Monday, May 28, 2007

Just Play That Funky Music

I hated this song. I hated everything about pop music in 1980. That's why I dressed funny and listened to punk rock- Bubs

It seemed like such a fun idea at the time when that dastardly villain Johnny Yen tagged me. And the instructions seemed simple enough:

1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of the year
4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends

But then I was bamboozled already by step #3. Do you have any idea what manner of crap Billboard has listed as their #1 hits for 1976?

Do you think I am kidding? Wrap your head around these samples, kiddies: I Write the Songs by Barry Manilow, (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine Band, Silly Love Songs by Wings, Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band, You Should Be Dancing by the BeeGees …

I could go on, but I’ll stop right there as I notice you are throwing up in your mouth a little bit. You should be down on your knees right now, thanking god for the internet which ended humanity’s dependence on crap pop radio.

I should have just done what Bubs did, but I wasn’t thinking clearly, so I researched some other charts and I don’t give a rat’s ass whether these all reached #1 spot or not, at least I can still listen to them with my dignity intact.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
I don’t remember specifically when I first heard this song, but I sure remember being quite blown away by the epic grandeur of the whole thing. Bugs Bunny cartoons aside, I think Bohemian Rhapsody may have been what first sparked my interest in the opera. Suddenly opera wasn’t just for stern hausfraus in iron breast-plates anymore.

Rock’n Me – Steve Miller Band
Weekends with my boyfriend at my friend’s cottage on Lake Winnipeg during the summer before my friend and I left to bum around Europe. Nuff said.

Love is the Drug – Roxy Music
This song was just a breath of fresh air. After being stuck in the pop music am radio hell of Winnipeg most of my life (with no internetz , kids!), the seductive beats and the alternative sound of Roxy Music made me realize that there was life out there, and there was music that I could embrace.

The Boys are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy
A little long-haired glam never hurt anyone, and this was a good times for all, the consequences be damned anthem, and that’s what we were all about then, innit?

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
I was always a Gordon Lightfoot fan. In fact,
Sit Down Young Stranger was the second album that I ever bought (Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild was the first). And I do believe that the first concert I ever attended was a Gordon Lightfoot concert. At the time it was so mindboggling and refreshing that a Canadian musician would actually embrace being a Canadian and sing about Canada.

But aside from those songs and a handful of others, 1976 was a pretty grim year for music that we were able to receive on our transistor radios. We were just starting to hear about the Sex Pistols and the Clash, and had never even dreamed that there were bands like the Damned, the Buzzcocks, the Stranglers, Siouxsie & The Banshees, the Undertones, Penetration, the Adverts, and the Skids.

We've come a long way, baby.

I am tagging Allison, Toccata, Mellowlee, Phlegmfatale, and Fearless.

Hey, this would appear to be post #600. Where'd the time go?


Allison said...

Oh wow, I actually can't play this game properly. My list holds Dentiny's Child and Shaggy... TWICE...yeah, I'm going to have to do the other chart thing, and nay to the #1 thing, hope that's cool.

What? No mp3 links :) Gordon Lightfoot as your first concert, that's pretty great. Powerful voice that one.

Dale said...

Very dignified list I'd say Barbara. Everyone's a winner baby that's no lie. Sorry.

Joe said...

I like that label--I was so much older of my favorite Dylan lines.

You found some real gems for that year, good job!

phlegmfatale said...

Very cool meme - and I'm excited about mine, except that almost everything I was listening to at the time was waaaaay underground. This'll be interesting.

John Mutford said...

I alluded to Allison not long ago that I have a very nasty collection of mp3s that I couldn't reveal online for fear of virtual stones. I'll reveal a little of that right now...I have 4 of the 5 crap songs that you mentioned (Barry wrote no songs for me). In fact my disco collection is quite large (interested in a Disco Duck mp3?). In my defense, I own all of the good ones you mentioned as well.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Yowza! Run, don't walk, to some other charts, Al, because although I'm sure you could go on very eloquently about how much Shaggy songs mean to you, I'm pretty sure none of us would buy it.
Bohemian Rhapsody is the only one of those songs that I actually have digitally (and I don't think there's anyone in the known universe who hasn't heard it). Think I'm going to look for some Roxy Music this week though, as I have a hankering.
And it was at a concert hall too, so nice comfy seats, as Lightfoot concerts do not lend themselves to moshing.

You make me feel like dancing, Dale. In a dignified manner, of course.

Mine too, Bubs - and he has some dandies.
I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find those gems, or however that metaphor goes.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

This will be most interesting, PF. If you can find them mentioned on some chart somewhere, I think they qualify. Hell, even if you can't, it's your post, follow your heart...
I can't wait for your list.

Oh John, you are a man with a dark and disturbed past indeed! I really think that you need to consider yourself tagged as well. Disco Duck actually has a certain ironic cache to it, does it not. Still, John, you surprise me. Who knew?

mellowlee said...

Wow, congrats on post 600, and this ought to be FUN! I have no idea what will be on my list...a bit scared, but hell, I will look on this as a challenge :O) Oh MAN, I love that Gordon song. It makes me cry every time I hear it.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i think i've said this before, but that gordon lightfoot song always makes me smile because when i was little, i thought it was the wreck of the ella fitzgerald.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You cannot imagine the big 600 party going on here right now, Mel. It's insane.
Okay maybe not, but I sure am curious about your list. Feel free to investigate other charts as it's starting to seem that the Billboard ones are universally depressing, regardless of year.
You posted about the Edmund Fitzgerald, didn't you?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You just made me shoot water out my nose, 668! Oh lord that is precious! I'm only grateful I wasn't drinking grapefruit juice at the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to be able to play this at RF Blog, it is Mashup Monday Dontcha Know, so I will play it over at Whiskey Tango.

Toccata said...

Haha! I can so relate to the horrendous music of the time. Our grade 12 grad song was Diana Ross singing Mahogany! I still cringe whenever I think of that song.

John Mutford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mutford said...

Barbara, I tried to do this. Honestly I did. But have you checked 94? It was the absolute worst. I really can't do this. Too many painful memories. I'm in the fetal position, typing this with my toe right now.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot it is, Fearless! I'll change your link, then, and I'm sure you be able to unearth some forgotten treasures. Looking forward to your list.

What a painful memory, Toccata. But sometimes the best way to deal with these things is to wallow in them. Go wallow in your year, girl. I hope you make it out safely.

I don't want to cause you any more pain, John. You are excused from active duty on this one.

Deb said...

What a bunch of crap that chart is. I hated 70's music and didn't listen to anything they've got listed for my 18th year ('79). Now I'm curious about what I WAS listening to and am going to investigate.

I like your list though and can identify with each of those songs. The 70's were the absolute worst time musically as far as I'm concerned.

Johnny Yen said...

Toccata's comment made me remember that the theme song for my 1979 prom was Barbara Streisand's "The Way We Were." Yech.

I was hard-pressed to find music I was actually listening to on the charts as well-- Bubs' idea was great. I was busy digging into a trove of older music-- old Who, Kinks, etc. and new music-- Elvis Costello, the Clash and such.

I remember in late '79 reading an article about the slump in the music business, and how they'd had to cut back on the lavish parties promoting an album's release, etc. This was the very reason punk music happened, in reaction to all that.

There's a great box set I own, the "No Thanks" set-- all seventies punk. We think of the seventies as the time of over-produced tripe, but a lot of the best music by X, the Damned and other actually came out in the seventies.

Will said...

What a fun exercise, and, well, the #1 hits don't seem too thrilling, do they? However, I have kind of a soft spot for "You Should Be Dancing" and that whole Saturday Night Fever album. Was that 1976? Incidentally, the record that was always spinning at the beginning of the N&UR video podcast was Saturday Night Fever. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is quite good ... I remember I first heard it as a young lad in Wayne's World.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I was pretty surprised at just how awful the #1 hits were for any year, Deb. Just goes to show that many people have crap taste in music. The music that we were exposed to in the 70s was awful!
I'd be curious to see what you uncover in your search for better stuff. Take a look at Johnny Yen's - he was 1979 as well.

I was quite pleased to hear that Barbra Streisand has been banned from playing in Japan, Johnny. Apparently she was charging upwards of $1600.00 per ticket. I wouldn't pay that for a GOOD act.
I was so relieved when punk and then new wave hit North America, it seems we had to wait forever to finally hear it.

Will, you are forgiven for saying such blasphemy because you didn't have to live through Saturday Night Fever and you don't know how we suffered. When that is all you hear for months, you do not look upon it kindly.
But Wayne's World did a great job in resurrecting Bohemian Rhapsody!

justacoolcat said...

"Silly Love Songs" happens to be a great song. Wings rocked until that McCartney guy quit.

Will said...

I can totally see that ... in fact, my affection came much later in life. I was a classic rock kid so disco was really the devil's music ... or maybe the Christian right's music ... same thing right?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm sorry, Just A, we can't be friends anymore. Not if you liked Wings. You can however redeem yourself by buying me a plate of hotwings.

Yeah I can't tell which side of god most of these groups stand on, Will, but I will concede that disco has a certain appeal to it now that we are removed from it.

hilary m. said...

Some of those artists on your list make me hope that 2010 (when I turn 18) will not be so grim.
I love your quote! I pretty much LOL'd when I saw that on TV. I unfortunatly was the slightest bit addicted to that show, partially because of Hiro. And partly because one of the characters looks a bit like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes...

Serah said...

Mine's not much better than Allison's: BoyzIIMen TLC, Montel Jordan,Mariah Carey?
This is the year same year that I went to Lollapalooza: Beastie Boys, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, George Clinton. Not to say they all hold the same flavor as they did at the time but much better in comparison to the Billboard chart.

BeckEye said...

I turned 18 in 1991, and you wouldn't believe the crap that was on the charts then, which is why I'm glad I haven't been tagged with this yet. I really don't think I could come up with any life-altering tales that revolve around a Color Me Badd song.

Johnny Yen said...

I remember I first heard it as a young lad in Wayne's World.

Okay, New And Used Records, as if this whole discussion didn't make me feel old enough:

1. I first heard Bohemian Rhapsody when I was 15 and it was a hit.
2. Wayne's World came out when I was in my early thirties.

We actually love Wayne's World around my household. Two of the icons in their "Bohemian Rhapsody" sequence are within a five minute walk of my home.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You just know that 1020 is going to have crappy #1 hits as well, Hilary. Why should things change?
I have to admit I just started watching Heroes a couple of episodes ago, but it's kinda compelling. Hiro is awesome!
Oh yeah one of the dudes who died (or did he?) bears a resemblance to Conor Oberst, minus the mullett.

That's a pretty grand Lollapalooza lineup, Serah. I think you made the right choice, going to that instead of oh a Mariah Carey concert, say.

Oh come on, Beckeye! Smart woman like you should be able to come up with 12 good reasons why Color Me Badd has changed your life for the better.

Hey that's pretty cool, Johnny! I'll bet you take all your out of town visitors to see them. I loved Wayne's World, myself.
I'm starting to feel vaguely grandmotherly myself.

Toccata said...

I am wallowing just to let you know. Should be up tomorrow!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Let me know if you need a life jacket, Toccata.