Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s song, “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)” came out in 1974. I consider this song part of the theme music for my eighteenth year of life. I graduated high school, turned eighteen years old, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1974. I think the song celebrates my attitude toward rock and roll; it’s just music, but —

I use the song for references, to celebrate, and to time-travel through memories as surely as Marcel Proust’s madeleines. I know it’s only rock and roll, and not significant in many universal schemes (although there’s a potential story, there, isn’t there, about how rock and roll changes things?), but I like it.

The song’s opening, too, offers exasperated questioning about the past and new expectations.

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain’t he strange?

h/t to AZlyrics.com

I’ve found that opening question appropriate for my life. What will it take to satisfy the bosses, lovers, friends, family, and gods? Each employs a different measuring system. The tricks are to find what works, what annoys them and causes me enough pain to avoid doing it again, and then monitor it all for changes – ’cause change is, like, you know, probable. Beyond all that shit, it’s a great song to sing to my stream as I walk or drive on my lonesome.

 

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Monday’s Theme Music

Today’s choice arrived in the stream because of a chance encounter with a friend.

I’m retired military, 1974 – 1995. He was in the Army for almost five years. Most of that time was in Vietnam. May, 1969, was his one year anniversary of being in country. It was a bloody year for him. He lost many friends. He was also nineteen.

We guessed that it was just a juxtaposition of insights that brought about the darkness dragging him down this weekend. This is twenty nineteen, which kicked off the memory of being nineteen, when he was in Vietnam fifty years ago. It’s probably because of Memorial Day, and the many men walking around with Vietnam Vet hats on their heads, and the television shows talking about different military campaigns. It could be his sense of mortality. He’s getting older, as he reminded me.

He never cried when he spoke but he did a lot of sniffing, some quick eye wipes, and sometimes coped with a trembling voice with some deep breaths. Vietnam offered some hairy days, and he was grateful to have survived without too much damage, get home, go to college under the GI Bill, marry, and have a family.

After we shook hands and went our separate ways, and I was walking under the lush green trees, past beautiful beds of colorful flowers as cars rolled by and people pursued their celebrations of Memorial Day, I started streaming an old favorite song.

Here, from nineteen seventy-four, is William DeVaughn with “Be Thankful for What You Got”.

 

Friday’s Theme Music.

TCB. Takin’ care of business. I don’t know when the expression started, but it was in use everywhere I was by the time I reached a walkin’ talkin’ age, and I was using it by the late sixties. People would ask, “What’s up?” We, the pseudo-hip, would reply, “Oh, you know, TCB.”

Bachman-Turner Overdrive – BTO – formalized it in a song for us. It came out in 1974, the year I graduated from high school and joined the military. It feels like I’ve been taking care of business ever since.

As a side note, was a movie, later, “Taking Care of Business”, with Jim Belushi and Charles Grodin, which I didn’t find too funny. Weirdly, Stewart Copeland who was the drummer for the Police, did the music for the movie.

Anyway, here’s today’s song. I’m sure you’re out there taking care of business, so feel free to stream this as you do. Its beat will help keep you movin’.

 

Sunday’s Theme Music

I’m once again streaming 1974, another year in which things happened, other things changed, and everything kept going almost as though nothing had happened. For me, I graduated high school, turned eighteen, joined the military and left home, in that order.

Today’s theme music, “Only Solitaire”, arrives via a miasma polluting the thinking stream. Jethro Tull’s Warchild album was being streamed, but thinking about a particular individual, the stream’s thread narrowed to “Only Solitaire”. It’s a short and simple song.

Brain-storming habit-forming battle-warning weary
winsome actor spewing spineless chilling lines —
the critics falling over to tell themselves he’s boring
and really not an awful lot of fun.
Well who the hell can he be when he’s never had V.D.,
and he doesn’t even sit on toilet seats?
Court-jesting, never-resting
he must be very cunning
to assume an air of dignity
and bless us all with his oratory prowess,
his lame-brained antics and his jumping in the air.
And every night his act’s the same
and so it must be all a game of chess he’s playing
“But you’re wrong, Steve: you see, it’s only solitaire.”

h/t to Collecting-tull.com

It’s a short song, a few ticks more than a minute and a half.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Reading the news yesterday and today, I was shaking my head, partially laughing while crying. You know, it was the same old story.

That led to me streaming Aerosmith.

It’s the same old story
Same old song and dance, my friend
It’s the same old story
Same old story
Same old song and dance

It was an easy song to identify with when I was a teenager and the song was released. When you asked questions, you often heard, “That’s just how it is. That’s how it goes.” It was always the same old song and dance, no matter what you were asked.

It’s a song and dance I’m getting tired of now with politics. It’s always one thing or another. Back in the military world, you tired of hearing you must do more with less — same old song and dance. Hurry up and wait — same old song and dance. In the corporate world, it became doing more with less, and then cut expenses and increase profits, or we can’t give you a bonus or pay raise, little boy, while they spread some B.S. about us being a family, or a team, and how much they care. Same old song and dance.

“Same Old Song and Dance”. Only the voices change.

 

Saturday’s Theme Music

Two songs are competing in my stream today. I can’t remember one of them. I remember two lines and a few guitar chords and licks. I hear the vocals, know the voice, but can’t remember the vocalist, song, or group. Using the few clues I have, I’ve hunted for its identification, and I’ve failed to find satisfaction. So, screw you, song. 

The other is another Aerosmith song. Reflecting on that, a room mate was forced on me during part of my assignment in the Philippines (1976-1977). Forced is the correct expression because regulations forbid people in my specialty, which involved controlling nuclear launches, from having a room mate. Yet, most of my assignments found me with a room mate for part of the time, as the local commanders would sign a waiver to the reg. Of course, the waiver was usually rescinded after the command got wind of it, and the room mate was found another place to live.

This guy, Eric, was a large Aerosmith fan. He had a huge stereo, big speakers, amp, turntable, tuner, equalizer, tape player, but only four albums. Two of them were Rocks and Toys in the Attic, so I heard them a lot. I realize, that’s why I know those albums so thoroughly.

Anyway, today I’m streaming “Same Old Song and Dance” (1974). Sure, it’s December, a brand spanking new month, the last month of 2018. 2019 and January will soon be on us. But you know, it feels like the same old story, the same old song and dance, my friends.

It’s some ol’ school rock.

 

Thursday’s Theme Music

Today’s song streamed into my head after I thought of another song.

The other song was “Sara Smile”, by Hall and Oates, which I thought of after meeting a friend’s daughter named Sarah. After thinking about it while walking, I remembered “She’s Gone” by the same duo.

“She’s Gone” (1974) came out during a period of struggle in my relationship with my girlfriend. I’d graduated high school and she was traveling Europe with a nun. I felt lost, and ended up enlisting in the military, upsetting just about everyone I knew. That’s life, right? “She’s Gone” appealed to my sense of loss, frustration, searching, and self-pity. I particularly enjoyed the lyrics, “Think I’ll spend eternity in the city. Let the carbon and monoxide choke my thoughts away, yeah.”

What a time. Hormones, you know? Etc.

Sunday’s Theme Music

This one comes via another blog’s memory prompt. Jill Dennison posted “Photographs and Memories” the other day. It brought back a sharp memory of hearing that song. I was driving in my forest green 1965 Mercury Comet sedan. I’d graduated earlier that year, 1974, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and was waiting to leave for basic training. But that day, I was driving my girl friend home on a sunny fall day. Two years later, when I was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, I married her. We remained married forty-three years later.

Funny what a song can bring to mind.

 

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