• Carmen Milligan

WTF, 1970s?

I was thinking about music the other day. In particular, a certain song to which I know all of the lyrics, and would loudly sing along if it came on the radio. But it doesn't. And it never will, unless there is a program called, "What were they thinking?"

Come to think of it, that may be a fun show!


Anyway, the song on my mind, and lips, if truth be told, was "Muskrat Love" by Captain and Tennille, popular in 1976. Yes, it was about Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam having a date, which evidently has a "happy ending". At least that's what I think they meant by "wriggle".


Another song that comes to mind, for some strange reason, is Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans". I am not as familiar with this one, but, as far as I can tell, it's about a man's desire to hang out with his significant other, wearing blue jeans.


Then there is "Brand New Key" from Melanie. It's about a girl with a new pair of roller skates, and the boy she is interested in has a key. She keeps skating by his house, but he keeps ignoring her. Finally, she knocks on the door and his mom tells this forward little tarte that he is home, but he is not alone. Take a hint, sister. There are a lot more "keys" out there.


In 1972, Chuck Berry had his only number one hit on the American Billboard with "My Ding-a-Ling". Written about a toy string with bells, the more Berry sings, the more it quickly becomes obvious that he is not playing with that ding-a-ling, but his own "ding-a-ling".


"The Streak" by Ray Stevens is used by news outlets everywhere when they are replaying anyone who runs naked across a field, rink, court, or any other well-attended venue. It spent three weeks at the number one spot in 1974. The song is written like a reporter is interviewing an eyewitness. THREE weeks at number one.


One song that I always turn up when it plays is "Play that Funky Music White Boy" by Wild Cherry. As far as I can tell, this one is about a rock and roll singer who decides to change his genre to funk. He has a little trouble at first, but soon nails it, as well as "burnin' up the one-night stands".


And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are soooooo many more songs that would never make it today because they are 1) stupid ("Disco Duck"), 2) politically incorrect ("Hot Child in the City"), 3) cringe-worthy ("Afternoon Delight"). What was happening in the 70s for America to need these nonsensical songs?


Watergate, Kent State, Oil Crisis, death of hostages at Munich Olympics, and the Son of Sam.


Okay, 1970s. You get a pass on this shitty music. You kind of needed it. There is nothing like some dumbass lyrics set to a badass beat to make you forget that there are all kinds of heavy shit going on all around you. All while brought to you by people with huge hair and skin-tight lamé.


Next time, I'll talk about songs from the 70s that still have a major impact and are still hella relevant today. In the meantime, enjoy the worst of this decade's hits.

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