I was listening to Big Star‘s “Watch the Sunrise” the other day, a song that I know is not considered “cool” in the Big Star catalog, but I like it anyhow. I like the hyperkinetic acoustic guitar strumming and the song’s fresh-faced, Hostess brand hippie idealism. It seemed to me that this particular type of song was common in the mid-’70s. I think these acoustic-based songs are a little different than the related country-rock songs by the likes of America and others working in that post-Neil Young/Eagles vein.
What led to these sunny, strumming number? I hear early Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, like “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” and “Marrakesh Express” mixed with George Harrison‘s “Here Comes the Sun.” Is there some earlier template that I’m missing? Is it an English folk thing?
This style of music never eclipsed that of its country-rock cousin, but I think it led to two musical dead ends: Boston (the band) and the 128-String Guitar songs we’re frequently tempted to skip on Matthew Sweet‘s Girlfriend. Boston may not be so obvious, but there’s something about them, in songs like “Long Time,” that seem indebted to that style of early ’70s song, despite the big electric guitars and other pompous trimmings.
Does this make any sense, and has this style of music ever progressed beyond these perceived dead ends?