Sunday, December 21, 2008

1970s Greatest Songs As Chosen By Me -- Part 1

Even though I'm a huge fan of 1970s music, I was more a child of the 1980s. I was born in '72 and was 7 when 1980 rolled around, so the decade was a little before my coming of age. Even though I may have been way behind the times, I can still see where some music is timeless despite the times that shaped me.

As a kid, I didn't get Bob Seger. The adults around me loved his music, but I couldn't grasp why. OK, some of his stuff was decent: "Rock & Roll Never Forgets" and "Katmandu" had a good beat, but Kenny Rogers killed "We've Got Tonight" and Tom Cruise killed "Old Time Rock & Roll" by dancing around in his underwear to it in Risky Business. "Turn the Page" and "Main Street" were really slow for me as a teenager and I just couldn't get "Night Moves" at all. The music was OK, but I didn't understand then why Seger was so often claimed as one of the best American singers and songwriters.

Yet here I am today, saying that "Night Moves" would be one of the best songs of the 1970s. It seems something happened to me since I was 13 years old. I grew up, and my experience since then has given me a lot of insight I couldn't have possibly understood before becoming an adult, with all of its demands and responsibilities. In fact, that's part of what Seger was singing about in the song: he is remembering back to being 16 years old.

In the song, the "narrator" recounts how he used to learn about love with his girlfriend in the backseat of his '60 Chevy ("out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy"). He mentions that he and his girl were both clumsy and naive and just taking advantage of the chance to learn, and neither of them cared. It's a great description about that time in life where a person is on the brink of maturity; still carrying a sense of innocence while hoping to learn and trying not to screw it up. What makes the song better is that in the final verse, Seger explains how he's now grown up and just hearing a song from that summer takes him back to that time. The realization that 16 was half a lifetime ago when you're in your 30s can be pretty hard.

I didn't understand that part when I was a teen. I do now, which is why the song is timeless to me.

Normally, I'd provide a link to download the MP3, but it appears this song isn't available in that format on either iTunes or Amazon. So, if you'd like to get a hold of the tune, here's a link to Seger's album (in CD format):

Whether you get it here or have it already, take a listen and see if you don't agree that it's a classic.

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