Ah, the summer of 1975: 70s on 7 looks back at some of the best moments 40 years ago

1. Jaws

— Jaybeau Jones, 70s on 7 host

Jaws is very close to my heart for several reasons. I’m from the Boston area, and director Steven Spielberg is a hero of mine.

One scene in the film, which most people don’t know, features a local 1970s Boston TV hero named Rex Trailer. Rex was the host of Boomtown, a local children’s show featuring Rex who was a real cowboy and rodeo star. Rex had a very small part in Jaws with only one word!

To add to that, a few years ago, my wife and I were staying at a friend’s house on Martha’s Vineyard, where they created the fictional beach town of Amity Island for Jaws, and we discovered that the opening scene took place in Southbeach, the beach adjacent to where we were staying!

I wrote about Jaws in my book Heroes Mentors and Friends, sharing the story of how Steven Spielberg said that “divine intervention” saved that movie. Why? The mechanical shark never worked.The unpredictable New England weather made it almost impossible to shoot the movie. They were behind schedule and over budget. Spielberg almost got fired. But his mentor, MCA President Sid Shineberg, had confidence that his young protégé Spielberg would figure this problem out.

Steven, though young, was also a young genius. He used what little shark footage he had, the brilliant John Williams soundtrack, and the other most powerful attribute he had: the imagination of the movie audience. The real secret of Jaws’ success was using the “waterline” camera and never seeing the shark until the very end. Steve said the “broken shark” was a “gift from the divine” creating one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.


2. Shining Star by Earth Wind & Fire

— Magic Matt Alan, 70s on 7 host

Ah, 1975, I remember it like it was 40 years ago. I was duly-bitten by the music bug while listening to KRKO Everett Washington when I heard Shining Star by Earth Wind & Fire. I bribed my mother to drive me to a Peaches record store to purchase my first album That’s The Way Of The World, that incidentally, I still own today. I love that album and became a huge fan of founder and lead singer Maurice White.

3. Get Down Tonight by KC and The Sunshine Band

–JJ Walker, 70s on 7 host

When I was 18 years old with three years radio experience, I filled in as a “swing DJ” for Top 40 FM Rocker WMYQ Miami. After my last class of the day at Florida International University, where I was a junior, I headed to the station to “hangout.”

There was a buzz in the hallways about a new song from a local artist that was going to “premiere” that afternoon on our station. When it came on, it became a magical moment in my long radio career that I will never forget.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned up the speakers that played the radio station in every room, as loud as possible. Within moments of this song coming on the air, everyone was dancing and high-fiving each other in the hallways — it was truly an amazing sight!

The joyful noise that was causing this spontaneous workplace party and “blowing everyone’s mind?” Get Down Tonight by KC and The Sunshine Band. The song dominated the airwaves all summer long in 1975. It was just the beginning of the dance revolution.


4. The Mood Ring


— Silent Mike, 70s on 7 overnight “host”

The appearance of the mood ring — which like the pet rock, was a fad of the ’70s — first became popular during the summer of ’75. It was a ring you could wear, and based on your body temperature, would change the color of the stone or the strip under the clear stone. If the color was right, it really caught your eye. They came in many shapes and sizes — mostly oval dome-shaped, one size fits all — but eventually as fine jewelry, pendants and bracelets, too. They were for sale in every store before long.

We used to joke that if it turned black, you were going to die. There was nothing consistent about the color scheme, as each manufacturer created their own “mood chart.” One ring manufacturer would say blue meant bummed out, another would call bright blue “Bliss!” You can still find them at online auction sites and valued more for the metal in the ring (such as silver) than the stone itself.

5. Love Will Keep Us Together by the Captain and Tennille

— Numan, 70s on 7 programmer

The romantic team Daryl “The Captain” Dragon and Cathryn “Toni” Tennille met at an audition for a theater company. While they were busy falling in love, two Brill Building songwriters — Howie Greenberg and Neil Sedaka — had written a song about their own long relationship together as a songwriting team, but the song failed to be noticed. It was later released by Mac and Katie Kissoon, who saw something special in it, but once again nothing materialized.

Daryl had just come off a tour leg with the Beach Boys, where lead singer Mike Love called him “The Captain,” and he latched on to the identity by wearing a skipper’s cap. He recommended that Toni join the Beach Boys band as a second keyboardist. She was hired and became referred to as “The Beach Girl.”

Shortly after the tour, the couple started working at a steakhouse as “The Dragons,” and they did a showcase one night to entice a record label to sign them. CBS said, no “we already have a blonde.” However, an A&M records rep saw another “Carpenters” and signed them immediately.

The couple then went into the studio. Toni’s sisters — Melissa, Jane and Louisa — sang background, Daryl produced, and his brother was the sound engineer. They were backed by the very best session musicians in L.A., known as “The Wrecking Crew,” when they recorded Sedaka’s song in English and Spanish.

As the song came to an end, Toni looped in: “♫ …Sedaka’s back…♪” as a tribute to Neil, who was finally in the midst of a comeback with the help of Elton John. They named the album Love Will Keep Us Together.

The consensus was on the sure bet: ‘Love..’ Everyone knew it was going to be a hit. Released and debuting on Valentine’s weekend, the single blasted up the chart and went to No. 1. It received a Grammy and was named Song Of The Year.

In the summer of ’75 you were never more than 45 minutes away from hearing it on the radio. That November, The Captain and Tennille tied the knot at the Silver Queen Saloon Wedding Chapel in Virginia City, Nevada.

Love Will Keep Us Together was so huge that summer that the couple was eventually offered a TV show, and they used it as the closing theme.

Love kept the rock-solid married pair together for almost four decades, until 2014, when Toni filed for divorce.

Like everyone else, I was saddened by the news and the revelation that the rarely spoken Captain was ill with Parkinson’s disease.

The song’s magic comes from the lyrics, which are so positive, easy to recall and sing, and seemingly has no burn out factor. It’s the anthem of love really.

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Mood ring photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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