Sunday, October 08, 2006

The 70's A Decade of Change Part 3

We ended our last part of this series on the 70’s talking about the piano men of music. One of those that was popular in the 70’s had been popular since the 60’s. Neil Sedaka was perhaps one of the best piano players in the business. He had hits on his own as well as wrote hits for others. His popularity dipped for awhile and he found more success when he went to England. He did so well on the charts that soon America rediscovered him when Elton John signed him to his Rocket Records and released the song “Laughter In The Rain” in the USA. It was a #1 hit for Sedaka and revived his career in his own country. During the 70’s he had his songs recorded by other artist and in 1975 had a hit with “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille who we discussed previously on this blog.
The 70’s was also the rise of the singer/songwriter. While Neil Diamond got his start as a songwriter in the 60’s his real rise to fame came during the 70’s. He entered the charts as a performer in 1970 with “Cracklin’ Rosie.” Later he had another hit called “Song Sung Blue” This song was introduced to me and my elementary school classmates from our music teacher. With those blue color inked mimeographed sheets in my hand I sang this beautiful simple tune. I liked the song but we were always taught much older songs. So I thought that this was from the 1920’s or 1930’s. It was a few years later I found it was a recent tune. Diamond capped off his career in the 70’s with the duet he did with his former classmate Barbara Streisand when they sang “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” There is an interesting story of how that duet came to be but I want to save that for a later date. The ever talented Mr. Diamond continues his popularity in music to this day adding new fans of young and old.
If the drug culture and hippie era from the 60’s had a poster child it would have to be Janis Joplin. While she tragically died young her legacy lives on whenever you hear the song “Me and Bobby McGee.” The song was written by country music star Kris Kristofferson. The popularity of that song boosted his career and he found work as a singer and actor. While I love his songwriting I can’t for the life of me figure out his popularity as a singer or actor. My own personal opinion is that he can’t sing or act. But that is just my opinion.
Other country stars like Kristofferson crossed over to the pop charts with more regularity then before in the 1970’s. The pop music of the day mostly had us dancing but the Nashville stars with their songs added some depth to theirs. They were like stories set to music. A musical novel if you will. It all came to a point for me in 1978 when Anne Murray had a hit with one of my favorite songs. It was “You Needed Me” by Randy Goodrum. Mr. Goodrum said that he had a hard time finding a publisher for the song. Everyone who heard it wanted to know where the hook was. It had no real chorus that was catchy. The real hook to the song was the plot of the song. No matter how depressed the singer of the song was they knew they had value because there was this one person who needed them. When you hear the lyrics say “I sold my soul. You bought it back for me and held me up and gave me dignity. Somehow you needed me.” How can you not be touched by those verses? They are almost spiritual.
Later, in the 80’s when other country artist like Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbit, Dolly Parton etc., crossed over to the pop and adult contemporary charts they had become just as pop as the Bee Gees or the Captain and Tennille. Don’t get me wrong I liked them but it seemed a stretch to call them country artist at that time.
This series will continue at a later date as I have run out of time for this posting. Posted by Picasa

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