In my next few blogs, I have decided to spend some time looking at different years in my life, in no particular order.
When I look back, there is one thing I can truly say about my life and that is It has been anything but typical and rarely boring. I remember as a very young boy telling myself that if what the adults were telling me was true—that time will fly by and that I should enjoy each day to its fullest—then one thing I was sure of was I never wanted to be bored. The year 1976 was an interesting one.
In May 1976 the top three billboard songs, in descending order, were “Silly Love Songs” by Wings, which Paul McCartney wrote in response to John Lennon’s remark that all Paul wrote was silly love songs. “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian was second, and clocking in at number 3 was “Shop Around” by Captain and Tennille. I like numbers one and two. At number 8 was “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon, which I heard for the first time as I walked into a bar called The Last Hurrah, the first bar I ever went into in Boston. The piano player broke into the song just as I entered, right on cue. I knew then my life was taking another wild turn. I still love that song and it’s still true for me.
The bicentennial celebration for America was also in 1976 as the occupation by immigrants had begun 200 years earlier. I feel sure that Native Americans did not find this a time of great joy. As a relatively new arrival in Boston, dividing my time between Boston and Baltimore, this was the only time I went to the Hatch Shell celebration on the Esplanade with an estimated 400,000 people in attendance as Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops. It was the only time I saw Arthur Fiedler and the last time I went to a 4th of July celebration on the Esplanade. It was, to say the least, an absolute zoo. At the end of the concert, total chaos broke out, and I and the slight-of-build theology student I was with were almost trampled. I have always suspected that it was she who saved us since she was studying to be a minister and likely said a few choice words to the powers above. I said a few also, but they were more likely heard down below.
In January 1976, a movement called the Clamshell Alliance, whose immediate objective was to prevent a nuclear power plant from being built in Seabrook, New Hampshire, was just gaining some momentum in New England. In the podcast that follows the blog “Rainy Days and Remembering Daniel Berrigan,” I talked about my early involvement in the anti-nuclear movement. I was actually scheduled to be more a part of the occupation of the proposed site but had to go back to Baltimore. Shortly after that, I returned to Boston and went to work in a gourmet cheese store. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
I will have more thoughts on some of this along with some rock and roll history and an answer to this trivia question: In what movie released in 2015 did Rick Springfield play lead guitar for Meryl Streep? I hope you’ll join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.