I caught a bit of two TV shows this weekend. The first was VH1's Greatest Hard Rock Songs. Whenever these kind of shows are on my husband can never get over how uncool I must have been in the 70's. I am unfamiliar with some of the top songs or which band recorded them. I've never been to a KISS concert or seen an Alice Cooper show. I truly regret missing some of it because now I not only like many of these songs, but I appreciate the absolute originality and musicality of some of the groups of the 70's. (If you must know - their top song was "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns and Roses - a group I did not appreciate when a poster of an unzipped Axl hung in my adolescent daughter's bedroom!)
The other show was a PBS special on John Denver. Now THAT's what I was doing in the '70's! The folk song thing suited me (and my guitar) just fine. I could play all of Denver's 3-chorded songs (D-A-G). I was a big fan , as well as a big fan of James Taylor, although James's music was a bit more complex.
I remember going to a John Denver concert at a now-long-gone humongous venue called The Coliseum and it was packed. He was actually quite a phenomenon; recording 30 albums with 14 going gold and 8 platinum. His songs conveyed mostly the beauty and goodness of the earth or the bittersweet aspects of loving someone. I loved a lyric like:
He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year.
Going home to a place he'd never been before.
I insisted on "Annie's Song" being sung at my (first) wedding even though my mother thought the lyrics - let me lay down beside you - were inappropriate for church.
John Denver seemed to have a childlike joy for life. He was a philanthropist and environmentalist and his music was loved all over the world. His concerts were like a camp sing-a-long - although he requested that the audience only sing during the chorus. His life wasn't all rosy - two failed marriages and a drinking problem. He died in a plane crash at age 53 in 1997. I was truly saddened, but I think he was a person that lived life to the fullest while he was here.
So I am not ashamed to be a John Denver fan. I still pull out my guitar, and the John Denver songs are the simple and lovely songs I still know by heart.