Saturday, September 8, 2007


There's a "top 100 songs the year you graduated from high school" meme that's going around in the blogosphere amongst those of us who are searching for things to write about other than what we're having for dinner tonight. And while I'm not going to reproduce the entire list here or tell you which ones I loved/tolerated/hated, let me just show you the top ten songs from my graduation year, 1979:

1. My Sharona, The Knack
2. Bad Girls, Donna Summer
3. Le Freak, Chic
4. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, Rod Stewart
5. Reunited, Peaches and Herb
6. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
7. Hot Stuff, Donna Summer
8. Y.M.C.A., Village People
9. Ring My Bell, Anita Ward
10. Sad Eyes, Robert John

Hmm...what do you think we were doing that year? Note that Robert John's "Sad Eyes" is #10. You knew that all that fun couldn't last, didn't you?

I was at a Barak Obama rally today (stay with me here, this will eventually be music related, which is not to minimize the importance of Barak) and ran into a friend who just came from a sale of the people who used to own Record Service. Remember when there used to be independent record stores, before Borders/B&N/iTunes? Oh, yeah!

Well, I hustled on over to the sale, where I picked up a bunch of CDs for $2 each. And at such prices, I felt free to do a little exploration. So I picked up a Hootie and the Blowfish album, their third I think, titled "Musical Chairs," which came out in 1998. For reasons I will explain in a moment, this band had completely slipped under my radar at the time (unlike every single one of the songs on my graduation year's top ten!). I recognized the name, I thought I might like them, but I was pretty clueless, really. So I bought the CD. And loved it!

Hootie and the Blowfish, as it turns out, falls into that abyss of bands who happened to be popular either when I was a) in graduate school, and either busy trying to find a cure for autoimmune diseases, working on my thesis, or playing pickup softball and drinking in bars after the softball games; or b) into my Chicago folk-music phase; of c) having babies and learning the words to Raffi songs. There's really just this huge black hole of my knowledge of popular music, and I blame it all on graduate school and having babies.

Anybody else have a similar experience? Come on, you know you do. You don't have to have gone to graduate school or had babies to respond, you know!


Patbrace said...

I checked out that site and discovered that the top 2 songs in my grad year ('68) were Hey Jude and Honey (by Bobby Goldsboro, in case nobody remembers that song.) Talk about opposites!!!!

I have kind of a different music story to share. As well as loving the Beatles, my friends and I were into the folk (and folk-rock) music scene big time. Judy Collins, PP&M, Joni Mitchell, Kingston Trio, Joan Baez...these were the musicians who filled my world with music. So I was pretty annoyed when, the other night, I finally sat down and watched Dream Girls, and saw the utterly classic, sometimes gritty but essentially glamorous homage that the Motown Sound was given in the film. What did the folk scene get? A Mighty Wind.

Sara Latta said...

At least Hey Jude was number one. I remember Honey, all too well. But #4 is Otis Redding's Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay. Now there's a great song!

I was into the folk scene, too (somewhat later, though). You have to admit that while a lot of the music was/is really good, the earnestness of the whole scene does make it an easy target for satire.

Let's see, which folk singer or group would make a Dreamgirls-worthy movie? Pete Seeger, maybe? Maybe the problem is that folkies aren't as glamorous as the Motown folks.

Patbrace said...

That, and the big, back-up band sound that Motown had. More beat, more rhythm 'n blues/soul roots. Nothing there, on the folk side, to make a production number out of. Even Hairspray has that groovy beat. But what do you do with Slack Your Rope, Hangman, Slack it for Awhile? Folk music never had any sass, except for a few pieces here and there...And When I Die would make a good production number, esp. the way PP&M did it, with a driving beat. Still, one could write a heckuva screenplay about the early years of Joni Mitchell's career....various lovers, the daughter she gave away, and that haunting music. Haunting, not glamorous or groovy. It would be nothing like Dreamgirls, but it would be a great flick!

Greg said...

Yeah, it's funny how we're more connected to the music of our high school years. It's what you call being care free. The two great albums of my senior year ('77) were Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and Boston's first album. After that responsibility kicked in. Greg

Sara Latta said...

Greg, I checked out your website/blog. It's terrific! Love the interviews with dead authors.