My Weird Musical Memories of the 70s: 1974

In 1974 my family moved to River Ridge, a suburb of New Orleans. I consider myself as being “from” New Orleans because really, that’s where I really gained sentience. I also started first grade, so I was now regularly around kids who could have some kind of influence on me. We were still only six years old or so, thought, so nobody’s musical taste or even attention was yet developed. I rode the bus to school, but I don’t recall the hits of 1974 as much as it seems I would if I heard them daily, so I wonder if they played the radio on the bus then.

What I’m saying is, the few memories I have of songs from 1974 are still filtered through the MOR easy-listening station that would be playing in my parents’ car.

John Denver is a huge star here in 1974, and my mom loved him. At #25 is “Annie’s Song”, which was one of her all-time favorite songs. She had at least one John Denver album, a rare case of my parents actually owning a current pop music record.

My mom also liked The Carpenters and “Top of the World” at #39 was a huge hit in our house, popular with both her and me (I was, putting it gently, something of a mama’s boy).

As long as we’re talking about my mom, I also remember her not liking but making fun of both “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka (#28) and “I Shot the Sheriff” by Eric Clapton (#76). My mom was something of a fan of making fun of things she thought were dumb. Cough. Let’s move on.

Oh hey, here’s another in the Songs I Thought Were Kind Of Spooky category, here’s “Dark Lady” by Cher at #33. The video I link here is what I remember, and it’s from their TV show days, which I believe is a few years after 1974. My family watched the TV show and my sister would say I was in love with Chastity Bono and it would make me mad.

We had a single of “The Streak” by Ray Stevens (#8), so you can thank us for helping out with that.

Possibly the oddest song here for me to have a memory of is at #62, “Eres tú” by Mocedades. Living in New Orleans meant being in close proximity to Vidalia (Lousiana, not Georgia, where the onions are from), where my mom’s family lived. My cousin Teresa had a Spanish friend named…Patricia? I can’t remember. Anyway, we were in Vidalia when this Eurovision song got some radio play, and it was a favorite.

Other than those, I only have the slightest memories. The beginning to “Band on the Run” by Wings (#22) didn’t quite creep me out, but I thought it was kind of weird. Still do. I have a vivid memory of hearing “Rock On” by David Essex (#17) playing while in a drugstore. I definitely remember hearing a lot of “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” by By Donaldson and the Heywoods (#21). “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks (#2) made me really sad because, well, it’s a sad song. And of course, Olivia Newton-John was unavoidable.

Incidentally, my sister reminded me of another song from 1973 that I forgot (because it wasn’t on the Billboard chart). Osmonds knock-off band The DeFranco Family had a minor hit with “Heartbeat It’s a Love Beat” that Carol had the single for. This little bubblegum gem should get some more attention, I think.

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