Tuesday, January 25, 2011

40 Years Ago Musically Speaking

The month of January 1971, I was living in the middle of nowhere, four miles outside of Ava Missouri, off highway FF in a house that used to be the George Pledger residence. "Where do you live?" "The old George Pledger place"..."oh, ok". Small town restless and bored, playing basketball and trying to stay out of trouble. Life was NOT good, I did NOT have a normal childhood. My mother and father were apart and I wasn't quite old enough (or capable enough) to hold the family together. My brother was in Vietnam and we walked on those eggshells for four years. Life was happening, the world was changing and I was....stuck, frustrated and simply bored. Playing basketball and the radio were my saviours. Not sure what order they would be in, sometimes it changed from day to day. Basketball (sometimes in a far away place), go to the room, turn on the radio and do homework. The radio was my ticket to Chicago. To Little Rock, Nashville, Denver and other far away places. I knew I wanted to do what they did, so I hung on every word. The DJ on WLS was Kris Eric Stevens. He was the "night jock" who would keep all of us small town kids from being bored. He could tell a story in 13 1/2 seconds, the exact time it took to talk over the beginning of "She's A Lady" by Tom Jones or "Your Song" by Elton John. Tell a joke in 5 3/4 seconds over the intro of "Stoney End" by Barbra Streisand or make me believe he used the latest product or service he was selling. He not only branded himself into my brain all those years ago, but so did the music. I think the long distance crackling and static made each song special. You had to listen when it was there because sometimes, it would fade... So, yes, I liked Tony Orlando and Dawn and Gladys Knight with her Pips and yes, I admit it, I loved Bread. Not for any other reason but that my favorite DJ made it sound special enough for me to care. Bread wrote love songs for 15 year olds.

With a tribute to the music, here are my top five songs to appear in the top 40 according Billboard magazine on January 30th 1971

I loved Rare Earth. I saw them play at the Uptown in Kansas City in 1982 with all of the original members. It was one of the best show I have ever seen. This is recent but Peter Rivera makes it sound great..

I also loved Bread. From the first time I heard "Make It With You", I thought these guys made smart, well written and well played songs. Three of the four guys are dead. They were highly sought after session men for years. An uptempo number from them..

What ever happened to these guys? I actually have in my possession their first two albums. Interesting and different with excellent harmonies and excellent playing. Great one hit wonder band.

The mighty Zep sounded ten times louder coming through the AM airwaves. This took the chill off a winter night. Hammer of the Gods. I went out and ordered the album the first time I heard this.

Dave Edmunds is an effing genius. Nuff said. This song was about 20 years ahead of its time

Here was the top twenty on that day:
1. Knock Three Times-Dawn
2. My Sweet Lord/Isn't It A Pity - George Harrison
3. Lonely Days - Bee Gees
4. One Less Bell to Answer - Fifth Dimension
5. Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
6. Groove Me - King Floyd
7. I Hear You Knockin - Dave Edmunds
8. Your Song _ Elton John
9. One Bad Apple - Osmonds
10. Stoney End - Barbra Streisand
11. If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight
12. Black Magic Woman - Santana
13. It's Impossible - Perry Como (!)
14. Love The One You're With - Stephen Stills
15. I Think I Love You - Partridge Family
16. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
17. Born to Wander - Rare Earth
18. Mr. Bojangles - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
19. Remember Me - Diana Ross
20. We Gotta Get You A Woman - Runt (Todd Rundgren)

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