joan-baez-the-night-they-drove-old-dixie-down-vanguard-4

Joan Baez’s The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnS9M03F-fA was originally written and recorded by Robbie Robinson and Levon Helm of The Band. It tells the story of a Confederate soldier in the closing days of the Civil War.

Bobbie-Gentry-Ode-

Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDHpkYI5_FY is a Southern Gothic type song about suicide, grief, emotional separation and other tragedies set alongside the banal happenings of everyday life.

coven2ndlpfinalformyspace-1-1

Coven’s One Tin Soldier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qswm7lHp7oY is another anti-war song but is a story about tow peoples and the desire of one people to attain the treasure held by the other, a treasure that was to be shared, that of peace on earth.

arlo-guthrie-the-city-of-new-orleans-reprise-2

Arlo Guthrie’s City of New Orleans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfxoM6trtZE was written by Steve Goodman and is set on a nostalgic and bittersweet ride on the Illinois Central Railroad’s City of New Orleans. It was released in 1971 at a time when my family still road the railroads to cross the country and I can feel the emotion of those trips when I hear the song.

images-33

Barry Manilow’s Copacabana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU8TAkl7Tbg is the story of a tragedy that unfolds in the lives of a singer named Lola and her bartender boyfriend Tony in a clash with a mafia don named Rico at the famed New York nightclub Copacabana. Unlike most of Manilow’s songs and for that matter most of these story songs, it is a Disco song.

images-34

Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj4nJ1YEAp4 became the epitome of a story song that spawned a number of movies.

onjpleasemr

Olivia Newton-John’s Please Mister Please http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULJ3KrFwdbA is a song about a woman who cannot bear hearing a song that she associates with her lost love when people play it on the bar jukebox.

the-eagles-usa-lyin-eyes-asylum-2

Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58id5JIzFao is a sad song about a woman who has lost her love and is away from home longing to return.

The Eagles Lyin’ Eyes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nk1g6jJTsXY is one of a number of story songs by that super-group and is the story of a woman who has married a rich old man, but unfulfilled enters into an affair while lying to her husband about it.

dawn-featuring-tony-orlando-tie-a-yellow-ribbon-round-the-ole-oak-tree-bell-3

I think the way to end this list is with Tony Orlando and Dawn’s Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3ouKAhxZbQ

 

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Run Padre Run: Peace after the Storm

Today was a day of recuperation from a long couple of weeks of which yesterday was hard after being victimized by a larceny at work. Today despite carrying the duty pager, has been as close to a day off as I have had in a couple of weeks.

After watching the ball game last night knowing that I was carrying the duty pager today I decided to sleep as late as my body and my dog Molly would let me. Not that she was in the mood to get out either since we were being pounded by tropical storm force winds and heavy rain. She is not a fan of rain.

Since I didn’t have any pages from work I got up about noon, yes noon, I needed it as evidently Molly did too. So have I took her on a walk I decided to take a tip to see how our town had weathered the storm. It was not bad and I took Molly to the beach to check things out. Since things didn’t look bad and the weather reports showed the rain ending I decided to go for a run about 3PM after I had celebrated Eucharist. It turned into a Forrest Gump run.

Initially I planned on doing about 4-5 miles. When I got to the beach I decided to take a right and head southwest toward the end of the island which is called “the Point.” At the 2 mile point I felt good so I kept going and had to turn into the wind which was blowing at about 30-40 MPH from the north for about a mile. I had forgotten what it was like to run into a wind like that, at times I felt like I was standing still. Things got better when I turned around and rediscovered the advantages of a strong tailwind. Out at the point sand was racing along the beach faster than me blown by the stiff wind and I was glad that I had long running pants on rather than shorts.

Very few people were out today although a few hearty souls were out looking for shells or in some cases had metal detectors out. I got up to the beach entrance where I live and still felt good and wanted to do more even though I knew that if I went straight home it would be a nice 6 mile run. However I could see the Bogue Banks Fishing Pier in the distance. I had always wanted to do the whole beach and since I still felt good I kept running. Last week I had ran the furthest I had in a long time when I did 7.1 miles, out to the Point and then up the beach a bit. I figured that I could do 7 miles and then it was 8 and I went under the pier and kept going about another quarter mile. I thought of going further but since conditions were beginning to deteriorate I decided to turn back. I ran into some more wind on the way back but I finished the run. I wasn’t fast, the combination of wind and occasionally soft sand slowed me down but it was nice, a bit under 2 hours for the 11.2 miles, about 5.6 miles an hour. The was really slow from about the 8th mile I figure I was doing about 6.5 miles an hour before I hit the pier.

Regardless it was a good feeling to finish and know that I am in about good enough shape that I could do a half-marathon again. At 52 years old I don’t need to be fast, but just to know that I can do it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Tomorrow it will be back to my weekday circuit training when I do lots of push-ups of various types, crunches and abdominal exercises between laps of 1/3 of a mile for an hour or so. It will still be windy and it looks like that the nights are going to be the coldest that we have had since last winter. But at least we are not in the direct path of Sandy. I have been through a good number of hurricanes and tropical storms, all in the summer when the temperatures were warm, I would not want to take one like Sandy especially with a winter storm bearing in as well. Somehow flooding, cold weather and snow combined with power outages does not seem fun.

Today was interesting because usually some song from the 1970s will be going through my head as I run. Last week it was Bob Seeger’s Against the Wind  the day before it was Linda Ronstadt’s You’re no Good, today it was Rod Stewart’s Do you think I’m Sexy. Sometimes it is Abba, Blondie or Doctor Hook. It is not like I plan on my internal I-Pod to play these songs, but it is what it is.

Now it is time to settle in and see what happens in the World Series. I am hoping for the sweep but if the Giants do win I wonder how many South Park seasons I can watch between now and the election.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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“It Could be Worse, it Could be Raining” Rainy Day Songs and Monday Musings

Rain is a part of life, and is such an important part of life that it can even interrupt baseball. It looks like some games may get delayed or postponed tonight, weather was threatening in DC and the East Coast. Casey Stengel once said “There are three things you can do in a baseball game. You can win, or you can lose, or it can rain.”   I think this is true for much of life outside baseball.

Now much of the country has been in a drought, which despite the advantage of fewer rainouts in baseball is actually bad for most people. But unlike much of the country Eastern North Carolina has not been without rain. In fact it has been raining more days than not of late. The amount of rain has made me think about writing a piece dealing with songs about rain from the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s.

I am not a big fan of the rain, especially when it falls on my bald head. I’ve been in the military a long time and have spent many months in field environments in the US and overseas. I have never liked getting rained on. That being said when I do get rained on my mind frequently turns to music, particularly songs that deal with rain.

I feel a lot like Gene Wilder playing Dr. Frankenstein in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein when it rains. But like the Marines say If ain’t raining, we ain’t training.” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AFf0ysgNiM

Since today had been another rainy Monday I figure it is as good of day as any to share of few of my favorite “rain” songs beginning with the Carpenter’s hit Rainy Days and Mondays. It really is a sad song, but Karen Carpenter’s beautiful voice is fully on display.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPmbT5XC-q0

Then there is Eddie Rabbitt and I Love a Rainy Night, which when I hear the rain coming down at night that I cannot help but think about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMZ4amjbqhU

Neil Sedaka’s Laughter In The Rain is one that was really popular when I was growing up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uec35ppYLIc

Since I grew up in California I always have a soft spot for the great song It Never Rains In California by Albert Hammond.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

Fire And Rain by James Taylor has always been a favorite of mine, a true classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

However Have You Ever Seen The Rain byCreedence Clearwater Revival has to be my favorite when the rain is falling on me. I don’t know why but it is so catchy as is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS9_ipu9GKw

Mandolin Rain by Bruce Hornsby & The Range which is a mellow classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uravhL8FbY

When I am in a more cynical mood I find that Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head by B.J. Thomas does strike a chord.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OKP616mA8c

Linda Ronstadt’s  Cry Like a Rainstorm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMuVc0nXEhEand I Made it Through the Rain by Barry Manilow are songs that I find good for times that I feel down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqApdSxbwak

Then there are two timeless songs from the 1930s that have to be included though they fall outside the time period. Singin’ in the Rain performed by the legendary Gene Kelly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmCpOKtN8ME

and Somewhere Over The Rainbow performed by Judy Garland as “Dorothy” in The Wizard of Oz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HRa4X07jdE

So here’s to rain. Without it we die, with it we rust. But that is life, could be worse. It could be raining.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Still More Reasons Why I Miss the Music of the 1970s

Yesterday I posted an article regarding some the the songs that became a part of my life during my time at Edison High School in the 1970s. That post featured some of the great Funk, Soul, Blues and Disco songs of the era. Since I have been in a 1970s retro mood of late I figured that I would do another anthology article about songs that I still love from the 1970s. These are songs that were hits on the Pop Charts featuring solo artists as well as groups. They range from Elvis and former Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, to soul greats Robert Flack and Tina Turner, classic vocalists like Olivia Newton-John and Neil Diamond, Country crossovers John Denver and Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton to the super groups that got their start in the 1970s, ABBA, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Heart, Queen, Kiss and the Eagles.

One thing to notice, just as in yesterday’s article is that the majority of these artists and groups didn’t need a lot of help, they had the goods and were excellent in the studio and on stage. The on stage performances, even when the video is not so great are electric to watch.

I have tried to make sure that the videos are from concerts or live performances so readers that did not live through that era can get a taste of a time where though times were tough and life often turbulent that people could deal with life. The songs are about life, love, heartbreak, good times and sometimes just plain fun. They are in no particular order, just the how they popped into my mind as I thought back to those times and then searched the internet.

I hope you enjoy the journey and the music as much as I did.

Peace

Padre Steve+

ABBA: Chiquitita http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzdfPEsf7qY

Barry Manilow: Mandy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK8-gZVkYsk

Linda Ronstadt: You’re no Good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr9vKWLgZzo

The Captain and Tennille: Love Will Keep us Together http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjloX_EvYiI

Olivia Newton John: Have You Never Been Mellow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IFQZyxxyyM

Rod Stewart: The First Cut is the Deepest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1XJ72BPXao

Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7wwZVB4yMI

Bee Gees: How Deep is Your Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpqqjU7u5Yc

Heart: Crazy on You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gpNqB4dnT4&feature=related

Village People: YMCA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9OO0S5w2k

Neil Diamond: Sweet Caroline http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vhFnTjia_I

Dr Hook and the Medicine Show: When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxpYN-NK54Y

Blondie: Heart of Glass http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGU_4-5RaxU

Eagles: Hotel California http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1iv6lof5JM&feature=related

Chicago: If You Leave Me Now http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1ykMNtzMT8

Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9jmusgMgro&feature=related

John Denver: Take Me Home Country Roads http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukUL_I14GPw

Elvis Presley: Suspicious Minds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBmAPYkPeYU

Paul McCartney and Wings: Silly Love Songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQgUPxgqnfA

Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Glen Campbell: Rhinestone Cowboy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p8wDhK5LyY

Ringo Starr: The No No Song (With the Smothers Brothers) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQgUPxgqnfA

Albert Hammond: It Never Rains in Southern California http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

Kiss: Rock and Roll all Night Long http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Env5iMrBjws

Tina Turner: Rollin’ on the River http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brdqJ29PQac

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

Fleetwood Mac: Go Your Own Way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GN2kpBoFs4

Donna Summer: Last Dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cPIT_T3mYU

And finally a thank you…

ABBA: Thank You for the Music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dcbw4IEY5w


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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.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

The Eagles “Take it Easy”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScG0ilS0dgI

“Heartache Tonight”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJqdudx8cg

and “Hotel California”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbjKMobts5U


Olivia Newton-John “Magic”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7WPwH8Rd6g

and “I Honestly Love You”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zGLSnZGZts

The Commodores “Sail On”


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg-ivWxy5KE

Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night”

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1p96h_rod-stewarttonights-the-nightgonna_music

 

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-XzGOZHYdA&feature=PlayList&p=AF906570E242A626&index=1

and “Sharing the Night Together”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECyAATeNH3E


Abba “Waterloo”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGs7dTjUsXw

and The Winner Takes it All

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92cwKCU8Z5c


Fleetwood Mac “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8arvEzHsA8


Journey “Don’t Stop Believing”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNB1EUJg1-w


Laura Branigan “Gloria”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tVutw8rjFk


Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=840B27zYfOk&feature=related

Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQZmCJUSC6g


Blondie “Dreaming”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIjxGKLTADE

“Rapture”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHPikUPlRD8&feature=PlayList&p=F2ED8F30DB2943CD&index=1

and “Island of Lost Souls”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEpPjBG4CJY


Chicago “Saturday in the Park”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWxA3e9f6rY

Linda Ronstadt “When Will I Be Loved”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmE7tTzJkbU


Air Supply “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lE6Htee0sA

Foghat “Third Time Lucky”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj1O2KtH4kE


Elton John “Bennie and the Jets”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0WCQadt864

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNHcgk5bf7o&feature=related

REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-mw1HGJjdA&feature=related

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SOJxNOP37I

Starship “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PP1HEFlkdY

and “We  Built this City”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7flrwE-bZVo

Finally, the Blues Brothers “Everybody Needs Somebody”

http://www.mojvideo.com/video-the-blues-brothers-everybody-needs-somebody-to-love/ac0b631b54ff095fd5c0

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