Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Children of 1977


They were the Young Americans.

On the Fourth of July 2009, twenty-three members of Goshen Central High School's class of 1977 got together
for a thirty-second reunion. The adults reminisced, their kids went fishing and a splendid time was had by all. No marijuana was smoked. Incredible.

I'm always very grateful to be included in
their celebrations because - technically at least - I am not part of the class of '77. I dropped out of school at the beginning of my Junior year, a wasted victim of America's drug culture. I eventually quit the stuff forever the summer after my former classmates graduated - on my nineteenth birthday in fact - which, coincidentally, was also the day that Elvis Presley died. I always like to tell people that Elvis and I quit drugs on the same day, the only difference being that I did so voluntarily. In all seriousness, had I not stopped when I did, I would have died decades ago.

Our high school was not extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination. At the time, my dad was president of the school board. The faculty, to their credit, never gave me pref
erential treatment because of this. Truth be told, that would have been impossible; I was a troubled kid and a bad student. Our principal and vice-principal were named, respectively, Robert Leslie and Andre Assalian. I have no photographs of them to show you, but just picture in your mind Ronald Reagan and Saddam Hussein and you'll get a pretty accurate mental image.

We had a football team that, as I recall, was one of the best in the county. My memory is shaky on this subject because I only attended one game while I was there. Then, as now, I am indifferent to all sports. The reason for that team's success, I am sure, was because of the presence of my beloved pal, Paul Scesa, and the late Tom Losey. I had been tackled at least one time by both of these guys and, quite fr
ankly, would have preferred to have been hit at full speed by a medium-sized pickup truck.

Compare
d to the swinging sixties, our decade was relatively low key. By the time we entered Goshen Central in the late summer of 1973, the Vietnam war was pretty much winding down. Nixon had ended the draft the year before in a bid to get the votes of kids between the ages of eighteen and twenty-years-old - a demographic that was voting for the first time in 1972. As a result, none of us guys had to deal with the nightmare our older brothers had faced; getting an induction notice in the mail on our eighteenth birthdays. Our greatest anxiety was getting busted for possession of grass. There was a lot of marijuana around in those days. On the bright side of things, due to the availability of pot, alcoholism among the class of 1977 was rare. Generally speaking, we were a fairly healthy lot, I think.

But it was also the era of a political scandal which overshadowed anything the sixties had to offer. It was an incident which turned me, at the tender age of fifteen, into a stone-cold political junkie - Watergate. We had grown up believing that th
e men (and they were mostly white men) who represented us in Washington were a fundamentally honest - if slightly goofy - lot. It was the sins of Richard Milhaus Nixon and company - sins which would only be dwarfed by the atrocities committed by the Bush Mob a generation later - which turned most Americans into political skeptics.

The summer before our Sophomore year, political reality would force the President of the United States to resign his office in complete disgrace. Only a pardon by Gerald R. Ford in September would save him from federal prison. It was an in
credible time to be alive - not unlike today.

A year before we entered high school, an African American congresswoman from Brooklyn named Shirley Chisholm sought the Democratic nomination for president.
In 1972 her candidacy was considered an amusing joke even among most Democrats. Last year, the main contenders for the nomination of that same party were an African American and a woman. Only the extreme Right Wing laughed in 2008. Barack Obama is today the president. "Those who laugh last...."

"There's a Star Man waiting in the sky
He'd Like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds"

David Bowie
from the 1973
album
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars


Perhaps the Star Man hidden in the clouds in 1973 eventually realized that he could reveal himself to us without blowing our collective mind. So much has changed in this country - for good and ill - it really is quite breathtaking when you think about it. We have gone to a completely different place and there really is no turning back. Those are causes for both joy and sorrow I suppose. Was it mere youthful naivete that made me feel that the world in the sweet summer of 1975 was essentially a nicer, more hospitable place in which to live than it is in the dismal summer of 2009? Perhaps.

The fresh
est memory of that era is, of course, the music. No invention in the history of the world has amazed me half as much as Mr. Edison's talking machine. The ability to reproduce (at the mere click of a button) the sound of a recording session recorded decades before I was born or the sound of a human voice - a century dead - is something I have never taken for granted. Lou Reed will be sixty-eight-years-old on March 2, 2010. But his voice from the evening he walked out on the stage of Howard Stein's Academy of Music in the Spring of 1974 and let loose with a stunning version of Sweet Jane (the Rock 'n' Roll Animal LP) will be forever as youthful and tormented as it was on that long ago night. We may age but our music remains younger than we were all those years ago.

The night of
November 2, 1974 stands out: My father drove Kevin Swanwick, Jeanne Farley, Beverly Cathey, Paul Scesa, Dan O'Brien and I down to Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan to see the opening of David Bowie's Young Americans Tour. It was just Bowie and his back-up band - no special effects, no props - none of that garbage. You see, the music was so good back then, you didn't need all of that stuff. I am not trying to imply that there are no great bands today - there are. But they are no longer main-stream. They're called "Alternative".

Just think of the great albums of that era:

Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan
Berlin by Lou
Reed
Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
The Who by Numbers by The Who
Walls and
Bridges by John Lennon
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin
Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
RINGO by Ringo Starr
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll by The Rolling Stones
461 Ocean Boulevard by Eric Clapton
Close to the Edge by Yes
Living in the Material World by George Harrison
Band on the Run by Paul McCartney

I could go on for hours naming them all. Can anyone name for me "an album" or unit of songs o
n a single CD in the last five years that really stands out like Blood on the Tracks? Give me an hour or so and I might think of one. By the way, am I alone or do you miss the 45 RPM half as much as I do? Dammit, I loved those little discs! I do not miss the 8-Track tape, though. Those things were absolutely worthless. Excuse me, I'm wandering off topic....

To comm
emorate our reunion, I transferred to compact disc seventeen songs from my original vinyl collection (with original surface noise!) and gave a copy to all who attended - and more than a few who were unable to. All of the songs encompassed the years 1973 to 1977. As I was listening again to the long-dead, haunting voice of John Lennon singing #9 Dream thirty-five years ago, I was suddenly struck dumb by this fact: That recording is as removed in time from 2009 as Glenn Miller's 1939 recording of Moonlight Serenade was removed from 1974 - thirty-five years. Indeed, it must be conceded that, culturally speaking, 2009 is as different from 1974 as 1974 was from 1939. A damned ocean of water has flowed under that bridge, Buster!

It was great seeing them all in one place again. They were a great group of people to grow into adulthood with. One of the topics of conversation I heard discussed was the fact that our parents might not have been quite as dumb as we had thought them to be when we were still teenagers. Never having had any kids of my own, I haven't quite arrived at that place yet but their point is well made. Only four of us, as far as we know, have passed on. Not bad for a class of several hundred kids who are turning fifty this year! I t
hink the biggest surprise of the day was myself. I could see it in their eyes when I greeted them: Tom Degan can still stand upright! Will wonders ever cease? 

Being with the children of 1977 again was somewhat of a bittersweet experience. Driving away from the event left me with just a small touch of melancholy. One can't help but be reminded of the tragedies that have transpired since then. My childhood hero, John Lennon, would eventually fall victim to an act of cold-blooded murder three-and-a-half years after the class of '77 went their separate ways. The "bright future" that we all envisioned for ourselves in some cases gave way to tragedy and wasted lives; the "Land of Plenty" that America seemed to be three-and-a-half decades ago has fallen victim to corporate greed and plutocratic excess.

But the treasured memories of a time so different than this one cannot be altered. That is what makes each of us human. One wisp of recognition - the lyric of a long-forgotten song or the smile in a faded photograph - and it all comes rushing back again. It did for us on July 4, 2009.

A final messa
ge must go out to Mrs. Warren, who became a grandmother only a few months ago: You're still the prettiest gal in town, Jeanne - and the nicest. My old co-conspirator, Jeff, is the luckiest guy in the world.

"There's a St
ar Man Waiting in the sky
He told us not to blow it 'cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children use it
Let the children lose it
Let all the children boogie...."


 Rock on, children.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

tomdegan@frontiernet.net

AFTERTHOUGHT:

The photograph at the top of the page of the reunion on the Fourth of July was provided by Mark Thompson.

The photo to the left of the column is of the author of "The Rant", aged sixteen, taken in the Spring of 1975. Some people have "bad hair days", I've had a bad hair life.

And finally, the photograph at the very bottom of this piece is of me and the lovely Jeanne Farley, taken by my old pal Paul Scesa in the shed behind his house on Judd place, summer 1974. I imagine the joint still reeks of marijuana. Jeanne - to her eternal credit - never touched the stuff. No wonder I admire her so much!

For more recent postings on this hideous, French-loving, commie blog, please go to the link below:

"THE RANT" by TOM DEGAN

Pray for peace

37 Comments:

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

I'm glad you joined the party, albeit a bit late. I was at the Minnesota state convetion of the DFL and vividly remember Shirley Chisholm being recognized as her posters were throughout the convention center.

My Dad was running in the primary for Congress from Minnesota's 6th District (Yes, *that* district. The boundaries have changed vastly, hence, the whack job that has been elected as their representative and embarrassment to a great state.) and I had been accompanying my Dad on campaign stops, passing out literature at town halls, dropping literature in mailboxes and coloring campaign posters (I was a 9-year old campaign advertising wonder; "Welch is the Won!").

Dad didn't win and in the end? I believe he was happy to be reading about the committee hearings on the crimes of Watergate from our campsite those summer months in Reno/Carson City and Las Vegas, Nevada. Washington would have crushed his belief in the country; making laws and sausage are not pretty processes.

Isn't it amazing that the famed Watergate Hotel was for sale this summer and not one offer was above the base price the sellers sought? The owners pulled it from the market; seems they believe it has some historical significance. Hmm. . .really now.

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Kevin Swanwick said...

Tom,

You capture it well, although I would take issue with the alcoholism excpetion; we had plenty of that too. It is a wonder that so many of us survived and did not die from over-consumption of drugs and alcholol. A few didn't make it.

Count your blessings friend. We have livedin interesting times!

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

When I got your link in my email, I pondered the title a little...the Class of 77 folk to us - the class of 81 folk...seemed vastly older at that time and a bit strange. They were the older brothers and sisters to a lot of us and had such a different life, it seemed. Now, with the years gone by - it isn't so vast at all. The Starman gave way to the Thin White Duke singing in the "Serious Moonlight" and John Lennon was murdered before our soon-to-be out and about in the big bad world's eyes. Scary - The Class of '81 saw two horrendous murders and several bold attempts. The horrible pall that took over our high school on December 9, 1980 can never be forgotten. And then, several months later, Anwar Sadat was killed by his own troops in his own country. The Social Studies teachers stopped all lesson plans that day and taught us about this man who had worked so hard with an international group of men and women toward peace in the middle east. Incredible stuff.

Then, our relatively new president was the victim of an assasination attempt - our parents took deep breaths and muttered the words "not again" under their breaths while trying to make sense of it all.

We opened our eyes and took our first breaths as Kennedy gasped his last and King dreamed his incredible (some said impossible - how poetic) dream.

And maybe worst of all, someone shot the new pope! One who offered a ray of hope to everyone who was paying attention. One who made the Catholic church not such a forbidding and lofty thing but something finally taught the lessons of Christ with a smile and a sense of humor! Laughing and applause in church?? Our grandmothers were horrified at first but they came to welcome it along with the rest of the congregation.

We, the class of 1981, were frightened for our future and upset by our past - our growing up years had few high notes! A man on the moon, a bicentennial...a peanut farmer from Georgia...we had seen two Kennedys taken in cold blood, the Vietnam War, teachers trying to explain to us why our president LIED to us and was a common criminal...why our fathers were out of work perhaps and why there was no gasoline to be had...oh and let's not forget Three Mile Island and the whole nuclear missle scares and "talks" to limit nuclear weaponry during that Cold War.

Yep, Tom - we did the drugs too...the alcohol...some in my class succumbed to these things, many of us are still standing and have seen more lying, dying, and men and women trying to do the right thing in the glare of the public spotlight (can anyone say "Swiftboating?"). The era of up to the minute media coverage which tells us who/how and why of everything from President Obama's daily life to MJ's life and death is here.

We're glad now we have those older siblings/friends/lovers/spouses of the class of '77 and prior, we may have thought you were "weird" at that time...but I think now we realize you were there too - and a little older and a little wiser and helped see us through it all one way or another!

So a toast (your choice of bevrage) - Here's to the Starman/The Thin White Duke, Rocket Man, The Piano Man and the Walrus, the Eggman, the Dark Horse and the rest...the ones that got us through it all through Mr. Edison's incredible inventions. And thank you to the class of 77 and prior too!

Mary -
Proud member of the Class of '81

Postscript: We, Class of '81ers also saw the first shuttle launch and landing - such high hopes from our space program! Incredible!

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

By the way, if you think I left out some gems in that list of great albums of the seventies, please feel free to provide your own, folks!

All the best,

Tom Degan

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

What an excellent post, Tom! I graduated in 1973, so the national and cultural references you made were relevant to me in much the same way when they were current. I also have everything on your playlist on vinyl. As a matter of fact, some of the best times I had in 1977 were in your neck of the woods, as I lived in Bergen County, but hung out with a friend who was stationed at West Point at the time--good folks. Anyway, thanks for traipsing me down your memory lane tonight!

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger Fabianna said...

I really enjoyed this one Tom. I never knew the Shirley Chisolm story. I´m FBing it for my high school friends (many of whom know Jeff and may bombard you with questions about him since he is MIA).

 
At 7:12 AM, Anonymous shaidrules said...

thin lizzy..jailbreak..1976..

 
At 7:30 AM, Anonymous shaidrules said...

fleetwood mac..rumours..1977..

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Fabianna....

Jeff is alive and well and living in France. He actually likes it there. The guy is positively un-American.

All the best,

Tom

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

Tom, You were ahead of your time
I saw on a yahoo alert that the great state of California is thinking of legalizing pot.
Pot is wonderful for easing the pain of incurable cancer.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...

Tom,

I was one year ahead of you! I actually was 18 when Alice Coopers, "I'm Eighteen" came out, and no song ever said it better! In fact I played it for my youngest when he turned 18 last year, and he started letting his hair grow!

Speaking of which, you were quite the long hair back in the day! Well, guess what! Me too! After I got out of the Navy, I rebelled against the barber shop, and only trimmed it when it started getting caught in the motorcycle chain!

I still smoke a little pot, but I gave up the rest of it! Gave up drinking too! Got a DUI a LONG LONG time ago!

It wasn't my fault though! They were stopping ALL long haired freaky- looking people riding Harley Davidsons through the mall that day! And that's profiling, and profiling is BAD!!!

 
At 10:43 PM, Blogger Laneman said...

Yes - Fragile 1972
Genesis - Selling England by the Pound 1973
Genesis - Trick of the Tail 1976
ELP - Trilogy 1972
ELP - Brain Salad Surgery 1973
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells 1973

I might add that the early to mid 80s had many great albums.

Class of '81

 
At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anne said...

What a great story Tom!...You should write more about your life and worry less about the politicians!

Its great to be grown up...Isnt it!

This link will take you to the top songs of 1977! Wow...it seems like yesterday....

http://www.wac77.com/features_pages/music_top40/1977.html

;o)..Thanks for the memories!

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to shamelessly plug your blog on NYT's opinion page. Well done!

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous redbridge said...

My first visit Tom. The link in Alternet caught my attention - that 1977 always jumps out at you doesn't it?

If I'm in the same era - the 70's were hard on me - I'd add The Doobie Brothers, ELO and Jackson Browne in a heartbeat. Maybe Alan Parsons, Frampton and Queen.

But in my 1977 there was one album that stood above the rest - Hotel California. A bandmate bought it the day of release and showed up at practice with it that night. We did a lot of Eagles cover stuff, but we never found anything on that album that we could cover adequately. We got smoked, blew off practice and listened to that album non-stop for 3 hours. We all made bootleg cassettes and still continued listening.

The BeeGees, Barry Manilow and Debbie Boone might have owned the charts, but the Eagles were composers able to speak at times about social issues of the day while filling the dance floor with a combination of guitar and orchestration.

Let's be honest. Life In The Fast Lane was an eye opener, Try And Love Again was a classic break-up heart healer and The Last Resort was prophetic in ways. Throw in the two # 1's and the fact that it was 1977 ... sigh. Wasted Time?

Let's hope not. I really think our time is now - as it always will be.

If Henley and Frey can still do it - Long Road Out of Eden - so can we. You can get on with your search baby, and I can get on with mine. Maybe some day we will find... you know the rest.

I was tickled to learn we're the same age Tom. Keep on rantin' and I'll try to stop by occasionally. Fun post.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Thanks for the kind words, redbridge!

Hotel California always reminds me of when I turned twenty (August 16, 1978). I remember listening to it a lot that day - great album!

My only problem is that the title track was ruined for me. The DJs played it to death (same thing with Stairway to Heaven). I am almost to the point where I can enjoy both songs again.

Cheers!

Tom Degan

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger T.A. said...

Remember Stephen Bishop's Careless album? another album where every single song was great.

I miss those days

Long live the class of 77

 
At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Ray B. Class of '77 said...

In some ways it was a tough era to grow up in the 60's and 70's. Assassinations, war, and political corruption at the highest level. Most of us survived but not everyone. Many of us had brothers and cousins killed or wounded in a stupid war. One of my cousins came back with PTSD and drug problems. The shame of course is that some didn't learn and signed up for another war 30 years later. From the misery came a lot of good people who want to change the world to be a better place. Keep on ranting Tom the world is changing for the better even though it is doing so slowly and is often hard to see.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Rady Ananda said...

I still want my pot.

8)

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger Rady Ananda said...

ooh, blogger.com doesn't convert keystrokes to faces... okay, that 8) means I'm wearing sunglasses.

I was a big fan of David Bowie - and played air drums before that became cool... lol

definitely loved the Moody Blues, too

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

I'm Class of '81. I babysat for the most decorated Vietnam vet in Rock County, Minnesota. The consistently favorite teacher, James Sanden, was a draftee into Vietnam and we heard his Vietnam war stories as part of our government/civics classes. Not many students have the weighted history of the 20th century that those who came of age and spent all or a portion of the junior high and high school years in the 1970s.

Karen Ann Quinlan went to a party and never woke-up. Our 7th Grade (1976) history teacher, Mr. Hussong, brought it to our attention and we watched as her parent tried to have her removed from life support after having spent over a year in a vegetative state (1975-1976) in a vegetative coma. It took most of that term for the legal battle to play out, it took another 9 years for her to die, or did it? Back then, Karen Ann was a big debate, now? Countries had "Right to Die" and "Assisted Suicide" as law. And Karen Ann Quinlan will be engraved in my memory of how it all started in the USA.

Frampton Comes Alive (1976) and anything by James Taylor bring back those days for me, along with many others. I guess my musical tastes were "advanced" for my years, or so the KQAD Radio station DJ told my mother when she called to find out what kind of music "this James Taylor plays," she was told it was more for "40-year olds" than 8th Graders. Hey! I wanted it for Christmas. I got it. I'd still have it and all the others if they hadn't been pinched in one of my many moves over the last 28 years.

Some of the stuff that is gone may be better left to the spirit of ether.

 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Thank you for tuning in, Ray.

And Rady! Thank you for reminding me of the Moody Blues! I had all of their LP's - Still do! "This Is The Moody Blues" is one of the greatest compilation albums ever made.

Waif, I discovered Taylor when Sweet Baby James someone (whose name is forever a mystery) left the 8-Track tape of it in my in my first car (a 1968 Chevrolet Impala light blue)

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end.

peace....

Tom Degan

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Tom it wasn't the drugs it was how you used them......had you read Dr. Andrew Weil's book " The Natural Mind " you could have learned to use drugs without negative effects. Proper nutrition is a large part of it too. As Ken Kesey astutely said " Either you are on the bus or you are off the bus. " I'm PROUD to say I never got off the bus and I never will. To quote Robert Hunter " Leaving San Francisco beneath a copper cloud First mistake we made was coming on too proud Next mistake we made was not being proud enough It's always all or nothing/if you don't like it: tough. " I don't want to be associated with the establishment and the mess it has created...LONG LIVE THE HIPPIE COUNTER-CULTURE !!!!

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Raymond Bally said...

Tom,

Even though I was class of 78, I spent more time with 77, because of my friendship with Rich Keller. I went to many parties and I remember tons of alcohol and drugs too. And the music, Steely Dan, Eagles, Jackson Browne was played constantly. But what really stunned me was Iggy Pop The Idiot, his brilliant collaboration with Bowie. Renee Risher threw a '76 prom party. I tagged along even though I wasn't going to the prom. We were all on the front lawn and The Idiot was blasting out of the speakers. Blew my mind. You're right 1975 was a hopeful time, but it ended in 1980 with the Reagan election and the assassination of John. But I have faith in the next generation. It is happening right now, there are clues everywhere that this next generation along with our great President know what is really going on and are not going to go along with it. Keep writing Tom, really enjoy all our posts. Take care, Ray

 
At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Wile E. Quixote said...

The freshest memory of that era is, of course, the music. No invention in the history of the world has amazed me half as much as Mr. Edison's talking machine. The ability to reproduce (at the mere click of a button) the sound of a recording session recorded decades before I was born or the sound of a human voice - a century dead - is something I have never taken for granted. Lou Reed will be sixty-eight-years-old on March 2, 2010. But his voice from the evening he walked out on the stage of Howard Stein's Academy of Music in the Spring of 1974 and let loose with a stunning version of Sweet Jane (the Rock 'n' Roll Animal LP) will be forever as youthful and tormented as it was on that long ago night. We may age but our music remains younger than we were all those years ago.

This is just incredibly brilliant and beautiful. Musically the 70s seem to get a bad rap for music that is completely and entirely undeserved. Yes, there was some ugliness with disco and with country and western, but otherwise the decade rocked. Really. The 70s were the years in which artists such as Elton John, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin hit their stride. The 70s were when so many new artists, Rush, The Police, The Eurhythmics, The Clash and The Ramones got their start and the decade where rock stalwarts such as The Rolling Stones and The Who released albums such as "Some Girls", "Exile on Main Street", "Quadraphenia" and "Who's Next?".

 
At 12:14 AM, Blogger Lauren said...

So much of the vinyl I have is from the late 1960's and the 1970's. I even got to the Fillmore East a few times, between November, 1970 (Incredible String Band) and the Mothers of Invention (early show) on June 4th, 1971. Got to Max's Kansas City in late 1970's, and the Palladium--before it was a disco--saw Zappa there, too (Hallowe'en 1977). As far as disco was concerned, I tended to point & laugh, when I wasn't ignoring it. Of course now I'm a bit nostalgic, and there are some tracks from the disco era that I now like. *ducks*

 
At 12:59 AM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

Thanks to this post, I pulled out my complete George Harrison collection...the joy mixed with a touch of darkness in the man's music always improves my mood and makes me a bit more optimistic! So - start with All Things Must Pass...work your way through. Wonderful stuff - very underappreciated.

Speaking of 70s albums...no need telling anybody out there that ther's a ton of Zeppelin besides "Stairway" - give me the stuff where they just rock...Let Jimmy Page be Jimmy...let Robert be Robert.

Somewhere along the long in the mid-70s, 1/2 of Lennon and McCartney started playing "Silly Love Songs" and soured most of us on his much...he got it back in the late 80s...and brilliantly, sadly enough after he lost his "Lovely Linda"...Check out "Flaming Pie" if you haven't already, folks.

For the Lennon fans...well, there's so much to choose from...but every album has a different "flavor" doesn't it? I love the "Rock 'n' Roll" album...

Oh and for sheer charm and a crusie ship full of talent (not just a little old "boatload") - the "Ringo" album from 1973 is great stuff...more hits on it then almost any of the others and all of 'em a lot of fun!

Okay - I'm done with my semi-Beatles ranting...and oh yes...don't forget The Who...I made my parents nervous when I brought home the sheet music book for "Tommy" AND the sheet music for "Stairway to Heaven"...I was about...oh...12 or 13 at the time.

Goodnight all...and have a pleasant tomorrow!

And don't forget, "it's always something."

 
At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Denise Ryan Chocolate said...

Tom
Great rant...I wish I could of went to the reunion. I think I hung out with more Goshen kids than Burke. Love the music trip down memory lane...Michelle Mandato & I would listen to Bowie over & over and over again!! haha
I still have a few movies you made for me, a Charlie Chaplin montage & The Orange Inn antics of back in the day. Good Times!
I thought the picture of you (at the top) was Tad DeLucia??? Very similar hair styles!! ;)
Ok thanks for the memories..I tune in every once in awhile and enjoy!
Denise

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Nice to hear from you, Denise. Those were the days, my friend....

Keep in touch. Many, many happy memories. Here's hoping you're healthy, happy and wise.

Love and Peace,

Tom Degan

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Sad song....

Sad song....

Sad song....

Sad song....

Lou Reed

 
At 3:24 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I wandered across your blog searching for something else. Isn't that always the way. I grew up on Long Island, and I've always thought of Goshen as being perfect and idyllic. So, naive as it may be, it was surprising to read you writing about political strife and standard teenage social issues in the '70's. Probably because when I did visit Goshen it WAS perfect, for me. I have the good fortune to have my all-time favorite relatives, the Loseys, there. I am jealous that you all had the opportunity to spend that much time, over the years, with Tommy. I love that guy and I will miss him evey day of my life.

Being a new reader, I jumped around through different years. And the answer to a question you posed long ago; "Florida Republicans, can you get any stupider?" As a Floridian, I can tell you, yes, they can.

Oh- I'd have to add Frampton Comes Alive. Was that '77?

 
At 3:27 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I wandered across your blog searching for something else. Isn't that always the way. I grew up on Long Island, and I've always thought of Goshen as being perfect and idyllic. So, naive as it may be, it was surprising to read you writing about political strife and standard teenage social issues in the '70's. Probably because when I did visit Goshen it WAS perfect, for me. I have the good fortune to have my all-time favorite relatives, the Loseys, there. I am jealous that you all had the opportunity to spend that much time, over the years, with Tommy. I love that guy and I will miss him evey day of my life.

Being a new reader, I jumped around through different years. And the answer to a question you posed long ago; "Florida Republicans, can you get any stupider?" As a Floridian, I can tell you, yes, they can.

Oh- I'd have to add Frampton Comes Alive. Was that '77?

 
At 8:58 AM, Anonymous NCAngelone said...

Hi Tom - Great essay - I had no idea Tom Losey had died - I remember him well, very soft-spoken, that maroon mustang convertible...I was much younger, lived on Edgewood up the street from his family. He, Steve Leslie and Rob Leslie were like the big brothers I never had, and I don't think I ever missed a football game back then, even the away games (being best friends with Doc Leslie's daughter had its benefits). Even though I was a few years younger than y'all (GHS class of '81) - I do remember those years fairly well, from a certain age's perspective. But, I was just saying to my 18 year old daughter, who is about to graduate and go off to Fla State...what does she think about what is going on in the world right now...does she really grasp the enormity of it all, does she worry about where this planet is headed....because I do. And the reason I asked here is because I wondered if our parents back then, with all that was going on...watergate...vietnam...gas crisis....meat shortage...were as worried about what our kids were thinking as I am about mine. I don't know, can't put it in words as well as you probably could. But I guess the question in my mind is...what is the difference? We had worries back then....we have worries now, is it just a cycle...groundhog day?

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Just had so many laughs reading this! As a proud member of Monticello's class of 1980, so much is familiar. WBT #1 (Wurtsboro Bong Team) members would add anything by Bob Dylan, the Allman Bros. Band, Bob Marley, Steve Miller, and Van Morrison. I would add Supertramp, also, which I am listening to after reading your blog. Thanks for the memories!

 
At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Viagra said...

Oh dude, there's a huge pop-up message on my screen and I am wondering if it is dangerous to open? Sometimes "pop-up" means "virus", you know.

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

Absolutely beautiful essay!

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

UPDATE, 28 April, 2012

Interesting....I just read this piece for the first time in nearly four years. I was surprised at how bad it is. My excuse is exhaustion. When I wrote it, I had just gotten in after having driven all night from South Bend, Indiana. Sorry 'bout that, folks. I was also a bit buzzed, having stopped at a local convenience store and downing a quart or two of Bud Lite. Alcohol only helps the literary process if you're Ernest Hemingway or Jack Kerouac. They're both dead. Come to think about it, so am I. That tangent about the 45 RPM versus the 8-track tape was totally uncalled for.

 

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