Back To My Roots


(Captain Blowdri and a T-37 at the USAF Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB)

I am a child of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, and I love that music.

The music from that era is is some of the greatest music of the century!  How can you not like music from Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and The Eagles?

There is no argument that “the young man from Tupelo, MS”, Elvis Presley, changed contemporary/pop music.  In fact that is probably the single largest understatement of all time! The hits that Elvis cranked out were undoubtedly some of the biggest classics of the 50’s and early 60’s.  He drastically changed the face of music that was played on the radio in the 50’s blending blues with a new form of music termed “rock and roll”.  Elvis put his mark on history music charting hits like “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, “In The Ghetto”, and “Viva Las Vegas”, just to name a few.

Notwithstanding the mark left by Elvis, on January 7, 1964 the music world changed once again with the beginning of “the British invasion”.  On that day four lads from Liverpool England boarded a jet bound for the Ed Sullivan show in New York City.  Those four young men, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard “Ringo Starr” Starkey, better known as The Beatles would impact the music industry in much the same fashion that Elvis did some ten years earlier.

The music of “the Fab Four” again would change the face of rock and roll music.  Like the music of Elvis, the music of the The Beatles still lives on, and will will for many decades.  Songs like “Something”,” Help!”, “Yesterday”, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, and “She loves You”, just to name a few of their #1 charting songs.

A music changed occurred once again on June 26, 1972, just eight years after “the British invasion”, a four member band released their first album that charted 3 top 40 hits, “Take It Easy”, “Witchy Woman”, and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”.  That band is none other than The Eagles. The Eagles went through a few changes in band members over their history, however, Don Henley and Glen Frey remained the focal core for the band.  The band produced chart hits like “Desperado”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, “Take It To The Limits”, “One of These Nights”, “Heartache Tonight”, and their signature hit, “Hotel California”.  Once again the rock and roll genre made another big change!

In the mid to late 80’s the rock and roll made still another change with the infusion of hip-hop/rap.  It was at that time that I gravitated to a different genre of music, the music that I remember my dad listening to, country music.

At this time, in the 80’s, there was a group of four boys from Ft. Payne, AL that burst onto the country music scene.  The group consisted of Randy Owens, Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook, and drummer Mark Herndon.  We know them as Alabama!

Alabama charted hits like, “Mountain Music”, “She and I”, “Love In The First Degree”, “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)”, “My Home’s In Alabama”, “Why Lady Why”, Dixieland Delight”, “If Your Going To Play In Texas”, “Feels So Right”, and “Forever’s As Far I’ll Go”, just to highlight a few of their accomplishments.

Alabama bridged the gap that existed between rock and roll, and country music.  Their music was welcomed, and played, on both country music stations, as well as, rock and roll stations.  The boys from Ft.Payne paved the way for country music acts like Brooks and Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Taylor Swift whose music is classified as “cross-over music”, thus getting air time on both rock and country stations.

When I play some old Alabama, things just “feel so right”!  It brings back memories of when I was a child, my dad watching and enjoying,  a local country music TV show that originated from KERO TV channel 10 in Bakersfield, CA, called “Cousin Herb’s Trading Post”.  Forty years ago I thought that country music was so old fashioned.

Guess what, I have returned to my roots!

So check out this Brad Paisley video while he plays you some “Old Alabama”!  Maybe you will return to a place where things just “feel so right”!

3 Replies to “Back To My Roots”

  1. Captain Leon, what a neat picture of you with the “tweety bird”. With a new windshield, she looks like you could crawl in and go fly.
    I appreciate the music history lesson as that was my generation of music in my growing up years. Ah, those were the days. You’re looking fit so I’m assuming that retired life is agreeing with you. We’re looking forward to your visit to the Black Hills. Just let me know what your plans are.
    Denny Schaar

  2. I remember our Music Appreciation class instructor (in the 70’s) telling the class that music would eventually go back to the country western roots. I, like you Leon, switch to country western in the 80’s, with some “Good Ole Rock n Roll” thrown in. Along with the groups you named, I also believe that CSN & Y gave a lot to our generation, the “Don’t Trust Anyone over 30” generation. Still have pictures of the demonstration march at CSU-Fresno.

    1. Steve,
      Those were the “good old days”! It is interesting that you mentioned the Jazz-Rock class that we took together at Fresno State. I have told many stories about that class and how much fun I had personally in that class. Being the youngest of five kids, and growing up on rock and roll, some of the early rock and roll music was a “flashback”!!

      I also believe that Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young left a very big mark on rock and roll, too!!

      Play me some “Old Alabama”!!

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