I finished the last show in the series tonight. They saved the best for last, of course -- covering the music of the 1970s in the final episode. Chris Connelly -- the ESPN guy who took over Grantland when Bill Simmons left the nest -- made a bold statement to the effect that every kind of rock music ever was done best in the 1970s.
I think that is hyperbole, to be fair. Rap was definitely not done best in the 1970s, even with "Rapper's Delight."
As the series points out, this very song gave "Hip-Hop" its name. That said, it's still pretty primordial and hasn't hit its stride quite yet.
Still, that statement bugged me because I tried to come up with better music from another time. Hard Rock? Nope -- 1980s hair metal in all its glory couldn't match up with Black Sabbath.
Punk was in its full pomp in the 1970s too -- far better than the Green Day revival that took place in the 1980s. I mean, no other decade had The Clash at its very finest. After all, Rolling Stone had to go to the 1970s for its album of the decade, "London Calling."
How about country music? Arguably, the 1970s were not as good as, say, the 1960s or 1950s. Then, you see Loretta Lynn (Coal Miner's Daughter), Dolly Parton (I Will Always Love You), Kenny Rogers (The Gambler), and the perfect country and western song, written by Steve Goodman:
David Allan Coe is a notoriously temperamental performer who might show up and play for four hours or who might not like the looks of the front row of a crowd and just storm off the stage. He did this a couple of times in Athens at the Georgia Theater, I was told. I had heard the stories and just avoided the shows.
But still -- the more I think about it, the more Chris Connelly has a point. Sometimes, the Good Old Days actually WERE that good.
In some respects, I sometimes feel like baseball cards in the 1960s and 1970s were better than what we have today. What do we have that is good today?
Well, we get autographs in packs. We get pieces of cloth embedded in cards. We get 20 different versions of the same card, with some even serial numbered. We even have the Topps Now cards, so Topps can issue cards immediately (your shipping time may vary).
What did the 1960s and 1970s have?
Those decades had cards issued in series for well over half the time in question. Then, there might be coins inserted in cards. Sometimes, there would be oddballs issued by Topps. There would be oddballs issued by cereal companies, confectioneries, bakeries, insurance companies, fast-food joints, convenience stories, hot dog makers, and with potato chips.
Speaking of which, here's an oddball Topps card that I got for a $5 bill (including shipping) on eBay recently:
By that alone, the good old days win in a landslide.
Thanks for stopping by tonight. I'll be in Nashville all week after this for an American Bar Association meeting, so I'll see y'all on Saturday!