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Give Me The ’70s

It only takes one line or a few musical notes and wham, I’m hurled back in time. At least that’s what happens to me when I hear a song from yesteryear. Maybe it’s a song I heard while watching the Perry Como show or Dean Martin program with my parents and siblings.

Sometimes it may be a silly song we sang as we walked to the swimming pool at day camp. Somehow singing made the trek a bit more bearable under the summer sun.

Most recently, I find myself pausing to listen to the songs of my young adult life when music (in the 1970s) could not be defined by one genre. The 1950s had the doo-wop bands while the 1960s burst forth with rock and roll like no one had ever heard before. After all, the ’60s brought us both the Beatles and the Monkees. But then the 1970s had what I would consider an identity crisis.

There were still heavy metal bands in the ’70s that morphed into the 1980s along with the “big hair” bands. Yet the ’70s ranged from hardcore Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” to the “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. Throw in some John Denver and James Taylor and you have a collection more unique than most decades that followed or came before.

My trip down music memory lane was spurred on by the recent demolition of the former Ollie’s Hilltop on W.Va. 88 in Ohio County. This once popular site for music and more met the wrecking ball after years of neglect and deterioration.

Many times as I passed by that property in recent years, my mind wandered back to the days when 18-year-old high school kids could legally visit such places. And this place packed in the young people who clamored to hear some of the area’s best bands, including some from Pittsburgh and beyond.

Dancing wasn’t optional — it just happened naturally. And yes, there was alcohol — legally sold to anyone 18 and older.

Most of these clubs have disappeared but their memories remain. There were so many places — the B&K at the bottom of Oglebay Hill, the M&K on Warwood Avenue — the list is too long for this space.

I believe every generation has its own music and places where memories are made, whether good or not so good.

All I know is that although the buildings and bands are no more, it only takes a song to bring them back if even for a few minutes.

Hey, isn’t that “Crocodile Rock” I hear on the radio? I’ll bet you’re singing along, too.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.


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