‘Guilty Pleasures: 70s Songs I Hate to Love’ has set in train a series of thoughts about pants music generally rather than specifically.Sometimes, when I’m sitting here thinking about what the hell am I going to write next, if I am very lucky, someone comes along and gives me an idea. And in this instance it is just as well that they did or my next post would’ve been a blank screen - very artistic, I’m sure, but not really in the true spirit of a blog. So I am deeply indebted to Luminous Muse whose post
I’ve already covered my Guilty Pleasures in a series of posts some time back, so I thought rather than wheel out my list of Hate-to-Love songs yet again, I’d nominate my contender for the worst period in rock’s history and spookily it, too, comes from the 1970s – the decade that fashion forgot. My nomination for ‘Worst Period of Rock…Ever’ is the five year period 1973 – 1978.
The reasons why can be summed up in three words: Glam, Disco and Smart-Arses. It should be remembered that up to about 1973 everything had been going swimmingly from the Rock ‘n’ Roll explosion of the 1950s through the 1960s Beat Boom to Psychedelia and the beginnings of Progressive.
But by 1974 it had all gone wrong. Glam had ousted my beloved Prog and got it firmly on the run. Of course, Prog really only had itself to blame as it had disintegrated into self-indulgent noodling and we were drowning in pixies, but if only it knew what it was letting in... Whilst Glam had its upside, just, in Bowie and Roxy, the remainder was just the worst 1950s pastiche claptrap imaginable. Mud, Rubettes, Showaddywaddy, Sweet, Wizzard (Roy Wood what WERE you thinking?) were all as guilty as hell. Aged 18, music to me was a serious business and this lot were just taking the p…
Disco was almost as bad (with the possible exception of Chic). By the mid 1970s the likes of KC and the Sunshine Band, Sylvester, Heatwave, Donna Summer and Odyssey, were gearing up to batter our ears with stuff that only clubbers understood but the worst offender in this category was the person who invented the 12-inch single. If I ever get my hands on them…well, don’t worry, I’ll think of something. If Disco wasn’t bad enough over 3 minutes it was indescribably tedious over 10 long minutes of melody-free monotonous rhythm.
So for people like me, there was only one area left and unfortunately it was inhabited by the Smart-Arses as represented by the unholy trinity of Steely Dan, Supertramp and 10CC. I will put my hand up and admit to liking the first three 10CC albums but I never really took to either Supertramp or Steely Dan who were just far too clever by half. Thank God for Abba!
Never has one music lover been so relieved than when the Punk revolution swept away all this dross and replaced it with badly played, raucous yet passionate short sharp songs. Luckily this racket didn’t outstay its welcome but its lasting legacy was to open the door to a whole New Wave of artists from Blondie to XTC and by the end of the 1970s music was back on track. Phew!