Last night, I watched this Showtime documentary on the Eagles, a band I inevitably associate with the 1970’s, California and the epitome of mellow rock. It was a two-part programs broadcast in one showing, so it was roughly three hours. I got through about two-thirds of it…and still went to bed way too late.
(Forgive me for the poor quality of this video, and the Spanish subtitles – but the audio is pretty good)
Now, because I was roughly in grade school and junior high during this time, I really never loved this band at the height of their popularity. There was a lot of regrettable bubble gum pop I listened to, whose song titles and artists I have mercifully forgotten (except Shaun Cassidy, for some reason). And I grew to like Don Henley’s solo stuff during the 80’s, especially when he went on his anti-Reagan screeds like “End of the Innocence.”
It’s funny, though. My late dad – a big fan of old fogey musicians Perry Como, Mantovani, the Ray Conniff Singers and polka music – somehow liked this band’s music. To this day, I can’t figure out why. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like them when I was growing up. How uncool it would it have been to like the SAME music as your dad. I just couldn’t go there.
But as I grew older, I started listen to their music again, and really started to appreciate it. I guess as I moved away from home – California – to Arizona and now Colorado, I began to associate the Eagles’ songs with the place I grew up – the perpetual sunshine. The jagged-rock coastline where icy ocean water and seaweed beds lap up against the shore. The lazy and long weekend drives I took with my family. The pungent, briny aroma of freshly caught fish on the wharf at Santa Cruz. Things I couldn’t experience in my current landlocked homes.
And now, hearing certain songs like this one, and other songs by other artists from this decade, continues to take me back. I especially love it when I’m back in California, driving along Highway 1, the two-lane ribbon that winds up the Pacific Coast, and I hear one of these songs. It’s the perfect melding of senses – the sound of great music, the taste and smell of the salty ocean air, the sight of a spectacular coast.
I guess no matter where I live, California will always be a part of who I am.