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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Partying in the '70s, part 2: one hit wonders

Jimi Hendrix in 1967. He died at 27 in 1970.


It makes my eyes well up a bit when I remember some of the great songs from the 1970s that were one hit wonders.

Woodstock in 1969 signaled the end of an era that brought us The Beatles, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and many others. By 1970, The Beatles had split up (Thanks, Yoko!) and Joplin and Hendrix were dead. Music was changing, guys were shaving again, and women went back to wearing bras. The Stones and Rod Stewart survived but by 1977 had done a couple disco songs!

Every era has had its one hit wonders but some of them in the 70s surprised me as they were good songs from good bands or individuals that gave every indication they would offer more after their initial success.

From 1970, there was Norman Greenbaum with Spirit in the Sky, a great tune that you still hear today as background in films and commercials. Then there is Mountain with Mississippi Queen, a great grinder of a tune that sounded better with each additional Budweiser you choked down. Also, from ‘70 was All Right Now by Free with lead singer Paul Rodgers who would eventually work with Queen after Freddy Mercury died.

In 1971, Brewer and Shipley from the Midwest hit with One Toke Over the Line. Who can forget Hold Your Head Up from Argent in 1972? Brother Louie from Stories in 1973, Rock and Rolll Hootchie Koo by Rick Derringer in 1974, Never Been Any Reason by Head East in 1975, A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band in 1976, Jeans On David Dundas, 1977, I Love the Nightlife, Alicia Bridges, 1978, and in an indication of things to come there was Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles in 1979.

If you are a certain age you probably danced to these songs more than once during the 1970s. Barb and I had a favorite club in Kansas City called The Attic which always had great bands and cold beer. After closing time, I would always stop at a little bar on Westport Road on our way to Kansas and pick up a couple of 6 packs of Falstaff for Sunday. No Sunday sales in those days.

Somehow, I survived that lifestyle and am living to write about it. Would I do it over again? Sure!

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