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1970 – 25 or 6 to 4

February 1st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

At last we reach the 70’s, the best decade for music. That is only my opinion of course, but it is also a fact! The decade of prog, glam, reggae, soul, disco, blues rock, punk, krautrock, the start of rap, and much more. Of course in 1970 I was still only 8 and not really able to access much outside the mainstream. There was no parental record collection to explore and no older sibings to introduce me to new things. I was a year or two off of having my own radio and listening to Radio Luxembourg in bed. Most of what I heard was whatever was in the charts and therefore on TOTP or Radio One, plus whatever guests appeared on shows like Morecambe & wise, the Two Ronnies, Cilla, or the Saturday evening variety shows. And lets not underestimate how having a song parodied on Crackerjack or the Goodies raised its profile amogst younsters in the 70’s.

It means that I missed out on classics like Ball of Confusion, American Woman, Black Night, I’m A Man, Paranoid, War and Black Magic Woman (the Santana version). I also missed out on brilliant albums by Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Yes, while the songs I can remember being most familiar with durin the year are things like Gimme Dat Ding, Knock Three Times, Love Grows (Where my Rosemary Goes), Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head and In The Summertime.

I wish I could say that I was discovering Sly & the Family Stone or BB King, but Mungo Jerry is probably the song that most sums up the year for me. But I didn’t put that on the playlist. I put Chicago on it instead. A few years ago I heard an interview with Danny Baker where he asserted that 25 or 6 to 4 is the greatest single ever. With such a strong assertion from him I just had to go and give it a proper listen and while I may not agree with him entirely it really is a strong song and so different from the later Chicago material that didn’t really do much for me. It was a revelation to listen to their first few albums, in the same way it as it was eye-opening to listen to the early Bee Gees, pre-disco albums. It is a song that I may well have heard in 1970 and know I had heard over the years but never really registered who it was.

Listening to it properly in the 21st Century, after growing out of a lot of my prejudices, I got to really appreciate the song. It starts with a simple but strong riff, then the drums come in and horn section and it just builds. There is some neat lead guitar with a deceptively simple guitar solo in the middle. A lot of the detail would probably have been lost when listening to a portable AM transistor radio in 1970, but listening to the remastered version on Spotify it all becomes clear. If anybody needs any more indication of what a classic this is then consider that it is one of the albums that Steve Wilson chose to give his magic remix/remaster treatment to a couple of years ago, which puts it right up with Fragile and Close to the Edge by Yes.

It may be cheating a bit to put this on the playlist instead of Mungo Jerry, but who cares when the music is this good?

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