Monday, March 22, 2010

Fire You Up on Monday Morning - Rock Classic "Takin' Care of Business"

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing...
This'll be the day that I die. 

Back in 1973, a pop tune called "American Pie," written and sung by Don McLean, dominated the charts for over a year. The lyrics were symbolic and obscure. Nobody knew what they meant. Maybe that's why the song was so popular. People listened to the song over and over, and they could never agree on what McLean was singing about.

My interpretation - Don McLean was singing about "the day the music died," the end of the music of the Vietnam era - the golden age of rock and roll.

An expert has confirmed this theory for me. When I was living in Miami Beach in 1997, I used to get my hair cut by the same high-priced stylist that my wife used. One day Robert was busy making me look like a million bucks when a middle-aged music producer took the seat next to me. Robert played lead guitar in an old-fart rock band on the side, and he was talking to this guy about their favorite rock music.

The producer said: "All the great stuff happened before 1973. Nothing worthy has been produced ever since."

Maybe his opinion was a bit overstated. Still, I identify strongly with the music of that era, and I stopped paying attention to pop music after 1975.

Anyway, my youngest son, who loves music, was born the year "the music died." So he never knew about it. All that great music is just waiting for him to discover it. He grew up on Prince, though, so I wonder if he'll appreciate it the way I do. 

Here's one of my favorites, "Taking Care of Business," written by Randy Bachman, recorded by Bachman Turner Overdrive, aka BTO. I love the loud, blue-collar take on work, the ironic blend of necessity with the dream of an easier, more playful way to make money. 


There! Was that enough to get you fired up for business on Monday morning, or what?

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

Sean said...

For me, a generation later, music died after the eighties-- possibly coinciding with the end of the cold war, perhaps. The eighties were the last time that popular music really attracted to the masses. After that, it really split up; music became very focused on cultural niches.

Things have started to get better, with Lady Gaga attracting all kinds of audiences. But for two decades there, things were pretty dark.

If you don't believe me, just look at the most popular bands today... Madonna, U2, Bon Jovi, Springsteen, etc. Same bands from the 80's.

Sure there are the usual new players from the niches of rap, country, heavy metal. And the non-artist pretty faces from American Idol, who can sing but not create, but they (mostly) don't count. It's just very rare anymore for new artists to appear that really appeal to a wide audience.

I'd given up all hope 'til Lady Gaga came on the scene.

Or maybe that's just me being old and someone else 20 years younger would have a wildly different opinion.