It's time for another installment of Flashback Friday's and this time we're going way back in the alley to 1971 for Wilson Pickett and his tune Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You. I've wanted to write this article since last month when I bought my new (old) bicycle. It's a Schwinn SS from 1971 in great condition with all the original parts from the factory in Chicago. Naturally my next step was to try and pin point its personality with a song from the year of its creation, and Mr. Pickett won this decision hands down.
However, the first time I rode it I was overwhelmed with the sense of history which I was connecting with via my butt and the bike seat. Who where the owners before myself? What were they like? Why did they give up the bike, and what incredible things did they experience during there time with it?
Wilson Picket: Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You
Let me paint you a picture with my words:
In 1971, the original owner of my bicycle was privy to two moon landings with Alan Shapard and the Apollo 14 crew getting it done before Apollo 15 and the new badass lunar rover. On a sidenote, I would totally trade in my bike for a lunar rover. The NASDAQ debuted this year but since I probably share a cosmic connection with my original bike owner they probably didn't give a damn. Chalk that one up as nonplussed. They would have however been completely enthralled when Evel Knievel jumped over 19 cars in Ontario, CA and set a new world record. Hell yes Evel Knievel! Like everyone else in the world the were probably obsessed by the Vietnam war and were maybe even one of the 500,000 that marched in protest in Washington DC. Maybe they were a newly minted 18 year old and got fired up when President Nixion lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Speaking of Nixion, in June of 1971 he officially declared the War on Drugs, but in the words of Detective Carver "You can't even call this shit a war… Wars end."
In the wide world of sports Baltimore was holding it down as the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-3 in the Superbowl. Sadly, the Baltimore Bullets got swept out of the NBA championship by the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orioles ultimately lost the World Series to Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In our prime, the road to the playoffs was always through Baltimore. Nevertheless, Reggie Jackson also had his iconic all star game home run which exploded a transformer on the roof of Tiger Stadium during the AL victory that summer. My bike owner was also privy to the fight of the century as Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden.
In Paris France Jim Morrison of the Doors turned up dead in his bathtub and both Igor Stravinsky and Louis Armstrong died that year. Bands that bought the farm in 1971 included The Monkees, Derek and the Dominos, and Booker T and the MGs. Tough losses all around. In additional unfortunate musical news, Beach Boys musician Daryl Dragon and singer Toni Tennille begin to perform together as Captain & Tennille. If my bike Doppelganger was into music I'm sure he felt some serious gut punches from all this news. On a better musical note (awful pun intended), Led Zepplein released their fourth studio album, aptly named IV, and during a Frank Zappa concert the Montreux Casino burned down and was later immortalized in the song Smoke on the Water from Deep Purple.
On TV, Archie Bunker came into the world on All in the Family and The Johnny Cash Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Hogans Heros, and The Beverly Hillbillies left the airwaves. The top grossing film for the year was Fiddler on the Roof, but the ying to that yang was that A Clockwork Orange and Shaft did pretty well in 1971. Most importantly however is that personal favorite Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and Anthony Zerbe was released. This film was the 70's LA equivalent to Will Smith's I Am Legend. Will Smith is not legend, Big Willie maybe, but definitely not Will Smith.
1971 seemed like kind of a tough year. I like the image of 1971 best without Attica prison riots and the Vietnam war. I prefer to groove on my Schwinn and think about Wilson Picket, Evel Knievel, lunar rovers, zombie killing badass Charlton Heston, and a dominant Orioles baseball team. You dig?