Aerosmith – Part 4

Philadelphia, PA – Winter 1977

I remember coming off the wonderful summer and beginning the next chapter of my life at Frankford High School. It was so much better than where I was a year ago. I had grown and changed. Things were good. At 15 I was almost on the other side of puberty at this point.

It was Christmas morning and one of the presents I got that year was the following record. Of course, my mother had picked that up for me because she knew the rock and knew what I liked. She had also gotten me Heart’s last record called Little Queen which is an okay album. But it does have the song Barracuda on it which could have been a Led Zeppelin tune. But I digress…

Aerosmith – Draw The Line – 1977

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draw_the_Line_(Aerosmith_album)

At this point, Aerosmith could have put out a whole album of them just chatting and drinking at a bar and I would have loved it and listened to it. That’s how much I worshipped this band. The guys who helped pull me through my early teenaged years. Toys in the Attic and Rocks were such great back-to-back albums, it would be nearly impossible for the band to top them. But this a decent attempt. The cover was drawn by the great Al Hirschfeld. The most brilliant caricature artist I’ve ever seen, and I loved his pen and ink work. An artist myself, I loved his simple, elegant, and spot-on style. I would go on to draw replicas of his work on Draw the Line on all of my notebooks at school.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Hirschfeld

To be honest this is a band like many that had barely survived the 70’s mired in grueling tours and hard drug use. The band was tired and fraying a bit. But managed to crank out another decent record. Let’s go through this record.

  1. Draw The Line: This is the title track and the song that was played on the radio. I liked it well enough, but it’s not Walk this Way, or Back in the Saddle. This song would later be the first Aerosmith song I learned how to play on guitar and played it in my first band. I was also the only one who could figure out the words to the last verse of the song, where Steven just screams them out and they are not printed in any sheet music available.
  2. I Wanna Know Why: I love this song. It hits hard with a simple message. It’s probably my favorite song on this entire record. It would have been a welcome addition to Toys in the Attic.
  3. Critical Mass: A cool song but never my cup of tea. It just never lit me up. (Funny, it was the song playing on the cassette when I got in a car accident in 1986)
  4. Get It Up: Neither did this song. What’s it about? Are Steven and the boys having some ED issues due to drug use?
  5. Bright Light Fright: A crap Joe Perry song. Sounds like it’s about a hangover. It’s juvenile and I don’t really care for it.
  6. Kings and Queens: This is a great song. Not my favorite, but a strong medieval-themed tune and a solid progressive rocker.
  7. The Hand That Feeds: More tired crap.
  8. Sight For Sore Eyes: A funky, heavy, delicious song. This one could have been an extra for the Rocks album. For years it was my favorite from this record, but I Wanna Know Why ultimately won out.
  9. Milk Cow Blues: Like Walkin’ the Dog and Big Ten Inch Record before it, this was a cover. It’s just a jam at the end of the album because I’m guessing they just were out of creative work for this album.

So overall, this is a decent record, but the band is clearly slipping. They’re exhausted from touring and being stuck together for the last decade, and drugs and alcohol are taking their toll on this band creatively. But the good thing was, I could always go back and listen to Toys, Rocks, and the first album to get my Ya ya’s out if I needed to feel something.

Let’s move on.

Philadelphia, PA – Autumn 1978

I’m the singer in a band by now. Learning guitar and writing my own songs. We play Draw the Line, Seasons of Wither, and Train Kept a Rollin’ so I’m happier than a pig in poop. It felt wonderful to be part of a band and making the music of my heroes. I felt like I was joining an elite club that had special powers over me and especially the kids in the neighborhood. Especially to my delight… the girls.

The next album Aerosmith released was a live album. I didn’t buy it but our bassist, Larry was an avid music lover and collector and he brought it over. I was delighted that I had some new Aerosmith to listen to, and I’m hoping the band was relieved after Draw the Line to take a break and release this live record.

Aerosmith – Live Bootleg – 1978

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live!_Bootleg

As I noted in the last chapter, I bought a bootleg of a concert by Aerosmith, called Look Homeward Angel. Apparently back then bootlegging was a rampant practice among touring acts. Aerosmith was bootlegged so much, that when they put out their own live album they gave it the title, Bootleg just to mess with all of the pirates they knew were ripping them off for years. I liked that my favorite band still had a sense of humor.

It’s pretty much a by the numbers double-live album. It was okay with little surprises. I had already heard all of these songs and there wasn’t much new material here. The song, Chip Away The Stone was a good song, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t write it. I like it though. But there were a couple of really old songs from their early live days that really make this album special and worth a listen.

I Ain’t Got You and Mother Popcorn are the two stand-out numbers on this live record. They’re simple and to the point. The band was really young and they’re doing covers. This may have been recorded before their first album. I loved those two songs because they had a young fresh feel. The band was primitive but tough. Kind of like the band I was currently in. Both of these tunes touched me, and I love them both to this day.

 

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The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 6

If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.

For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.

Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:

    • made me sick without even listening to it again
    • made me want to break my radio
    • made my stomach turn
    • brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
    • reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
    • could make me want to break my stereo
    • would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
    • would make me boo a band who started playing it
    • suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe
I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970’s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on shitty music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere). Clothes-pin anyone?

The 70’s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.

 

Indian Reservation – Paul Revere and the Raiders – 1971

This song was written by John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded by Marvin Rainwater in 1959 and released on MGM as “The Pale Faced Indian”, but that release went unnoticed. The first hit version was a 1968 recording by Don Fardon – a former member of the Sorrows – that reached number 20 on the Hot 100 in 1968 and number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1970.

In 1971, the Raiders recorded “Indian Reservation” on the Columbia Records label, and it topped the Hot 100 on July 24. On June 30, 1971, the RIAA gold-certified the record for selling over a million copies. The record was later certified platinum for selling an additional million copies. The song was the group’s only Hot 100 number 1 hit and their final Hot 100 top 20 song.

At the end, where the Raiders sing “…Cherokee nation will return”, Fardon says “Cherokee Indian…”, while the line is absent in Rainwater’s version, which ends with “beads…nowadays made in Japan.” In addition, Fardon sings the line: “Brick built houses by the score/ No more tepees anymore”, not used in the Raiders’ version.

Cherokee people have never lived in tipis, nor do they use the term “papoose”. These are stereotypes and misconceptions, with the reservations and tipi assumptions usually based on Hollywood portrayals of Plains Indians. However, the Cherokee are a Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous culture.

Not a terrible song, just a bit insensitive by today’s standards, but worth adding to this list of 70s oddities.

The Sound of Philadelphia – MFSB – 1974

TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” is a 1974 hit recording by MFSB featuring vocals by The Three Degrees. A classic example of the Philadelphia soul genre, it was written by Gamble and Huff as the theme for the American musical television program Soul Train, which specialized in African American musical performers. The single was released on the Philadelphia International Records label. It was the first television theme song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it is arguably the first disco song to reach that position.

The song is essentially an instrumental piece, featuring a lush blend of string instrument and horn section in the Philadelphia soul style. There are only two vocal parts to the song: a passage close to the beginning during which The Three Degrees sing “People all over the world!”; and the chorus over the fadeout, “Let’s get it on/It’s time to get down”. The words “People all over the world!” are not heard in the original version. The version heard on Soul Train also had the series title sung over the first four notes of the melody, “Soul Train, Soul Train”. This particular version was released on a 1975 Three Degrees album, International.

“TSOP” hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1974 and remained there for two weeks, the first television theme song to do so in the history of that chart. It also topped the American Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (for one week) and adult contemporary (for two weeks).  The Three Degrees would revisit the top of the AC chart later in 1974 with their hit single, “When Will I See You Again”.

Don Cornelius, the creator, and host of Soul Train refused to allow any references to the name of the television series when the single was released, leading Gamble and Huff to adopt the alternate title for the release. Cornelius would later admit that not allowing the single to be named Soul Train was a major mistake on his part. (As a result, the Three Degrees’ singing of the show’s name “Soul Train” during the chorus as heard on the TV version is not heard on the single.)

Although it was rerecorded a number of times for future versions of the show, and various different themes were used during the late 1970s and early 1980s, “TSOP” returned in the late 1980s and remained the theme song for Soul Train through the disco, 1980s rhythm and blues, new jack swing, hip hop music, and neo-soul eras of black music.

Not a bad song. Actually kind of a great disco song. I always hated disco in the 70’s because I felt it undermined rock music. But in reality, it’s simply R&B and Soul music jazzed up so you can dance to it. A huge fad in the late 70’s.

Fly Robin Fly – Silver Convention – 1975

is a song by German disco group Silver Convention from their debut studio album Save Me (1975). Sylvester Levay and Stephan Prager wrote the song, and the latter produced it. “Fly, Robin, Fly” was released as the third single from Save Me in September 1975, peaking at number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to the success of “Fly, Robin, Fly”, Silver Convention became the first German act to have a number one song on the American music charts. The song received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1976.

“Fly, Robin, Fly” carries the distinction of being a Billboard chart-topper with only six words: the chorus simply repeats “Fly, Robin, fly” three times, with an ending of “Up, up to the sky“. During a segment on VH1’s 100 Greatest Dance Songs, it was revealed that the original working title was “Run, Rabbit, Run”.

It’s a classic disco tune that was wildly popular. But the reason it makes this list is that the only lyrics in the song are, “Fly Robin Fly, up, up to the sky.”

Jacqueline Nemorin (known professionally as Jackie Carter and Né-Mo-Rin) is a Mauritian-British singer, songwriter, composer, and music producer. She is notable for being one of the voices and members of the 1970s Silver Convention project. She’s the main girl in the middle and clearly the prettiest of the three. For me, it’s worth watching just to see her beauty. 

The odd thing about this performance is; the choreography resembles some sort of aerobic workout!

Afternoon Delight – Starland Vocal Group – 1976

Good Girls Don’t – The Knack – 1979

“Good Girls Don’t” begins with Fieger playing the harmonica, in a part which authors Michael Uslan and Bruce Solomon liken to The Beatles‘ song “I Should Have Known Better.” The lyrics, such as the refrain “She’ll be telling you ‘good girls don’t but I do,'” were considered misogynistic by some critics. However, Joyce Canaan of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies wrote that this line succinctly captures the transformation of teenage girls’ representations of their sexual practices; while they want to be seen as “good girls”, even good girls may engage in practices not corresponding to established moral standards. Fieger has stated that “All we were doing in songs like the naughty ‘Good Girls Don’t’ was reflecting the way 14-year-old boys feel. And there’s a little 14-year-old boy in all of us. I think that’s why the record did so well.” Other lyrics that created controversy included the lines:

“And she makes you want to scream; wishing you could get inside her pants” (this line was re-recorded as “wishing she was givin’ you a chance” on the “clean” single release), and:

“And it’s a teenage sadness everyone has got to taste.”
 “An in-between age madness that you know you can’t erase till she’s sitting on your face (and it hurts!).”
DISGUSTING!
 Although I really liked My Sharona when it came out, I realized quickly that Doug Fieger seemed like a Beatles wannabe and a bit of a pervert. Who names their album, “…But The Little Girls Understand.”??? What kind of Pedos are these guys to approve that? Even the cover’s imagery conveys that. A young girl looking up at the stage in awe. It’s awful. Even when this came out, I was 17 and found this offensive.

Knack - But the Little Girls Understand - Amazon.com Music

Critic Greil Marcus described the song as a “smutty little Beatles imitation”. Author John Borack described the song as “a mean pop tune”, noting too that in the song lead singer and songwriter Fieger comes off “like a leering, sexist twit with hormones a-raging.

I don’t know. It just seems a bit too much. Anyway, Doug Fieger died from cancer at 57 in 2006.

Let’s Make A Baby – Billy Paul – 1975

I don’t know. Here’s another one that makes me think of the Paul Anka song, You’re having my baby. Billy’s a good singer, but again, the subject matter bothers me. I just can’t ever imagine myself driving down the road in my car singing along to these lyrics. Just…NO.

Come on, come on, let’s make a baby
Oh, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s bring another life into this world
A little boy, a little girl

Take my hand while we walk slowly to the room
Can’t you see tonight I’m gonna make sweet, sweet love to you?

Girl, don’t be shy, don’t be shy
This is a moment we’ve been waiting for
Hey, come by my side, by my side
It’s the place you’ll be forevermore, forevermore

So, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s make a baby
Oh, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s bring another life into this world
A little boy, a little girl

The Buoys – Timothy – 1970

Here’s a last-minute entry. One of my followers sent this one to me. I’ve never heard this song before. It’s a perfect addition to this series. I’m not going to give away the twist to this song.

Just listen to it.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Friday Night Dinner

Philadelphia, PA – Early 1970s

When I was a kid, several people in the neighborhoods had what they called cookouts. You could smell it in the air when it was happening. I always loved that smell, but my family never did it, nor did we ever attend a cookout. Now it’s called grilling or barbecuing.

I always knew when my friend Michael’s family had a barbecue because it was all over his shirt after dinner.

I always loved that smell of a cookout, but would never even try anything like that until my early twenties. Just that aroma of burgers and chicken sizzling over the fire, slathered in barbecue sauce, smelled amazing. But It just wasn’t something we did as a family back then.

We rarely ever went out to a restaurant as a family when we were kids. I remember my mother telling me that when we were really little if they took us to a restaurant and somebody started fussing, it was over. My parents were very proud and respectable people. They never wanted their kids to be the ones disrupting other people’s dining experience, so we simply stayed home for dinner. Plus, I was a fussy eater, and going out to a restaurant even back then was expensive for a family of six, so it was too much.

But as we got a little older, sometimes on a Friday night my dad would come home from work and we’d all pile in the car and he’d take the family to a place called Burger Chef up on Cottman Avenue.

We loved it. The food was good and it was a fun night out as a family. My mom hated cooking so I’m sure it was nice for her to have a night off. Can you imagine hating to do something, and you had to do it every night for six people for over 25 years? She always told me she’d rather do all of the dishes than have to cook. But my mom was a good soldier and did what was needed for her husband and kids back then.

Years later, some of my fondest memories of my mom was when I was a teenager. She’d wash, and I’d dry the dishes for her. It was a time after dinner for us to bond, chat, and listen to the radio together. I’d tell her who all of the artists were and why they were so good. My mom always loved music, so we always had that in common. Sometimes we’d even sing along together.

Anyway, here’s a link about this remarkable predecessor to Macdonald’s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burger_Chef

I would get a kid’s sized hamburger and we’d all share the french fries. We never had fries like that at home, so I loved them!

We’d all be on our best behavior for obvious reasons. We were all taught early on how important good manners were and how to behave in public. My sisters and I were so well-behaved in public that my mother once told me that people would come up to her and tell her how lovely her children were. What those strangers didn’t know, was the unbridled wrath we would be shown if we ever acted rude or disrespectable in public. We were raised correctly. Sadly, much of that is lacking today. Good manners don’t cost a thing and everyone should practice them every day. If you’re raised properly as a child it will carry you forth through your whole life. But you’ll always have to navigate your way through all of the animals on this planet. But I digress…

We were good kids on our best behavior happily munching our burgers and sipping our delicious milkshakes. You really can’t find a good milkshake anymore in any fast food restaurant. You actually have to go to an old diner where they make it with real milk and ice cream. When you can find a good milkshake it’s a thing of beauty.

We eventually switched from Burger King to MacDonald’s but it was all the same to me. I was just happy to be out munching on delicious fast food!

Look how cheap everything was back then!

Vintage Fast Food Menus That Look Way Better Than Today's

We were just chilling at the table and chatting with our folks, just being our little unit among the other diners. But my sisters and I had bigger hopes for the evening beyond delicious fire-grilled burgers and golden buttery fries. There was something else. Something unspoken between us kids. We quietly prayed that after dinner something else might possibly happen. And if it did… it would be a glorious event.

Because up the road was a magical place.

Even as my father pulled the vehicle out of the parking lot of the restaurant, we would all look out the windows knowing if we were headed home, or if we were headed in a different direction. We would know, and the anticipation would begin to build.

As long as dinner came off without a hitch, we’d be rewarded with a little trip to a second location. A place beyond a child’s imagination. A place rivaled only by what we imagined that the warehouse behind Santa’s workshop at the North Pole looked like.

We would make our pilgrimage to this oasis of sheer joy.

Yes… Kiddie City!

Remembering LIONEL Playworld & Kiddie City stores on Twitter: "EXCLUSIVE: Remembering LIONEL Kiddie City in Rochester New York! 🥰 FOLLOW us on Twitter JOIN us on FACEBOOK @ Remembering Lionel Playworld &

Here’s a couple of actual shots of the place in the 70s.

Kiddie City. Castor Avenue--we got t go here and pick out one reasonably-priced toy each birthday. | Favorite city, Toy store, Childhood memories

Kiddie City | bluesmavin | Flickr

There was a 5 & 10 in our neighborhood. There may have been little toy shops on Rising Sun Avenue near our house in Lawndale. There was even another toy store nearby, called Baby Town. But this place…. this was a gigantic store. A destination. A brilliant building filled with every toy a child could possibly ever want in life. I mean… everything!

Walking into that store and seeing aisle after aisle of every toy you could possibly ever imagine was an amazing occurrence. I think I would never have that level of excitement until Christmas morning. This place was so exciting to kids, but Christmas was pure euphoria.

We’d all wander around the store looking at all of the toys. Our parents were always close by and making mental notes for our Christmas lists. Unlike most families, my parents never got caught up in Black Friday or any of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping crush that most people experience each holiday season. Unbeknownst to us, my folks shopped for toys for us All Year Round.

Do you know anyone who did that? I don’t. They bought for us all year round. They would hide them all in the basement in the back of closets and under tarps in boxes under the pool table. Probably in their own bedroom closets or even at my father’s office. No one was the wiser and my parents were like elves doing Santa’s work on a monthly basis. Which not only was easier on their finances and budget but resulted in the collection of an absolute bounty of toys for us kids.

My father had kind of a crap childhood, and his father, although a great earner at an insurance company, showed little interest in his two sons. He’d rather be at the bar tossing back a few with his buddies.

He’d simply toss a few bucks to his wife and tell her to pick up some toy trains and some other stuff. My father in turn did not repeat his father’s lack of performance. My dad went the other way. He loved Christmas and every aspect of the holiday. He went crazy at Christmas and I’ll cover that in a future post. But let’s just say, I’m surprised my father didn’t have a direct line to the North Pole to the big man himself. (I’m kidding… My dad WAS Santa Claus!)

We’d look at all of the goodies and drool over all the stuff we wanted to get. And… if… IF… we were good, we might even walk away from the night with a little something. Maybe a little doll or a car, but better yet… possibly a book.

We didn’t get many toys throughout the year. I don’t know what other kids got, but in my neighborhood, I’d know if a kid got anything new. But at Christmas, that’s when you got all of the things you wanted the entire year.

So, I’ve always associated fast food with good times with my family. It was a rare occurrence, but when it happened it was magic!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 3

If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.

For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.

Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:

    • made me sick without even listening to it again
    • made me want to break my radio
    • made my stomach turn
    • brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
    • reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
    • could make me want to break my stereo
    • would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
    • would make me boo a band who started playing it
    • suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe
I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on shitty music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere). Clothes-pin anyone?

The 70’s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.

 

White Plains – My Baby Loves Lovin’ – 1970

White Plains is such an appropriate name for this band. They’re white and they’re plain, which also applies to the music. Just look at the title of their big US hit, My Baby Loves Lovin’. Total genius. And it’s as creative as the title suggests a.k.a it’s one of the most generic, cookie-cutter love songs the 70s have crapped out.

My baby loves love
My baby loves lovin’
She’s got what it takes
And she knows how to use it

My baby loves love
My baby loves lovin’
She’s got what it takes
And she knows how to use it

That was the chorus, BTW.”My girl loves the act of loving.” How riveting. The instrumentation is just as cookie-cutter, utilizing the safest, non-threatening sounds from the decade. People who complain about today’s music sounding the same should go back and listen to garbage like this and realize that the pop charts have always pushed mediocrity.

The New Seekers – Look What They’ve Done To My Song – 1970

The 70s didn’t just have boring stuff, it also had a LOT of weird stuff, too. The kind of weird stuff that made you question what the hell people were thinking at the time until you think about the copious amount of drugs they consumed. Exhibit A: Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma, a cover to a Melanie Safka’s What Have They Done To My Song, Ma. It starts off as a typical acoustic guitar ballad before being accompanied by a cheap accordion. It’s always going to sound like a joke, even when it’s supposed to be serious. Every time I hear this song, I hear nothing but background music for a French film. And that’s one of several musical elements that are in the song that don’t mesh with one another. I don’t even know what they did to this song, ma.

Bobby Sherman – Julie, Do Ya Love Me – 1970

Wow. Here’s a song that could’ve only existed in the 70s, Bobby Sherman’s Julie, Do Ya Love Me. Just listen to that messy instrumentation and try to picture it being made outside of the 70s. With that, being dated isn’t the reason why this song is on the list. No, it’s on the list because of the writing and content. Mr. Sherman here is feeling down because he had to leave his girl, whose name is Julie. What should sound romantic ends up being lame and schmaltzy. This dude was apparently a heartthrob back in the days. If there’s anything that pop music history has taught us, it’s that women would throw themselves at any pretty boy, no matter the quality of their music. Just a Tiger Beat cover boy.

Brotherhood of Man – United We Stand – 1970

You ever looked at a song title/artist name and expected one thing, but got something completely different? Well, that’s the feeling I had when I came across a song called United We Stand by The Brotherhood Of Man. I was expecting a protest song from a multi-racial group, but instead, we got a schmaltzy, pseudo-gospel declaration of love from a bunch of white folks. Look, there’s nothing wrong with the message. I can get behind it because the world does need more love. But I find this to be some cornball, sanitized trash. This is Sunday school music with all references to God and Jesus removed. Look, I appreciate the message and the fact that it resonates with some people, but I’m gonna have to pass on this one.

Check out the host of this music show. Where did they get this husk? Did they roll him out of mothballs to be on the show? Also, is this the ugliest band ever? Who chose that wardrobe? Awful!

Eddie Holmes – Hey There Lonely Girl – 1969 (I know, it’s not the 70s but it was played in the 70s non-stop)

I’ve said in the past that R&B was one of the best parts of 70s music (which I still stand by), BUT that doesn’t mean all of it was good. Just look at Hey There Lonely Girl by Eddie Holman. The instrumentation is alright, but then there’s Eddie Holman’s voice. Dear Lord Beerus, this dude’s voice. He has one of those ear-piercing falsettos that sounds like a chain-smoking Mickey Mouse. Every high note he hits is so shrill that I can’t listen to the song on headphones. (My ears are bleeding!) In the writing, the dude has his eyes on a girl whose boyfriend broke her heart and he offers to be her new boyfriend. Yeah, that’s not generating Treat You Better vibes at all. If I ever hear this song on an R&B station, I’m pressing skip immediately.

The Pipkins – Gimme Dat Ding! – 1970

Gimme Dat Ding by The Pipkins. What the flying hell did I just listen to? Was this a rejected song from an old 30s cartoon? This is what people at the time bumped in the whip? Two dudes going back and forth, one of them sounding like Popeye the Sailor Man while the other one keeps saying Gimme Dat Ding over and over on top of a honky-tonk piano. What is the ding, anyway? Is that another way of saying “pass the blunt?” Is it a brand of beer? “What you want?” “Gimme dat ding, please.” Is it sex? Considering that both performers are men, that’s kinda progressive for the 70s. Who knows? All I know is that I don’t want to hear it again. Gimme Dat Ding, another novelty hit that left me puzzled. Why in the world was this ever recorded? They must have known that there were bands called the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin were in existence at the time. Why a vaudeville number?

Ronnie Dyson – (If You Let Me Make Love To You, Then) Why Can’t I Touch You? – 1970

Never has there been a song that raised so many questions before I started listening to it. The full title to Ronnie Dyson’s big hit is (If You Let Me Make Love To You, Then) Why Can’t I Touch You? Wouldn’t making love to someone involve physical contact? Are they having Amish sex where they bang with sheets between them? Are they having phone sex? Ghost sex? Are they screwing using telepathy or telekinesis? Do they use one of those devices from Demolition Man? What does it all mean?

Tiny Tim – Tiptoe Through The Tulips – 1968

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Tim_(musician)

Tiptoe Through the Tulips“, also known as “Tip Toe Through the Tulips with Me”, is a popular song published in 1929. The song was written by Al Dubin (lyrics) and Joe Burke (music) and made popular by guitarist Nick Lucas. On February 5, 1968, singer Tiny Tim made the song a novelty hit by singing it on the debut episode of the popular American television show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

Tim sings the song in the style of a woman singing the song in 1929! But he looks so weird and creepy doing it. It’s amazing the man had the career he did. It’s just so bizarre I had to add it to my list!

 

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Tales of Rock – In Search Of The Forgotten Heroes Of 70s Rock

Oh, I love this so much!

We all know about the 70s. The Beatles quit, glam came along — T.RexBowie, Slade; in the background, Floyd, Zeppelin and Sabbath sold squillions of records as 70s rock icons. Yes, ELP, Mike Oldfield and Genesis did prog for educated chaps. Then disco: ELO, ABBA and Queencompeted with it, then joined it. Punk rebelled, then came post-punk and Joy Division, plus 2-Tone. There was other stuff, like Bob Marley and Eagles. And we wore platform-heeled hot pants. Cool. Perhaps.

But are the 2010s only about Adele and Ed Sheeran? Beneath their mass appeal lies hundreds of other acts making great music. It was the same for 70s rock coulda-beens: brilliant bands rocked audiences of thousands, made fantastic albums, then faded. Fondly remembered by a troupe of diehards, these acts are almost ignored by the rock’n’roll historians — though many deserved to be lauded like their celebrated contemporaries. Here are but a few: remember them with love, or discover them afresh.

It wasn’t enough for Focus to boast a brilliant guitarist in Jan Akkerman; they had a wily way with a tune and succeeded with an unfashionable form of rock: instrumentals. Focus were The Netherlands’ leading 70s rock band. Formed in 1969, they won attention through early single ‘House Of The King’. The theme for four UK TV series(!), the unwary might have mistaken it for a Jethro Tull ditty thanks to the flute of Thijs Van Leer, though his group were very different. Their second album, 1971’s II, was Focus’ breakthrough, delivering an international hit in the fierce ‘Hocus Pocus’. Their third album delivered the elegant descending melody of ‘Sylvia’, winning further fans worldwide, with Akkerman drawing admiration. The guitarist left in 1976 but returned several times; Focus are still on the road.

 

Akkerman wasn’t alone: the 70s adored a guitar hero. Robin Trower, formerly of Procol Harum, was seen by some listeners as the heir to Jimi Hendrix. Trower formed his own power trio in 1973, teasing weeping and wailing from his Stratocaster over a series of fine records, and riding high in the album chart with Bridge Of Sighs in ’74 and For Earth Below in ’75 — chiefly in the US, rather than his native UK. Another notable guitar band were Wishbone Ash, though they went one further, with the double lead axes and vocals of Andy Powell and Ted Turner mesmerising fans. Pilgrimage (1971) and Argus (1972) were 70s rock classics, mixing melody, blues and a mythological element. Their ‘Blowin’ Free’ was banned from some guitar shops which grew sick of budding strummers playing its intro. Among them was Steve Harris, heartbeat of Iron Maiden, for whom the Ash was a major influence.

The second-division 70s rock bands were not remotely generic. Behind the sleeve artwork of famed designer Roger Dean, Osibisa played Afro-rock that mixed Ghanaian highlife, searing rock and Caribbean grooves; ignore their biggest hit, ‘Sunshine Day’, and check out their eponymous debut LP and its ’74 follow-up, Woyaya: both made loon pants rave. The Strawbs blended folk (Sandy Denny was an early member, as was Rick Wakeman) with rock, glam and social comment, hitting with ‘Part Of The Union’ and ‘Lay Down’ in 1972. The band were too diverse for its own good, though Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios (1970) and Grave New World (’72) were widely played and respected. And spare a thought for the Illinois singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes, a multi-tracking one-man-band given the tag of “the new Paul McCartney”. Gulp. His second, self-titled, album is so full of beautiful, melodic tunes, tending to the baroque, that it’s baffling that it only made №29 in the US in 1970. Talent? You bet.

 

The harmonious progressive rock of California quartet Ambrosia illuminated the second half of the 70s. Their imaginative eponymous debut (1975) adapted a Kurt Vonnegut poem for the single ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice’, while ‘Holdin’ On To Yesterday’, an orchestrated beauty with the sort of beat now regarded as a downtempo groove, was a big US hit. The following year, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled sent FM DJs quietly wild; further fame came when the group cut ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ for the Beatles/war documentary oddity All This And World War II. Scoring warm soul-styled hits in the 80s, these alluring soft rockers are still touring.

The wonderful Atlanta Rhythm Section faced one drawback: their acronym was ARS. But they made it. No prizes for guessing where they’re from. They delivered five albums between 1972–76, with little fuss and low sales figures: that changed in 1977 when ‘So Into You’, a cool, steady-chugging chunk of soulful Southern rock, went Top 10 in the US, bringing their A Rock And Roll Alternative with it. The next year they scored again with ‘Imaginary Lover’ and the strolling ‘I’m Not Going To Let It Bother Me Tonight’, both from the platinum-selling Champagne Jam. Further hits came courtesy of ‘Do It Or Die’ and a revival of ‘Spooky’ — two members of the band had been in Classics IV, who’d first hit with the in ’67. ARS were a class act.

Want something that blends with them? Try ‘Jackie Blue’ (1974), the biggest hit by Missouri’s Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Mixing AOR with country-influenced sounds (check out the boogie of ‘If You Want To Get To Heaven’) and a sense of the absurd (their third LP was called The Car Over The Lake Album, and the sleeve showed just that), they were a reliably fine time on vinyl between 1973–80.

 

Staying in the south, Wet Willie were named after a schoolyard prank but were no joke. From Alabama, they boasted five or six core members, plus backing singers The Williettes, who included British solo star Elkie Brooks for a while. Their biggest hit was the laconic, steady-rollin’ ‘Keep On Smilin’’ in 1974, title track to their fourth album. For the full blast of their grittily funky rock, however, try the previous year’s superb live set, Drippin’ Wet. And let’s also recall Manassas, who cut two fine albums in 1972–73. And they would be fine, since they were the vision of a bona fide superstar, Steven Stills, and featured Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers amid an array of truly great players. The group’s self-titled debut offered four sides of glorious rootsy country-rock — and whatever else took their fancy. Everyone involved thought the band was amazing, so why weren’t they bigger? Perhaps because fans wanted Crosby, Stills & Nash, instead.

At the opposite end of the fame spectrum, British 70s rock band Brinsley Schwarz, named after their guitarist, were famously over-hyped when flown to NYC to open at the Fillmore East in front of a gaggle of music hacks, but settled into a low-key country-rock and roots vibe that was a cornerstone of London pub-rock. Building a loyal, if small, following, they toured constantly, supported the likes of Wings and Dave Edmunds, but disbanded unheralded in 1975, leaving us half a dozen albums such as the country-inclined Nervous On The Road. Most members went on to success, notably bassist and songwriter Nick Lowe, who produced The Damned and Elvis Costello, was part of Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile, and wrote Dr Feelgood’s biggest hit, ‘Milk And Alcohol’. Another downbeat hero, Scottish guitarist Miller Anderson, breathed blues-fuelled fire into records by Keef Hartley Band, Savoy Brown, Ian Hunter, Jon Lord and many more. His sole solo set of the 70s, Bright City, on Decca’s progressive Deram imprint, was ambitious, thoughtful and had a theme concerning 70s urban life, with brilliant orchestral arrangements. It sold… not at all. A dirty rotten shame, as Anderson’s under-exposed vocal talent deserved exposure.

 

Prog stars Camel, led by guitarist/flautist Andy Latimer and featuring keyboardist Peter Bardens, cut Camel for MCA in ’72, featuring the climactic gem ‘Never Let Go’. Swapping to Deram, Mirage found a following in the US, and 1975’s instrumental suite, The Snow Goose, became a surprise runaway success, despite a dispute with Paul Gallico, the author of the kids’ book of the same name, involving an unseemly mix-up about whether the band were related to the cigarette brand (they weren’t). The following year’s Moonmadness was another hit amid various line-up changes, and the group kept charting until 1984.

Another act who had to earn it, baby, were prog stalwarts Barclay James Harvest, a quartet who got through five albums without pestering the Top 40, finally scoring with Live, a double set that reflected a fanbase built on hard graft. LPs such as Everyone Is Everyone ElseOctoberonand Time Honoured Ghosts are classics of their type, with great songs such as ‘Mocking Bird’ and the wry ‘Poor Man’s Moody Blues’ undeservedly little heard today. Then there’s Gentle Giant, who grew (and grew) from the psychedelic-era act Simon Dupree & The Big Sound (and late-60s curiosity The Moles) into one of the most reliable progressive bands of the 70s. While they barely hit in their native UK, a decade of albums on Vertigo label and Chrysalis won a strong following in the US, with Free Hand going Top 50, and the likes of Octopusand The Power And The Glory proving fascinating those with ears to hear.

 

Finally, two more British 70s rock bands who, sadly, barely registered: Spring, a highly melodious five-piece whose charming self-titled 1971 album is mostly recognised for copious use of the Mellotron (without sounding remotely like The Moody Blues). What ought to be more noted, however, are the heartfelt and distinctive vocals of Pat Moran, who went on to produce Iggy Pop, among many others. And should you think T2 is just a movie, you haven’t heard It’ll All Work Out In Boomland, a legendary progressive album that should have made stars of the trio that recorded it. If you want to know where Neil Young and Bowie meet, hear T2’s singer-drummer Peter Dunton, and you’ll also enjoy the tough guitar stylings of Keith Cross. Despite BBC sessions and an 80s reunion, fame proved elusive for the group. 70s rock fans didn’t know how lucky they were.

This has been one of my favorite Tales of Rock to write. These are glorious songs from my past that were nearly forgotten, but I resurrect them here for you to witness!

Enjoy!

 

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