Category: bad '70s music

hateful songs: “let her in” (john travolta)

hateful songs: “let her in” (john travolta)

three words: kill. me. now.

criticizing ’70s music is like shooting fish in a barrel. i did it for one month and still have stuff left over. how i passed over john travolta’s star turn is beyond me. middlebro is probably smiling right now reading this, as i think this would make it up there on his list of awful ’70s songs. (he’s like the ultimate curator of ’70s music.)

travolta was at the height of his teen heartthrob time, as he played vinnie barbarino in welcome back kotter. teenybopper wreke never thought he was cute, but i did want my hair to feather back off my face like his did.  i’m impressed that they took a chance on him and let him sing in the movie grease; this piece of musical drivel would be a career-killer for most. luckily for travolta, his career survived this song.

wonder if it can survive his alleged massage issues?

anyway, in 1976, i suspect a lot of people must have been high. how else could this song chart?

he sounds better when you don’t take his singing seriously. like here, for example.

it had a good beat, but, like let her in, you can’t dance to it.

hateful songs: “angie baby” (helen reddy)

hateful songs: “angie baby” (helen reddy)

this one creeped me out. still does.

so here’s the deal. you have a young girl with no friends and no life. she lives her life as a shut-in, with only her radio for company. one day, a young man comes to visit. he gets confused by the loud music in her room, so angie turns the volume down and sucks him into the radio, where he remains, her secret lover, for all time.

(yeah. screams hit song to me, too.)

and yet, in 1974/5, it hit number one for australian singer helen reddy in the US — she of i am woman, hear me roar fame.

what a freakin’ letdown for me. i mean, one second, reddy is singing all about empowerment. and then, next thing you know it, some girl who clearly is disturbed but has some sort of magical powers uses them for evil. it’s like a prelude to carrie — misfit girl takes revenge. by the way — doesn’t anyone ever wonder what the hell happened to the boy? where are his parents? where are the authorities? it’s like some freaky show set in charlie brown’s land of no adults.

if this had been made today, i suspect someone would have turned it into a reality show. can you imagine — it would be the intersection of those ghosty shows and hoarders, only this telekinetic chick is hoarding an actual person. considering the stories one hears in the news as of late of people who are kidnapped and missing for years, this song just trips my creep-o-meter that much more.

oh hell. i need a mental palate cleanser. something from that era that is happy and kooky and that always makes me smile.

ah. got it.

you’re welcome.


guilty pleasure monday: ruby (kaiser chiefs)

guilty pleasure monday: ruby (kaiser chiefs)

…and you thought i was completely stuck in the last century.

despite the fact that the DC metro has no discernible music radio stations of interest (unless you consider classic rock seasoned with a generous helping of hair band selections fascinating), i do try to listen to the stuff those crazy youngsters like.  sure, i have to comb teh interwebs and read rolling stone to hear about new artists; and i’m quite sure that what is really happening in music is not necessarily something i will know about from more corporate sources (it never was when i was young), so i will always be a few years behind (though yes, virginia, i have heard of the silversun pickups and cage the elephant, thankyouverymuch.)

yes, while i will always bemoan the fact that one of my dream jobs would be to be the female version of cameron crowe, i know that i’m probably past the age where i could start getting sent to venues to review music.  (people might think i’m someone’s mom, or a narc. or maybe both. who knows?) so for now, i content myself sharing earworms as i find them…

besides, at the moment, i am fighting the battle known as mmmmmmmmmmy ggggggggeneration. what this means, essentially, is that BC — raised on rock, punk, and other musical classics — is getting swayed by her peers. she is singing along with lady gaga. she can’t stop youtubing ke$sha, or kasha (varnishkes), or whatever that delightfully classy specimen of the female variety is called.

and while it was ok for ME to be singing along with some rather risque numbers when i was her age (i didn’t know what rocks off was about, anyway), i am a little tweaked about girlfriend singing along with these freaky-deaky ladies who are shameless in their sexuality and, in kooshie’s case, alcoholic entertainment.  yes, BC and i have spoken about the songs, and i am not one to ban music around here. but i do want her to think about what these people are portraying in their songs. i also want her to think about the quality of these songs versus, say, stuff that has withstood the test of time.  (does anyone think these songs sound a lot, musically, like dance music from the 80s and early 90s? in a word, zzzzzzzz…)

but i also know that my guilty pleasures from the 1970s and 80s (as well as the songs i loathed from the 70s and 80s) were just that — music from my generation.  and while i’m sure people decades older than i were vomiting listening to, say, supertramp, i hear them and am suddenly 13 years old and smiling.  so i know i need to just hold my tongue at times, and see where the girl’s ears lead her. and, if i can help in the modern rock end of things, i certainly will load my mp3 player up with stuff to steer her to all sorts of other music from her generation.

which leads me to the kaiser chiefs. i loaded ruby onto my mp3 player, where it randomly hits airplay now and again. the hook is undeniable; and my kids adore this song. in fact, BC adores it so much that when she was challenged to take a prayer in hebrew school (adon olam, for you red sea pedestrians out there) and sing it to any song she wanted, girlfriend chose this one. (of course, it ended up rather challenging for her, so she switched… to another classic.)

yes, i love music. i love a lot of types of music. and underlying it all, of course, is the fact that i want my children to love music, too. for me, there’s something expressed with or without words that simply helps me be. and sure, i’m not thrilled that The Girl is grooving to certain songs that make me cringe for so many reasons.  but i’ll simply let her have her music while showing her that there is other music out there that is worthy of her ears. she can choose what she likes, in the end.

i can’t wait to see what ends up on her personal mixtape one day.



just saying a howdy to anyone who might have wandered here thanks to the magic of television. i’m your host, wreke, and i’d love to tell you a little about the place.

i’m a mom. i’m a writer. i’m a webgrrl, too. i’m also the toilet paper fairy and apparently the only person in this house who realizes that bath towels do not jump up and clean themselves. oh, and i’m from NJ; and yes, i can trace the first 24 years of my life based on exits. (for you jerseyan trivia buffs, i grew up at exit 82A (GSP), went to college at exit 9 (Tpke), and have lived off exits 105 (GSP), 8, and 10 (both Tpke) until moving to the Commonwealth. and no, i do not sport big hair but i do sport a big mouth.)

i’ve been blogging since 2002. i tend to write about my kids, daughter Beloved Child (BC) and delightful hellboy Jools (an equally beloved child; he was just born after i had been blogging about BC for awhile.) as a political animal, i often tilt at windmills, large and small, in the political arena.

and i lurve music. every monday, i feature a guilty pleasure song that would make my music snob pals cringe. i’m evil that way. one month, i featured blatantly bad 70s songs, every single day of the month. oh, the humanity!

i don’t capitalize often. i do know how, and it isn’t an e e cummings thing. i’m just l a z y that way. unabashedly opinionated, i’m sort of like a cross between erma bombeck and iggy pop, only i don’t smear food all over my chest when i’m pissed. i simply write. (well, i irritate my Beloved Spouse, aka BS, generally. but the warranty is up, so he can’t throw me back, no matter how annoying i become.)

and occasionally, i’ll talk about CVID, something i wrestle with daily. it stinks, but i intend to live to be a pain in everyone’s collective ass for a very long time.

so welcome. poke your nose around. kick the tires. applaud me. argue with me. whatever floats your boat.

just don’t mind the dust bunnies. my masters isn’t in housekeeping, you know.

month of 70’s gpms: thank you for being a friend (andrew gold)

month of 70’s gpms: thank you for being a friend (andrew gold)

faked you out, huh? bet you thought my last day of guilty pleasure mondays month – the 1970’s hits edition – would be something by the fab four, right?

you’d be half right. in a manner of speaking, of course.

okay, okay. this is a lame homemade video by Dog Knows Who. but i wanted to share the song, which was eventually co-opted by the folks who brought you that uproarious sitcom about happy ladies of a certain age.

(…and how better to complete a month of guilty pleasure mondays that could get me laughed at.)

i love this song, okay? andrew gold — son of marni nixon, whose voice is the one you hear coming out of natalie wood’s mouth in the screen version of west side story as well as audrey hepburn’s in my fair lady and deborah kerr’s in the king and i — has done it all in the music industry. he enjoyed a lot of success on his own as well as in his collaborations with people like linda rondstadt and another completely unsung but magnificent voice known as karla bonoff to name only two.

not sure which was a bigger hit — thank you for being a friend or lonely boy — but i loved them both. they both have solid hooks, though TYFBAF is not exactly a rockin’ song. still, the sentiment is sweet. i always thought andrew gold should have come out with his stuff about four years earlier; i suspect that mellow california sound he made that was so popular in the mid 1970s kind of got mauled by new wave and punk.

but i appreciate it nonetheless, with or without a septaganarian.


and so there you have it: a whole month of songs that might get me ridiculed in certain circles. thank you all for being tolerant of my little meander into self-indulgence. i suspect i will come back with my usual GPM feature — maybe not this monday since i’ve od’d a bit on them, but soon.

in the meantime, i miss writing about my kids. i’m their mom; it’s my sworn duty to embarrass them as much as humanly possible. i’ll get back to that soon, i’m sure.

but in the meantime, always remember: if you threw a party and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say:

my birthday’s in march.

don’t you forget it 😉



month of 70’s gpms: mary had a little lamb (paul mccartney)

month of 70’s gpms: mary had a little lamb (paul mccartney)

hello, and welcome to one of the biggest search terms that lead people to my blog. don’t know why, of course.

okay, okay, so this one was released only in the UK. but how many times do you need someone telling you how amazing jet is, or maybe i’m amazed, or even another seriously guilty pleasure of mine, helen wheels?  i’ve already yammered on about venus and mars/rock show.  so i figured i’d take a little meander, again, off the beaten 1970s paul mccartney output track.

the first time i ever heard mccartney’s musical ode to mary, girl with the crazy, clingy sheep, i was watching a TV special called james paul mccartney. i must have been about eight years old, but it made a HUGE impression on me. for years afterward, i would anxiously scan the TV Guide, hoping it would be rebroadcast. and occasionally, it was, at some bizarre hour. i would set my alarm clock, wake up at aforementioned odd hour, and watch it, all the while bemoaning the fact that i had no way of recording it. (this was before the days of VCRs, kiddies. yes, i’m that old.) sure, there was a bizarre number where paul was singing and dancing with a group of half-men/half women split down their middles that i didn’t care much for. but the rest of the music was great, and i especially looked forward to mary had a little lamb.

fast forward about twenty or thirty years.

meet wreke the mom. i would sing this song to my babies. and i would be thrilled listening to them attempt to sing along with me. little babies, you see, can muster the la la parts. the only problem: mom always got teary toward the end of the song, much to the babies’ confusion. the teacher always turns the lamb away, much to the children’s (and the lamb’s) dismay.

But the lamb loved Mary so,
the eager children cry,
And Mary loves the lamb, you know,
the teacher did reply.

mom always loves her little singing lambs.

month of 70’s gpms: instant karma (john lennon)

month of 70’s gpms: instant karma (john lennon)

…just add water and stir. voila!

yes, the obvious john lennon choice would be imagine, one of the most beautiful songs i think i’ve ever heard in my life. blah blah blah. i just like to meander down the path least taken, do things slightly off-kilter. speaking of off-kilter, see yoko knit throughout this entire experience. knit, yoko, knit.

(oh, and to my beloved spouse, who probably would pick #9 dream… or maybe that’s revolution#9, only because he wishes to realize that dream of his: to pick #9 at a deli counter and then walk away, leaving the poor counter guy saying number 9? number 9? number 9? not picking it, hon.)

anyway, instant karma. what the hell was lennon thinking about here? he was thinking about creating a song and releasing it as instantly as possible. he wrote and recorded it the same day, and then he released the single 10 days later – a miracle for anyone who has ever known anything about the recording industry. there’s not much to the song, really;  it’s a simple song that can turn into an endless loop of an earworm if you’re not careful.

crazy trivia point for you crazy trivia people out there: stephen king apparently used part of the chorus of this song to name his novel. how he went from we all shine on to that cheerful, upbeat, happy tome we all know and love as the shining is anyone’s guess.

phil spector produced the song, which is apparent to me as it sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom. he ended up doing a lot of production work for the beatles that year, 1970. i believe this was his first work with them. considering the beatles were not exactly pals at that point in time, i suspect lennon’s speedy work spoiled spector for the rest of the time, which dragged and dragged on immeasureably, i bet. spector’s karma couldn’t possibly have been too instant.

expectations management, people. it’s all about expectations management.

anyway, instant karma. instant guilty pleasure. of course you know who’ll be on the hook for tomorrow, don’t you?

month of 70’s GPMs: this song (george harrison)

month of 70’s GPMs: this song (george harrison)

could be “sugar pie, honey bunch!”

could be “rescue me!”

no, george. it apparently is he’s so fine.

people often beatify george harrison; he, saint george of the hare krishnas, world citizen of peace, love, and sitar music. and, in truth, there’s plenty good that harrison did in his lifetime (including perhaps the first major concert for a cause), so many musical treasures he created. (i’ll just ignore the entire traveling dingleberry period, which always made me want to barf.)

but then they forget that the man had a wicked sense of humor.

this is the same guy who befriended the monty python crew and ended up producing movies, including my beloved life of brian as well as making cameos and such.

and he definitely set his angst to music in this song, a humorous hit from 1976 which served as public therapy for harrison, who at this time was fighting a legal battle over whether his song  my sweet lord copied the chiffons’ he’s so fine. this pre-MTV video is hilarious, and seeing ronnie wood dressed up as a frumpy housefrau is worth the trip alone. when this song came out, i was just thrilled to have output from george that had nothing to do with indian mysticism. (i skipped over within you without you so many times on my old Sgt Pepper record that it was a shock to me the first time i heard it on a CD.) it’s a bouncy tune that features eric idle shrieking could be “sugar pie honey bunch”… could be “rescue me,” a snarky aside showing that george was a bit tired of the US court system’s analysis of music. i love it; hellboy loves it, too.

anyway, george lost that trial, but george also had the last musical laugh: he ended up buying the rights to he’s so fine, making that song, as well as this song, his own.

month of 70’s GPMs: it don’t come easy (ringo starr)

month of 70’s GPMs: it don’t come easy (ringo starr)

you didn’t think i’d ignore my beloved beatles during a 1970s hits version of Guilty Pleasure Mondays, now, did you?

there’s definitely plenty of debate about the authorship of it don’t come easy. ringo is credited as co-writer along with his late, great pal george harrison. when you look at ringo’s earlier compositions (like this for example, his first credited), you cannot imagine he’d be capable of composing a song as musically complicated as this one. to be sure, it don’t come easy has a kick-ass sax section that screams a close kinship to savoy truffle, also a harrisong. (not to mention a vintage george guitar solo, all credited, of course.)

did george simply want to send his best pal off with a great start to a solo career? maybe. but whatever the case, ringo pulls this one off way better than george does in the demo, perhaps a guide vocal for his flat-toned pal. (not to mention that the hare krishna! yelled in the middle of the guitar solo of george’s version is rather weird — though if you listen carefully to ringo’s version, you can hear it there as well, albeit better hidden.)

ringo went on to have several other hits in the 1970s — photograph, you’re sixteen (which features macca on kazoo as well as a very young carrie fisher as the love interest in the video),  and the no no song (the latter of which always made me laugh) to note. but none of them rock the way that it don’t come easy does.

i just love the fact that ringo conquered his alcoholism and went on to live a relatively happy life. ringo was always the most grounded and normal of the beatles. his son zak is actually a revolving member of my secret boyfriend list; he is far and away a better drummer than his dad. i’ve seen him hold up the who on more than one occasion, which has got to be a surreal gig for him. (how he goes from oasis to the who is surreal in itself, i suspect.)

but i digress. per usual.

anyhow, i hope i get to see ringo perform with one of his many all-star band outfits sometime before he stops playing. the only other beatle i ever saw live was macca, so i feel an obligation to support the only other living beatle. and i’m sure if i see him, he will probably close the show with this guilty pleasure song of mine. and i wish him continued success. musical success may not come easy, especially as a geezer gets older; but if you’re ringo starr and your best friend george writes you some great material (and credits you for it!), it certainly doesn’t come the hard way.

month of 70's GPMs: let's stay together (al green)

month of 70's GPMs: let's stay together (al green)

who doesn’t love the reverend al? (no, not that one.)

al green has an amazingly scratchysmooth, soulful voice. i would probably listen to him sing the phone book and be glad. for years, he tried to sing like his hero jackie wilson (it’s what made his father kick him out of the family band.) he succeeded in secular soul for years…

until he had a sign from G-d in the form of a pan of scalding grits. one married woman who had befriended green threw the aforementioned pan at him while he was getting out of a shower or bath, burning him over a decent portion of his body. she then proceeded to find his gun and shot herself to death.

next thing you know, he’s the reverend al and he’s singing gospel and not walking on the devil’s sidewalk.

every now and again, he jumps back into secular music. his stuff is often covered — most notably the talking heads cover of take me to the river — but ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.

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