So a few weeks back I volunteered to write a blog for my friend Dotty about a decade of music. There was me thinking I would be able to write about my love of the 90’s and how the Britpop era influenced my musical outlook and got me into the whole live music scene which I have been hammering for last 18 years or so. Naïve of me to think it would be that easy!
Having been placed in a hat and drawn at random with fellow bloggers I was assigned the task of writing about the 70s. I was born in December 1977 so my actual memories of this decade are non-existent. As I set about thinking of the 70s, the first thing that came to mind was John Travolta strutting down a New York street swinging a pot of paint to the backing of “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees – then I had the images of the three of them with their dodgy perms, tight trousers and ridiculously white teeth. Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love” then entered my head, followed shortly after by Chic “Le Freak”. Now, not being an advocate of disco music I found this pretty concerning, and the final straw was when I had little Michael Jackson jiving in my head with “ABC”. I was all set to dismiss this task and write it off as a bad idea.
Then I had my moment of clarity…
Quadrophenia – recorded in 1973, film released in 1979. A film and a soundtrack that I got to grips with in my early twenties, but which was truly hammered home on a memorable night at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000. I had gone to the first Teenage Cancer Trust concert where I would witness a near 3 hour masterclass from the Who and special guests including Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Kelly Jones and Eddie Vedder amongst others. I remember outside that venue just being a sea of Lambrettas and Vespas, blokes in sharp suits and fish tail parkas, ladies in little penguin dresses or sharp black and white two tone numbers, and Union Jack flags to be seen everywhere you looked. It was the first time I had properly seen the Mod movement in all its glory and, having already fallen under the spell of Paul Weller a few years earlier, it properly drew me into the scene and the music that came with it. Before someone pulls me up on it, I am aware the mod scene developed in the 60’s but had it not been for Quadrophenia I wouldn’t have gotten to know it.
I wouldn’t have known who the star of that film, Phil Daniels, was had it not been for Blur and their Parklife song in the 90’s. It was only after enquiring about him and getting ridiculed for having not seen Quadrophenia that I eventually found out. It’s now that you realise that if it wasn’t for bands like The Who, The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Jam – the Britpop 90’s thing probably would never have happened?
The words which spring to my mind therefore about the 70’s are influential and nspirational. The fact those disco tunes were stuck in my head is a testament to the song writing from that era – I might not dig them, but I know of them and their grooves and basslines.
After more thought and reflection, I got to realising just how much this decade of music has shaped my tastes and my music collection. Your iPod doesn’t lie when it comes to the amount of times a song has been played and 2 songs immediately jumped out at me from the 70’s:
Down Down – Status Quo
This was the very first song I saw played live aged 13 years old. Francis Rossi in classic Quo attire creeping from behind a black curtain playing the opening riff before the curtain dropped and the band kicked in. Extremely loud and massively influential in getting me into live music at that age. Great memories and a very credible first gig I reckon, even though my mate who was with me now disagrees!
Band on the Run – Paul McCartney and Wings
I got to know and love this song through my Dad playing his best of Wings cassette in his Ford Sierra when I was 7 or 8 years old. It always made me think it was 3 songs in one at that age – many layers to it, and styles which I’ve always loved.
I could go on and on about other songs from this decade but it would just get boring to read. Below is a playlist of my top played songs from this decade which as I look at it I’m quite proud of. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from people over the years who have gotten me into these artists and for that I’m extremely grateful , and I hope my little lad grows up to appreciate them too!
In The City – The Jam
The Passenger – Iggy Pop
Peaches – The Stranglers
Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
Holidays In The Sun – Sex Pistols
London Calling – The Clash
Germ Free Adolescence – X Ray Spex
What Do I Get? – Buzzcocks
Life On Mars? – David Bowie
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure
20th Century Boy – T Rex
Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed
Up Around The Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Across The Universe – The Beatles
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Stay With Me – The Faces
Teenage Kicks – Undertones
One Way Or Another – Blondie
Milk and Alcohol – Dr Feelgood
Heart Of Gold – Neil Young
The Sideboard Song – Chas n’ Dave
(No I’m not taking the piss with Chas n’ Dave!!!)