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If You Leave Me Now: CHICAGO

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THIS IS AN EARLY PHOTOGRAPH OF WHAT FAMOUS BAND?



THE ABRACADABRA OF ABBA

Gushing with enthusiastic naivete, here come those sibilant Swedes again, blanketing the globe with the affectionate harmonies of polar sirens! With the abracadabra of inventive wizards, Abba has hatched a presence that has been felt and absorbed on practically every inch of foreign soil. And the uproar continues.

Abba believes in ancient visions of American teenagehood; they romanticize infatuation and stolen kisses... and, like their Spector-born predecessors, they possess the big voices and the big production know-how required to promote their fantasies and win audiences. Abba’s innocence, in fact, was never more conspicuous than during their appearance on Saturday Night and Wonderama. The artificiality of Frieda and Anna’s go-go boots and miniskirts looked bonkers compared to the cast’s usual routines.

In contrast, Abba’s Sunday morning stint on Wonderama (New York’s Kiddie Club) was a sugar coated delight of pre-pube choreography (gyrating forth the gummy bubble fans of the Wombles and Hudson Brothers with host Bob McAllister oohing and aahing at the female Abbas’ leggies). The difference here being that Abba survives only as alien rock ‘n’ roll force, contained in a time warp, rippling through the seventies.

Abba's Arrival album front and back covers





THE SINGER NOT THE SONG: ALEX CHILTON VS. CHRIS BELL

Here's a noteworthy comment, I received based on my assessment of Alex Chilton/Big Star's 3rd/Sister Lover

I don't have much to add seeing as how I wasn't there at the time.


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Alex Chlton Singer Not the Song EP

As producer of Singer Not the Song, I am not sure what you mean by well-crafted. I'm glad you think it is a gem, but it was extracted more than crafted. At this particular point in time, Alex was wholly disinterested in craft. Although I would have been delighted to be a part of a collaborative work of greatness, Alex was only marginally interested in the recording process, the only thing that seemed to be of interest to him was that I might somehow be able to make a record with him that would allow him to leave Memphis. That did happen. The unpleasantness he displayed in the studio was only a hint of how much of a dick he would be in the years to come.

I found Chris Bell to be a far more engaged person, both as a musician and a human being. If anyone should have continued Big Star it should have been Chris, whose vision created the band, focused the songs on the first album, and infused the songs on Radio City (some of which were cowritten by him but uncredited) with a pop/rock sensibility that Chilton never was able to capture on subsequent work.

best,
Jon Tiven





ALEX CHILTON'S 1st MASTERPIECE

Alex Chilton in the studio

Growing up in Memphis back in '67, I used to get tired of hearing the Box Top's ‘The Letter’ (#1 hit in the world that year) on the radio every second because DJs felt obligated to reduntantly remind listeners that here, at last, was a hometown band that had hit the Big Time. (In The eyes of Nehru-clad visionaries, Memphis's Sun rockabilly and Stax soul – the untamed past – were irrelevant to the expectations for a bright Sgt. Pepper future.)

Fame's a brief candle though, and soon the Box Tops were inserted in the annals of anthropop history. That is, until '72 when their ex-vocalist Alex Chilton began making racket with Big Star, a name not meant as a cynical reference to the Box Tops' instant stardom but simply referring to Memphis' Big Star supermarket chain, where as a teen I used to buy Hit Parader (which printed the lyrics to all the Box Tops' hits).

Much has been written about Big Star's initial lack of success. True, #1 Record and Radio City are infectious pop LPs, but they're also rather uneven, their best moments on singles (i.e. ‘When My Baby's Beside Me’, ‘September Gurls’). As for Alex Chilton, his cultism is worth examining, not only because his recent works, the Singer Not The Song EP and ‘Bangkok’ 45, are well-crafted gems, but also because he's still out there fighting for fresh sounds (despite a disbanded Big Star, whose influence is heard in the music of Sneakers/Chris Stamey and Memphis Scruffs).





Tragedy

 

The Bee Gee

with the

coolest lunchbox by far,

7 Years Gone.... 

 

Bee Gees collectible lunch boxes



K-TEL GOES GONK!!!

This is an excerpt from an article by GREG BEETS that appeared in The Austin Chronicle on May 4, 2001, entitled "Explosive Dynamic Super Smash Hits!  R.I.P., K-tel...

 

Until its stateside demise, K-tel was best known for jam-packed compilations of both past and present hits direct-marketed to consumers via garish, cheaply produced TV ads. Although K-tel's buffet-style MO seems quintessentially American, the company was actually founded in Winnipeg, Ontario, by Phillip Kives in 1962 before moving to Minneapolis in the early Seventies. Having cut its teeth selling items like non-stick pans on TV, K-tel released its first album, 25 Polka Greats, in 1971.

K-tel wasn't the first label to specialize in compilations. California disc jockey Art Laboe pioneered the practice of licensing material from several labels with his Oldies but Goodies series in the Sixties. Ron Popeil's Ronco (immortalized in "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Mr. Popeil") sold plenty of compilations alongside useful products like Mr. Microphone and the Record Vacuum. However, it was K-tel that truly cultivated the form into a pop culture institution ripe for parody.