By Jack Sharkey, December 8, 2017



The turmoil of the times is reflected in the music and the music is embraced by the audience muddling through the turmoil. 

Close to You - The Carpenters There is no doubt Richard Carpenter is a once-in-an-age musical genius. His arrangements were unparalleled but it was his sister Karen's ability to sell a song that made them the biggest act of the early 1970s. Over-dubbing their background harmonies gave their music the deep, lushly ethereal and uber-tight feel that no one had ever really heard before.    


Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel One of the greatest vocal performances of the rock & roll era, Art Garfunkel's reading of Paul Simon's masterpiece still entrances audiences almost fifty years after it was recorded. In today's era of vocal competitions and comping vocals until the life is sucked out of the performance, Garfunkel's live performance in this 1970 clip from Europe would be kept from the public by the label. But it's the beauty of the humanity in Garfunkel's voice that gives this clip its vulnerable majesty.     


Let It Be - Beatles The unintentional epitath to Beatlemania, Let It Be hit the charts after the band was officially over, but this McCartney composition of a prayful lament gave meaning far beyond the banal existence of a pop group as the war in Vietnam tore at the fabric of the West.        


Ooh Child - The Five Stairsteps The five Burke brothers and sister from Chicago wrote and performed an unintentional anthem for everything that was in turmoil at the end of the 1960s - race, the war in Vietnam, the economy, the drug epidemic, it seemd that whatever the ailment this song was the salve.  


Lookin' Out My Backdoor - Creedence Clearwater Revival In an age of psychedelia San Francisco's CCR embraced the sound of the Cajun south but in this song from Cosmo's Factory (released in 1971) the band paid homage to the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens and the like. Fogerty has said the song was written for his son about a circus parade that passed through town, but that the final arrangement, with it's uptempo swing, was finalized the day he received his draft deferment.         



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