When I remember songs from the radio stations of the 70’s I remember feeling a sense of positivity, joy and inspiration. A sense of expansion, of spiritual awareness, infinity and the power of universal spirit charges my body like an electrical current. When hear the lyrics I am constantly reminded keep our head up! That things are going to get better! That even though we walk in the material dimension we are still spiritual beings. And we must never forget this important truth.
Radio music of the 70’s was probably the greatest production of music in any era. And this is across the board… all genre, from County, Folk, Funk Rock and Jazz. It was superior in many ways due to the fact the artists were allowed to create freely. Using rich poetic lyrics that combine imagery and complex storylines. Like Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting, “If You Could Read My Mind”, Jim Croce’s, “Time in a Bottle”, and Breads “Diary”. Of course the classic “Hotel California” is a cross generational hit that is played at campfires by young musicians. Dolly Parton, Charlie Rich and Glen Campbell county songs were all hits. And we all sang them. John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High” and Thank God I m a Country Boy” all songs their songs went number one on the top 40 charts.
The stories in the songs were often told/song in the 3rd person. Consider Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” s Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, Elton John’s “Daniel”. Earth Wind and Fire would sing directly at the listener with “Keep You Head to the Sky” and “Shining Star”. It was an art form that is rarely used today.
That creativity didn’t stop there! There was an explosion of songs that mixed styles. From Steele Dan’s Jazz infused pop, to the band Yes which combined classical music with rock and jazz creating musical compositions that Mozart would have been impressed with. Jethro Tull blazing execution on the flute and of course Pink Floyd! The Philly Sound with Hall and Oates exploded on the scene with the R and B. Earth Wind and Fire with their blend of genre bending music creating a sophisticated blend of gospel, soul, rock and Brazilian rhythms. Reggae became increasingly popular. Black music reflected a message of spirituality and positive message, and political unrest being as sung by legends as Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.
Radio stations back in the early part of the 70’s played all songs at that time. There wasn’t segregated radio stations. One particular radio station, KFRC in San Francisco would play Elton John, then Tower of Power and Dolly Parton in the same hour. Songs could be played longer than 3;40 seconds. As far as I know, no one complained. As a kids I sit and sing to every one of those songs.
But it was the live concerts and performances that these trailblazers would shine. Their musicianship and performances were of such high execution it would rival much of today’s music. Music, in those days, were a well thought out live arrangements, with sophisticated musicianship, and solid performances. From The Doobie Brothers, to America, to Parliament and Al Greene, the live sound and musicianship was at a high level! Often I come across a young boy or girl playing Stairway to Heaven. It makes me smile! Because it offers proof that the Music of the 70’s will endure!
by Rene Collins