16 October 2006

Random Musical Thoughts

Prickle-Prickle, Bureaucracy 70 - Year Of Our Lady Of Discord 3172

Pixie and I are going to reorganise the massive CD collection, which has led me to wonder about a few things:

1979 (Gregorian): I'm not sure (as always, there's room for doubt)--but was this a pretty shit year for music? I mean, for pop & rock, as I do claim ignorance of what was happening in classical music or world music or jazz (though Miles Davis was still in 'retirement'--so it was prolly a pretty shit year for jazz, too) or folk and country. Seriously, the airwaves seemed to be ruled by corporate-rock behemoths (Boston, Journey, Styx) and a few 70s dinosaurs were still lumbering around (Kiss, Ted Nugent). Progressive rock was nearly gone (the "big 4" were just about done--King Crimson and E.L.P. had already split and Genesis and Yes were already making pop crossover sounds), punk (as a revolutionary musical force) was on it's last legs. Pink Floyd issued their Roger Waters-led overblown ode to a depressed rich rock-star, The Wall, and a generation of white-trash miscreants received a call-to-arms with the "we don't need no education" line (and yeah, I did that whole "carrying the boom box through the halls on the last day of school, blasting 'Another Brick In The Wall - Part 2" thing also, so I'm poking fun at myself here, too). Fleetwood Mac went the Floyds one better and spent an unprecedented (at the time) 8 months in the studio creating (under the guidance of guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham--I suppose the rest of 'em were too coked-out to object) the hugely over-rated Tusk double-album. Like "The Wall", there are a few good tracks sprinkled in amongst the chaff--but I haven't bothered to listen to it in 15 years. There were the young up-starts--but when was the last time you listened to Regatta De Blanc, or Candy-O? I thought so. Even Kate Bush's Lionheart seems like a holding pattern album. I suppose the New York scene was still thriving and Talking Heads and Blondie were making pretty good records at this time. Overall, though..was 1979 crap?

Here's a few good records from '79 that I can think of:

Wire - 154
Steve Hillage - Rainbow Dome Musick
Public Image Ltd. - Metal Box
Tangerine Dream - Force Majeure
The Clash - London Calling (I know - a perennial list-maker's favourite - but it is a good record)
Talking Heads - Fear Of Music
Robert Fripp - Exposure
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats

Not very definitive, I suppose--but you see what I mean.

What Happened To Bob Seger?: Man, in the early 80s, this guy was ubiquitous. I remember once in 1982, I think the local radio station played that Night Moves (or whatever it's called) song all day--no other songs, just that one. It certainly seemed that way. And that was the poppier, 'Top-40' station. If you turned to the rock stations, ya got Mainstreet, Kathmandu, Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight, Ramblin' Gamblin' Man..and that warhorse, Old Time Rock And Roll, which, if I hear it now--makes me want to claw my ears off of my head and choke 'The Seeg' with them. I mostly blame Tom Cruise and that stupid scene in that film where he dances around in his tighty-whiteys with a tie wrapped around his head, or something. Because of that, the song became an anthem for overweight, white, inbred idiots who would request the song everywhere (weddings, bars, dances), then go into spastic movements that they would refer to as 'dancing'. I know it's not really The Seeg's fault--but he did write the damn tune. It's tough to believe just how popular the guy was then, given that he seems to have virtually disappeared now. I mean, he was giving Bruce Springsteen a chase for the "classic all-'Murican boy" crown. I suppose his career was given a shot in the arm when Metallica covered his whiny rock-star-on-the-road dirge Turn The Page (yeah, Seeg--it's tough making all the bread and getting all that head, but y'know--someone's gotta do it..it's a good thing you've stepped into the fray and taken some for the team). Ford, or Chevy (does it matter?) also used his last big radio hit, Like A Rock (from 1986), for their truck ad campaign...for oh, about 200 years now. I feel a bit sorry for him, despite all of that--'cos once the greying 70s generation are shuffled into the nursing homes of the future--it seems that The Seeg's tunes will follow them there and stay--it doesn't seem to bode well for a Bob Seger revival. That's O.K., The Seeg is somewhere, still workin' on his night moves...


Anonymous said...

Bob Seger never meant anything much over here, so can't really relate to all that. He seemed pretty duff to me.

1979? I don't remember it being THAT bad...now, I could be wrong about actual dates (maybe '78 was better?) but Joy Division, XTC, Buzzcocks, The Jam, Ian Dury, The Fall all spring to mind when I think of this year. I was in my first year at University and those were the people I was listening to. Also, Dylan released 'Slow Train Coming'. This is probably a bad thing in most people's books...but not mine!

The Purple Gooroo said...

Ha Ha Ha--that's right, I suppose I should've subtitled the post "An American Perspective".

I forgot about The Buzzcocks and XTC...I suppose '79 was a great year for post-punk.

You guys are lucky you missed out on Seger and Journey and all that nonsense..it seems to be why the late 70s and early 80s sucked so much.