Thinking about my son listening to “electronicore,” industrial, and even a little metal when he was ten, made me think about the music I listened to when I was ten. Most of it came from the radio, usually in the car with my parents, or from the records I’d had as an even younger child (“Disco Duck”!) or that my Dad kept in the closet (Music from Big Pink, Nashville Skyline), or from the cassettes that my mother kept in a drawer in the kitchen to play on her little boom box while she was cooking or baking. One of those cassettes, which I listened to a lot, was Three Dog Night’s greatest hits. I was particularly fond of this one:
It must have been odd, and a little bit awkward to see them live (my father did, around the time of that song, at the Exit/In, a club I’d later see a lot of shows in), with those three lead singers, two of whom were often just standing around for whole songs.
Oh, and this track too:
Because when I was in first grade they taught us that in music class, but they changed the lyrics so that 6 year olds weren’t singing about drinking wine and making sweet love.
Later, when I was old enough to think about these things, I always got the impression that Three Dog Night was perfectly representative of what went wrong at the end of the 60s: they looked like hippies, they sounded like hippies, they sang about talking to bull frogs and joy to the world, but they weren’t hippies at all, they had just co-opted hippiness and made it something thoroughly generic and safe for television.
But also, they’re not bad tunes, right? I mean, they were recording stuff written by Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, with pretty good musicians and guys who could definitely sing. It’s difficult to dislike them, unless you just don’t like catchy tunes, period.
Oh, and when I was in high school and had just broken up with the girl I loved soooo much and was going to spend the rest of my life with, and now I realized I was going to be alone forever, for ever, because she’d dumped me and life was over, this song was perfect:
Looking forward to our first Friday listening party. I hope you’re all picking your albums.