K is for Kansas

Krock concert

…and Journey, and Foreigner, and Boston, and Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, and the Eagles, and Queen, and Don McLean, and The Who, and Fleetwood Mac, and Aerosmith, and the Police, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blondie, and James Taylor, and Carole King, and The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Seeger, and the Pretenders, and Elton John, and Carly Simon, and Yes, and The B-52s, and CCR, and Meat Loaf, and AC/DC, and Bob Marley, and Santana, and Van Morrison, and The Allman Brothers, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Rod Stewart, and Earth Wind and Fire, and the Jackson 5, and Smokey Robinson, and The Steve Miller Band, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Marvin Gaye, and the Doobie Brothers, and Abba, and Van Halen, and The Grateful Dead, and Barry White, and David Bowie, and Jethro Tull, and ZZ Top…

My formative years were the 1970s, music-wise. I was born in 1962, but the only music I remember from early childhood was my parents’ Peter Paul and Mary albums, plus the songs from Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The seventies, though, was a very rich musical era. Of course, every generation is especially fond of the music of its youth, but it seems to me that music, especially the various flavors of rock, was more—well, musical in the 1970s. There were rich layers of harmony that I hear less of in modern stuff. Lyrics had less to do with getting drunk and getting laid than today’s popular music. More rainbows, mystic visions, unicorns, May queens bustling in the hedgerows. And more funk, too. Now, I’m not going to discuss disco music except to say that at its best it was great fun—like Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

It’s hard for me to wrap words around this, since I’m no music critic. It seems to me that there was a mystic, dreamy, even philosophical quality about 1970s rock that is much less prevalent today. Sure, there are some wonderful young musicians from this decade: Adele is certainly a torch singer for the ages. But compare Katie Perry with, say, Stevie Nicks, or Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart—there’s a whole different mentality and flavor. Both sing about love and desire, but there’s a cruder, more in-your-face-with-my-lust flavor to many of today’s lyrics.

I had to giggle the other day when two relatives, one in her 40s and the other in her 30s, were reminiscing about their favorite boy bands, and how dreamy they were. I guess we all have a special fondness for the music of our teens. After a challenging, stressful day—say, a day in which repairmen are burrowing into the walls and floors of my house (See “H is for House Surgery”), a glass of wine and some seventies music relaxes and energizes me. Rock on!


3 thoughts on “K is for Kansas

  1. lindamaycurry

    All our records were bought the 60s and 70s. Somehow the music died at the end of the 70s, for me anyway. I stopped buying new music and kept looking back to the past. The fact that 70s music is still played a lot is testament to its longevity. I recently dragged out the record player and played some LPs. What a great sound, even with a few crackles.

  2. Corina

    You are absolutely right about that dreamy quality. I do think it was a hopeful, wishful type of music. It looked at what was and talked about what it should be like to make things better for all. I miss that music but I can get back to it by loading it on my iPod, which I don’t do often enough.


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