The River's Badge

Friday, February 10, 2012

1967 ~ The Finish Line!


Four posts! Four posts I have devoted to the simple little subject of the summer of love!

Who knew?

When you think about it, though, how many years have a name for their summer? Everybody knows that when you say "1967", you automatically tack on, "the summer of love".

What do you call 1975? "The summer of high interest rates"? Doesn't have quite the cache.

So, thus we have four posts for 1967. I think it deserves it.

I don't really know what happened to music after the sixties, and I was there. I mean, I know what happened; I just don't know why.

And it was a gradual thing. It snuck up on us. Sure, the early 1970's had some great, memorable hits. But, among those great songs, they wedged in some really (really) bad ones. And then it kind of snowballed. Until, finally, all we were left with was the Captain & Tenille.

It seems like, as the seventies fell upon us, we all got really tired and sleepy. And we just said, the hell with it. Just do whatever you want. Throw us some of those NBC "in living color" variety shows, with Tony Orlando and Dawn; or the Sonny & Cher Show; she with the Bob Mackie evening gowns; not the fur vests of the "I Got You, Babe" days. Sonny, hoisting up his cute little daughter son, as they all (three) performed their little comedy "skits". Donny & Marie on ABC (not to leave out the other big network of the day). She's a little bit country; he's a little bit rock and roll ("little bit" being the key word).

We were inexplicably easy to please. Because we were just so tired. We laughed at the comedy "routines", all the while hating ourselves for becoming so complacent that we had lost all sense of dignity.

Because none of this stuff was in the slightest regard "funny". Thank God for Saturday Night Live, or we could have just pronounced ourselves DOA. But who could stay up that late? We didn't have such a thing as DVR's, or even VCR's, so we pretty much saw the first half hour of SNL, and then we passed out from exhaustion.

I remember the big happening in TV during the seventies was, "Who shot JR?". This was for morons like me who had absolutely no life, so we watched nighttime soap operas on a Friday night, for God's sake. My parents and siblings would discuss the whole JR thing, as we gathered together to play cards and eat. And I had to try to keep up, even though I never even watched the stupid show. Truly, it was a major event in people's lives. We'd play cards in the kitchen and every once in awhile take a quick detour into the living room to see what was happenin' on the big TV (Donny & Marie on ice?), although Mom would have the little portable TV turned on in the dining area, so we wouldn't miss any shocking (shocking!) developments on Dallas.

And I thought at the time, this reeks. All of it. This is entertainment? Kill me now. Thank God I have kids to take care of. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I was so tired.....

So, la de da, that's perhaps why the sixties hold a fond place in my heart. It was carefree! I had no responsibilities! I was a kid. My biggest concern was whether the cute boy at my junior high would notice me, or at the very least, not make fun of me.

Music was a HUGE part of our lives in the sixties. You want your top 50? Well, you'd better, because that's all you're getting. Genres? What? Is that some exotic French word? We didn't know about "genres". It was all "music". All fifty songs. Cuz that's all you got. You had a choice. Listen to KFYR AM radio, or don't listen to the radio. Music on TV? Better tune in to the Ed Sullivan Show, or you'd miss it. Or, for the truly anarchic, the Smothers Brothers Show. And, of course, there was The Monkees TV show.

Why were the Monkees so huge? What was their competition on TV? We were the TV generation. The Beatles didn't have their own TV show. They wouldn't have been able to agree on the camera angles anyway. "Hey, why is Paul getting all the close-ups?" "I hate Paul." Yea? Well, I hate you, too!" "You wanna piece of me, mate?" That TV show would have been the ultimate reality series. Pathetic, sad, and embarrassing for everyone, especially the viewers.

So, yes, we loved the Monkees. They were so upbeat! So idealistic! Just like us!

This leads me to the final, and I do mean final, installment of the top hits from the summer of love.

I'm a little perturbed about the fact that I cannot find a performance video of #45. You know, and I know, that Dionne Warwick performed the heck out of this song on TV, but is there any record of it? Apparently not.

But, because I don't want to include some lame duet, with some other singer that nobody has ever heard of, or cares about, I'm giving you this one. It's the best I could find. Sorry. And did I mention that I'm tired?



I am shocked (yes, shocked) that this next song was only number 46 on the charts for 1967. Hindsight can ultimately change one's perspective, can it not? Because this is a classic song. And so beautiful. The voice and the melody. I don't really care about wearing flowers in my hair (Who could find fresh flowers anyway, to stick in your head? I guess it was metaphorical. Even though it really wasn't).

But Scott MacKenzie, even though he never had another hit song that I know of, really captured the summer of love with this song, and you know that this is probably one of the two that you remember:



#47. Paul Revere & the Raiders. I guess you had to be there. None of my younger friends even know or recognize the name. Yes, it was a "niche" band; if by "niche", I mean, "novelty act that lasted about two years". But I liked them. Not so much their music, but just "them". I had their posters on my wall. Mark Lindsay. A completely embarrassed Freddy Weller, who was just trying to make a buck, you know? That's not to say they didn't have good songs, because they did have a couple. But it was a different time, and a different blah blah blah. Anyway, take it for what it is. Here is number forty-seven, "Good Thing":



Number 48 just happens to have been, at one time, one of my very favorite songs. I'll admit; I never was a big Herman's Hermits fan. Their music was rather "twee", as Paul might say.

But not this one. This one was something else. This song, well, watch and listen.



As an extra-added bonus, Peter Noone was only sixteen when this song was recorded, so he's still alive and kickin', unlike many from that period. That always makes me feel good, because, well, I'm still alive and kickin', and I don't wanna be the last man standing, if you get my drift.

#49. Bill Cosby. I remember Bill Cosby, of course, from the sitcom of the eighties, and also from I Spy, with Robert Vaughan (yes, I go back a ways).

I mostly remember Bill Cosby from the standup video that he did in the eighties. "But Dad, I thought my name was Jesus Christ!" Ahhh, I watched that concert video about four thousand times on HBO, so yes, I kind of have it memorized.

But did you know that Bill Cosby also made hit records? No, you didn't. Don't lie to me.

Sure, maybe he appropriated Stevie Wonder, but Stevie doesn't care, so why should we? Steal from the best, they say.

Alas, there is no performance video of this song, which would be so cool, but here is, nevertheless, "Little Ole Man":



And now, here we are. Number fifty. FOUR posts. FOUR.

I never recapped a year like I have here. And I never will again.

But there's just something about 1967. Something that won't ever happen again.

So, number fifty asks the ultimate question:

How can I be sure?
In a world that's constantly changing


Well, you can't. I can't. The further we get, the more confused we are.

The Rascals are woefully under-appreciated.

Because, if one was to rank the influential artists of 1967, one would be a fool to not include the Rascals right up towards the top.

It's probably fitting that there is no performance video of this song. Why? I don't know. I'm just trying to make excuses. There really should be a performance video, but there isn't, so let's try to end this on a high note, and not quibble.



A walk through time. If you weren't there, well, maybe you can at least appreciate the artistry. I have no comment on the culture. That's not my purpose here.

Okay, my comment is: It was all rather silly. But they all thought it was serious, so who am I to judge?

I'm just here for the music.

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