I’m keeping it rather short today. I was introduced to music from the late 60s and 70s by my dad and my older cousin. I didn’t really find anything worth listening to in the early 90s that wasn’t Boyz II Men, but music from the 60s and 70s always seemed to pique my interest, and not in the quasi-ironic way that everyone likes 70s nowadays. I’d just rather have listened to Triumph or Boston than Hootie and the Blowfish is all.
Elton John – “Roy Rogers”
Let me go ahead and say it, Elton John is the greatest artist of the 70s that didn’t write his own lyrics. The song is about a father and husband who manages through the mundanity of everyday life by indulging in escapism via the late night Roy Rogers TV show. This song aside, Elton’s catalog of incredible songs is daunting. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was really his last fully decent album, but it is widely regarded as his best. I prefer “Madman Across the Water” and “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player,” and I could’ve just as easily picked “High Flying Bird,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Madman Across the Water,” or any of his other songs prior to 1974.
Led Zeppelin – “Fool In the Rain”
My favorite Zeppelin song isn’t “Stairway,” or “Black Dog,” or “Whole Lotta Love.” Though I thoroughly enjoy those songs, and nearly every other Zep song, my favorite is this one – the last single released from the last album released prior to John Bonham’s death. “Fool in the Rain” is a lovely song, with an equally amusing story. A man waits in the rain at the corner of a block for a woman he’s just recently met. Angry with himself for waiting for her, and saddened that she hasn’t shown up, he begins an inner-monologue cursing himself and the woman. It’s shortly thereafter that he realizes he’s been waiting on the wrong block.
Pink Floyd – “The Final Cut”
This is a sad song. It was originally intended to be a track on “The Wall,” but didn’t make the final listing. “The Final Cut” is the titular track of Roger Water’s final album with Pink Floyd, and is generally thought of as a Roger Waters solo album, as David Gilmour had almost zero creative input. It’s sort of a tie between this album and “The Wall” for my favorite Floyd album. The lyrics to this song express the very depths of human loneliness and the desire to be loved. And if I show you my dark side, will you still hold me tonight? And if I open my heart to you, and show you my weak side, what would you do?
Jethro Tull – “Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die”
This is another sad song – kinda. The song’s carefree melody belies it somber lyrical content. I’m not a huge Jethro Tull fan, only because I can’t stand how forced the flute is at times. “Locomotive Breath” would’ve been 100x better had the solo been performed on a guitar. This song is particularly poignant though. The old rocker, distressed and fed up with living a life with the restrictions a family brings, kills himself by riding his motorcycle down a dangerous road at 120mph. By the way, this video is ridiculously funny.
Thin Lizzy – “The Cowboy Song”
Thin Lizzy is an Irish band, so what they’re doing telling stories of Cowboys, Texas, and Mexico is beyond me. They really nailed it though. Being a Texas boy myself, this song is an accurate depiction of the things I do on a daily basis. I could’ve just as easily picked “Jailbreak,” the title track from the same album, which is probably my favorite song of theirs.
5 Hand Reel – “Carrickfergus”
I’m actually more of a Dick Gaughan fan than I am a 5 Hand Reel fan, but I already had my Irish folk day yesterday. 5 Hand Reel didn’t see too much by way of fame here in the states, but they were mildly popular in the UK. 5 Hand Reel’s version of this song isn’t as good as the one by the Dubliners, but it is the best non-traditional version I’ve ever heard.