Showing posts with label 1972. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1972. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • September, 1972

Folk. The influence on our culture from its rebirth in the late 50's through the early 70's is profound. As I listened to albums released in September of 1972, I was struck by its sheer world-wide appeal and the talent of many to modernize folk and make top 10 hits from a genre they grew up with.

In America, you have the seemingly shy and unassuming folk musicians like John Denver and Seals and Crofts writing and performing big mainstream hits. Meanwhile, the UK mounts a second-wave invasion of sorts with artists like Cat Stevens, Sandy Denny (from Fairport Convention), and groups like The Pentangle, not to mention Jethro Tull, Genesis, Yes and a host of others taking the traditional English Folk genre and bending that into rock. In progressive rock, Yes releases Close to the Edge turning their back on the 2-3 minute hitmaker format, making continuous movements that take up the whole side of an album. AM radio dazed and confused needs FM to take over the progressive sides of blues and rock 'n' roll. 

Folk is roots music. Where ever you come from and no matter your taste in popular music, strands of folk are always there to bond a tune with its audience.

Note- I wanted to mention the passing of Jim Seals (79) this year (June, 6). For anyone growing up in the 1970's, the duo Seals and Crofts were very popular and very humble. In an ever growing environment of substance abuse destroying musicians lives and ultimately thinning the herd of quality rock 'n' roll in the 1970's, Seals and Crofts were well, a summer breeze. 

I also wanted to mention John Denver who was never really on my radar in high school. Like Glen Campbell and The Carpenters, I came to appreciate their music later. In about four years from now, I'll be writing specifically about 1976 and a summer camp I worked at for children with disabilities. Let me tell you, John Denver music was king around the campfire!

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, July 18, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • July, 1972

  • July 1 - 
    • U.S. actress Jane Fonda tours North Vietnam, during which she is photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
    • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms becomes independent from the IRS. 
  • July 8 – The U.S. sells grain to the Soviet Union for $750 million.
  • July 11
    • The long anticipated chess match between world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union, and United States champion Bobby Fischer, began in Iceland at Reykjavík.
  • July 10–14 – The Democratic National Convention meets in Miami Beach. Senator George McGovern, who backs the immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam, is nominated for president. He names fellow Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate.
  • July 18 – Anwar Sadat expels 20,000 Soviet advisors from Egypt.
  • July 21
    • Bloody Friday: 22 bombs planted by the Provisional IRA explode in Belfast, Northern Ireland; nine people are killed and 130 seriously injured.
    • Comedian George Carlin is arrested by Milwaukee police for public obscenity, for reciting his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" at Summerfest.
  • July 25 – U.S. health officials admit that African-Americans were used as guinea pigs in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.
  • July 31 – The Troubles, Northern Ireland:
    • Claudy bombing ("Bloody Monday"), 10:00 AM: Three car bombs in Claudy, County Londonderry, kill nine. It becomes public knowledge only in 2010 that a local Catholic priest was an IRA officer believed to be involved in the bombings but his role was covered up by the authorities.
  • August 1 – U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdraws from the race after revealing he had been treated for mental illness.
From Wikipedia, 1972

In looking back to the events of July, 1972 as a 17 year-old, it's the first Presidential race where I had an introductory grasp of our nation's domestic and international politics. I had just completed my junior year in high school where I had taken a class titled, "International Relations" taught by History teacher and my freshmen football coach, Randy Enberg.

Up until that spring semester, I had only known the rather tall Mr. Enberg by his hunched over cranky demeanor on the practice field in the summer of '69, getting us ready for the fall season. Jeff Muro, who would later play linebacker for UCLA was our fullback. During practice one day he was carrying the ball through the line and hit me square in my chest with his helmet and drove me straight down on my back into the turf. Now that left an impression. Mr. Enberg just looked at me and said, "Well McIntosh, are you going to get up?"

A couple of years later, I meet a completely different man in the classroom as Mr. Enberg would start a discussion on a world topic and then let us freely discuss as students. He would essentially moderate and keep the conversation going. I loved it! For the second part of the semester, we did a research project where he guided us to independent study and we had to submit a paper with all our references to him a couple of weeks before school got out. 

I had handwritten my report, put it in a folder and for the life of me forgot where I put it! I had worked in the library like two weeks straight on this thing. I went to Mr. Enberg to tell him (like... my dog ate it) but decided to tell him the truth of how I just screwed up and lost it. He looked down at me like he had on that practice field a few years prior, and said, "Meet me after school in my class." Oh shit!

So I go to his classroom and he's sitting at his desk. He tells me to pull up a chair and looks at his notebook and says, "Your report was on Israel and Arab relations, correct?" I said, "Yes." Then he says, "Tell me what you learned." We spent the next 20 minutes or so talking about Israel becoming a nation after World War II and the hot button issues of religion and politics including American and the Soviet influence in the region. Mr. Enberg gave me a B for the class. 


Summer of 1972 has me buying Son of Schmilsson by Harry Nilsson and Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. 

In listening to Son of Schmilsson after many years and a lot more knowledge of Harry Nilsson's life, I realize this is the beginning of the end. I loved this album as a kid, but you can kind of hear between the record grooves that all is not well, and the extremely talented Mr. Nilsson is kind of doing it here half-ass. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good songs on this album, especially, Remember (Christmas) but you know he could have worked it a bit harder.

Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer is an album that I listened to a lot the year it came out. They really were at the forefront of progressive rock and got a lot of kids to listen to their reworks of the classics. 

I have never really been a Rod Stewart fan, but all these years later I can appreciate his band, Faces as the second-string to The Rolling Stones. I say that as a high compliment as Rod after he blew up the band a few years prior. He used all the guys from Faces to back him up on his albums in the early 70's when he became a huge star. Never a Dull Moment has me listening carefully to the very tight rock and roll of Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, and Kenny Jones. In three years, Ronnie Wood would join the Rolling Stones and is still a band member today, and Kenny Jones would be the Who's drummer for a few years after Keith Moon died in 1978.

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • May, 1972

In America you get food to eat
Won't have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
It's great to be an American
–Sail Away, Randy Newman

So I was wondering when the streak would end?

Meaning, what month would I only have three albums to showcase as the header for this month fifty years ago. Typically, I can have between 6 and 10 albums that I feel are worthy as whole albums. Was this the month where the rock 'n' roll well started to lose water?

In 1972, The 60's were officially dead, not to mention Jimi, Janis, and Jim. The Beatles were no more. The Beach Boys were done, Bob Dylan was where? The original Byrds had long flown, Neil Young was embarking on making non-selling solo albums, CS&N were toast, Motown took the last train for the coast...

Yet, The Rolling Stones make their critically received Exile On Main St., an album I would appreciate much later but I'm sure for many, a 'stay calm and rock on' moment... we still have the Stones. Elton John has moved from the new kid in town into being a huge superstar, and Randy Newman ascends into 'American Treasure' songwriter status even though many people will only know him for his much later, Toy Story movie score.

These three albums are for me a perfect moment in rock 'n' roll time. 

The Stones are the 60's past but in 1972 are still making great rock 'n' roll and white boy blues. In the 70's, The Rolling Stones cement their 'best rock 'n' roll band of all time' title in that they are the band who lived for another day, then year, and as it's turned out decades... 60 years baby! 

After Brian Jones death in 1969, The Stones have only had two new members, guitarist Mick Taylor who lasted 5 years (1969-74) because he probably thought he'd be dead in another 5 years, and his replacement, Ronnie Wood (1975-present). The line up of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood would remain the same until Charlie's death last year. And, they're still a band today adding all-star drummer Steve Jordan recently. Of all the bands in the world, nobody can deny their greatness and appreciate their sheer longevity in an industry that chews up bands and spits them out as sport. Not to mention most bands tendency to self-destruct once money, drugs and fame enter the picture. Long live The Rolling Stones.

Elton John represents the transition to 1970's rock 'n' roll. He with David Bowie become huge stars. In an odd way, Elton replaces Neil Young for me. Elton with Bernie Taupin are fantastic songwriters. He is also a great singer and entertainer, basically the whole package. Loggins & Messina replace the whole sorted mess with Crosby, Stills & Nash, then Young, then not any of them. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carol King and Linda Ronstadt continue to rise as great solo artists, and another big band is about to break out in my 50 years feature next month, the Eagles.

In 1972, Randy Newman is both the past and the present. He's steeped into an early 20th century songwriting style, becoming a timeless artist with a quirky voice who writes songs like Mark Twain wrote books. More importantly, he's a songwriter's songwriter. His influence with his peers and now a couple of generations is unmeasurable. Over the years he's had a few non-movie based hits, Short People and I Love LA come to mind, but I'll take songs like Dayton, Ohio - 1903. If there's one person to take in this week on the playlist, take him in, you've got a friend in Randy Newman.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • March, 1972

Fifty years ago this month, I turned seventeen. A year later, I would meet my second girl friend, and as it would turn out many years later, my second wife.

In the spring of 1973 I met a lovely girl who sat behind me in Miss Dunn's English class. She would in fact be that second girlfriend who introduced me to many things, one of which being the very talented and funny, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks band. Striking It Rich was Hicks' third album released in March, 1972 which I wouldn't hear until the summer of '73. When I listened to it this past week, the memory association of music in space and time really came rushing back.  I remember sitting in her family room listening to this album. It was early on in our relationship and I'll never forget the song, I Scare Myself,  which seemed spot on at the time. Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks is a great example of me being a young and stupid teenager getting exposed to different music that I normally would have never listened to. In this case, Hicks' use of country swing mixed with a bit of jazz along with a healthy dose of humor thrown in got me listening to a new band with this very intriguing girl.

Stevie Wonder's Music Of My Mind would do the same thing. This album comes just at the beginning of Stevie's magical run in the 1970's that would make him one of the biggest musical stars of all-time. The elements are all coming together within Music Of My Mind as Wonder starts to reshape R&B, pop, rock 'n' roll and jazz, and roll it all together into Stevie Wonder music. I will also say that Stevie Wonder more than other black artist, (even Smoky and Marvin) got white kids in the 70's buying more than black artist's singles, but now their albums too.

Bare Trees is one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac's albums and is actually the album that got me listening to the band as they began to move further from their Brit Blues roots to rock 'n' roll and then pop with the revamp of the group in 1975. This is the album that I fell in love with Christine McVie's songs as I think she's one of the most underrated composers and singers in rock 'n' roll history. This album also features Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch who really helped define the Fleetwood Mac sound. Many people only know Fleetwood Mac after Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band in 1975, and the older material is often forgotten and received very little air time after the mid-70's.

Two successful rock 'n' roll bands from the 60's that made the transition to stadium 'Rock' in the 1970's were Jethro Tull and Deep Purple. Both released albums in March, 1972 and I will have to say Deep Purple's Machine Head really holds up. 

As 'Metal' developed into a sub-genre in the 1970's, that loud arena sound became associated with lesser talented bands than their Tier 1 predecessors like Deep Purple. Led Zeppelin of course became the premier hard rock band of the 70's but Deep Purple were also a great rock band that didn't quite get its due. Machine Head is a great classic rock album says the guy who didn't listen to a lot of straight-up Marshall amplifier rock music back in the day.

Lastly, I'll mention Delaney & Bonnie's last album together, D&B Together who in real life were just months away from a divorce. As I have gone back and listened to their albums over the past couple of years it strikes me how much Eric Clapton had co-opted their sound in the early 70's and Delaney and Bonnie were pretty much forgotten after this album, while Clapton took that sound to the bank. 

Lay down Sally, enjoy my friends.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • January, 1972

The future hides and the past just slides, England lies between
Floating in a silver mist, so cold and so clean
California's shaking like an angry child will
Who has asked for love and is unanswered still
from Something Fine by Jackson Browne

The California sound is evolving in January, 1972. The terms 'folk rock' and 'country rock' are promoted by record companies and radio stations riding the next wave. The artists themselves hate these sub-genre terms as the money vise works to squeeze them into neat AM/FM formats and the integration of my childhood 60's pop – the mixed airplay of rock 'n' roll, country, blues and R&B moves into separate silos across the radio dial.

Now as a teenager, all the record companies have mostly moved to Los Angeles as movies and music begin to merge into mega-media corporations. The end of my rock 'n' roll innocence is not yet realized at the time. 

More folk-country-rock musicians like Jackson Browne continue to emerge on the national stage and continue the trend of singer-songwriters making their own hit records. With the release of his first album, Jackson Browne as an LA native and known to many within the music business for his songwriting (since he was 16), instantly joins the top-tier class of singer-songwriters in Los Angeles. January 1972, also gives us Paul Simon's wonderful debut solo album and my record collection starts to grow – funded by doing a variety of janitorial jobs around town. 

Linda Ronstadt releases her self-titled third solo album and is just about a year away from hitting the big time herself as she will start working with James Taylor's producer/manager, and former Peter & Gordon 60's pop star, Peter Asher.  

LA is a beacon for music and I'm in a sleepy town just 2 1/2 hours north that's ready to wake up with a new crop of teenagers anxious to hear the blend of acoustic and electric guitars on records and in concerts.

I'm a junior in January '72, starting to see the light at the end of the high school tunnel. I've been doing a part-time janitorial job at a heavy-duty diesel truck repair shop for about a year now. I clean a place where thick grease is manufactured by the minute, traveling from the trucks to the shop's cement floors to work boots, and then to tile floors in the offices and lunchroom. I still have a vivid image of cleaning and mopping the lunch room tile floor just to walk back by that room five minutes later to see a fresh trail of black grease Vibram® soles tracks leading to and from the vending machines. Who in God's name puts white linoleum tile in a diesel truck repair shop?

I also did other jobs around the shop basically located in an open field that was farming land just a few years prior. Anyway, I had to often clear weeds around the property. My friend, Paul Hobbs who lived nearby would sometimes see me working outside as he rode his bike over the US 101 freeway overpass. Paul and I would talk until I got skittish about my boss seeing us talking and I would suddenly tell him he had to leave. C'mon Doug?

I remember my boss unloading a huge but old rototiller for me to clear a section of weeds to add some plant landscaping. Everything was going fine until the rototiller started smoking something fierce and suddenly froze and died. I had one of the mechanics come out to see what was wrong, and he started laughing when he discovered our boss had failed to add oil and ruined the motor! That was a good one for him to tell the crew in the shop and make fun of the boss. The shop of mechanics were good ol' boys where no one was spared the butt-end of a joke or prank. I learned a few things in my time there... and yes, to always check the oil level in my future cars. On one occasion, the men closed the shop early one Friday and I was invited as a special guest to watch my first porn film on a 16mm reel to reel projector and screen in the back of the Parts Department with the guys. 

At some point in my junior year, I got another janitorial job by a guy at my church to work at his cleaning business. I remember cleaning a data processing building that had rooms filled with large rectangular metal machines with windows of reel to reel tape. At the time, I didn't even know these were early computer storage systems. I would later have a long career as an educational technology teacher in San Diego.

Now these cleaning jobs were boring as hell and I would often invite friends to tag along as a talking buddy. I started inviting a friend from my church, Jeff McGill to come and kill time with me at John Deere and the Toyota dealership on West Main. Unbeknownst to me, my boss was tailing me and warned me if I kept bringing friends along, he would fire me. I think I was at the Toyota dealership with Jeff, when in comes my boss and fires me on the spot. Jeff felt bad, but he did me a big favor as I hated that job.

A year later as a senior in high school, my friend Bill DeVoe and I got a janitorial/gardening contract to clean and maintain our church, Grace Baptist Church on West Alvin and Lincoln in Santa Maria. I remember we made a presentation to the Board of Deacons at the church and beat out an adult church member who just happened to be, my former boss with the cleaning business. Oh lordy lordy that was a bit of Instant Karma and Oh Happy Day!