Despite being a user of iTunes for a while, I’ve never actually bought anything from the iTunes store. This is entirely because I like to keep my music in un-DRM’ed form. The very notion of a record company wanting to tell me where I can and cannot play music that I’ve legally purchased almost makes me want to pirate it just to spite them. So I exclusively buy and rip CDs instead; the anti-ripping protection introduced on some CDs is laughably easy to bypass so I’m happy. It’s a mistake of the record companies / distributors to insist on DRM, because I probably would spend more on music if I used online stores, because I would pick and choose a lot of tracks I wouldn’t have otherwise bought an album for. Plus, there is plenty of evidence that the age of file-swapping hasn’t bankrupted record companies as the doom-mongerers had bayed; rather music sales are bouyant despite it.
Anyway, I was picking around the iTunes store because it was bugging me that I couldn’t identify the name of the group that produced ‘September’, a track which appeared on the European version of Donkey Konga (my wife’s, and a lot of fun it is too) and which I was sure I had heard lots of times before. Music fans out there may well be slapping their heads at my stupidity, but I couldn’t think of it.
So, it turns out that it’s Earth Wind and Fire - and that should have been the end of it. Except then I started picking around the other tracks in the album it featured on, and following a few period and genre links. The amount of familiarity was quite surprising. So I kept picking through other EWF albums, links to related stuff like Kool & the Gang, Jackson 5, The Commodores, Heatwave, Parliament and Wild Cherry. Not only did I instantly recognise almost all of them, I knew the words to a frightening number of them too. I have nostalgic memories of the late 70s in the same way as anyone does of their early childhood, but even so I was just surprised at how much detail about the music I remembered, when the rest of my memory of that time is a jumbled blur of the Banana Splits, Hector’s House, chopper bikes and stripey tank tops. I do remember music being a regular backdrop in our house when I was that age, so perhaps it’s not that surprising. One of my earliest memories is learning how to load vinyl records onto our huge wooden gramophone (it was bigger than me), and sitting way too close to the speaker.
I can’t deny that that period has influenced my current musical tastes. I still love funk, jazz & soul, and it’s really interesting to see how many parallels you can draw between the more upbeat EWF tracks and that of Jamiroquai, one of my favorite artists.
In all, I just count myself lucky that I saw some of the 70s for myself - because the decade that followed had no style at all. 😀I was too young to truly appreciate my time in that decade, being only 7 when the 80s began, but I’m kinda glad that it’s still embedded somewhere deep in my subconcious, jiving like a tiny psychadelic funk machine across my neocortex. Groovy.