Winona Daily News
February 18, 1973
There Is an oldies boom in progress. Songs, singers and styles echoing an earlier time in music are becoming a minor phenomenon of the season. Think about It: Johnny Rivers has a hit single! Not only is Rivers an anachronism, but so is the song, “Rockln’ Pneumonia and The Boogie Woogie Flu”. In 1973? It doesn’t end there.
Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” is an ebullient call to the Miles: “I remember when rock was young/me and Susie had so much fun.” And then: “But the years went by and rock just died/Susie went and left me for some other guy/long nights cryln’ by the record machine/dreamln’ ofÂ my Chevy and my old blue jeans.” The cover shows a young couple going Into a movie house. He’s wearing jeans, sneakers, leather jacket, and greasy D.A. His date In flats, pony tail, gathered ankle length skirt and pink sweater. And parked at the curb, a chrome-soaked Plymouth. The Marquee Flashing “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” starring Elton John.
And this one takes us back farther. Hurricane Smith has scored with “Oh Babe, What Would You Say?” Smith Js 49 years old; not the median age of your typical Rock singer. “Oh, Babe” delves into the late thirties and early forties for its sound; stylized saxophone playing, small combo back-up, and Smith sounding like he’s singing in another room than the band.
Maybe Mary Hopkin started it four years ago when she had her first hit record “Those Were The Days”. Don McLean continued It last year with “American Pie” which mourned ” the day the music died.” It was dedicated to Buddy Holly.
The Four Tops have been dredged up from obscurity with “Keeper of The Castle” which sounds like everything they did between 1964-66. And there are more.
â€¢ Over the last six months the fop-4o charts in this country have consistently held in their upper reaches music often referred to as “Nostalgia Rock.” While the classification is probably a misnomer there is no mistaking the effort to reproduce something from an earlier era. Gilbert O’Sullivan rivals Hurricane Smith for ’30s simplicity with his song, “Clalr”. Mary Hopkin is back with “Knock, Knock, Who’sÂ There?” Loggins and Messina do the late fifties in “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. The Raspberries do early Beatles in “Go All The Way” and “I Wanna Be With You.” Rick Springfield has “Speak To.The Sky”. Even Elvis does his best single in years, “Burning Love,” which sounds like it could have been done at the same session that produced “Hound Dog.”
And consider this: the best selling album in England the second week of January was K-Tel’s “Biggest Hits of the 1950s.”\
The culmination oÂ£ all of this Is Bette Midler; an amazing artist who “does it all.” In this case, the 30’s, 4Q’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s! Witness in ascending order: “Am I Blue?”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Leader of The Pack,” “DO You Want To Dance?” and “Superstar.” All on one album, “The Divine Miss M.”
How long wilt it last? What importance has the revival? What will follow? Who knows, but in the meantime remember this; old is new/new is old/every thing is everything/and you are everyone.
And don’t throw anything away.