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more summer stories: 1976

More summer stories: 1976:

I'm still in this summer mode. I've only just begun.

Summer memory: On my 14th birthday I received Frampton Comes Alive. I sat with my friends behind 7-11, drinking beer hidden in Slurpee cups and smoking cigarettes. I had the album with me, in all it's vinyl glory, and my eyes glazed over in that 14 year-old girl way whenever I looked at the picture of Frampton on the cover. That hair! Those eyes! Swoon!

I never confessed that I didn't really like Frampton's music. I liked his hair. Ok, I went crazy over three songs on the album but the rest was crap. But I was cool for having it, and we went back to my house and listened to the stupid wah-wah pedal thing and when you are 14 and you just smoked some pot and the record player is emitting sounds of "do you feel like we do" played through some voice synthesizer, all you think about is some Charlie Brown special where the teachers are doing that wah-wah-wah voice and maybe playing some air guitar to Show Me The Way.

Holy shit! I was smoking pot at 14? You mean I only have about two years before my daughter comes home reeking of resin and bong water?

Anyhow. As much as Frampton's hair and synthersizer amused me, I had other musical avenues to explore. 1976 was the year the Ramones debuted. Kiss's Destroyer came out that year. Blue Oyster Cult's Agents of Fortune. Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak. And even though I had all that metal running through my brain, there was no way to avoid the musical vomit that came out of the tinny AM receiver that summer.

How many times could you hear Rick Dees singing Disco Duck before you wanted to go deaf? The song that defined my summer of 1976 in the worst way possible was Starland Vocal Band's Afternoon Delight. Sure, I was too naive to know the song was about catching a little noontime nookie but it annoyed the piss out of me anyhow. On one end of the radio dial you had Gordon Lightfoot mourning his Edmund Fitzgerald and on the other end was a constant barrage of More, More, More and Fly, Robin, Fly. I would always hope that somewhere in between I would catch Play That Funky Music, White Boy and I would close my bedroom door and do some spastic dance while pretending to be ultra cool.

I wore my Disco Sucks button with pride. And I spent hours in my air-conditioned bedroom dreaming up ways to change the music industry. I wrote my own lyrics, 4-chord save-the-world type lyrics that would show those white suit wearing disco freaks that there was more to life than dancing.

Save the whales, Save the whales
Send your money through the mail.

Later on, I would form a band called Pond Scum with my little sister and we would have revolutionized the music industry if we only knew how to play an instrument. Even though Lisa could bang out the Theme from M*A*S*H* on the recorder, we didn't think that was quite enough.

I would lay in bed that summer listening to the radio and Nazareth's Love Hurts would come on and I would cry. At 14, I knew nothing of love or hurt, but I knew that the voice coming out of my speakers did and his hoarse cry of sadness always made me feel as if love were nothing to look forward to.

1976 was the bicentennial of our nation, and while I remember the fireworks and the ships in the harbor what I remember most is the local theater only charging 76 cents to see a movie for the rest of the summer. Maybe we saw the Bad News Bears or maybe it was Blood Sucking Freaks, all I know is that at some point in 1976 I saw Burnt Offerings in a movie theater and complained that there wasn't enough gore or scares and that Oliver Reed gave me the creeps. And that year there was Carrie, which made me vow to never go to a prom or date John Travolta, and Taxi Driver, which made me leery of cab drivers and Robert DeNiro and Logan's Run, which made me think of plot holes and bad acting.

1976 was the year that there was all that hoopla about Red Dye #2 and I had to stop eating maraschino cherries by the dozen.

1976 was the last summer I remember feeling so innoncent, so oblivious to the world around me. 1977 brought the Son of Sam and loot-filled blackouts and the feeling that the world wasn't about some pop song and summer would never mean quite the same to me. At least not until 1978. But that's another story.

(And just for the record, Summer of Sam was one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life)

Comments

1976...I was seven years old, and one of my most vivid memories was watching Bruce Jenner winning Olympic gold, and listening to the end of rock n roll. Seven years old and experiencing the power of Kiss, the thrash of the Ramones, the funk of Wild Cherry, and the wildly intense emotions in "Bohemian Rhapsody" of Queen - The music went sour with disco and the later 80's influences...too young to toke, drink or smoke, the only excess to enjoy was the outlet of music, and in the mid seventies, music was king, rock n roll, funk, and even pop to some extent were the kings in my court. Now Indie Rock has taken over that department - returning to the edge of musical exploration and lyrical determination.
Did you not dig Leif Garrett's hair just as much as Frampton's?

I kinda liked Summer of Sam, which ismroe than I can say for anything else Spike did.

1976 was a very special, special year in our nation's, and indeed our generation's, history. I was born on July 11.

That was 1976. I think the kiddies are starting to reek of resin and bong water a wee bit sooner than 14 nowadays. Heh. At least in Wisconsin. Could be coz the only thing worth doing is cow tippin and even that gets boring after a while. :-P

Leif Garret remains the only person I ever wrote a fan letter to. Yes, it was his hair.

It is hard to believe that all happened over a quarter century ago. I am soooo old.

you rock me, lady.

That's two references to "Afternoon Delight" I've seen on blogs in two days time. Must...listen...to...more...Eminem! Get song out of brain!

WOW, what a total blast from the past. 1976 and I was all of 15, what a damn fine summer that was. My first doobie, and far from my last. The never ending fun of being a kid and it just being summer time. If we could only have fun like that now. Nothing like warm weather, a good buzz, some good tunes, and bunch of crazy friends to enjoy them with. Thanks for the memory. (now I just have to hear "Detroit Rock City" and "God of Thunder" for the full historic flash back effect.)

1976... That was the year my father carried Seven and I to DisneyWorld. It was fun. I had a buddy who turned me on to Kiss, and Queen, and a couple of others I can't remember, but I also liked Disco, I confess. I liked the songs, but was afraid to dance.

anyone remember the song ANOTHER RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK CITY? It's from that summer of '76. don't know who it's by. Can't find it.

I am new to this site, but Michelle, you rock my world!! I love this blog!!

1976. Hmm, I was BORN in 1976. I remember none if it, though I do remember the a good bit of the 80's pop culture, because i have a brother who is 7 years older than I am. I would have liked to come of age in the 70's though, it did seem like a more innocent time.

I do remember the early 80's though, the early 80's were basically a repeat of the 70's for a while anyway. I remember vinal records VERY well, I remember when vinal was all there was really, well maybe 8-track tapes but by that time they were going by the wayside, since I don't remember anyone in my family owning an 8-track player. But my brother owned alot of records. Shawn Cassidy is one I remember vividly, one album he looks like he is wrapped in plastic, and he had the Xanadu album, or maybe he had the album with the club from Xanadu on it. I don't know which band had that but i remember the album art vividly. Anyway, I could go on and on.
Even though I didn't come of age in the 70's, there's alot of parallels and similarities of my growing up during the 80's and early to mid 90's, and the things you are describing. I guess youth is basically the same for all generations, with a different facade. Anyway, Thanks for the great stories Michelle, you really should compile them all into book format!!

Ray (Xavier Gold is my pen name)

My favorite song from that year was probably 'The Boys Are Back In Town'. I was working at HQ I Corps (ROK/US) Group in Uijongbu that year so the biggest event was the tree incident. Damn near found myself in a shootin' war with the godless communists hordes.

Great site! Must comment from an English perspective. 1976 was our best summer ever - at least in living memory. I remember '59 and '73 being excellent though. My memories (I was 21) are living with a chick called Anita and I broke my big toe in the May and had 6 weeks off work - fantastic! 85-90f every day for weeks and weeks. Musically "Afternoon Delight" stands out for me, along with "Born to Run" by THE BOSS. Also a great year for speedway racing in London. Each day a piece of your youth slips away - death awaits us all, but on our deathbeds we can remember the summer of '76. Who can forget?

David