It’s 2008, and the world is on the verge of seeing Barack Obama elected as the the United States’ first African American President. Rewind thirty four years. It’s 1974, and Richard Nixon is leaving office. Conflict plagues both times, but the war is much more evident and the situation seems far more hopeless in the earlier period. Vietnam isn’t going well for the United States, Britain is soon to see the election of Margaret Thatcher, and around the world, the economy isn’t looking so great either.
But there was still hope in the form of music. As we would later be reminded by the advertisements for Guitar Hero: World Tour, it was time for the world to discover its inner rock star. And like many other teenagers, I relished the idea. Before 2008 I had been rather limited in my music tastes; I liked Outkast, Gnarls Barkley, the Black Eyed Peas and the Gorillaz. But in fairness, I was only fourteen.
Upon seeing that advert, I was filled with a sense of wonder. Not so much by the product, but by the song that accompanied it. I bought Guitar Hero to hear more Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Gang. I needed to hear more Old Time Rock & Roll. Of course, it was only then I discovered that it wasn’t actually included in the game. For Bob Seger’s big hit, you had to pay extra. Fortunately, my mum had his CD, a discovery which, had I made it earlier, could have saved me a lot of time and money.
Rocking along to Bob Seger, I was filled with the same sense of awe I can only imagine people experienced in the 70s. It was pure escapism, it was uplifting and it truly did soothe my soul. Not that my soul really needed much soothing, I was only fourteen. Nevertheless, I was hooked. I had discovered a new genre of music, and I loved it. My music tastes began to branch out as I found more music that suited my new fancy.
The Eagles, Dire Straits, Boston, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Player, Three Dog Night, The Knack ,The Kinks. There are tons of others of course, but those were my first discoveries. Paired with my previous experiences of Michael Jackson and Queen, the seventies were shaping up to become my new favourite decade. This was cemented by my growing passion for the King. Although all his biggest hits came from the fifties and sixties, my favourite Elvis songs will always come from the seventies. Suspicious Minds is something else.
With the sort of flamboyance that nowadays can only be found at a Lady Gaga concert, music brought ‘Joy to the World’ at a time when people needed it the most, and rock lead the way. Every decade has its fair share of hits, but the sounds of the seventies embodied freedom. They encouraged a passion for life and stressed the need for fun. The dance scene from Risky Business shows this in its purest form; a guy rocking out in his underwear, because why not?
If you’re feeling down, whack on your favourite seventies hit. Dance around in your underwear if you really want to. Chances are, you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.
Because we should all be a bit more like Tom Cruise.