Aural Masterpieces – Music in the 70’s

Emerson Lake & PalmerOnce upon a time, music was fucking awesome. Then the 80’s came along and ruined everything. The 80’s birthed such aural atrocities as Dead or Alive, Starship, Guns ‘n Roses, Madonna and other nasty poo.

That said, it wasn’t all lost, with occasional gems that popped up like The Sundays, Madness, Suzanne Vega and Roxy Music. But, in my exalted and biased opinion, the good stuff was left behind in the 1970’s.

Music like ELP’s From the Beginning (see audio/video below), David Bowie’s albums Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, Queen’s first, second and third albums, Yes with their prog rock anthem Roundabout and the incomparable Mike Oldfield all made life in the 70’s that much better.

FM radio was in its infancy as DJs spun entire albums (Dark Side of the Moon comes to mind) while sparking up a fat doobie in the studio. Good music came drifting out of our AM radios (yes, AM RADIO!!) with songs from The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, The Beatles, Wings, Deep Purple, Don McLean, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Boston and Santana. On AM radio! Imagine that.

And now, in the new millennium, music has suffered greatly. Rap (that fucking rap garbage!), hip hop (that horrible hip hop shit!), techno, marginal pop like Lady (fucking) Gaga, the unpleasant sounds of Kanye West and others of his ilk make for a barren musical landscape from which to choose.

That’s not to say, of course, that there are not music artists at present that produce quality, thoughtful and enduring music but my point is that they are the minority and hard to find, even with the interweb service. Music is now marketing, videos, paparazzi photos, a slipped nipple, a meat dress, driving while intoxicated, missed performances, spousal abuse, rehab, STDs, drug busts, murder, mayhem and bad lyrics.

Music was more than sound bites and prolific tweeting in the 70s. It was something my generation collectively embraced and became an important part of our lives, something we cared about and meant much more than a video post on Facebook. Music like ELPs’ From the Beginning and Mike Oldfields Tubular Bells will continue to transport me back to some of the best days of my life (thus far) and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Will Kanye West ever do that? Probably not.

If you’re close to my age, do yourself a favour and haul out some of the old music you loved and give it a listen. Download some of that great stuff you remember (from anywhere except iTunes!) and listen to the lyrics, the arrangements, the musicianship and overall quality that was music back then.

Hell, even the cover art was awesome! But then again, why bother these days when it only appears as a 120ppi x 120ppi JPEG on itunes?

R&O

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