1970s: Why So Dark?

escargot

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Top of the Pops LPs that were all actually cover versions
- often by now-famous artists who were then struggling session musicians. Elton John did some, I learned recently.


Hahahaha, TV Cream- what a wonderful site. Makes me laugh so hard it hurts- they describe 'Thunderbirds' as a 'stringathon'. Funniest and aptest word ever made up.

Rather ironically, Jonathon King used to sing about it - bet he wishes he'd actually done it himself now .

Hahahahahahahaha, do you MIND? I'm trying to get some decorating done here.
 
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The 70s were extremely dark for me; I had no eyes and was living in an ovary.
 

McAvennie

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LOL! I thought you were about 40!
 
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Anonymous

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Re: RANT!!

Originally posted by Zygon




Was Glam Rock innovative? Bubblegum? Punk might have been the musical bright spot in the decade, but it wasn't 'innovative' at all, but was a return to the simpler, more direct musical values of the period 1957 - 1966! And speaking of which, how many of you out there are aware that the period 1969 - 1980 was the time of the biggest 50s Rock'n'Roll revival so far? But all we ever got to see/hear of it was radio-friendly but otherwise simply humiliating drivel like Showaddywaddy, The Rubettes, Stary Cats and Rocky Sharpe And The Replays, and Shaking Stevens' bass-player Stuart Coleman buried away in the wastelands of Radio 2 for a bare hour on a Saturday with a show that became more and more just an ad for Shaky (and The Sunsets and bloody Matchbox) as the decade wore on.
]

Zygon, I applaud your admiration for liking the period 1957 to 1966, but I think even that can be split into two groups - '57 to '58 and '63 to '66. The period between, '58 to '62, was probably the most middle of the road period in pop/rock history. All the original rock 'n' rollers had faded to some extent - Elvis in the army, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran dead, Chuck Berry in prison, Little Richard "retired", and Jerry Lee Lewis contreversially marrying his 14 year-old cousin. Pop was swamped with clean-cut singers, and it wasn't till The Beatles and, initially Merseybeat, arrived that all the original rock 'n' roll values returned.
You also mention about the 70s rock 'n' roll revival. There was also a mod revival about the same time that was vitually cloned from a previous era.
Do you like anything after '66, or aren't you a fan of Psychdelia? Personally, apart from The Beatles, the Americans did it best. British Pyschedelia is far too whimsical for me.
 

river_styx

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Inverurie Jones said:
The 70s were extremely dark for me; I had no eyes and was living in an ovary.

Actually that just means you could be some kind of body invading parasite....hehehehe
 

Anome

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Inverurie Jones said:
Why does everybody keep saying that???
Because you are wise beyond your years, young one.

Just keep telling yourself that, and you might be able to ignore the feelings of age that it otherwise conjurs up.
 
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anome said:
Because you are wise beyond your years, young one.

Just keep telling yourself that, and you might be able to ignore the feelings of age that it otherwise conjurs up.

It's the pipe, isn't it?
 

Beakmoo

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Inverurie Jones said:
It's the pipe, isn't it?
Yes. And the taste in music and literature. And the slippers as well for all I know. :)
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Re: RANT!!

cat simon said:
Zygon, I applaud your admiration for liking the period 1957 to 1966, but I think even that can be split into two groups - '57 to '58 and '63 to '66. The period between, '58 to '62, was probably the most middle of the road period in pop/rock history.

Not quite true, Cat Simon. The period 1958 - 1962 was a golden age for regional flavours of rock'n'roll, only a little of which ever attained much international visibility at the time, mainly because most of it was too wild for the tastes of the bigboys of the post-Payola US radio industry and what people don't hear they tend not to buy: examples -in California there was Surf Music (the instrumental Deltones, Challengers, Pyramids, Crossfires etc kind); in Washington State there was the Pacific Northwest sound typified by such movers and shakers as The Sonics, The Wailers and The Blasters; in Louisiana there were small stations and labels acting like Payola had never happened and churning out pre-1958-style Rock'n'Roll and R'n'B by the barrel-load (check out some of the searing session-work Dr. John was doing at that time under his own name -Mac Rebenack- as a guitarist); and let's not forget the Great Folk Scare that saw a brief surge of interest in folk during the same period and which was a huge component of everything that was to follow in American pop and rock.

And were the likes of Bobby Vee -or even Fabian- really all that much more MOR than the likes of Gareth Gates? IMO it's 6 of 1, etc.

You also mention about the 70s rock 'n' roll revival. There was also a mod revival about the same time that was vitually cloned from a previous era.
Do you like anything after '66, or aren't you a fan of Psychdelia? Personally, apart from The Beatles, the Americans did it best. British Pyschedelia is far too whimsical for me.

I like a lot of psyche, both US and UK. (Indeed, more than half of all the albums I own are arguably psyche.) I cited '66 as a cutoff date as that's more-or-less the point in time I reckon that the "sophisticates" of Pop and Rock finally started outnumbering the louts and tearaways. (BTW, as I recall it, the Mod Revival was more a second-half of the 70s thing, whereas the rock'n'roll revival took up the entire decade and a bit, even if it did mutate into the rockabilly revival after about '76 or so. Neither the Mod or Rockabilly revivals were all that true to the periods they referenced however.)
 
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Anonymous

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psychepastiche

I enjoyed Andy Partridge & XTC's pastiche / parody of American / British psychedelica, Chips From The Chocolate Fireball by the Dukes of Stratosphear. ( It had the embarassing distinction of being a bigger seller than The Big Express, the last recording by the Swindon trio under their real name.)
 

Imperial_Call

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beakboo said:
Yes. And the taste in music and literature. And the slippers as well for all I know. :)

and the cuddly sweater and rocking chair

so how old are you IJ?
 
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Anonymous

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Since I Was Born At The Close Of The Fifties

The Seventies started out okay, although the hangover from the Greatest Party of All Time that had been the mid-sixties was already underway.

Try and catch some Monty Pythons and Goodies, or better yet, Man About The House videos. The sit-com about the young guy cookery student moving in in a flatshare with the two groovy young chicks, to get an idea of the bubbly, innocent, slighly risqué hotpants and glam tank tops beginning of the decade.

Before the middle of the decade I was well into my teens. All the lads in the playground were laughing ourselves stupid to the Bill Connolly, Live! double album, especially the 'crucifixion sketch.' We were listening to Alice Cooper's School's Out album and getting vicarious sex & violence kicks of a strictly non-pc nature from the Skinhead novels, the Harry Potter books of our generation. Films, Tommy and That'll Be The Day, the Rocky Horror Picture Show came out then as well, didn't see it till later though.

At 16 I got a job and tried that for a while. Punk almost passed me by. After tjhe feast of music that had been the Sixties, most of what passed for music then was crap, The Bay City bloody Rollers and Osmonds and Jacksons and Mud and Wombles and Showaddywaddy and on and on. I went retro for Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry and mildly psychadelic for Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. Then I heard Elvis Costello Watching the Detectives and the Specials and Madness and Selector.

And don't forget TISWAS, that was great!

Then, Marget Thatcher got elected, the Hellmouth opened under England and the eighties began, sweeping away some good facets of British society,like a belief in some sort of social 'all in it together' idea and bringing in a whole new greed and ownership ethic..

Compared to the Eighties, the Seventies seem to have been a less cynical and more innocent, more optimistic time, maybe it's an age thing?
 
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Anonymous

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Re: psychepastiche

condreye buch said:
I enjoyed Andy Partridge & XTC's pastiche / parody of American / British psychedelica, Chips From The Chocolate Fireball by the Dukes of Stratosphear. ( It had the embarassing distinction of being a bigger seller than The Big Express, the last recording by the Swindon trio under their real name.)

Pastiche/parody??

As I recall from articles/reviews in the late and lamented Strange Things Magazine, amongst other places, The Dukes of The Stratosphere LP was actually more heartfelt homage than pisstake. Not that I found it all that convincing in either capacity. (Come to think of it, wasn't the true story -IIRC, and that's by no means certain- that Partridge was "serious" about doing it 'properly', while the rest of the band only went along with it 'for a laugh'? That seems to ring a bell. But then XTC were never a band I paid much attention to, so my memory may be well off.)
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Since I Was Born At The Close Of The Fifties

AndroMan said:
...The Bay City bloody Rollers...
You utter mustard, AndroMan!!! I'd just about managed to blot those horrible plaid-plastered pervs out of my memory and then you go and remind me of 'em!

NAAHHRRGHHLE!! Christ no, now I've just remembered watching Shangalang one day 'cos my wee sister had it on when I got home from school!! GEDDIDOUDAMYHEEEEEAAAAAD!!!!


:)

Compared to the Eighties, the Seventies seem to have been a less cynical and more innocent, more optimistic time, maybe it's an age thing?

It's definitely an age thing. I was seeing all this 80s nostalgia-crap* on TV just recently, and found myself thinking how harmless, naive and innocent the whole Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, identikit synth-duo, Adam & The Ants, Haircut 100, ABC and Kajagoogoo pile of steaming dogmess now seems in retrospect, and it definitely didn't seem that way at the time.

-------------------------------------------------

Zygon's guide to distinguishing between nostalgia and retro taste in music (you can ignore this bit as it's just opinionated rant): nostalgia is when you hit 20+ and you still like the music you heard on daytime radio or at the school disco when you were 14 because it reminds you of happy times; retro taste, however, is simply liking, perhaps even preferring old music -and especially old music you never heard before you got into old music- to most of what you're hearing now. They are not the same thing, although they can overlap.

I get quite annoyed hearing tasteless wee shites dismissing out of hand anything older than 15 minutes as "just nostalgia", esp. when they use the age of the recording as justification for not liking it. Dislike it because it's not to your taste, but fer f**k's sake don't dislike it just because it's older than you are! The word for that is stoopid.
 

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cat simon~ said:
River_Styx said:
It would be interesting to see dual timelines of how attitudes and social conscience have been affected since the end of WW2 by the demand for more, more, more. on either side of the atlantic.
I wasn't around for much of the seventies, blame the parents for not getting their act together until '78 for that one.

There was an interesting programme a couple of years ago on Channel 4 about crime during WWII in London. It seemed to go against the grain that everyone pulled together during the Blitz, what with looting and murder going on.

It's off-topic, but I dimly recall either listening to a Radio4 programme or seeing a TV documentary about at serial killer and/or rapist at work during the blitz.

Can anyone supply details?

Perhaps there was speculation about a rogue GI? I simply can't recall.
 
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BaronHardacre

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I too remember that, I seem to remember it being a documentary on Channel 4. I have vague recollections of women being lured with the promise of silk and nylon stockings.
Can't find anything on google, though.
 

stu neville

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Channel Five's Bad Boys of the Blitz, possibly?
The Second World War saw many English cities bombed by German planes. The Blitz began in September 1940, and comprised over two months of near-continuous aerial bombardment. But while most citizens accepted the deprivations and acted for the greater good, some were more concerned with what they could take for themselves.

The Blitz sparked the beginning of a war-long crime spree that saw offences double as the underworld took advantage of black-outs, rationing and the lack of bobbies on the beat. This documentary tells a story that was covered up by the government of the time in order to protect the nation's morale. Contributors include ex-London policemen, notorious underworld figure 'Mad' Frankie Fraser, and smaller fry such as persistent thieves 'Spud' Murphy and Roy Hill.
 

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I never watch Ch5 when at home, so it's unlikely.

I think it may have been one of those rather good Ch4 Secret History programmes.
 

EnolaGaia

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I was a teenager during the mid-to-late 1960's and a twenty-something during the 1970's, so I 'lived' the transition (in the USA). There was a sort of 'dark' or 'downhill' vibe to the 1970's, even though in some respects things seemed to be chugging right along. Naturally, one's viewpoint varies with age, location, life situation, and primary personal concerns during the decade.

Some of the historical themes or events that contributed to my own pall during the Seventies included:

- most generally, the end of 'progress' in social, personal, spritual, political, and cultural 'expansion' (liberation; liberalization; whatever...) begun in the mid-Sixties and carried forward with explosive speed thereafter

- the deaths (literally and figuratively) in the rock music venue which had been the Sixties' focal cultural force (Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles)

- the culmination and end of the inaugural US manned space initiative. Once we packed up and retreated from the moon (early 1970's) there was no longer a dramatic effort from which to draw a feeling of 'human progress' on the grand scale. In general, everyone sat back to await the shuttle and the 1980's. In particular, no one was talking about regaining the moon or pressing further outward ...

- the dissemination of cultural / personal themes like 'personal expansion', 'psychic exploration', and 'sexual liberation' throughout the population (beyond a self-selected population of adherents). Drugs initially reserved for self-consciously 'exploratory' experiences were being eaten like candy just to get high. 'Free love' devolved from an idealistic philosophy to a weekend sport.

- the fragmentation of anything one could call an umbrella 'movement', as racial / ethnic / gender - advocacy groups split off to independently concentrate on generating and projecting their 'identity' or 'consciousness'. This splintered a loose-knit 'front' into a set of mutually-isolated and sometimes competing groups.

- economic woes (continual inflation; the first major oil shortage). The relative affluence (as measured by buying power) for a typical family stagnated in the early 1970's

- this was the decade during which the majority of the biggest demographic cohort (the baby boomers) transitioned from young dependents in school to adult independents in the 'real world'

- the lingering horror of the Vietnam war. By 1969 or 1970 it was clear the nation was deeply divided and we wished we could extricate ourselves, but it would take another 5 years to finally get out.

- the co-opting (copying; commercialization) of Sixties styles, attitudes, and themes into mainstream products - effectively reducing things once adopted via personal commitments to things for sale off the shelf.

- the rise of Mideast-related terrorism directed against western non-military targets and people. Early in the decade the PLO hijacked 3 planes, discreetly off-loaded the passengers, and blew up the hardware in the desert as a media event. By the end of the decade there'd been a progression from 'media event' to murder.

As of 1970, if you saw a long-haired young man with jeans and a flannel shirt you could assume a lot about his personal attitudes, politics, and openness to conversation or providing help. As of 1980, the same appearance could (and commonly would) connote the opposite of its 1970 version - i.e., the guy might well be a beer-swilling redneck of dogmatic right-wing inclinations (if he had any social consciousness at all), prone to 'looking out for number one' and capable of violence as a matter of habit.

Footnote: In the USA, at least, it was the 1970's that were self-titled the 'Me Decade'. The trend away from idealism and toward selfish materialism would culminate with the 'yuppiedom' phenomenon of the 1980's. The Seventies were dubbed 'me decade' (at the time) because of the prevalence of personal hedonism and vanity.
 

PeniG

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The 70s - bright, loose clothing (the kind I happen to look best in); the invention of that most wholesome, innocent, and creative pastime, the Role Playing Game; dance music and Jethro Tull battling it out for domination of the air conditioning ducts (my brother and sister each had their own stereo and I got the benefit - you ain't heard "Thick as a Brick" till you've heard it with a disco beat), conscientious attempts to conserve energy meeting with public cooperation and approval, the end of publicly-approved lynching, the recognition that blind people and those in wheelchairs had rights in public spaces, the rise of the nerd, one brief shining moment when sexual experimentation could happen without dire consequences - that's what I remember.

The rest of it's all true, too, and I remember that as well, but the 70s weren't dark. Neither were they light. They were just these years, y'know.

One history film screened in my American History class during the unit on the 20s remarked that "not until the 1970s did the spirit of frivolity reenter American life" and I do remember a lot of frivolity; but I can find traces of that same frivolity in 50s maltshop romances and Depression-era movie magazines. Prior to the advent of the Present Administration, I considered the 50s - the Cold War, McCarthyism, overt and institutionalized racism, the vile blossoming of suburbia - to be the nadir of American life, but others see it as the Golden Age of security and the (all-white) nuclear family, and this perception fueled the nostalgia craze of the 70s.

Commercialism goes way back in American culture, at least to the post-Civil War era; materialism and conspicuous consumption predate American culture.

Show me a period of history and I can show you that it was the best of times and that it was the worst of times. Nostalgia isn't a function of what went on, but of who you were at the time. I have a wall full of books designating this or that time as a time of innocence and this or that date as the end of innocence.

We're humans. No society we were ever in was ever innocent. Innocence is a quality of individuals, not of groups.
 

rjmrjmrjm

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On a similar subject I was born in 1987 (baby!) and I remember my early childhood in the 90's as being solely constructed of dark concrete, wet tarmac and grey sunless days. I don't know when these stopped and it wasn't like I had an unhappy childhood, just the world seemed darker back then.

Then again, this was in Liverpool in the 90's which may explain the glumness of people.
 

Rrose_Selavy

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I was 8 to 18 in the 70s - they were literally dark with the powercuts , watching Blue Peter then suddenly everything went dark and No telly! the 3 day week - anyone remember that?

From a decade point of view it was the emergence of terrorism (IRA , Munich, Bader meinhoff etc ) and technology -

-

-
 

ogopogo3

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theyithian said:
It's off-topic but i dimly recall either listening to a Radio4 thing or seeing a TV documentary about at serial killer and/or rapist at work during the blitz. Can anyone supply details. Perhaps there was speculation about a rogue GI? I simply can't recall, but want to.

That was Gordon Cummings. He's in one of my crime encyclopedias, but damned if I can remember which one. Google turns up very little on him. I seem to recall him being American, but I could be wrong.

From http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWcrime.htm

One of the most notorious murder cases took place during a week in February 1942. On 9th February, Evelyn Hamilton, was found in an air raid shelter in Marylebone. She had been strangled and her handbag had been stolen. The following day the body of Evelyn Oatley was found in her Wardour Street flat. She had been strangled and mutilated with a tin-opener. Three days later Margaret Lowe was also found strangled and mutilated. On 12th February, a fourth woman, Doris Jouannet, was also found killed in the same way. The newspapers now described the killer as the Blackout Ripper.

Soon after the body of Doris Jourannet was found, the killer attacked a fifth woman. He was disturbed by a delivery boy and the man ran off. He left behind his Gas Mask case. Inside was a service number that identified it as belonging to Gordon Cummings, a twenty-eight year cadet in the RAF. Although he did not have a criminal record or have a history of violence, the evidence against Cummings was overwhelming. His fingerprints were found in two of the flats where the killings took place. He was also found in possession of objects stolen from the women. Cummings was found guilty and executed on 24th June. Later Scotland Yard claimed Cummings had also murdered two other women during air raids in London in October 1941.
 
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