Monday, July 18, 2011

A song for every year of my life #1: 1977

Those of you who know me personally and are friends with me on Facebook know that I've been participating in the daily song challenges going around that site like an infectious but benign disease. I need structure and daily tasks to keep me occupied during the obnoxious, terrifying limbo that is the job search, and these song challenges fit part of that bill. Now that I've finished the challenges, I need something else to do. I turned 34 last week, and this non-milestone birthday sparked an idea for my own personal, expanded version of the Facebook meme. I'm going to pick one song a year for every year I've been alive on this planet and write about it on the blog. Past lives and my time on other planets will be ignored for now. The songs I pick will not necessarily be my favorite songs of those particular years or a fitting representation of prevailing trends of the time period or even songs I listened to that year. These are just songs I love that happened to be released while I was alive.
I was born in a particularly vibrant musical year. 1977 was a great year for punk rock, pop, disco, hard rock, and what would become post-punk and new wave. Lumbering dinosaurs were getting their asses kicked by a new breed of artists that continue to influence my life in all kinds of positive ways. I didn't know any of this at the time. I was just a sleeping, eating, shitting, suckling, squirming, involuntarily moving fat little baby. I wouldn't discover this music that means so much to me until I was in high school, with the exception of the new wavers and ex-punks with mainstream radio hits in the 1980s. 1977 was the year for debut albums by The Sex Pistols, Wire, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, etc. I'm going to bypass those guys, though, and pick some wealthy, coke-addled, enormously popular classic rockers. Classic rock is the music I grew up with, the music I heard first. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours came out in 1977. "Dreams" is a song that stops me cold every time I hear it. If it's playing and I'm talking to you, my mind will wander over to the song and I will no longer be able to hear what you're telling me. Several months ago, two friends of mine played in a Fleetwood Mac cover band that came together for one night only, performed Rumours, and then broke up. They were so good I almost cried. After the show, I ate several donuts. It was a good night.

Alternate Choice: Richard Hell and The Voidoids - "Liars Beware"
This particular performance is from a 1980 film, but its studio incarnation appeared on a 1977 album. Robert Quine is dead now, but his guitar playing isn't, which is the opposite situation of most guitarists.

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