Pop Culture Chronicles
A couple weeks back, I got a surprise when I heard about plans by two ’70s bands that swore they would never reunite.
ABBA flat-out refused to revive their act for many years and even declined an invitation to perform when it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Turns out the band has just secretly recorded two new songs. Is this a big deal? Again, the respect thing. CSNY’s David Crosby described their music as “dog poop,” but their stuff has been covered by everyone from Culture Club to U2’s Bono.
When Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham died in 1980 after drinking 40 shots of vodka, the rest of the band said Zeppelin was done. The band did perform at the induction and later at a tribute show for Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, but since then, zilch. Now there’s word that Zeppelin is talking about a possible reunion gig to mark the band’s 50th anniversary. The past is roaring back.
LPs and TV, Too
With so many people downloading music and stores dropping compact discs, long-playing vinyl records are showing increased sales, and it’s the same for live music. I was at the Streetsboro Family Days in July and the entertainment included Mr. Speed (a classic KISS tribute), Rubix Cubed (’80s music), Disco Inferno and Michael Weber, a guitar phenom who was born 25 years after some of the music he plays was written.
Look at your TV. Reboots of “Magnum P.I.,” “Hawaii Five-0,” ”Alf,” “Will & Grace” and “Dynasty” are all on the schedule, and Norman Lear is talking about re-imagining “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons.” Nostalgia is big business, and not just on the entertainment front.
My wife, Janice, and I were walking through the Heinen’s in downtown Cleveland. You know, the one where everyone is bumping into each other because they’re looking up at the Tiffany ceiling. We weren’t, and Jan pointed out six-packs of P.O.C in the beer aisle. It was originally brewed in Cleveland and stood for “Pride of Cleveland,” but when it was sold to Pittsburgh’s Duquesne Brewing, they changed that to mean “Pilsener on Call.” It also tasted different; some took to calling it “P*** on Cleveland.” Production stopped in the ’70s.
In the late ’90s, another brewer revived the name as a micro-brew, and it was really good. However, beer drinkers remembered the ’70s version and it didn’t stick around. Now, 20 years later, another P.O.C. has arrived and seems to be doing well.
Boomer Trivia: Last issue I asked which member of Our Gang/Little Rascals once lived briefly in Cleveland. It was Spanky McFarland. I met him years ago at a video store opening in Akron and asked if it was his first visit to this area. He said he lived on the east side of Cleveland for a month when he got sick on a vaudeville tour and he and his mom stayed with his aunt. He made friends with kids in the neighborhood; for a brief time, we had our own version of the Rascals.
For next time, since we discussed soft drinks, name the locally produced brand of pop with a logo featuring a guy wearing a top hat.
Mike Olszewski is a veteran award-winning radio, TV and print journalist. Contact him at [email protected]