Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Musical Moment: the 70s

I was a child of the Seventies. Now, when most say that, they mean their late teen and early twenties years were during the Seventies and they were smack in the midst of the hippie revolution. I mean I was a child during the Seventies and my teen years began right at the tail end of that decade. But, I was always kind of old for my age and when I was ten, I fell right into that music-obsessed teen-like musician worship stage. Anyway, it seemed to me that all teens and pre-teens were music obsessed and that all conversation centered around who was hot at the moment and who had the better voice/most skill.

Since those days, I've come to realize that isn't true: not everyone centered their teen worlds on music. Unbelievable, though it may be.

They say scent is the strongest neumonic; nothing brings recall better than a familiar scent. Maybe that's true for most, but for me, nothing will bring back a moment in time more than a song, or a band, or even a musical style. Take the Super Bowl halftime show. I don't watch football, but my son called me out when The Who came on. Suddenly, I was swept back in time to when their songs were on the radio and I was in my parents' home locked away in my bedroom working on something to keep my hands busy just as an excuse to be lost in the music. The Who played a mix of some of their top songs and while some were knocking how "old" they are and how "bad" the sound was, I could only think how cool it was to see them perform and be swept away to the past. And to be fair, they gave a strong performance for a band that came out in the mid Sixties.

It was great to share the experience with my son who is older than I was when The Who was on the radio. He was impressed. For "old guys" they played well and were full of energy, which surprised the sixteen year old with tons of his own. He commented on how good the drummer was and how cool the stage looked. See? This is a kid after my own heart. He gets it. It's not only entertainment; it's an experience. [He also found it cool that their drummer for the show was none other than Zak Starkey, Ringo's kid.]

How can you go through your teen years without falling for a particular band, or a particular musician? Music captures moments of time that can't be captured in any other way, and teens are primed and ready for this musical moment-stealing.

I was swept away by many singers and many bands during those awkward years. Donny and Leif and Andy and David, plus Styx and Journey and Chicago and Air Supply … I could spend as much time with them as I could pull from homework and chores and they were always there waiting. Granted, most of the albums belonged to my big sis since she had babysitting money, but as we shared a room and she was a loving big sis, I got to use her record player and her albums.

I still vividly remember the day she brought home a new album of a band I'd never heard of. I thought they were rather odd-looking, to tell the truth, not as cute as Andy and Donny, but still, there was something fascinating about them I couldn't put my finger on (other than their odd clothing choice). And then she played the album. I was grabbed in a way no other music had ever grabbed me.

I've talked with many adults recently who were big fans of the band, as well, and so often I hear it was their looks that were the big attraction. Hmm.. I'm one of the youngest fans and no, it wasn't their looks for me. Heck, I was ten at the time or right at that. Boys were still only undecipherable creatures and interesting but rather annoying (apologies to my little brother, but he understands). It was the music.

As I grew, I moved into the Eighties with Hall & Oates and Madonna and Michael Jackson and Tears For Fears and Julian Lennon, but that band remained number one on my list. Why? Who Knows? Something about them spoke to me. In fact, it spoke loudly enough, it became a story. What were they really like past the media hoopla? What was it like to tour and live in hotels and buses and be stuck with each other for months at a time? Did they get along behind the scenes? What about girlfriends? How do you have one with that kind of lifestyle?

The questions festered until I had to start answering them. No, I didn't stalk the band. They disappeared and all that was left were those albums and the posters previously smothering our bedroom wall and then tucked safety into folders. I was stuck in a little town in the Midwest going to school and family functions. In my head, though, I was on the road. It moved well past questions about that one band to being about a band in general, and a girl who supported them.

I created my own band to answer those questions. The results were thirty-some years in the making, with tons of research and music-following in general and talking with other fans and reading music biographies, and it became my Rehearsal series. It's not why I started writing. I've been doing that since I knew what writing was. It did spur an obsession for story-telling, for discovering the whys and hows and what ifs, even if the answers are fiction. All fiction has its truths. Reading a novel may mean no more than several hours of escape. Or, it may be a moment in time that causes a lasting effect in some way.

That one moment back in the mid Seventies when I listened to that one album lovingly crafted by artists coming into their own was much more than 30 minutes of escapism. It was pure inspiration. It was lasting joy. It was a trigger. If only one of my books could do the same, that would be a legacy I would be thrilled to have.

If you're wondering, no, I'm not revealing the band name, because that's not the point (and because I called them odd-looking -- apologies to those of you who do know who I mean, but I was only ten-ish and I mostly changed my mind later).

However, for those following the CRR Blog Carnival (and for anyone else who stops by), I do have a musical prize to be drawn from those who leave comments on this post:

A CD full of music from my youth, much of which is mentioned in my Rehearsal series, plus

Rehearsal: A Different Drummer as Ebook on a signed CD. I'll draw the name on Tuesday morning to give those in other time zones plenty of time to get here. Be sure I can contact you or stop back by to see if I need your contact info!

So what about you? Were you a music-obsessed teen? Who did you listen to? If not, what was your teen obsession?


This is part of the Classic Romance Revival Valentine's Day Blog Carnival. Winners for the grand prize -- a 5-ARC package from Classic Romance Revival authors -- will be drawn from visitors commenting on the most blogs.  To qualify for the grand prize, you need to register for the contest.  Please visit the Classic Romance Revival blog to find details of all the blogs and to register:


Francesca Prescott said...

Loraine: as you know I'm completely with you on this music obsessed thing; I inherited it from my uncle who was a music journalist and one of the first to interview Elvis Presley. Record companies sent him albums, and he used to make me cassette tapes with all the in-stuff. It was brilliant! My pocket money went mostly on music, too, and I'm now an I-Tunes addict.

As I read your - as usual - great blog, I wondered whether you've read Nick Hornby's latest book, "Juliet Naked". It might strike a chord! I enjoyed it, although I don't think it's his best.

So, what you listening to these days?!

Unknown said...

LORAINE--I read the entire article to learn the name of the band. Oh, well. I'm fascinated with your complete involvement with music. No, I wasn't obsessed with the music of my generation, that of the fifties, although I did like it, played my little 45's on my small record player, and danced just like everyone else did. But I played the piano with gusto before school in my pj's, after school before I changed out of my school clothes, and any free time I had. I was never accomplished, but I could bang out a song. I drove my sisters crazy. Thanks for an interesting piece--very good, as usual. Celia

LuAnn said...

I did, indeed, love the music from the 70s! It was my era of the classic rock of today. My favorite band always was Chicago!

booklover0226 said...

I went through my phases with music but my one true love has always been reading!

I only had a few albums because I chose to spend my allowance on books instead of music. haha

Tracey D

Jennifer Mathis said...

music makes up my life still. While most people watch tv I turn on the radio even while reading I can't help it. Beside as i do my dorky dance to the music I reason that i'm working out lol

jennifer mathis

Unknown said...

I loved music when I was a teenager...we had places we could go to to dance and see up and coming bands (California) and I still love music although I have a little trouble remembering the names of the artists now a days! LOL

LK Hunsaker said...

CORRECTION: I missed that the Blog Carnival runs through February 28th, so you have until then to leave a comment to be eligible for my raffle. :-)

LK Hunsaker said...

Francesca, what a wonderful thing for your uncle, to have interviewed Elvis!

I haven't read that, or any of his. I may have to check into it. ;-)

These days I'm still listening to older rock and pop with CDs and the local mix station, but my current faves are Rob Thomas/Matchbox 20, Nickelback, Bon Jovi, Lifehouse, just bought Daughtry because they're growing on me, and also some country rock (Faith & Tim, Leanne Rimes, Martina McBride, always loved Kenny Rogers, Toby Keith...).

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, oops sorry!

I love 50s music: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard ... such fun and yes, great dance music.

I've dabbled with the piano and respect anyone who actually learned to play it decently. ;-)

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi LuAnn, Chicago just had a way of touching your heart and soul, didn't they? Such incredible lyrics. They are one of my main focus groups in Rehearsal because of that. It would be hard to find a scene where a Chicago tune wouldn't fit, in most any novel.

LK Hunsaker said...

Tracey, it's a good thing the radio is free, right? ;-) I buy more books than music, also, since much of what I listen to is on the radio often enough.

LK Hunsaker said...

Jennifer, dorky dancing definitely counts as a workout. :-)

My TV is rarely on, also. Music, often! Not while I'm reading, though. I often write with music in the background but want silence when I read.

LK Hunsaker said...

Jo Ann, I think all areas should have places teens can go to listen to bands and dance and mingle without alcohol or cigarettes. It's so good for them. I remember band names pretty well, and character names, but no other names, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Rather nice blog you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Best wishes

peggy said...

I love music of all kinds

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Peggy, I love most kinds, but I can't quite say all. There are some I can do without and some that make me irritable, lol. Thanks for stopping in. :-)

LuAnn said...

I'm definitely going to have to check out "Rehearsal" now!

Cherry said...

I am not terribly musically oriented, as in, I love music but music does not seem to love me :) Can't hold a tune to save my life! But I do like music. But I'm fickle, that way. My current love is Taylor Swift's You Belong To Me, with a twist.

Last year, I was reading Brent Week's Beyond The Shadows: Book 3 of the Night Angel Trilogy when and the Pussycat Doll's hit single, Jai Ho, hit number one spot. Now, every time I hear that song, it transports me to Kylar Stern's Cenaria and I experience all over again the world of Brent Weeks!

Cherry Mischievous
mischivusfairy-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

Lexie said...

I wasn't a particularly music obsessed teen. I didn't listen to a whole lot of stuff that was on the radio--most of what I liked was imported stuff from Japan or South Korea. I was obsessed with words. Labeling things. Giving them a tidy definition.

I have notebooks filled with random words linked to names or intials. LW--greasy hair, bitten fingernails, ripped jeans. JO--strawberries, beef jerky, crooked nose. BC--choppy hair, lopsided grin, quiet murmur in my ear. They seem random, but I can recall when I made that memory. How I felt.

EVA SB said...

I was always a book worm but music is also extremely important both classical and pop music.

I was always in the school choir and loved classics like Peer Gynt.
But I was also allowed to watch the weekly chart show and I watched it religiously every week from the age of about 4 yo until I left home at 18.
My first love, and first album,was Abba.
Luckily both my hubby and children love Abba too so we have fantastic sing-a-longs in the car!

LK Hunsaker said...

Cherry, how interesting that the song takes you back to the book you were reading!

LK Hunsaker said...

Lexie, I'm intrigued by your initials symbolizing word lists. Did the initials stand for anything that helped you remember the words?

In one of my psych classes, we studied neumonics and the way grocery lists could be remembered by using anagrams and such. Sounds like you were making up your own neumonic device! Music is one of the most powerful.

LK Hunsaker said...

Eva, I haven't heard of Peer Gynt. I'll have to look that up. I'll often write to classical music because it helps focus my thoughts/clear other distractions. Celtic and instrumental soundtracks work well for that, too.

Abba - another great 70s sound! I have some of their songs and bio written in my notes to use for other parts of the series. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lorraine,
Thanks for your thought~provoking blog.
Ah-h-h, the memories! I'm a classic rock gal myself, mostly 60s + 70s. My college days were my time for listening to music, going to concerts and a great desire to "be a singer in a Rock 'n' Roll band". :-)
Since then there have been a few standouts but mostly I'm in a time warp! The PBS channels are great for music specials of all kinds.
I like Rob Thomas' unique voice and the Dixie Chicks. America's Got Talent has had some remarkably talented people.
I feel a serious "nostalgia" mood coming on!
Sara J. ~ : - ]

susan said...

What great memories: Chicago, CCR, The Who, Elvis,Eagles. I would play THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN many times in a row..just loved that one. Do you know THE WHO sang the theme song for the last season of CSI, MIAMI ? I was born when hippies were stated and bras were burnt and VW Buses were painted with FLOWERS and called Hippie buses. I truly wonder if things were so bad after all. This world now seems to be filled with more hatred and crimes then that hippie era ever had. Just a thought. I hope to be entered in the contest and I did register. susan Leech

Kathleen O said...

Love the stroll down musical memory lane LK... Remember my crushes on these teen idols of the time... Hey one of them still is out there shaking his "bootie"..whoops that was the 80's.. But music has always been one of my fist loves, next too my fav books..

Unknown said...

I love music. Almost as much as I love reading. Music can always help to set a mood or better yet, improve it. My granddaughters and DIL love to all sing along when we are in the car going somewhere.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Sara, I think there were lots of us with that singer dream. ;-) Now I'll have that song running through my head today!

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Susan, CCR -- I think I haven't used them in the series yet. I'll have to jot that down. Love their music! I didn't know The Who did the CSI theme song, not something I've watched. I think my daughter has watched it but likely didn't recognize the music.

I think the big difference in "hatred" is that now it's all over all the air waves and net instead of being as hidden as it used to be. Sad that we can't just "chill out" isn't it?

LK Hunsaker said...

Kathleen, it's great that your teen idol is still out there doing it! Lots of them are coming back again, which is nice to see. :-) I like lots of 80s stuff, also.

LK Hunsaker said...

Phyllis, I agree! I use music both to go along with a good mood and to improve a bad one.

How wonderful that you sing with your granddaughters. :-) Grandma used to sing to us, fun kids songs: one of my most cherished memories.

Redameter said...

Muksic does move me too. It helps me to write sometimes. But it can bring memories too. Lots of those. Some wanted some not.
God Bless

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Rita, very true. Thanks for coming by!

LK Hunsaker said...


Congrats to Jennifer (Meandi's Corner) for being pulled as the winner. I'll em for your address.