Yes, you heard me correctly. Tony Orlando & Dawn (yellow ribbons for everyone!); Mac Davis (“Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” was the ultimate musical hook); Leo Sayer (he made me feel like dancing); Starland Vocal Band (oooh, afternoon delight — wait, what?). Although maybe not the most sophisticated music out there, it always tends to put me in a good mood. And always tends to put B. in a not-so-good mood. (“My ears!” he’ll moan if he walks in on my listening to a ’70s classic — Year of the Cat actually made him run, screaming, from the room.)
I know what you’re thinking. How can someone as worldly, cosmopolitan and well-read as me (why, thank you!) be lured into the trap of this kind of music? Easy. Because during my junior-high through college years, I was a sweet and hopeful romantic. And these pop songs played right into my heart. Are we talking ABBA? Yup. The Bee Gees? Sure. Debby Boone? Uh … maybe.
If I’m being really truthful here (and because I have so much faith that you’ll still love me even when I make this confession), I have to admit that I was, indeed, a Fanilow — you know, one of those people who loved Barry Manilow’s music. It’s a phase I grew out of, but, to this day, if Mandy comes on the radio, I just can’t change the station.
B.’s musical tastes during that period couldn’t have been more different. Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jethro Tull. Music that, if it came on the radio, I just could not NOT change the station.
But it’s funny how after living with someone for 20 years (almost) you absorb some of their influence by osmosis (also, almost). For example, every once in a while I’ll break into a verse of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog — “Hey, hey mama said the way you move / Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove…” ( I wish I had a picture of B.’s face when he first heard that come out of my mouth.) I keep hoping that one day I might even hear him sing the chorus of Brandy by Looking Glass (“Brandy, you’re a fine girl …”). But, alas. Not. Going. To happen.
My musical tastes are wide-ranging; I love everything from Springsteen to Sinatra. I look at ’70s bubblegum pop the same way I look at crème brûlée. A little bit is wonderful — more than that means far too many empty calories and far too much sweetness.
ⓒ 2016 Claudia Grossman