By Trent Rosser
A while back I wrote about the 80’s music. I mentioned a few songs and expressed how I believe that the 80’s had some of the best music. I still stand behind my opinion on that, but great songs came from all decades. With every generation, great songs are born. Nearly 70 years ago, Hank Williams was telling us about “Your Cheating Heart” and Patsy Cline was telling us that she was “Crazy” and Buddy Holly was singing “Oh Boy” to “Peggy Sue”. The 50’s were the beginning of Rock n Roll.
Then the 60’s came along with a wide variety of hits like Chubby Checker singing “The Twist”, then a year later, he did it again with “Lets Twist Again”. Speaking of twist, the Beatles sang “Twist and Shout”, “Hey Jude” while telling the girls “I want to hold your hand”. Songs still ring today though out stadiums around the country with The Troggs “Wild Thing” These are just a few of the endless classics that are still heard around the world today. They are the foundation of rock and roll. Just about everyone has a song that they love from this era. The love songs and broken heart songs started the career of many artist. Elvis Presley asked, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and who can forget the fabulous duo of Sonny and Cher telling each other that “I’ve got you babe” This is also the time when band names started to become a little different. The Beatles formed their name after Lubbock native Buddy Holly and the Crickets. “I’m a Believer” from the Monkeys and the Animal's “House of the Rising Sun” is a popular cover to many other artists. I am sure I have missed quite of few hits from this era.
When I think of the 70’s, I am reminded of the polyester bell bottom pants, Woodstock, hippies and Burt Reynolds' mustache. The Eagles had many hits in this era. Even today, heads start bobbing to the beat when they hear the words “Standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona” (Take it Easy) and “On a Dark Desert Highway” (Hotel California). There were still love songs like Styx singing “Babe” and Janis Joplin crooning about “Me and Bobby McGee” There were also tributes. Don McLean wrote a song about the day the music died. In 1959 Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper all died in a plane crash. “American Pie” is the song about that day. I still sing at the top of my lungs “Bye bye Mrs. American pie, drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry”
Not all the 70’s were that good. One word still makes baby boomer cringe with pain. Disco. The Bee Gee’s were one of the hottest groups around. With songs like “How Deep is Your Love” and “Staying Alive”, disco was a big part of the 70’s era. Of course, when you think of disco, one group electrifies with their elaborate costume and dancing. A cop, a construction worker, a cowboy, an Indian, and of course the leather clad biker. Yep, I’m talking about the Village People. Hits like “Macho Man” and “In the Navy” was a couple, but of course their biggest hit that is played in nightclubs across the country today…… “Y.M.C.A.” I can’t really complain too much about disco, personally, I like a few disco songs. You should see my wife’s face when a song comes on the radio and I start singing along “Ooga-chaka Ooga-Ooga, I’m Hooked on a Feeling” or the face she makes when I start belting out the hit “It’s Raining Men Halleluiah It’s Raining Men!” Sometimes they made us feel good like when K.C. and the Sunshine Band told us to “Get Down Tonight” and then they let us know that “That’s the Way, huh huh I Like it”. When we were feeling down, we could always be brought back to our feet with Fleetwood Mac “Don’t Stop (Thinking about Tomorrow)” and Gloria Gaynor singing “I will Survive”. Which is a classic anthem song for breakups across the world. Speaking of anthems, Queens hit song “We Will Rock You” resonates throughout all sports stadiums when they need to get the crowd fired up. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is another Queen song that gets people singing.
Even Country songs had some great hits. Do you remember when Sissy Spacek played Loretta Lynn in the movie based on the life and song called “Coal Miner's Daughter”, or when Kenny Rogers sang about “The Coward of the County” and of a wayward “Gambler” that taught us that you “have got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them” Hank Williams son, Hank Williams Jr told us that “A Country Boy Can Survive” and Waylon Jennings wanted to go to “Luckenbach, Texas” while he and Willie Nelson together told “Mamma’s don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys”. Willie Nelson also let us know that we were “Always on my mind”. John Denver told us that he was proud to be a “Country Boy” and who can forget the deep voice of Conway Twitty singing “Hello Darlin”. The country songs were not always about heartache and love. Vickie Lawrence talked about “The night the Lights Went out in Georgia” and Tanya Tucker sang “Delta Dawn”. While Charlie Daniels told the story about when “The Devil went Down to Georgia”. Country music even had a couple of “one hit wonders”. Remember the song about truck drivers called “Convoy” and “Teddy Bear”. Classic songs that are constantly being remade with new artist singing them. Many people have rerecorded Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and of course Whitney Houston did a wonderful remake of her song “I will Always Love You”. Recently there was a remake/mashup with different country artist. The songs “On the Road Again”, by Willie Nelson, “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton and “Take Me Home (Country Roads) by John Denver has become a great hit.
The 70’s had all kinds of great music, just like the 80’s did. From Rock and Roll to disco to country, these hits are still being played on radios and playlist across the nation. I still like the hair band of the 80’s but if it was not or the music of the 50’s 60’s and the variety of the 70’s, we wouldn’t be singing car karaoke. After all, everyone needs to look at their spouse right in the eye and start singing “Disco, Disco Duck”!