Monday, August 4, 2014

40 Year Itch : Watergate Blues

   Popular culture does not exist in a vacuum. But the Top 40 of early August, 1974 was hardly a reflection of the turbulent week that saw both the release of  "The Smoking Gun Tape" which finally convinced even his most die-hard supporters that Nixon had entered into a criminal conspiracy to halt the FBI's investigation into Watergate, and three days later, the only resignation of a US President. 

  Maybe we were all just exhausted and need a break from reality. 

  So the Top 40 was filled with cheesy declarations of love and desire, a couple of  pop tunes that dabbled in sound effects... and Steely Dan.

1. John Denver "Annie's Song"
2  Elton John "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
3  Roberta Flack "Feel Like Makin Love"
4 Steely Dan "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
5 Paper Lace "The Night Chicago Died"
6 The Hollies "The Air That I Breathe"
7 The Righteous Brothers "Rock and Roll Heaven"
8 Dave Loggins "Please Come to Boston"
9 Chicago "Call On Me"
10  Blue Magic "Side Show"

In fact you have to go all the way down to #72 to hear the line "Watergate does not bother me" from Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama". And then to #93 for a new entry from Stevie Wonder called " You Haven't Done Nothin'" in which Wonder sings directly to Nixon:

It's not too cool to be ridiculed
 But you brought this upon yourself
The world is tired of pacifiers
We want the truth and nothing else

As I said, you have to dig a little deeper. With that in mind here are a few more responses to Watergate:


1 comment:

  1. I find that Phil Ochs song really quite sad; I think that ten years before that he would have written something strikingly original and devastating, but in 1974 (a year before he died?) maybe such was his mental well-being he could do no more than a bit of ditty. A crying shame.