Monday, October 19, 2009

5 Songs to Love

Do you have those memories that are triggered by a certain song? For me, there are a handful of songs that take me back to the time in my childhood when I lived in Milwaukee for a couple of years. Those were formative years, as I was between the ages of 7 and almost-10. My prized possession was a small black transistor radio -- AM only, of course -- with an earpiece! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I have always loved music -- I don't play, can't read it, but just love it. My station of choice in those years was WOKY, a Top 40 station that always pumped out pleasing tunes to my pre-adolescent ears.

So, here are some tunes from those days of yore -- are any of them favorites of yours?

Someone Saved My Life Tonight by Elton John (reached #4 in the US in 1975)

For whatever reason, I remember the line in the song where Sir Reginald sings,

"Prima Donna lord you really should have been there
Sitting like a princess perched in her electric chair"

A friend and I used to get together and play Megos in his basement. It was one of those cool basements that was packed to the gills with boxes and other storage items. It made for great landscapes/cityscapes for the good guys and the do-badders to hold epic battles. His mother had an old hair dryer, like from a beauty shop -- padded chair with the overhead dryer dome. We used to plot that one of the crime bosses would get the heroes positioned on that chair and the dome was some huge electric chair-type device!

The other thing I remember about that song is the line,

"And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear"

Now for you youngsters, these were the days when cereal could still have the word "sugar" in the name. Does anyone remember Post Super Sugar Crisp? The mascot back in the day was none other than Sugar Bear! I thought that was so cool that this song had a line in it about this bear that I saw every Saturday morning on the commercials!

The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace (reached #1 in the US in 1974)

Being a transplanted Illinoisan, this song resonated with my young mind, longing for home. This was a fun song, as we used to sit on another friend's porch and sing it a cappella, like some sort of junior do wop group. Of course, it wasn't a do wop song, but hey -- what did a bunch of 8-year olds know?

We certainly didn't know at the time that the events of the song's lyrics were totally ficticious. Still a catchy tune though.

Love Will Keep Us Together by the Captain and Tenille (reached #1 in the US in 1975)

Don't throw anything at me -- but I still like this sappy '70's hit! Seriously. It's also a catchy tune. Originally written and recorded by Neal Sedaka, it wasn't a hit until this cheesy married couple got 'hold of it. Does anyone recall their variety show that ran about a year after this was a hit? Lordy, it was the in the days of Muskrat Love -- now that one you can have. I still grimace whenever I happen across Muskrat Love -- and no, that song isn't on my iPod!!

Man, you can't beat two big ol' bulldogs on that album cover...

Black Superman (Muhammad Ali) by Johnny Wakelin (reached #1 in Australia, #7 in the UK; spent six months in the Hot 100 in the US in 1975)

Admit it -- you used to sing along with this. Or at least hum along.

Muhammad Ali.
He floats like a butterfly
and stings like a bee"

That's awesome! What's not to like. This and other gimmick songs like Kung Fu Fighting are so anchored in the "Have a nice day" decade that they just scream out from that era. I could never sing well, but rest assured -- when this came on the radio, I tried!

Oh, and by the way, these were the days when Ali's fights were aired on Wide World of Sports. For free. I know, seems a bit strange in these days where everything is pay-per-view.

Jive Talkin' by the Bee Gees (reached #1 in the US in 1975)

I love the Bee Gees. There. I said it. I live about 50 miles from Chicago, where local DJ Steve Dahl once blew up a huge stack of disco albums at a Chicago White Sox game -- it was in between a double-header, a riot ensued with fans storming the field and tearing it up -- the Sox had to forfeit the second game! But this song was pre-disco, and it has one of the best opening beats of all time!! Barry Gibb tells that they picked up on that rhythm while riding in a cab. At any rate, it's a fun song. And yes, this one is on my iPod!


Matthew Bradley said...

With you on "Love Will Keep Us Together" (as well as on a big "meh," at best, to "Muskrat Love"), and do remember TCAT's short-lived show. My wife, on the other hand, is often called "The Disco Queen," so you can only imagine how she feels about the Bee-Gees and, I'm sure, "Jive Talkin'."

Anonymous said...

I remember a story that "Someone saved my life tonight" was about a friend of EJ's talking him out getting married. Remember, this was the early 70s, and I guess Sir Elton was engaged to a woman. I don't have any more details.


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