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Friday, May 30, 2008

SUGAR SUGAR, AHH HONEY HONEY


As a child, I spake as a child. Now Jackson is a man and he's put away childish things.........mostly......


In 1978 my greatest enemy was Disco, largely personified by the dreaded Bee Gees, who's ubiquity at the time created much antipathy, of which mine was but a drop in the bucket.


My good friend Mike Hutchison and I founded the Disco Rots Club, originally called the Disco Sucks Club but Mike didn't want to offend his mom, who's candy drawer was most revered, and thus I backed him in the moniker amendment. We had a clubhouse, which was little more than a decrepit basketball hoop backboard mounted on an oak tree on which we spray painted 'Disco Rots'.


We were very serious about our mission, which was to defeat the forces of Disco through the proliferation of fundamental Rock values as put forth by the likes of Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, and Kiss.


Time has it's way with things; it brings perspective, and, hopefully, wisdom.


I have since come to worship the Brothers Gibb.


What can I say? Was I wrong? Did Disco not suck?


No, it most definitely did suck, in as much as it threatened our way of life, our belief systems, and our notions quality.


Poor Danny Carroll put up with a metric shit-ton of abuse from us because of his professed love of the Bee Gees. Sorry Donny, time has proved you right......sort of.


You see I don't think Danny loved the Bee Gees for the reasons I love them now. I have come to respect vocal harmony. I have come to respect songcraft. I have come to respect great audio production, all of which the Bee Gees delivered in spades. Danny liked them because they were popular, and because the songs stuck in your head like crazy disco glue.


As the 70's gave way to the 80's, and machines began to take the place of performers, and MTV changed the criteria for popularity, a lot of really bad music got made, and played. By the late 80's Disco, with the benefit of the perspective granted by hindsight, became respectable. Disco records were made by musicians and featured tight as shit rhythm sections and wicked bass grooves. Groups like KC and the Sunshine Band, Chic, the Commodores, Rose Royce, the Spinners, Heatwave, and countless others could simply play circles around the likes of Tears For Fears or Poison.


Respect turned to admiration which led to outright fandom.


I'm not sure when I bought the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, but I certainly owned a copy by 1990. By 1996 I was slapping Disco super hits collections in the CD changer at the restaurant I managed, and by 1997 I had discovered 'Main Course', the 1975 Bee Gees LP featuring the mighty 'Knights On Broadway'. I was dumbfounded. I wanted to be able to make a record that good - as if.......








The Bee Gees rule. I like the early stuff, the 70's stuff, even some of their later catalog. Barry is an easy target for mockage, from his Teflon hair to his lite bright dentures, but man does that cat have talent falling out of his pocket as he walks down the street. He even made me dig Barbara Streisand - a major feat. Maurice was the glue, the balance, and as a bassist and keyboardist he was the groove provider. Robin is a freak. His gift of harmony is unnatural, and his lead vocal style is otherwordly. It's demand for empathy is only rivaled by mid 70's Ozzy.


........and then there's ABBA.










I don't remember ever coming out against ABBA. Most likely I deftly avoided the topic, as I've always had a place in my heart for 'Dancing Queen', 'Waterloo', and 'Fernando'.


Again, ABBA is an easy target for mockage, but their indisputable greatness placed them above criticism.


To those who are inclined to disagree I suggest they take a stab at writing a song as enduring as 'Dancing Queen'.


What prompted this lengthy and meandering post was the fact that I woke up with 'The Heart of Rock and Roll' by Huey Lewis and the News rollicking around in my head this morning. I think my next vinyl haul will include 'Sports' if not it's predecessor 'Picture This' as well.




I haven't even looked it up yet and I can name three huge hits from 'Sports'. 'If This Is It', 'The Power of Love', and the previously mentioned 'Heart of Rock and Roll'.


Okay, I just looked it up and I forgot 'I Want a New Drug', and 'Heart and Soul'. 'Power of Love' and 'Back In Time' were from the 'Back to the Future' Soundtrack, but at any rate, like the Bee Gees in the late 70's, Huey Lewis and the News dominated the airwaves in the mid 80's.


In 1984 I wouldn't have been caught dead listening to a Huey Lewis and the News record. Today I am looking forward to giving some Huey some turntable time.









Of course the fact that Huey was a good friend of Phil Lynott's, played harmonica on Thin Lizzy's 'Live and Dangerous', and was a pallbearer at Phil's funeral only increase Huey's stature in Jackson's view.



What am I saying? I guess never say never. I doubt I'll be blogging about my love for Fall Out Boy in twenty years. I certainly hope not.


Comments:
It's strange how we both separately figured out how great the Bee Gees were. I'm listening to Knights on B'way on vinyl right now. Fucking awesome!!!
 
It's not strange at all. We're both men of taste, appreciative of the finer things.

Knight On Broadway kills, uber groove w/ outstanding hook, and the bridge breakdown is sublime.
 
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