As promised, here's the second installment in my series that looks back at 45's my brother, sister and I bought in the '70s (see January 23, 2013, "Music by Caldor.").
Today, I picked three random little discs out of the battered pink case that's held our collection of 45's since back in the day. Over the years, I've become the de facto music archivist in my family, gathering up some of my parents' old LP's, and scattered long players and singles that my siblings and I bought over the years at our local Caldor department store in Avon, CT.
The first one to come out is Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets."
This song came out in 1973, when I was 8 years old, and was incredibly popular on the radio. John didn't want to release the song as a single, thinking it was too plain and boring, according to good ol' Wikipedia. Producer Gus Dudgeon decided to punch it up a bit by adding in reverb, applause and other audience effects to make it more lively. The song became John's first Top 40 hit on the R&B charts.
For more on the song's history, read this.
Interesting side note: I had a friend growing up named Bene (pronounced "Benny"), so we used to mock him at times by singing this song. Bene, unfortunately, passed away several years ago two months shy of his 40th birthday. Driving home from his funeral, I got stuck in a traffic jam on Route 84 just south of the Mass. Pike. As I sat there, listening to a mix CD I'd made a few years ago, a version of "Bennie and the Jets" done by the Beastie Boys with Biz Markie suddenly popped up.
I don't get too mystical and spiritual, but I laughed to myself and thought my good buddy was telling me, "Hey, don't sweat the traffic."
On to the next song.
Jim Croce's "Time In a Bottle" always makes me sad.
Like "Bennie and the Jets," Croce's tale of wishing for more time to do the important things in life was released as a single in 1973. The song became popular after Croce's tragic death in a plane crash in September of that year.
I wasn't crazy about this song, instead preferring Croce's more upbeat tunes like "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and "You Don't Mess Around With Jim."
I put Croce in the same category as Harry Chapin, who also died tragically, in a car accident in 1981. They were both singer-songwriters with loads of talent, but also guys who were a bit too, well, singer-songwriter-y for me.
Finally, Jo Jo Gunne's short, sweet boogie rocker, "Run Run Run."
Jo Jo Gunne was kinda like Foghat. Slide guitar solos, chugging rhythms and a fun sound. I didn't know anything about them, so I went to Wikipedia, of course. The band grew out of 1960's L.A. band, Spirit, who allegedly influenced Led Zeppelin. "Run Run Run" charted in the U.S. and U.K., but Jo Jo Gunne (they got the name from a Chuck Berry song) broke up after releasing four albums in two years.
Stay tuned for another installment (or two, or three)....