Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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The Records

I like that record from 'way back in 1979 called "Starry Eyes" by a band called The Records. It's great power pop,with a nice hook, "I don't wanna argue/I ain't gonna budge/would you write this number down/before you go off to judge/I don't wanna argue/there's nothing to say/get me out of your starry eyes and be on your way". I was 20 in 1979, and out of just such things are the stuff that dreams are made of. Never mind that in 1979 I thought the line was "write this number down before you go off to church". Never mind that I still prefer my imagined lyric to the true lyric.

Sometimes it's great when one hears the lyrics correctly, but it seems like a mis-communication, like that wonderful Sundays song which goes "I kicked a boy 'til he cried". Then of course, there's what we will refer to lightly as the Problem of the Cocteau Twins, which, if you think about it, would have been a Conan Doyle story title had it not been a Manchester band.

I spent my teen years in falsetto, trying to hit the high notes on "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us",which worked out quite well in my 20s, by which time my preferred artists had fairly unremarkable "sounds like he did something unfortunate to his vocal chords" stylings anyway. I was once accused of liking art rock because so many art-rockers have mock-grandiose flat voices with little range, like mine.

It's difficult, being a teen of the 70s, secretly preferring Emerson, Lake and Palmer's version of "Hoe Down" to the London Symphony Orchestra's, and knowing all the words to "Young Americans" but not all of the words to "Let's Get it On" (or even "Let's Stay Together").

I remember when we eagerly awaited the chance to buy a copy of "We're an American Band", with its gold disk; when people line-danced to "Smoke on the Water" in Summer camp; and I remember hearing the opening notes on "Before and After Science" as if they were a new revelation by an intriguing prophet.

I remember when Dexy was searching for young soul rebels and not appearing on "One Hit Wonders". I remember when Margaret Thatcher managed to simultaneously break a national spirit and inspire incredible music. I remember when Sting did not seem unbelievably irrelevant.

In those days, the only musical annulments involved Jerry Lee Lewis, Peter Frampton went from "Humble Pie" to talking through an electric gizmo, and Neil Young definitely proved the essential insomnia of oxidated metal.

"Save my life I'm going down for the last time", Head East implored us, while Todd told us he never wanted his girlfriend to change for him. Richard Nixon resigned the year that "Kimono My House" came out, and it was all of a piece, somehow. Apollo 13 was nearly lost in April 1970, at which time Jethro Tull announced, in an unrelated move, that the band would release no more new singles. Apollo 13 was saved, and Tull did release more singles. "Bridge over Troubled Water" went platinum in April 1970, while Merle Haggard received an award for the country music album of the year.

My favorite band was (and remains) Be Bop Deluxe, an art rock band in three piece suits, with a brilliant guitarist, and fascinating lyrics. "My world is not like yours/I come from somewhere long ago/now there's no way back, I'm lost and I feel so alone", Bill Nelson would sing, and then launch into yet another guitar line. Heady stuff, when you're 18.

I'd go to church camp each Summer, where fellows would "pick on me", but everyone gathered in the chapel in the evening to sing "I've got Peace like a River". The Summer the first Bad Company album came out, it became so universally popular that only Alanis' first album compares in this modern era.
I still like the sound of "More than a Feeling", although Boston itself faded quite quickly.

I remember long drives into the night with a dear friend in college, playing "Station to Station" and "Young Americans". I remember the fellow down the hall in the dorm who alternated "Roxanne" with "Like a Rolling Stone". I remember dancing to "Boogie Oogie Oogie", which song virtually defines the term "guilty pleasure". I remember young teen dance nights with both "Drift Away" and "Love it to Death" playing on the turntable, one after another. I remember when Joe Walsh was a James not an Eagle. I remember when Black Oak Arkansas' live album made me believe in scrub boards, three guitar attacks, and lead singers who sounded like their mouths were full of crackers.

I remember the Runaways, the Pop and the Knack. I remember when campus radio alternated "Watching the Detectives" with "Last Chance Texaco". I remmber finding obscure Harry Partch on LPs, the thrill of the early Jam songs, and the sense that whatever it was life was about must be on a lyric sheet someplace. I remember going to London just after the 1970s ended, where a Cocteau Records 45 of "Do You Dream in Colour" was my favorite purchase, and also learning a fellow named Ian Curtis had died, and not realizing until later that the 70s died with him.
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