This week’s 70s magic is delivered to you straight from the vibrant streets of Havana by the “Queen of Salsa” herself. If you attend a family gathering in the city of Miami, there is a 100% chance that her songs will play multiple times throughout the night and get people dancing who have no business doing so. The woman I am describing is Celia Cruz. Arguably the most popular Latin artist of the 20th century, she is undoubtedly the most influential female figure in the history of Latin music. Hand chosen from her lengthy discography, the song I wanted to share with you all this week is “A Papa”, the second track on the Only They Could Have Made This Album album.
Quick side note, this is a very underrated album name. Nothing says “we’re about to sell a bunch of records” like giving your album a name like that.
The second you hit play on the link below or however you consume your music, you’ll start to feel something crawl all over your body. Then, like a puppet master, “The Queen of Salsa” contracts your muscles and moves through your joints to the point where you notice that you’re involuntarily dancing. It is hard to stay still while listening to “A Papa”, let alone most of the music Celia gifted to us. Without further ado, enjoy your audio trip to a land where the cigars are plenty and vintage cars reign supreme.
The gentleman in the picture above is one of the most iconic individuals to walk the face of our planet. I knew who John Lennon was and how talented he and the rest of the Beatles were. But to be honest with y’all, I had no clue what this dude looked like and I am truly ashamed to admit this. The Plastic Ono Band album was my first interaction with John Lennon’s music and the one song that stood out to me was “Reminder”. It is an upbeat track that features a simple piano melody and bass riff moving together in perfect harmony throughout.
When I first heard this song, my mind immediately started playing random scenes from Step Brothers. “Reminder” would have been a perfect fit on the Step Brothers soundtrack, but who am I to judge Adam McKay’s (director of the movie) discretion. I digress.
The one part of the song that really threw me off was the outro. It starts off sounding like Lennon is going to end the song with the chorus being sung again. Instead of singing “Don’t feel sorry”, he sings “Don’t”, stutters for a second, then sings “Don’t remember… The Fifth of November”. He repeats the phrase again and then the song ends with an explosion. For those that don’t understand what is being referenced here, Lennon is referring to Guy Fawkes Day.
Guy Fawkes Day commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The Gunpowder Plot conspirators were zealous Roman Catholics enraged at King James I for refusing to grant greater religious tolerance to Catholics. They planned to blow up the Houses Of Parliament during the state opening of Parliament, intending to kill the king and members of Parliament in order to clear the way to reestablishing Catholic rule in England. The plan failed when the conspirators were betrayed. One of them, Guy Fawkes, was taken into custody the evening before the attack, in the cellar where the explosives to be used were stashed. All the conspirators were all either killed resisting capture or—like Fawkes—tried, convicted, and executed. In the aftermath, Parliament declared November 5 a national day of thanksgiving, and the first celebration of it took place in 1606.
History lessons aside, I hope y’all enjoy this explosive track. Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing that pun in.
For this week’s 70s magic, we will takie a trip back to Motown to visit the Detroit Spinners. No, they are not a semi-professional roller derby team or an affectionate name for the Detroit media. I am referring to a band more commonly known as The Spinners. They are also known as the Motown Spinners. Both these names stuck with the group for two reasons: