Rock Bands in the 70's
My daughter (about whom I am not allowed to speak of here for fear of disownment) often says her taste in music – the fact that she listens to James Taylor, the Eagles, etc. – is based on the fact that I insisted on playing that music when driving her around. If I were a bitter mother, I would point out that I was spending every freaking weekend driving her across the country to horse shows and most of the time in the car she was sleeping and I was driving, but I’m not like that.
I point out to her that my music has lasted for more than fifty years. It is still played on the radio and sells out Madison Square Garden all these years later. Keep in mind the Stones were around in 1971, and they still sell out their tours today. Compare that against The Back Street Boys, or Britney, and I rest my case.
So, I was a zoom call yesterday with a techie personage (someone who doesn’t get American Idol which explains it all) who was helping me figure out a computer issue. He is generally a wealth of interesting - but not fruitful - information. He was telling me about the bands he saw way back in the 60’s / 70’s in Los Angeles. Here is the really interesting part.
Did you know that Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkeys in 1967? You remember The Monkeys. (Hey, hey we’re the Monkeys, and people say we monkey aro0-ound, but we’re too busy <something> to put anybody dow-oun.) Yep, Jimi opened for them and not surprisingly, he left after seven shows because the crowds hated him and he hated them. He flipped them the bird and just walked off stage one night. The Monkeys however, watched his show before they went on every night and later admitted they knew he was the one with the talent. Personally, aside from Purple Haze, I was not a Hendrix fan but would have loved to see The Monkeys.
Anyway, my techie friend also saw Jethro Tull open for Led Zeplin. Yikes, I can’t even imagine it. And, he swears my all time favorite, The Eagles, opened for Procol Harum. I’m listening to A Whiter Shade of Pale as I write this. It’s the version from 2006 in Denmark, which if you haven’t seen it is a must watch. Click here. Fabulous song. One of the all time best, but what the heck did it mean? What is a whiter shade of pale? So deep were the lyrics of my time. I was not a stoner and never knew what most of them meant, but I knew they meant something bigger than me. Vestal virgins? We were all pretending to be virgins.
To top it off Chicago opened for Hendrix too. Chicago is so important because they were the first to bring brass to rock, and I personally think rock was all the better for it.
The conversation then led to the greatest rock song of all time which he swears is Stairway to Heaven, which I never understood until Heart played it at the Kennedy Center event honoring Led Zeppelin. But, and it must be said, I believe Mandy by Barry Manilow is one of the all time great songs, far exceeding Stairway to Heaven. I want you to know I know Mandy is not one of the greatest songs of all time, but I sang it a lot and hate to leave it out of conversations like this. I’m sure that probably no one was willing to open for Barry Manilow, but alas, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the tears he comforted me through in the seventies when heartbreak was my own doing, but nonetheless painful.
Here is the point. If you are a young person who reads this (yes, there are younger people who read my blog) then you will be hard pressed to provide bands from the eighties, nineties or even the 2000’s that will still fill up coliseums in 2022. Hard pressed my friends. And, if you are in your sixties like I am, take a moment and go to You Tube and look up some of the concerts which spackeled the walls of our youth with songs that made the memories matter.