Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Hour Chronicles, No. 7: Da Doo Ron Ron

The confluence of two factors led me to the theme for this week's happy hour message. First, my blogging cohorts, EMM and Dave S, this week paid tribute to the recently departed lead singer for "The Knack," Doug Feiger. Second, recent happy hour regular JDA is one hell of a nice guy, but it pains me to note that he was born in 1986. Therefore, as a public service to JDA and the other young followers of the happy hour, I feel compelled to dredge up what it was like to live through the 1970s.

Stated most simply, the 1970s were like losing control of a car on a patch of ice. I knew that a terrible thing was happening all around me, but I and all others were powerless to do anything about it. I therefore speak in all earnestness when I say that I have repressed most memories of the 1970s. Whenever people mention things like pet rocks, the "In Search Of" television series, or Jimmy Carter, I marvel briefly at the fact that those were real phenomena and then toss the memories back into the deep freeze. Believe me, I'm much happier in my denial.

To my mind, the only worthwhile events to occur in the 1970s were the later lunar landing missions of the Apollo Program, Secretariat being Secretariat, Monte Python's Flying Circus, the band "Joy Division" (later renamed "New Order"), and two movies--"American Graffiti" and "Animal House." Note especially that both movies are depictions of life in 1962.

Out of all the awful things that happened, the 1970s really hit the depths in the musical department. I do not doubt that Dave S recalls The Knack's 1979 hit "My Sharona" fondly, but I think it's a fine song only because of the very homely company that it kept. If you hung around with "The Captain and Tennille," "The Carpenters," and Barry Manilow, you'd crack the Billboard top 100, too. I'd actually classify the song as an updated and now outdated version of The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz."

But now that I'm too far down memory lane, I regret that I'm recalling the 1970s darkest element, which can be best summed up with the words "Tiger Beat." Sure, Tiger Beat is still around and has added a disturbing online format. In the 1970s, however, Tiger Beat was seemingly more corny and diabolically dreadful, as this nice critique by Princess Sparkle Pony sets forth. Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy, Robby Benson--the mind reels and the stomach churns. More recently, of course, Leif Garrett has completed his transformation from hero to heroin. Catch him once with heroin in the LA subway system, shame on him; catch him twice with heroin in the LA subway system, shame on his dealer for being so uncreative. I feel vindicated that the 1970s were truly ugly. We just needed to get well out of the decade to gain perspective.

For happy hour this Friday, February 19, we are reverting to a pre-1970s classic, as you are encouraged to report to The Tune Inn, located at 331 and 1/2 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, between the Capitol South and Eastern Market Metro Stations. The Tune Inn is an old-school dive bar, but don't let that frighten you, because Frommer's now awards it three stars. And to think that I remember when it wasn't an iota over one star! See you there, starting at 6:30.


EMM said...

U2 formed in the late 70's...a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I too am in 70's denial, although the Dorothy Hammil haircut is a reminder in some grade school photos.

For me the 70's was spent K-8, in Catholic School...I had Scott Baio and Andy Gibb pictures on my walls.

Who would have thought that we'd end up at HH with people we would have babysat for in the 80's?

Yay for The Tune...see you there.

jjv said...

Another Tour De Force. I agree with it almost to a jot and tittle. However, The Godfather was made in the early 70's. As were the two good Star Wars.

Dave S. said...

Don't forget Talking Heads.

As for the Tune, I remember when starlight came into the Tune, took one look, and turned and fled.

jjv said...

I would like to try this Tune Inn place as it sounds intriguing but sadly can not be there.

Dave S. said...

JJV, that's too bad, as I understand they allow dancing there now.

Unknown said...

What about the Clash? The bulk of Joe Strummer's work occurred between 1976-1979........some pretty significant stuff.

"I believe in this, and its been tested by research.....
He who f__ks nuns, will later join the church."

Unknown said...

All right.....you got me on a technicality. The Clash's "London Calling was actually released in early January of 1980........

Maybe the 70's did suck.

ma ma ma ma ma my sharona!

EMM said...

U2 did not release "Boy" until 1980. The Clash too were a beacon of hope at the end of our "lost" decade.

Dancing at the Tune...I did it once and was told to stop. I did, so as to not be thrown out.

Maybe I'll try some Disco moves tomorrow to honor (barf) the 70's.

JWT - congrats on being poat #900. Onward team to 1000!!!

Anonymous said...

Wish I could go. Was there last night though!

JWT said...

EMM: I'll be an on-time arrival.

JJV: Yeah, The Godfather won a Best Picture (or two), and it did inspire several generations of Jersey guidos. I'm more in agreement with you on your Star Wars observation. The real point is that the 1970s are best summarized by the few good things rather than the myriad horrors.

Dave S: I'm with you on The Talking Heads, although I note that they squeezed in "Psycho Killer" and "Take Me to the River" before releasing "Remain in Light" in . . . 1980.

Jon: Glory be! It's good to see your words here, even if you're edging the blog toward an R rating. You may recall that I wasn't a huge fan of The Clash but happily listened to them with you. I think you raise the real point here, which is that (except for the tail end of the recession) the iron curtain that descended across the continent in the 1970s lifted quite suddenly on 1/1/80.

Anonymous said...

I just want to let everyone know that I have 3.3 million seconds left on station, not that I'm counting. I'm looking forward to a big beer or two. See you all soon.

Dave P.