Driving to work this morning, I listened to the Oldies Station, which until Christmas Day had been the Christmas station. It had been one of my favorite stations, no damnable DJ’s (so probably a nationwide station like Jack-FM, with local news to give it that ‘local flavor’ – in other words, it’s personality was kept in a hard drive, but it had not been bad. However, Jack-FM should be razed, the ground salted, any reminders of it consigned to the dustbin of the dustbin of history), until it decided that the 1980’s were now considered ‘Oldies’.*
They were doing a retrospective of the American Top 100 for the year 1978, hosted by Casey Kasem. The first words I heard from Shaggy were, to paraphrase, “What would it feel like to resign from being as astronaut just as the rocket is taking off? This young man found out, but he is doing alright for himself. Bob Welch went solo from Fleetwood Mac and here has the first of his two songs on the year’s Top 100.”
Let’s break this down a touch.
Okay, that is knowledge that I didn’t have. I have a soft spot for 70’s cheese (my dad’s Olds Delta 88 with the AM radio), and am familiar with Bob Welch from the song Sentimental Lady (video is deeply weird...)
which I quite like. A check of the Wikipedia shows that Bob Welch was an important member of Fleetwood Mac in the years between Peter Green and Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks, and has been given a fair amount of credit with keeping a Mac alive until the BuckingNicks soap opera blew into town.
However, this was 1978. A year after Rumours, a couple after Fleetwood Mac. It would appear that Welch’s album, French Kiss, did alright, but the Fleetwood Mac rocket had not merely launched at that point, it had sold umpteen million copies already and were well on their way to being one of my most hated bands (except for the song Tusk, basically.)
'Cuz marching band. Yes, I’m a geek. No judging.
‘Doing alright for himself’ compared to hourly rotation on every damn ’classic rock’** station in every redneck market in America?
Perspective, Mr. Kasem.
A few songs up in the countdown, Casey introduced the group as having stolen two cello players and a violinist from the London Symphony Orchestra. He was getting at Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), who I also rather like, the song was Turn To Stone but I would submit this.
Using the logical thought processes of the likely late 20 something-year-old men that these three were, nightly cocaine-fueled 19 year old groupie orgies compared to command performances for the Queen, something they had already proved they could do and could resume at a later age after recovery from sexual exhaustion? Stolen? Seriously? Bring on the Plaster Casters.
Perspective, Mr. Kasem.
*The 1980’s, I was there, were responsible for much great, vital, music, in many and diverse genres. Top 40 was not one of them. If 1980’s Top 40 were to be ground to itty-bitties, put in a water bottle, and sprinkled on the white shag rug of history by some spectral vacuum cleaner salesman, the Cosmic Oreck would wrinkle in fear, and flee, its cord between its, umm, rollerball. Analogy fail. Fuck.
**I have shared my feelings re: classic rock and the morning zoos before – I think they need, so very much, to go away. Beyond that, though, hell, if they could just play something different every once in a while, there’s a lot of ‘classic rock’, more than just FM or the damnable, horrible, accused Eagles or Bachmann Turner Overdrive. Blue Oyster Cult is more than just cowbell. George Harrison made solo albums as well. C’mon, ya bastards.