Happy Monday morning, folks! Now, around here, we have a saying: “classic rock” is music from the 1970s. No, I didn’t make this saying up, it’s just a true fact of life. All of you folks who have added Guns ‘n’ Roses and Nirvana to the “classic rock canon” are just wrong. Those two bands are great (well, Nirvana is), but they belong to other genres. If we just go around expanding our definition of classic rock, what’s next? Nickelback counting as classic rock? I don’t think so.
This isn’t to say that some of those now-classic bands from the ’70s weren’t complete meatheads. They most definitely were. And the arena-rock stylings of a lot of ’70s acts just proves what I’ve also always said: the ’70s were bombastic and occasionally kind of awesome. Cocaine must be a helluva drug.
Anyway, here’s ten ’70s rock anthems for your listening pleasure. This list could have been ten times longer and still not have fully encompassed the meatheadedness of the ’70s. There’s no KISS on this list, for instance. I’m putting this one up on Spotify, where it will end up significantly longer, I’m sure. There’s still lots of ’70s meathead out there.
- Aerosmith, “Toys In The Attic”: The boys from Boston are pretty quintessential ’70s sleaze; it oozes out of every word Steven Tyler sings.
- Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”: The guy your parents’ parents were scared of, sorta the way your parents were afraid of Marilyn Manson (and probably for similar reasons).
- Bad Company, “Rock & Roll Fantasy”: When I think of bombastic, Bad Company is actually one of the first bands that comes to mind. Not because their songs are over the top glam or anything; no, far from it. This is straight-ahead 4/4 rock and roll, but it comes with all the trimmings and trappings of fame, that rock and roll fantasy of the title. What makes this band over the top is the earnestness with which Paul Rodgers sings every song. It comes off as goofy as hell to me.
- Foghat, “Slow Ride”: “Slow ride! Ban-nan-na-na, nan-na-na, take it easy!” Try not to sing along, especially with the guitar riff. You can’t.
- Deep Purple, “Smoke On The Water”: Speaking of guitar riffs…
- Boston, “Foreplay/Long Time”: Or just guitars in general. This band was two guys. Two! And all one of ’em did was sing! All the instruments were layered in there, one at a time, by a single guy in his basement studio. It’s awe-inducing.
- .38 Special, “Hold On Loosely”: The ’70s were especially well-known for their band made up of guys who could’ve just been a group of dads jamming in the garage and drinking beer on Friday nights. This is one of those bands.
- Grand Funk, “I’m Your Captain”: The ’70s were also known for their overblown, overlong story songs about boats and stuff. Pretty sure Kansas did a boat song, too.
- Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley, “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”: While we’re on the subject of overblown meathead songs, I’m pretty sure this is the epitome of that genre of music. Overdramatic, quasi-operatic, and all about teenagers gettin’ down and gettin’ nasty.
- Jethro Tull, “Aqualung”: I’m still not really sure who this Aqualung guy is, but he’s skeevy as all hell. “Eying little girls with bad intent?” Dude. Pedophile. Go sit in your aqualung, you’re on time out, mister.