They're Playing My Song

During the five or six years I’ve had satellite radio, my progress through 5,000 channels has been, well, slow. I’ve yet to experience the country bar songs of the “Red, White and Booze” channel or the ’80s hair band sounds of “Hair Nation.” Riding on just two axles, I’ve positioned myself outside the target demo for the “Road Dog Trucking” channel. And Tim McGraw 24/7 is just never, ever going to happen.

Musically speaking, my car is a time machine that’s pickled somewhere between the ’70s and ’80s. Or, in terms my kids might understand, somewhere between 55 and 75 cents per gallon.

The time spent between the decades has given me ample opportunity to ponder the marvels of those years that spawned a good many songs worthy of revisiting, which I never tire of doing. The 1970s, in particular, were riddled with some confusing musical match-ups. In the same set, you might have heard Nazareth’s “Love Hurts,” followed by “Money Honey,” a reminder that the Bay City Rollers should have opted to be one-hit wonders for “Saturday Night.”

One of the things I love about satellite radio is that, unlike a terrestrial oldies station that will throw out some ’70s mainstays, radio from space will dredge up treasures from a dark and damp section of the archives that guarantee an instant time warp when thrown into the mix. I fell off the (love) train somewhere in the mid-’80s, but I can recall, with the uncanny clarity of a Top 40 savant, any part of the ’70s connected to a song.

Within the non-judgmental confines of my car, I give the same music appreciation to a hit of critical acclaim as I give to something I should really feign not knowing the words to and can only listen to in secret. Anything from the “secret list” would have to go away all snappy-like if I were to have to roll down my window at a drive-thru or answer an incoming call from someone whose opinion I occasionally value.

Here, I’ve decided to unveil both lists, beginning with 1973, mostly because the songs I knew before that year were restricted to Donny Osmond’s repertoire.  

    

The year was 1973…
Love right out loud
King Harvest: “Dancing in the Moonlight”
Paul McCartney and Wings: “My Love”
O’Jays: “Love Train”

Love in secret but take it to your grave
Donna Fargo: “Funny Face”
Albert Hammond: “It Never Rains in Southern California”

    

The year was 1974…
Put the top down and sing
Rufus: “Tell Me Something Good”
James Taylor/Carly Simon: “Mockingbird”

Windows in their fully upright and locked position
Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods: “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”
The Guess Who: “Clap for the Wolfman”
Paul Anka: “Having My Baby”
Anything by the Stylistics

    

The year was 1975…
Turn it up
Queen: “Killer Queen”
ELO: “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”

Turn it down…waaaaaay on down
Olivia Newton-John: “Please, Mister, Please”
Carl Douglas: “Kung Fu Fighting”
Glen Campbell: “Rhinestone Cowboy”
Freddy Fender: “Before the Next Teardrop Falls”

    

The year was 1976…
Crank it
Starbuck: “Moonlight Feels Right”
Jefferson Starship: “With Your Love”
Queen: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Mute it until the coast is clear
Sweet: “Fox on the Run”
CW McCall: “Convoy”
Starland Vocal Band: “Afternoon Delight”

    

The year was 1977…
Love that song
10cc: “The Things We Do for Love”
Heart: “Barracuda”

Deny ever knowing but sing every word anyway
Alan O’Day: “Undercover Angel”
Mary MacGregor: “Torn Between Two Lovers”
Floaters: “Float On”
Captain and Tennille: “Muskrat Love”
Engelbert Humperdinck: “After the Lovin’”

    

The year was 1978…
Yessssssssssss
Jackson Browne: “Running On Empty”
Gerry Rafferty: “Baker Street”

Yesssssssssss
Dolly Parton: “Here You Come Again”
Commodores: “Three Times a Lady”
Debby Boone: “You Light Up My Life”

    

The year was 1979…
The “A” side
The Knack: “My Sharona”
Cheap Trick: “I Want You to Want Me”
The Babys: “Every Time I Think of You”

The “B” side, but only an option when the “A” side is scratched beyond recognition
Melissa Manchester: “Don’t Cry Out Loud”
Peaches and Herb: “Reunited”
Donna Summer: “MacArthur Park”

Categories: Bits and Pieces, Lauren Hammack