Archive for the '’70s Music' Category

The Aragorn Ballroom Orcestra’s Theme from The Lord of the Rings (1978)

LOTR LP 1978

You’ve heard of space disco, but… epic fantasy disco? Compare the funky version to Leonard Rosenman’s original score below.

Note the play on words in the “artist” name: Aragorn Ballroom, as opposed to Aragon Ballroom, a famous Chicago venue; and, in lieu of `orchestra’, we have ‘orc-estra’.

(Album cover image via Ripping Yarns)

The Piranhas – ‘Space Invaders’ (1979)



The Piranhas were a British ska-punk band active between 1977 and 1983. ‘Space Invaders’ marks one of the earliest examples of rock/pop songs with a video game theme, yet another of my hobbies (see more here and here). The single (side two features live track “Cheap ‘N’ Nasty“) was produced by the legendary Steve Lillywhite, who produced The Psychedelic Furs, U2, Peter Gabriel, Morrisey, The Rolling Stones, and maybe my favorite band of all time, The Chameleons.

More details on the album at Discogs. Dig that album art!

Oh how I hate that bloody machine
Those aliens are really mean
I dread going into the green
Bombs drop on me in my dreams

I wanna be Space Invaders!
I wanna be Space Invaders!

Halloween, 1979: KISS

Halloween KISS 1979

With a Star Wars t-shirt and a garbage bag cape thrown in for good measure. No shit, take a closer look. Kid’s got a garbage bag tied around his neck.

Hey, we did what we had to do to get that stash of candy.

Spaced Out Disco by The Galactic Force Band (Springboard, 1978)

Spaced Out 1978-1

Spaced Out 1978-2

Spaced Out 1978-3

Spaced Out 1978-4

Listen to most of the album here. More space disco here.

Bo Hansson’s Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings (1970)

LOTR Sagan 1970

LOTR Hansson 1972

LOTR Matthews 1977-2

LOTR Matthews 1977

Released in his native Sweden in 1970 as Sagan Om Ringen (“The Saga of the Rings”), Bo Hansson’s Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings first appeared in the U.K. and the U.S. in 1972. It’s generally characterized as “progressive,” but it’s more of an idyllic, psychedelic suite centered around Hansson’s spacious, dreamy organ. It’s something of a masterpiece, in my opinion, and yet another insight into the connection between psychedelia and the budding fantasy genre.

You can hear the original vinyl release here, and the international version is on Spotify (and Amazon). Hansson released a number of other interesting albums, including Music Inspired by Watership Down (1977), which are currently unavailable.

The third LP pictured above shows the 1977 reissue, set to coincide with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings animated films. The cover artist is Rodney Matthews.

(Images via Dream Chimney, Etsy, and

Patrick Swayze’s Roller Disco Routine in Skatetown U.S.A. (1979)

True: Skatetown U.S.A. was Swayze’s film debut. He played Ace, the bad boy.

  1. See Ace chuck his gum at the crowd before he starts his routine. Ace is pissed! Ace is a bad boy!
  2. See Ace remove his tiny belt and whip it around in a frenzy of bad boy rage! Ace will cut you, man (with roller disco choreography)!
  3. See Ace move very slowly around the rink for what seems like an eternity, rubbing his belt on himself, trying to look tough while doing pirouettes on skates, and so on.
  4. Suddenly, Ace drops the belt and pulls off some disco moves I recognize from Saturday Night Fever. Ace picks up speed, hops onto the Skatetown U.S.A. stage, hurls himself off in slow motion, picks up the belt again, and finishes his bad boy routine with a Zorro-esque flourish! Breathe, people. Breathe.

Need more Patrick Swayze on roller skates? Here he is (red suspenders) in a 1981 A&W Root Beer commercial.

Meco’s Music from Star Trek and The Black Hole (1980)

Meco Star Trek 1980-1

Meco Star Trek 1980-2

Meco (Domenico Monardo) launched the space disco era with Star Wars and other Galactic Funk (1977), which went platinum. He followed with several disco-ized soundtrack albums, including Encounters of Every Kind (1977), Superman and other Galactic Heroes (1978), and Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album (1980).

Music from Star Trek and The Black Hole (1980) didn’t go over well. The movies bombed at the box office, and the original, now classic soundtracks (by Jerry Goldsmith and John Barry, respectively), resisted the transition to upbeat funk. Meco knew it, and faked most of The Black Hole. The main theme is the only track that clearly resembles Barry’s score.

You can listen to Meco’s “Star Trek Medley” here. The entire Black Hole suite is below.

The album art is by Shusei Nagaoka, who did many memorable sci-fi-themed covers throughout the ’70s, including Out of the Blue (ELO) and Raise! (Earth, Wind & Fire).

A German group called Nostromo, following a very curious disco version of the Alien theme in 1979,  released a 7″ called The Black Hole in 1980. It’s much more faithful to the original, although I like Meco’s misdirected space-funk a little bit more.

Giorgio Moroder’s Music from “Battlestar Galactica” and Other Original Compositions (1978)

BSG Moroder 1978

The collision of silver age sci-fi and disco was either Western civilization’s final, total surrender to decadence, or one of our finest moments. Or was it both?

Listen to side one—all the BSG music—here. Side two—“Evolution,” a Moroder classic—is here.

The LP cover artist is Winston Taylor.

(Image via Tuk Tuk)

KISS in the Bedroom, 1977

KISS Bedroom 1978

It was such a pain in the ass keeping sheets on the bed. The solution was one of our defining gestures.

Rock and Roll Over is a KISS album from 1976, and KISS Army is the name of the official KISS fan club started in 1975 (it survives online today). Here’s a patch from around the same time sporting the logo.

KISS patch

Can anyone tell (1) who’s in the article on the wall, and (2) who’s on the magazine on the bed?

UPDATE: Eagle-eyed Sam Staley pegged the magazine as Circus #165 (October, 1977), with Hall & Oates on the cover. Put on a shirt, Oates!

Circus #165

(Photo via Pacific Coast Trade/eBay)

Peaches Records & Tapes, 1979

Peaches Records 1979

Press photo: August 24, 1979

Peaches was the biggest national music chain from the mid-’70s until they went bankrupt in ’81 or ’82. I remember the logo and the distinctive crates, but by the time I became obsessed with music, the place to go in my neighborhood was Tower Records. I also made frequent stops at Music Plus and The Wherehouse.

The poster on the left wall is from a 1979 Dolly Parton album, Great Balls of Fire. And check out that gorgeous diagonal wood paneling.

Dolly 1979

Peaches Crate

Just for the hell of it, here are some shots of ’70s rockers doing signings in Peaches.

KISS Peaches 76

KISS, 1976

The Runaways Peaches 1977

The Runaways, Circa 1977

Van Halen Peaches 78

Van Halen, 1978

(Photos via Lexibell/eBay, KISS Online, The Runaways Message Board, and The Gear Page)




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