I’ll admit it –I’m pretty much a hippie. I grew up in the 70s & 80s, not the 60s, but I was raised on psychedelic rock, cheesy pop, progressive TV, and good wholesome liberal values. I am a blue girl in a Southern-fried red state.
Some of my favorite memories from when I was a child are those of riding around with my parents, listening to the 8-track player, just spending time together and singing along with the music. My parents didn’t always get along, and truth be told, time spent with my Dad could go either way on most days. The happiest, most carefree times I do remember, though, involve those weekend car rides to nowhere in particular.
There are so many songs that I love from those times that I have either been searching for on iTunes for years, or that I hear on some obscure flashback radio show (or even in a movie) and the song sends me straight back to my childhood. Many of these songs are true gems in their own way, and regardless of their quality as pieces of “great music,” they all made me happy at some time or another in my life. Perhaps some of you loved these songs, too. Or maybe you’ve never heard them and will be moved to learn more about these artists, or this particular era of music.
These songs/videos are in no particular order. I’m just posting them as they come to me. I’m skipping the obvious choices that represent the Best of the Best (i.e. The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, etc.) These are those little ditties that stick in your head that you may possibly have forgotten.
• Grand Funk Railroad: “I’m Your Captain” — I remember this being one of my Dad’s favorite songs when I was young. He might not even consider this to be one of his favorite songs, but I’ll always associate it with good times spent with him and my mother. This particular song is only available on iTunes if you buy the entire album.
• Paper Lace: “The Night Chicago Died” — What a cheeseball song, but I loved it when I was little. I loved the sirens, and the way the song changed up throughout, and how the guy was singing about his Mom crying. It just really appealed to the little drama queen in me, I suppose. This is on my iPod, though I couldn’t find a good version of it on YouTube.
• Blue Swede: “Hooked on a Feeling” –You can occasionally hear this song on the radio or in commercials today, but you rarely hear the song with its original “Ooga Chaka” chant at the beginning. This was pure genius to a young girl. And my parents always sang along with me. Loved it!
• Mouth & Macneal: “How Do You Do?” — This is another freaky song, but I loved it. Watching this video is actually kind of disturbing. I think I’d rather hear it than see it. 🙂 This song is on my iPod.
• Suzie Quatro & Chris Norman: “Stumblin’ In” — This song was catchy and happy, and it even had Leather Tuscadero singing on it. Jackpot! I loved this song, and surprisingly enough, after my husband and I had been married a few years, we found out that we both liked this song. And he grew up in Liverpool. Small world.
• Heatwave: “Boogie Nights” — I don’t have distinct memories of liking this song growing up, but I have recently discovered that I love it. It’s got so many different elements going on at one time, and it’s really a work of disco art, if I may say so. Of course, this video is very disturbing. Everyone except the lead singer looks like something out of a Romero film.
• Helen Reddy: “Angie Baby” — This is actually a very disturbing song & it has been debated for years as to what the song is really about. I remember my Mom singing along with this one, and I always liked it, too. Helen Reddy was awesome–I’m not ashamed to say it. (lol) This video was shown, I believe, on Reddy’s TV show, and it features animation by the artist who did the animation at the open of Grease. (Notice any interesting imagery in the image below?) LOL . . . Also, the song was written by Alan O’Day, who had a hit with “Undercover Angel.”
• Phil Seymour: “Precious to Me” — This is one of my all-time favorites, and I waited forever for it to be on iTunes. I remember taping this off of the radio and listening to it over and over again. At the time, it was just about the most romantic song I’d ever heard. (I was about 10). The song finally hit iTunes last year.
• Joe Walsh: “Life of Illusion” — I loved this song when it was originally released, and due to lack of airplay anywhere around here since, I had completely forgotten it existed until it was featured in The 40-Year Old Virgin. Thanks, Judd Apatow. This video lacks something to be desired, but if you close your eyes, you can enjoy. No offense to whoever worked to make the video.
• Alice Cooper: “You and Me” — I remember loving this song growing up, and it pretty much slipped from my memory, until one day I just found myself singing it. I did love that he sang this on The Muppet Show, also. It’s a tender love song from an unexpected source.
• Sweet: “Love is Like Oxygen” — This isn’t really forgotten anymore, as it’s been rediscovered and played on the radio again from time to time. However, this was one of my all-time favorites as a child. And the song has not lost any of its greatness over the years. There’s a lot going on in this one. It’s like cotton candy for the ears.
• Terry Jacks: ” Seasons in the Sun” — Is there any more depressing song in the world? As a young girl, I thought this song was devastating . . . just the worst tragedy ever. The guy is dying and having to say goodbye to everyone and everything he loves, but he’s focusing on the good parts of life and the times spent full of joy and fun in the past. Thankfully, you rarely hear it these days, but it can still tear me up if I really think about it. Damn you, Terry Jacks!!
By the way, this video is really rocking!
• Jonathan Edwards: “Sunshine” — What a great song! Edwards wrote this in 1971 as an anti-war song to protest the Vietnam War. (I really like this video, by the way). I had forgotten this song long ago, and one day I was in the car with my best friend sometime in the early 90s, and when the song came on, I just started singing along. She said, “How in the world do you know that song?” I guess it stuck in my head in one of those little musical nooks & crannies. I think it’s a great song!
• Steely Dan: “My Old School”–This song also isn’t that obscure these days, but it was long-forgotten by the radio world for many years. I loved, loved, loved this song as a child. It’s still a great song, with a really catchy hook and, as much as I normally hate these things, a real jam session in there, as well.
• Nik Kershaw: “Wouldn’t It Be Good?” — Love, love, love this one! And might I add that it’s STILL not on iTunes? I do have a cover version by Soul Wax, but it’s just not the same. I can’t tell you why I love this song, because I’m not sure, but it’s just an 80s classic.
• Al B. Sure!: “Nite and Day” — This is such a sexy song, and Al B. Sure! was hot. Okay, he doesn’t look remotely hot looking back at this today; he actually looks quite feminine. But who can explain a teenage girl’s hormones?
I never had a boyfriend when this song was a hit, but it still stirs up some hormones for me, and hearing it will always get me in a mood.
• Billy Joel: “Sometimes a Fantasy” — I’m a closet Billy Joel fan. His music is definitely not forgotten nor is it obscure, but just about all I hear on the radio these days is “Piano Man” (which I HATE!) or “Uptown Girl.” There are a lot of hidden gems in his repertoire, and this is just about my favorite. The video is very cheesy, but it was the 80s.
• Candy: “Whatever Happened to Fun” (entire album) — Okay this is truly obscure. I remember being in the Sound Shop in a local mall as a teenager, and asking what that great music was that they were playing, and the clerk said, “This is Candy.” And he gave me their promo album for free. I loved it. It’s complete cheese, but for it’s dreamy pop for a young girl, and believe it or not, the band actually features a young Gilby Clarke, who went on to replace Izzy Stradlin in Guns n Roses. Go figure.
• Yaz (Yazoo): “Only You” — Another song I had forgotten about until it was featured in Napoleon Dynamite several years ago. What a sweet, completely 80s love song. Funny, this video doesn’t look 80s at all. (ha!)
• Midge Ure: “If I Were” — Aah, Ultravox. This is just a dreamy, fantastic song. Sadly, if you watch a good portion of the video, you’ll see that Midge Ure was/is a terrible, terrible dancer.
• Rodney Crowell: “Ashes By Now”–I’ve always like this one, and only recently did it come to mind on a retro radio show. It’s now sitting pretty on my iPod. Can’t find a video, but the song is on iTunes.
• Sparks: “Eaten By the Monster of Love”–A classic song that was featured in Valley Girl. You can’t hear this song and not want to dance.
I know there are more, but this is part one, and I hope it’s brought back some good music memories from the past for anyone who might be reading this.