Best Sitcoms of the 1970’s

The 70’s were the golden age of sitcoms. I am a sitcom connoisseur…these were my favorite in no particular order.

Barney Miller – The writing for this show was great. The setup was great in getting character actors in this show week after week because you would have a shop lifter, a flasher, a robber… usually no criminal too bad.

Mary Tyler Moore – Ground breaking show with great writing. The greatest sitcoms had a great ensemble of actors and actresses. This one seemed so natural that it seemed that you knew these people in real life.

Taxi – This one did not receive the praise that it should have at the time it was on. Reverend Jim is one of the great characters of television.

WKRP – This show rocked…literally…Some great music and a great cast.

All In The Family – Very topical and it probably would be harder to follow for younger people now but they would get the points. This is probably the most un PC show of the 70s. That makes me like it all the more. It exposed bigotry but also had a caring side to the show. The family fought but they were a close family.

The Bob Newhart Show – Bob’s dry sense of humor and the relationship with his wife Suzanne Pleshette seemed legit. The cast of quirky characters drove Bob crazy which showcased Newharts comedy.  This show should not be confused with the 1980s Newhart…this is the one where Bob is a psychologist…some people get them mixed up but this one is the best in my opinion….nothing against Newhart at all. Newhart had the same theme but to me this one has the best writing and more believable characters.

Good Times – The first sitcom that featured an all black cast. When I was growing up my mother and father had divorced. I was a latch key kid living with my mom and she worked three jobs and I didn’t get to see my father much. I was a white kid living in the country but John Amos’s character was a great father figure. He could go from happy to angry in 5 seconds. I know some people had a problem with Jimmie Walker’s character but I knew people like him even in a rural country school. When John Amos left…the show was never the same.

The Bob Newhart Show’s kitchen…Love that kitchen

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If you could have dinner with 5 people dead or still living…who would they be?

Mine are pretty shallow sounding vs what some people would say like Lincoln, Washington… Nope…no politicians, generals, or leaders…

1: John Lennon – He could be a walking contradiction but so are a lot of British rock stars but he was very intelligent and a superb songwriter. He loved to shock at times but could be very warm, generous and very honest. After he was shot his legend made him out to be some saint…he would have been the first to say he was not one….he didn’t suffer fools well. I remember when I was 13 and I heard about the shooting. The guy that shot him…I won’t mention his name is kept from the other prisoners for safety reasons. John had already signed a document saying he would get together with the other Beatles for what turned out to be the Anthology. At the time it was called The Long and Winding Road.

2: Keith Moon – I would prepare myself and sleep for as long as possible the day before and then take off with Moon and have the best time of me life….

3: Babe Ruth – What a guy… To me the best baseball player period…there is no one close. He was the best all around player…Not only was he one of the best power hitters he was also a great left handed pitcher….I would love to talk to him…get some dogs and beer and enjoy my time with the Babe.

4: Harpo Marx – The Marx brother that is my favorite. I would plead and recommend that you would read Harpo Speaks  ….It is the best autobiography  I have ever read. I’ve read it at least 8 times. I have worn out two copies. Yes Groucho is better known but Harpo was one of the most decent guys you could ever be around…he also hung out with the Algonquin round table crowd in the 1920s with writers Alexander Woolcott, brilliant playwright George Kaufman and many more. Harpo came from a very poor family at the turn of the century and he came to know some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

5: Buster Keaton – Probably one of the best film makers of the 20th century. He gets over shadowed by Charlie Chaplin. That is not a knock on Chaplin but Keaton not only was a great screen comedian but the better film maker out of the two.

 

Honorable Mention

The two that I hated to leave out but one of the these two could substitute if two of the ones mentioned above could not show up.

Clara Bow – My favorite actress hands down. The original and the only IT girl and could say more with her actions than anyone else with words…she lit up the screen.

Keith Richards – The only living member of my wish list (though some would argue that fact) Keith is just cool period. If I had to describe rock and roll to an alien… I would hand them a copy of Brown Sugar and a picture of a 1972 Keith Richards…. I love that he has survived….God Bless you Keith.

You traveled into a worm hole through space and time and all you brought back was Keith Moon?

I awoke from a dream. I dreamed I was at an opening of some club and I was in the parking lot and here comes Keith Moon. He was laughing madly and asked me if I was enjoying myself…I was amazed and happy…. Someone in the background of this dream said the above long question that is the title. I didn’t answer but if I did it would have been a resounding YES…who else? If I could have met any rock star…I would have picked Keith Moon. He was the ultimate definition of a rock star. Some people would pick Jimmy Page or Robert Plant…but to me Led Zeppelin always had a dark cloud around them. They were not the most inviting band. The Who on the other hand seemed open and at least trying to connect with the audience. The concert footage I have of them with Moon they would act silly between songs and be human and light…until they played…when they played in their prime…no one could touch them live. Plus musically I just liked them much better…I brought Zeppelin up because they  covered some of the same ground at the same time as the Who. I don’t care if I hear Stairway anymore in my life…but when Won’t Get Fooled Again comes on….I still turn it up. But this is about Keith Moon and me dragging him to the current age. He would not have survived now because he had fun and lots of it. Excess yes and too much. He was arguably the best drummer in rock ever….he usually comes in 1st or 2nd in polls to John Bonham. He had an ability and a rare ability….it doesn’t seem he could be embarrassed. I use to really want that trait…but it was his undoing also. With all of his mad escapades it has been said by a lot of people that he never wanted to hurt anyone. He once got a hotel clerk fired by stealing chicken from the kitchen…the next day he got the mans job back. The only person he ended up hurting was himself. He wrecked plenty of hotel rooms but he did it with style…one time nailing the furniture to the ceiling at the same location it had been on the floor.

I feel guilty sometimes enjoying reading about Keith…yes he had drinking problems and some mental problems that went undetected in the seventies. You will see these old jaded rock stars start smiling when talking about him now. A smile that says that they don’t have the time or the memory to tell you all the stories. He had energy to burn and finally did just that…burn out. He wore people out that tried to hang with him.

Keith’s stories have entertained generations after his lifetime….he paid the price. He was trying to clean up before he died and died on an overdose of a drug to wean him off of alcohol.

Check youtube out for Keith Moon and you will find some great videos….If you want a quick read find a copy of Full Moon I had a copy when I was 13 and I wish I would have kept it when I saw the price…you can get the audio version pretty cheap. If you really want to know about Keith get this one.  Better price and it covers his entire career. Yes I would bring him back just to see the reaction of today’s PC world. Their heads would explode. He would give this boring corporate world a hot foot….which it needs desperately. If only I could Keith….you would be here but I would rather go back to your world when the rules were broken and you could have a bit more fun. To this day I’ve never seen nor heard a drummer that could match him.

 

The Beatles or The Stones

The choice is an old one. I like both groups they are two of the greatest rock groups of all time. Keith Richards said without the Beatles there would be no Stones because the Beatles kicked the door in…in America for the Stones to follow. The soul  of the two groups were John Lennon and Keith Richards. They were the honest ones…the ones that would tell you how it really was but sometimes offended…but who cares? Keith is “The Human Riff” and has more than earned that name. John also came up with some classic riffs… Day Tripper, I Feel Fine, I Dig a Pony, And Your Bird Can Sing… Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger were the PR of both bands.

George Harrison and Brian Jones were in similar positions… both were in bands with with two great songwriters. George finally broke through with some great songs but Brian’s tenure ended sadly.

The first statement from a Stones fan is…but The Beatles were a pop band and The Stones were a rock band through and through. Not really…. The Stones wrote alot of pop songs like Ruby Tuesday, Waiting on a Friend, Dandelion and We Love You. The Beatles wrote some rock songs Day Tripper, Come Together, Revolution and probably the hardest and raunchiest song of the two groups…Helter Skelter.

The Stones were not above copying the Beatles at times. The most blatant was after Sgt Peppers came out the Stones release Her Majesty’s Request. Take a look at the Beggars Banquet Cover and The White Album covers. Yes the Stones delay in release of that album was over a cover the record company rejected but it was released after the White Album… Let it Be and Let it Bleed…a little too much of a coincidence. Glyn Johns was involved with both albums and it’s been said that the Stones heard Let It Be before it was released. John and Paul even wrote the Stones first hit I Wanna to Be Your Man. It wasn’t a bad thing…most groups followed in the Beatles wake.

Arguably the Stones were much better after the Beatles broke up. They formed their own identity.  Unless you like the Brian Jones era more than the Mick Taylor era.  Personally I think the Mick Taylor era was superb. I did like the texture that Brian would add to the Stones but with Mick Taylor they were a great rock band. When Taylor quit they lost a lot. Ron Wood looks more like a Stone than Taylor but the group with Wood is not comparable to the Taylor version of the Stones. It’s not just the songwriting…the guitar playing Taylor did with them between 69-74 was great. The Beatles were much more flexible than the Stones…just listen to the White Album. They could bend to any genre better than any band. Popularity is not even comparable between the bands. Mick Jagger has admitted that the Stones were outshone by the Beatles. 

It depends on taste but there is not a reason why you can’t like both…but the arguments are fun though. Personally The Beatles are my favorite of the two because they covered much more ground.

My thought on the dynamic of the groups is the Beatles truly loved each other like brothers and when they broke up…it was much more personal and more feelings were involved. The Stones were not as close. Keith and Mick were close for a little while until the drugs set in with Keith. I think that helped them stay together longer. I also thought they treated Bill Wyman terrible like not giving him credit on coming up with the riff on Jumping Jack Flash and he only got one of his songs on an album. John and Paul would write songs for Ringo and early on for even George. I can’t imagine Mick and Keith writing one for Brian…Brian didn’t do himself any favors because of the antics he pulled…but he did start the group and contributed a lot until around 67.

The argument will go on and on between fans of both groups. The images of both are really skewed. Supposedly to Stones fans the Beatles were soft and the Stones were hard men.. The Beatles were from Liverpool, a tough blue collar town and not soft at all. They were not to be messed with at all…After going to Hamburg and carousing with gangs, hit men and mobsters they were far from innocent but the Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham wanted the Stones to be the anti Beatles and it worked great but was far from the truth. The two bands were actually friends and would time their singles to come out at different times as to not compete with each other.

The Beatles live and The Stones live…The Beatles were excellent live but stopped playing live in 1966…one because of the constant screaming and inadequate equipment. The also had the time to devote to make some of the greatest albums ever…When the Stones hit their stride live the equipment improved greatly and the screaming was for the most part over. The Beatles only played live one more time just a few songs on top of their Apple building. This is interesting… both bands early on share a stage with each other and a lot of different  acts including the Animals, Them and The Kinks.

The best live band ever? My choice would be neither the Stones or Beatles. That will come later.

Great Power Pop Bands that never got their due…

 

Seems like these bands were either too pop for rock radio or to rock for pop radio…The bands that come to mind are…

Badfinger – The most tragic story of any band in Rock History….although out of this list they did have the most hits… No Matter What, Day After Day Come and Get It and Baby Blue …one of my personal favorites out of many Midnight Caller…and Name of the Game…also  I would have loved to see what Pete Ham could have done later on if he would have lived…. This is the one that many people didn’t know that they wrote. Without You

Big Star – Great songs with great melodies that never caught on that influenced many bands to come after. September Gurls , Thirteen , Ballad of El Goodo In The Street these are just a few. This band should have been massive.

The Raspberries– Great hooks and they had a masterpiece that went unnoticed… Overnight Sensation…One of my favorite songs of all time. Their biggest hit was  Go All The Way. All their songs have great hooks with Carmen’s voice.

The Knack – Good Girls Don’t and of course My Sharona. 

The JayhawksI’m Gonna Make You Love Me , Blue

The Replacements

Who else?

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Why The Beatles are still Relevant

This is the post excerpt.

“They have been gone for such a long time” sure but their music is timeless.  I first found the Beatles in the 1970’s growing up and as a young kid I bought that terrible repackaged album that Capital released called Rock and Roll music…some great music but a truly terrible silver cover that made the Beatles look like they came from the fifties. I also bought the Hey Jude Again album in 2nd grade n 1975. I was transformed. When I heard those songs I started to buy more of their albums and I could not believe the quantity and the quality of the songs….the great songs kept coming like a well that never runs dry. I missed them of course when they were active but I could not believe one group could have so many great songs. I felt…and still feel that I was born too late and missed out on something great. I could not imagine listening to Sgt Peppers on the radio in 1967 when it was all new. I did find other groups…On my 3rd grade notebook I would write the names of bands like others did… that I was just finding out about…The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. A little late but better late than never.

Now getting back to the title of this post…In the 1980s being a Beatle fan was not a real popular thing…not that I cared…but…since the 1990s the Beatles are current again and remain current in 2017. My son is 17 and him and his friends all like them. They also like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Stones. Beatles albums still sale consistently. Here is a youtube video of different people from Rap Artists to Ozzy Osborne talking about the Beatles…

Here is an interesting one with Lemmy from Motorhead talking about the Beatles.

Most have read about their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964.. I recently was with a friend who bought two Kustom bass cabinets from an older country drummer. The Beatles got brought up in conversation and he told me about that night when he sat on the couch and watched them. He said the next day the world was a different place. Not just hair styles but attitudes. I asked him to compare the mania to something since then….his answer was Michael Jackson in the 1980s times 1000 or maybe more…Now that is a statement. Is it coming from someone famous? No but he was there. I have talked to others who say the same that was there.

An answer from Mick Jagger about being compared with the Beatles….

The Beatles were so big that it’s hard for people not alive at the time to realize just how big they were. There isn’t a real comparison with anyone now. I suppose Michael Jackson at one point, but it still doesn’t seem quite the same. They were so big that to be competitive with them was impossible. I’m talking about in record sales and tours and all this. They were huge.

Of course I’m a fan and have read a lot about them so I am biased (I recommend Tune In) and a great website…their story is almost as great as their music. I’ve had fun arguments with friends about Beatles vs Elvis… Beatles vs Stones etc. It’s all in good fun though…although I have always been right….

 

 

Beatles or Stones

Great Power Pop Bands that never got their due…

You traveled into a worm hole through space and time and all you brought back was Keith Moon?

If you could have dinner with 5 people dead or still living…who would they be?

Best Sitcoms of the 1970’s

Green Acres

Life On Mars

Land of the Lost

Wondering

Helter Skelter

A few things from the 70s

The Wonderful World of Sid and Marty Krofft

1980’s Music

Gilligan’s Island

1980’s Music

The Marx Brothers

Groucho Marx Quotes

Some over looked solo Beatles songs