The Seventies Saga (ms)

I have a satellite radio in my truck because I drive a lot, because radio reception can be spotty where I go and because I would easily have invested the cost of the radio in C.D.’s by now. I don’t look around on the radio very much. Early on I found the two outlets that would become my go-to favorites and I see no reason to change my tune as it were. Once you have the Blues and Disco programmed in, what else is there?

Some of my friends snicker when I tell them I just listened to the Bee Gees on my way to wherever. They don’t like Disco and that’s okay. I don’t like much of the stuff that’s called “music” these days so it’s a fair trade. Besides, you had to be there

No one can ever really explain what it was like to live through the Great Depression, the feel of it, the hopeless despair, the grit of the Dust Bowl. World War Two, Prohibition, the killing of a president all are actual events but they require a description that is both verbal and visual to at least partly understand them. Even with that, the feeling is often left out and so a major part of what a time in history was really and truly like remains out of reach. It is that way with the seventies.

The closest I’ve come to reliving the era is the film, “Saturday Night Fever”. The opening segment with John Travolta walking down a Brooklyn street and the Bee Gees music in the background set the tone for what was coming. What happened over the length of the movie was a reenactment of what the era was all about, not just the characters but much of the feeling as well. Life was lived for Saturday night and the big show at the local disco where everyday people could become stars even if just for a few minutes. Under the glow of lights and the flash of the glitter ball anyone with the right abilities could become an entertainment phenomenon. When you think about it that is much the way things are today. The format has changed and so has the medium but the notion of becoming a star, even for a relatively short time, is still quite strong.

Anyway, all this heady and insightful talk about an era must be tempered by a few other facts. Remember, the seventies also gave us classics like “Disco Duck”, leisure suits and some of the worst combinations of checks and stripes to ever strut about the face of the earth. I have some old photos of myself wearing clothes I would not wear today even on Halloween. To say they were awful does not go quite far enough.

Still, the seventies had some finer points; to tell the truth quite a few. When I want to remember some of them I push the preset on my truck’s radio and cruise back down the highway a few decades. It’s a good sound and a good place to visit.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on April 1, 2011.

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