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Friday Fun Song: "Simply Full of Jazz" by Eubie Blake and Gregory Hines

A Mini-Trip Through '70's Pop Music

Dear husband is out of town so I was channel surfing yesterday evening (there's a logic in there, but I'm not explaining today).  We tried watching The Closer, which turned out to be very depressing so we ended up watching the end of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders.

There were some surprises and other interesting things, but I'm sticking to one long and wandering train of thought. 

Cooperpiggy When I've watched other episodes of this show, I've found Alice Cooper to be one of the most thoughtful and down-to-earth of the people (musicians, writers about music, etc.) that they interview.  Given that most of what I know of him comes from his heyday in the 70's (and remember, I don't like horror), I was surprised.  In these interviews, without the makeup, he actually seems like someone I could have a conversation with (besides, if he's good enough for the Muppets... (right)).

[Side note:  Even though I don't like horror, I do like two of his songs:  School's Out (a favorite of mine in the 70's for obvious reasons (grin)), and Welcome to My Nightmare (I actually had the single)(click here for his version with the Muppets).]

The "100 Greatest" countdown eventually got to Debby Boone's You Light Up My Life.  I enjoyed that song, a bit, when it first came out because she sings well, but eventually found too sappy (and overplayed).*  I was quite surprised to find that Alice Cooper actually likes this song!

This reminded me of another female vocalist** who seemed to specialize in sappy '70's songs that I couldn't stand - for instance:  If You Love Me - Let Me Know (though it has a good bass part), Have You Never Been Mellow, Please Mister, Please, and the one I can stand the least, I Honestly Love You (written partly by Peter Allen.  Nobody's perfect).(And no, I'm not posting links to any of them).  Olivia Newton-John has a good voice, and I did appreciate her singing in Xanadu and Grease (though her character in Grease was rather sappy too - even given the enjoyable You're the One that I Want): 

Why do I still dislike her character?  Here's a hint in this Movie a Minute synopsis:

John Travolta:  I like you, but you're not cool enough.
Olivia Newton-John: What if I dress like a slut?
John Travolta:  Now that you're not who you are, I can love you for who I wanted you to be.

I prefer characters with a little self-respect.

According to the Wikipedia, Olivia Newton-John eventually went on to more hard-hitting songs, but I wasn't listening to pop music much anymore in the early 80's. 

Oh, and her character in Xanadu didn't have much character either.  However, her scene in Xanadu with Gene Kelly reminds one of what musicals could be (His character is daydreaming of the past):

Now, I hope you don't think that I find all love songs sappy, or even all songs about failed love or longing.  No, there's something else about the songs that I find sappy - an "I can't help it," incompetent sort of feel. 

As an antidote to sappiness, I considered adding a Bernadette Peters' song (she was born in the same year as Olivia Newton-John), but the song that would be one of the best, Sooner or Later, I've already posted (click here).  So, I'll go with a late '60's song about a failing marriage (sad doesn't have to be sappy).  Here's Barbara Streisand, in her Academy Award winning performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (At this point in the story, Fanny and her husband, though still loving each other, have decided to separate):

*  Dear husband just got home.  He says that both singers' voices sound rather whiny.
** Not to insult the personalities of either singer - their personalities may not go along with their '70's music anymore than Alice Cooper's personality and his act do (Did you know he's a born-again Christian and celebrity golfer?  Neither did I, until I read the Wikipedia articles on the three singers).


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