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Sunday, June 6, 2010

James Taylor, Stevie Nicks and Me

I am a child of the 70's....We were all over the place. None of us knew what was really going on. For one thing we didn't really know what kind of music we liked.......It seemed like we were musically schizophrenic, there was hard rock, odd rock, slow music, loud music all of it, wonderful early 70's taste was devoted to Jethro Tull, Rare Earth and James Taylor. My parents had lived through the Monkees, the Beach Boys and of course the Rolling Stones...and then there were others....and all of the music had a story.

The summer before I graduated from high school I visited lots of colleges trying to decide which one could reject me first...and I heard "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart every ten minutes on the radio. I equate beautiful Texas campuses, warm summer evenings with Rod Stewart, and every time I hear Maggie May I go right back there.

During the race to become homecoming Queen my senior year the local radio station dedicated a song to me for luck every time I hear the song called "Sweet City Woman" by the Stampeders, I remember a wonderful Saturday afternoon at a great football game, and my yellow dress with shoes dyed to match. I didn't win, but it didn't really matter. I go back to that afternoon every time I hear...
"I can see your face, I can hear your voice, I can almost touch you
Swee-ee-eet, sweet city woman
Oh, my banjo and me, we got a feel for singin', yeah, yeah,"

And then of course that catchy refrain....sung about a thousand times, it doesn't matter how corny it is, I love it, I am 17 again....with yellow shoes dyed to match.
"Bon c'est bon, bon bon c'est bon, bon,"
(That is awful..but I still love

And then of course there was Fleetwood Mac...I wanted to be Stevie Nicks and sing Landslide, my favorite song...The fact I couldn't sing and didn't have a drug problem seemed to be deal breakers. I went to see her one time and she came out on stage in this amazing long black dress, she was beautiful....and her voice was perfect. It was years later that I read she lived in a small house behind someone's house with a couple of dogs. The article was clear she really loved her dogs....

I thought for sure Glen Frey from the Eagles would have asked me out. And he would have if only our paths would have crossed. But he didn't and they didn't.... I thought Witchy Woman was the coolest song...when I got older and really listened to the song I was a little surprised...I never paid any attention to the words as I sang along...I had no idea why "she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon...". My husband and I went to see the Eagles with Jane and Steve...everyone was our age, and I bet every one of us was thinking of another time...

"Mama told me not to come" by Three Dog Night was my anthem. I still think it is a great fun song, and it is still true!

Patti and I climbed on a table to sing along with War. Didn't they sing Cisco Kid too?

I knew all the words to "American Pie" by Don McClean, and I stun friends with my ability to sing the many years later.

High School graduation was a Rare Earth concert..."I just want to celebrate!" Remember that?
But do you know what makes me the happiest today is that Carole King and James Taylor have decided to get old. It took James Taylor a long, long time to find out that drugs are not a very good substitute for creativity. And just look at this picture...two old friends, still with a lot of talent....being who they are. This picture makes me feel good...I know James Taylor had a lot of things to over come. And he did it...there are lots of stars of music who died young, some tragically, many sacrificed marriages and were estranged from their children. I thought so many of them were the coolest.......I didn't really know.I am glad my life worked out the way they did. I wouldn't change a thing. Every bad decision I made helped me be stronger, and wiser. Every sad thing that happened every bumbling dumb thing I did......All of it made me better. All of our experiences are for our good, if we chose to look at them that way. And I do. I get to walk through life with the same person I started out with. That's the greatest miracle of my life. Thanks Ray-Ray. Congrats on 31 great years.

There is a great quote that says, "It is at the end of a man's life that he realizes how important the decisions were that he made at the beginning of his life."

I was never going to be a singer, or an actress, a great tennis player or Barbara Walters......I have a very small life, but it is an important one. So I don't look with envy at Stevie, or wonder if Glen is going to call...I think of that young girl looking at colleges listening to Maggie May and I know she would be happy for how things have worked out. Small lives are important lives...


  1. Oh, what a wonderful trip down memory lane. Thank you. I graduated in 1978, and I remember all that above.

    Thank you! You did a wonderful job.

    And I've always loved "sweeeeeeeeeeeet city woman..."

  2. I graduated in forgot, am I younger than you? or older.... And Color My World...didn't every dance end with that? Thanks for the trip down memory lane, and if I ever meet you, lets sing American Pie...Bye Bye Miss American Pie...drove my Chevy to the Levy but the levy was dry...singing...oh, ok...I'll be quiet now.

  3. As you know, music is VERY important to my soul! So I love it when someone else recognizes the "soundtrack" of their life! We all have one, you know - we just have to listen for it. And like me and my honey, it doesn't matter where you go or what you do in life - it matters who you have walking beside you! Good job! Let the music play on...

  4. Class of '76 (but graduated with class of '75) . . . I discoed my way through my freshman year at BYU.

    Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago . . .

    Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Croce . . .

    Ah, the memories . . .

  5. I still remember at an 8th grade dance having my secret crush ask me to dance to Time in a Bottle. I still think of him every time I hear that song.

    And you can't forget Led Zepplin's Stairway to Heaven or the Moody Blues Nights in White Satin.

    (class of '78)

  6. Thanks for the nostalgia. I am a big fan of James Taylor, and all of these songs you mention have meaning for me, too.

    Music is so powerful, isn't it?


  7. Class of 77 here. You listed most of my playlist. Is amazing the flashbacks when my favorites play now. I would catch that bus and go back if I could.


  8. WHAT A WONDERFUL TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE!!! Thank you so much, Donna! I have similar memories. "Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen raaaain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end...."

    And of course, Carole King.. "You've got a friend..."

    When I was in high school my high school band went to Europe. Several of the other flute section and I walked down the streets of Amsterdam singing "..kickin' down the cobble stones, feelin' groovy!" We thought we were so cool.

    And I was a huge Barbra Streisand fan.. "The way we were...."

    I saw Chicago in concert. I always said that Terry Kath was my cousin. (My maiden name was Kath).

    Anyone else a Seals and Crofts fan? "Summer breeze, makes me feel fine. Blowin' with the jasmine in my mind..."

    I too, went to a Fleetwood Mac concert, with the man who is now my husband of 30 years. I loved Stevie Nick's flowing gowns as she swished around the stage and crooned.

    "Wake up Maggie, I think I've got something to say to you. It's late September and I really should be back at school..." That has my driving in my parents Pontiac station wagon. We had that song on an 8-track. Gosh. Love the memories.

    I have always felt that my life has had a soundtrack. Like you, the songs always take me back to a place and time.

    Thanks for a wonderful gift this morning, Donna. You are amazing.

  9. I wrote a long missive on my memories about various songs, but somehow, it got deleted. Thanks for the memories, Donna! This was an amazing post. You are an amazing woman!

  10. This has struck the cord I was hoping it would...although as Claudia said I don't really want to go back in time, when I remember those times I can be so selective...and it is so sweet!

  11. That picture of you? It could have been my junior prom picture. Except I wore pink.

    You should have won.

    And oh yeah. Music was my everything when I was that age. I have never forgiven Jon Butler for NOT taking me to the Led Zeppelin concert at the Salt Palace. He meant to. But then he chickened out and took someone else. Who he later married. But still.

  12. RJ Wolever is my Jon Butler....what a silly decision he made...I turned out fabulous and he turned out bald..

  13. Bring all that music back! I also equate songs to moments in time...As an adult listening to the songs...I finally understand the lyrics...Steely Dan - Reelin' in the years...stowin away the time. I really think I should have been born blonde! AC DC I feel really stupid not know what some of their lyrcis meant!!!

  14. I knew you weren't as old as your royal avatar suggests. Your writing always inspires, and although I was at a different stage in life during the 70s, I enjoyed listening to all that good stuff as I vacuumed, washed up dishes, and changed diapers. Thanks so much!

  15. Royal avatar...I love it! Thanks for reading..our music is inspiring..I pulled weeds to it yesterday!

  16. Growing up in L.A. county we went to many concerts. One of my favorites was when I was 16 and saw James Taylor and Carole King together. They sang "You've Got a Friend". Such a great memory.

  17. I love James Taylor. I was born in '71, so I'm probably a little young to be considered a 70's child. My roomate at BYU in the 90's turned me on to James and other fun 70's music. Love it.