Nostalgia, as many have said, is a powerful thing. It makes crappy days turn into awesome days, and it can spark up the best conversations. Reminiscing about old songs, movies, radio shows, TV classics, books, or even just high school memories. It is always a beautiful waste of time!
Kinda like how when you see Jeff Daniels play a serious role in the movie Steve Jobs, but you can’t help but spew your Dr. Pepper out in a sticky stream of projectile mass, because every time you see his face, all you can think about is:
That, my fine friends, is nostalgia!
(If you don’t get that one, stop reading this and watch Dumb and Dumber. The first one made in 1994, not the failed sequel!)
In this current political climate and Hollywood saturated media, we need way more of it!
Now, for this month’s column, we are going to focus in on the 1970’s. An era where disco was turning rockers and John Travolta into bell bottomed slinkys.
However, in search of what brings a modern smile to our faces from that era, myself and two of our fine authors will reminisce in nostalgic bliss about a few classic Rock N’ Roll songs that do just that.
Van Halen – Eruption/You Really Got Me – Warner Bros. 1978
After the most powerful open A chord in the history of Rock N’ Roll, the world was exposed to a whirl wind of notes, squeals, trills, and pure guitar chaos. Van Halen’s rendition of “You Really Got Me” was killer, it earned it’s own title, “Eruption”. I imagine the people of 1978 thought Eddie Van Halen was from outer space and maybe he was? The first time I heard this song I was probably 10 or 11 years old. I was accustomed to The Kinks original (which still holds up today), but I remember deciding then and there I wanted to play guitar. It was raw, ferocious, and most of all, fun!
When I eventually picked up guitar a few years later, I tried over and over again to teach myself “Eruption”.
I thought if I could just master at least 15 seconds, I’d be set. Deep down I knew it would never happen but it didn’t stop me from trying. I was naive but I loved and valued every minute of it.
By now most of the population is mostly sick of hearing “You Really Got Me” thanks to classic dad Rock stations playing it at the top of every hour. When I hear it, I’m taken back to a time when my biggest problem was not having enough hours in the day to stand in front of the mirror with my $100 electric guitar and pretend I was a guitar god. A time when I thought mastering hammer-on pull-off combos would be make me cool, in turn making me invincible. Maybe that’s what Rock N’ Roll is really about? -Aaron Cooper
T. Rex – Buick Mackane – EMI 1972
If pressed to pick a song that instantly transports me to a different time and place, it has to be “Buick McCane” by T.Rex. A song that I hold near and dear to my heart because the sonic soundscapes in the song sorta capture the sound in my head when I used to be a raging alcoholic. I vividly remember slowly slipping into repeated drunken hazes and hearing the opening notes to Marc Bolan’s “Buick McCane” in my head. What’s even more weird is that I can actually put it on in the background – close my eyes and sorta slip into a very calm state of mind. The power of glam I guess.
It occurred to me this evening that my introduction to the song came by way of a radio station in South Texas called Q94.5. They typically played “Bang a Gong” on Friday evenings to ceremonially kick off weekends…. But every now and again they would play “20th Century Boy” or slip on the deeper cut that is “Buick McCane”.
It kinda hit me like a ton of bricks that the song was about a fucking car.
The only song I like more about a car is “Panama” by Van Halen. – Rolando Agado
Doobie Brothers – China Grove – Warner Bros. 1973
For me, the Doobies were one of the first real Rock bands that I remember listening to and becoming a fan of. They had enough groove to get on the radio, but had the gutsy guitar chops to lay down some Rock. As a kid, every time this came on the radio my Dad would crank it, and we would be singing and swaying our heads. At first I though it was wierd that my “old Dad” liked rock, but now I see that is where my appreciation for it stemmed from.
He never really bought vinyls or tapes (even though I begged), so the radio is where I had to discover most of this music; pre-internet. I was also always amazed at how cool the piano part is in this song, and how it blends so well with the guitar work of Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston. My mother is a mastered piano player, so for me it was cool to hear the keys in a Rock N’ Roll song; in a different style and medium!
And two drummers, because why not?
They are the Doobie Brothers! This band, and especially this song, always take me back to the golden days of life. Being young and stupid, and just driving around with no destination in mind…cranking the radio as loud as I wanted and foolishly singing! Rock N’ Roll of all types has that affect, and as more and more of it becomes nostalgic to it’s fans, it continues to serve it’s purpose; to be enjoyed, admired, loved and remembered.
If you found this article inspiring at all, please leave a comment and tell us which song brings back those nostalgia feels for you! That is one of the coolest things about music. Thanks for reading, and have fun searching for the music of your youth!