Music for a lifetime
A few days ago, I was nominated on Facebook to post a song from the 1970s every day for 7 days. For once a Facebook ‘challenge’ that interested me, and would be fun. So I went ahead, more or less followed the ‘rules’ and nominated a few people as I went along. As it’s late on a Bank Holiday I’m being frivolous and turning it into a blog. As most of us sharing the songs we loved are around 50 now, it was a fascinating decade to choose from (young child to mid-teens), and as I am so nosy (I mean interested in other people’s lives and loves) the autobiographical element was great. My main dilemma was either choosing stuff I could remember from the late 70s or selecting classics I grew to love when I was older.
So here we go with my 7 choices, and to make up a little for missing out whole genres (this decade probably had the most variety of pop and rock ever) I’ve noted each day what one or two friends chose.
It was obvious that Bowie would be included, but not on day 1, because choosing just one song was virtually impossible! As this was the era of disco and a great deal of cheese, I started with Chic's Le Freak. Video here I have many happy memories of learning dance routines to this in 1st boyfriend's kitchen diner with friends, then trying them out at the under 18’s discos on Tuesdays at the Grot (affectionate name for Stafford’s Top of the World) or Fridays at Riverside (concrete leisure centre now knocked down) although to be fair, Riverside, whilst including a lot of Northern Soul, did tend to play more punk.
Friends’ choices included John Lennon’s Imagine, Abba’s Thank you for the Music, and The Buzzcocks, Ever Fallen in Love?
This had to be a Grease song, as this was one of, if not the top film, of mid teen years. I suppose you might call it a coming of age film. Certainly, my friends and I knew all the songs, all the words, and all the routines, and if you are my age, you’ll know why we sniggered so much at the concept of 15 minutes. Here is Olivia Newton John and John Travolta's amazing routine to You're the One that I Want! Video here.
Luckily, one of my friends chose a really cool song for Day 2 - Because the Night by Patti Smith.
This choice was the hardest, but I had had 2 days to think carefully about which Bowie song to choose, and had narrowed it down to 3 albums. Although I was too young to appreciate these albums when originally released, I listened to all 3 a lot in the early 80s and savoured every note. Choosing just one song from Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane or Diamond Dogs took lots of serious listening on the beach (I was on a long weekend in Brittany). Hunky Dory is my favourite Bowie album overall on balance, so eventually I selected Life on Mars. Sublime to the very last note. Video here.
One of my friends had the same dilemma, and he went for Bowie’s Time. Other friends’ fantastic day 3 songs included I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor (reminds me of breaking up with boyfriend - see day 1 above - at tender age of 14, and thinking I could relate to this song!) and T-Rex’s Ride a White Swan.
I was now into whole albums, and the delicious choice of which song? This is another song I don't remember from the time (I was 6 or 7) from another classic album. It's also from the songwriter/singer/performer I would most like to see if he could be brought back, both for all this album’s songs and for all his jingly jangly, melodic, smooth and just lovely Motown classics. Here is Marvin Gaye's seminal Inner City Blues. Video here.
Two of my friends’ other songs were Minnie Riperton’s beautiful (if crystal glass shattering) Lovin’ You, and someone else remembering those teenage Friday nights at Riverside and going for Ever Fallen in Love?
This saw yet another album off which I could have chosen any song. It reminds me of long car journeys in the back of my dad's company car, probably a Ford Cortina (Sierras came out in the 1980s I think?) with Bonny, my Labrador, on my knee! Fleetwood Mac's Rumours was one of just a couple of cassettes played a lot as we traveled to holidays in far NW Scotland. Dad loved music and especially Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, but they were for listening to properly on the posh stereo at home, not in the car. That's one of the many reasons why his deafness is so sad. I wonder if my brother has similar memories of this? I then nominated him in the hope that he would cover the punk and edgy stuff I couldn't fit in. He is a teacher and he plays in a band and, like me, is passionate about music. However, he is much more reserved than me, has very deep views and in truth, is really a lot cooler than me, so I’m not surprised he’s not looked at his Facebook in a while and/or ignored my nomination! Dreams video here
Other day 5 choices from others on the quest? Joan Armatrading’s Love and Affection (just wow – so powerful) and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, his best album.
This was from another classic, virtually perfect album. My mum played this a lot when I was growing up and I have changed my mind many times about which song to choose. She also had Carly Simon, the Carpenters and Steeleye Span, but Carole King, for me has really stood the test of time. Recently I took Mum to see the play, Beautiful, about her early writing career in the 1960s, which included most Tapestry songs. It was stupendous. I hope you enjoy this fabulous live version of 'You've got a Friend' - a song that, when I listen mindfully always brings tears to my eyes. Video here
Another day 6 corker was The Jam’s Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.
I am well known for loving cheesy songs (but let's say a good French Camembert or a decent Cheddar - not a Kraft orange cheese slice!) So for my finale, having started with disco from Chic, from my favourite film of all time (forgive me – teenage years are very impressionable), I chose the ultimate ‘disco lit up dance floor’ classic - the Bee Gees, Stayin' Alive! Dodgy video here
And, the wonderful friend, who invited me to share this journey, chose Dancing Queen by Abba.
In summary, Abba, The Buzzcocks and David Bowie, in this tiny sample, all made it twice. I think that is pretty representative of that decade.