Sunday, August 31, 2014

For the Love of Rock

Song 214: This week's playlist song is Drift Away by Dobie Gray, written by Mentor Williams. If you've listened to any flavor of classic rock radio or '70s oldies stations you have no doubt heard this track, and maybe you've also heard it as background music at a store in your local mall. Well over 4 decades after it first came across the air waves, it still makes a lot of waves in public places, and whenever I hear it, it always makes me feel good. I had enjoyed the Beatles version of Chuck Berry's tune Rock and Roll Music, and when I first heard this song, it sounded to me like an inspired update on that earlier idea of just how magical rock and roll music can be. Of all the songs that celebrate the magic of rock and roll, I can think of no better one than this. When the record first came along in the early spring of 1973, it exploded right in the middle of a Beach Boys revival, and one of my friends would jokingly sing along with the chorus as "Gimme the Beach Boys and free my soul..." which was amusing and close enough to the real lyric to fool someone who didn't know, but really, it was the beat that freed our souls, whether that beat came from the Beatles, the Beach Boys, or, in this case, Dobie Gray. Incidentally, the songwriter on this tune is the brother of Paul Williams, who is a lot better known and who wrote a lot more hit songs, but as much as I respect Paul's talent, I'd rather Drift Away on Mentor's hit song than listen to An Old Fashioned Love Song somewhere Out in the Country on Rainy Days and Mondays, if I have the choice.

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