Yesterday afternoon, A and I headed to the Alamo Drafthouse to see the 40th Anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I barely remember going to see it the first time out, considering I was six years old (I either saw it at the drive-in or in Gardner, the same place I saw Star Wars), though I do remember bits of it when watching it on TV in later years.
Of course, this made me think of all the music that I’d heard about that time, mostly on the little crackly radio that was in the kitchen for years. I remember the above ‘disco version’ of the Close Encounters theme, as we owned the album and the single.
So let’s see…what other songs do I remember from that era? [This obviously doesn’t include the classic punk from that era, which was way off my radar for quite a few more years.] A lot of these were singles my sisters bought, or tunes that we’d hear on the radio. This of course was back when AM was still the preferred listening band, so most of these I associate with either listening on my cheapo record player or on the car radio whenever we went for a ride. [Or in some cases, the jukebox at Bellinger’s!]
…hey, what can I say? I was six years old. I loved this stuff. :p
So apparently I did have a slice or two of P-Funk in my collection….just not the originals.
(samples “(Not Just) Knee Deep”)
(samples “Pumpin’ It Up”)
(samples “Let’s Play House”)
(samples “Man’s Best Friend”)
(samples “Mothership Connection”)
(samples “Come in Out of the Rain”)
(samples “Atomic Dog”)
(samples “Get Off Your Ass and Jam”)
Giving some of those early Funkadelic albums a listen and OH MAN are they tight. I have no idea why I didn’t get to them sooner.
I’m finally getting around to reading George Clinton’s autobiography Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? [BEST. TITLE. EVER.] and it occurs to me that I don’t own any Funkadelic (or Parliament, for that matter).
This really needs to be rectified.
I’ve known about them for years, of course. I probably first heard of them in a few of those rock history books I used to take out from the library back when I was a preteen and already obsessing over music trivia. I’m pretty sure I’d heard some of their jams in the background of some 70s movie or something. I knew George Clinton had an extremely out-there stage persona. They weren’t a band you’d find in the music bins at K-Mart or one of those mall stores, though, so they weren’t always on my radar. It wasn’t until my freshman year roommate in college played me part of their 7th album Let’s Take It to the Stage that I got what they were about. One listen to “Get Off Your Ass and Jam” and I knew what I was in for… I liked it, but it didn’t quite gel with me at the time.
Reading his book, though, I finally figured out what they were about. They weren’t merely a weird funk band from the 70s…they were much more than that. Part soul, part psychedelic rock (I can definitely hear that now — the above track is reminiscent of those long-ass psych rock jams that early FM radio loved so much), part political, and part party. There’s a lot going in this band’s music, and now I’m intrigued.
That said…given that their early work is available on eMusic, I’m going to download me some of this cosmic slop and do a bit of immersion. Wish me luck!
You know, for all the classic rock I’ve listened to over the years, I haven’t really focused too closely on the 70s other than the hits. I’ve got a decent mp3 collection that covers a lot of discographies, but I’ve always tended to limit my ‘classic’ listening to the 80s (my teen years) or the 90s (my college/post-college/HMV years).
Granted, my age was in the single digits in the seventies, so my familiarity with the music from that era comes from the listening habits of my older sisters, the records I took out of the town library, and the usual culprits you hear on classic rock stations like Springsteen, Elton John, Billy Joel and Led Zeppelin. The rest of it tends to be filled with easy listening pop that we escaped like Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, and variety specials filled with corny humor and the same central casting guest stars.
It is kind of fascinating, though, when you realize that this song..
…and this song…
…came out in the same month, November 1977.
I’m thinking it’s time for me to do another decade overview, this time of the decade where I was the bratty little kid brother. I mean, going past hearing “The Piano Man” for the 1,485,035,436th time. Expanding the genres between punk and sunshine pop, prog rock and early metal. If there’s one thing I enjoy immensely when listening to music, it’s listening to it within the context of its history. I’m curious to hear how they all intertwined.