“Monday 5 Things” with D. Paul Graham…..Eruption…..

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Monday 5 Things…..Eruption…..

“You gotta’ hear this”, is all he said. I still remember, as a pimply faced 15-year-old, sitting in my friend’s car as James turned up the volume of his Pioneer stereo to almost ear-bleed levels, and, with eyes wide, mouth agape, I heard Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’ for the first time. All I could say is, ‘who is that? and play it again’. The passing of Eddie Van Halen last week gave me pause to reflect on not only the artistic brilliance of a true guitar virtuoso but also music from the 70’s and 80’s. As I drove back and forth from the hotel to Sebring Raceway, a cassette tape was replaced by XM radio and the Van Halen channel. What hadn’t changed was inflicting my ears to sound volumes that, under OSHA laws, should have required ear protection. I shall also apologize in advance to the unnamed rental car company for any dents that may have been inflicted from overzealous drumming on the steering wheel.

This morning’s M5T is a lighthearted look at songs from the 70’s and 80’s that may have different meanings to us today than we may have considered when we first heard the songs four to five decades ago…which seems to be a kinder, gentler way to say we are flirting with almost a half century since we first heard some of these songs!


To say that technology has changed since the 70’s and 80’s is an enormous understatement. Texting seems to have replaced a simple telephone call from Blondie’s ‘Hanging on the Telephone’. Today, our so-called smart phones have more calculating power than Kraft Werk’s amazement at their ‘Pocket Calculator’. Important documents now have e-signatures and are kept electronically rather than Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’. No one uses classified ads for relationships anymore; see point 3 below for how Rupert Holmes ‘Escape (The Pina Colada Song) would have to be reworded. And we now use an Uber app for transport rather than Joni’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’.

2. Health. 

This year, Covid has changed the meaning of some songs from that period: ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ by The Police; ‘End of the World as We Know It’ by REM; ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ by Prince; and ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney are but to name a few. As we get older it’s natural to be concerned about health issues. Billy Squires ‘The Stroke’ now gets us thinking about heart failure. As we look in the mirror each morning, we can hum Frampton’s ‘Lines on My Face’. We try to do as much as we can to stay healthy just so we can be ‘Staying Alive’ with the Bee Gees. And Blue Oyster Cult reminds us to try to live so that we ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’.

3. Relationships.

Perhaps I continue to be old fashioned, but I just don’t get dating sites. Millions of people clearly disagree with me. Phil Collins cover of ‘Can’t Hurry Love’; Bowie’s ‘Modern Love’; and Tina’s ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’ all have different takes on the songs in this day and age of relationship apps. The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ could be replaced by ‘Should I swipe right or left? ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ by Rod Stewart would have to include a profile picture, perhaps from the 70’s or 80’s!

4. Ourselves.

As we have aged, we hopefully gained some wisdom over these past decades and understand ourselves better. The Who’s ‘Who Are You?’ postulated existential questions that we have tried to answer with counseling and therapy. We realize that Mick and the boys were right when they sang ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, but hopefully you’ve gotten what you need. Many relate with Bono and ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’; with any luck, you are not ‘Comfortably Numb’ along with Pink Floyd and that you realize there is no such thing as ‘Money for Nothing’ from Dire Straights. And may you still want to experience that thrill in life, realizing with Bachman Turner Overdrive that ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet’ and that like the band’s name, you’re truly Free and that your life is ‘All Right Now’.

5. Just Because.

And then there are those songs from the 70’s and 80’s that make your heart beat quicker, your car go faster, moves you to dance with wild abandon barely dressed in your living room in the morning, invokes singing at the top of your lungs in the car, brings out the very best of your air guitar and/or air drumming skills and puts a big smile on your face when you hear them and reminisce on simpler, more innocent times in life. ‘Jump’, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Ramblin’ Man’, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, ‘In the Air Tonight’ and Ba,Ba,Ba, ‘Bennie and the Jets’ are just a few that do it for me. What’s on your list?

Here’s to a week of your personal list of memories that make you smile, and to songs that you love just because.

© 2020 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com