Over the last couple months I have had the opportunity to revisit a ton of music from my youth. I have always been an avid listener of tunes from all eras but this focus has been specifically on music in the time frame from about 1970 until 1977. Here is the conclusion I have reached… I was fortunate enough to come of age during a time when there the most diverse groupings of music available in history.
While I know there are those that would argue that today is much more diverse, I would contend that what makes today seem so much more diverse is actually the accessibility of music today. Back in the ancient days of the 70s we had basically 4 ways we could hear music; the radio, records, 8 track tapes and cassette tapes. Those were the days of the advent of FM radio… just prior to this…. in the 60’s AM was all you really had and you would have to spend time after the sun went down searching for those faint signals from far away places like Charlotte… New York… Nashville or For Wayne. The portability of records left much to be desired… and the fragility of the medium in the hands of clumsy kids like me meant that it usually wasn’t too many plays into the life of a 45 or an lp before a scratch would ruin the listening enjoyments that we had been so longing for as we had thumbed through those racks of records at Grants or Roses Department Stores or where ever we spent hours pouring over just which one we would purchase. With the advent of 8 tracks and cassette tapes though, we finally got more portability… to have our music with us where we went…. as long as we had an ample supply of C or D cell batteries of course.
The advent of the internet and digital file formats and players of ever decreasing size (I believe you can now get 10,000 songs on device that will fit on the head of pin, can’t you? Assuming you can remember where you left it, of course) have made it possible to get whatever music you want where ever you want it… but that isn’t really what this is about…. this is about diversity….
In the 70’s rock and roll was huge (the Stones, Led Zepplin, Aerosmith)… and so was the sub-genre of southern rock (Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynrd, .38 Special)…. the Motown sound was in it’s hey day (Smokey Robinson, the Spinners)…. and soul along with rhythm and blues continued to be a major force (Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye)… and the new sounds of funk were making in-roads (Parliament, Funkadelic, the Ohio Players)… there was basic pop songs too (Bay City Rollers, Chicago, the Carpenters)… and there was the dreaded disco tunes (Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Trammps).
There isn’t a single category that I just named that there aren’t songs that I enjoyed…. even disco!! It has been great hearing a lot of these songs again after so many years without them….. they all make me laugh… and smile… and some still bring a tear to my eye. I am so fortunate to have come of age when I did…. and thanks so much to all of the artist and groups I mentioned above… and all of their peers, for sharing their gifts with me. And just so you know, guys… it really is amazing how much better you all sound when I sing along… WE are dynamite together! Come on gang, drag out those old tunes and sing along… you’ll see what I’m talking about!