Friday, May 29, 2015

Earth, Wind & Fire – "Shining Star" (1975)

You're a shining star
No matter who you are

My son Peter recently joined the staff of the University of Maryland's student newspaper, the Diamondback.

The Diamondback, which publishes five editions a week during the school year and has a print circulation of 14,000, has been an independent, self-supporting publication since 1971.  That was when the university's Board of Regents cut off the paper's funding after the editors ran two pages blank to protest censorship of antiwar articles.

My son's most recent story for the paper was inspired by the Maryland men's lacrosse team's advancing to the NCAA tournament finals.

Lacrosse is a huge sport in the mid-Atlantic region, and Maryland's lacrosse teams are usually highly ranked.  The men's team hadn't had a losing record in sixty years, and won its conference regular-season championship in each of the last three seasons.  But it hadn't won a national championship since 1975.

The 1975 University of Maryland lacrosse team
Peter's article took a look back at what else was going on in the world in 1975 -- which I remember vividly, but which seems like ancient history to Peter and his contemporaries.

Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen (who were 19 and 22 years old, respectively) in 1975, which was also the year when the Vietnam War ended and Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila."

The average price of gasoline was 57 cents a gallon in 1975, and the best-selling car was the Oldsmobile Cutlass.  (I drove a Cutlass in 1975.  Since it had a 350-cubic-inch V8, it was good for me that gas cost only 57 cents a gallon.  Otherwise, I would have been even broker than I already was.) 

Angelina Jolie, Tiger Woods, 50 Cent,  Bradley Cooper, David Beckham, and Russell Brand are just a few of the celebrities who were  born in 1975.  (It's hard to believe Russell Brand is almost 40 -- most 14-year-olds are more mature.)

Jaws and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest were the biggest movies of 1975, and Saturday Night Live made its debut that year.

The original cast of Saturday Night Live
All that is well and good, but this is a pop music blog.  What was the state of pop music in 1975?

To put it bluntly, pop music SUCKED in 1975.

According to Billboard magazine, the top song of 1975 was Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together."  (Did you know that both the Captain -- Daryl Dragon -- and Toni Tennille had played keyboards for the Beach Boys?)

Number two in the Billboard rankings in 1975 was "Rhinestone Cowboy," by Glen Campbell, while number three was Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom." 

Other songs to make the year-end top-ten list in 1975 included "My Eyes Adored You" (Frankie Valli), "Fame" (David Bowie), "One of These Nights" (the Eagles), and "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" (John Denver).

(Your Honor, the prosecution rests.)

You can click here to see the entire list of the top 100 singles of 1975.  Don't blame me if you turn to stone as a result of perusing that list.

One of the few good hit singles that was released in 1975 was Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star."

Saw what you will about Earth, Wind & Fire's music . . . but you can't argue with their outfits:

Earth, Wind & Fire
Here's "Shining Star" – it's funkalicious!

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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