Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Love Is Alive"
I don't know why "Dream Weaver" survives and "Love Is Alive" has been forgotten.
I knew who Gary Wright was, but I didn't know his music. Because Spooky Tooth got no airplay anywhere I lived, and in the seventies you had to buy an album to hear it, and nobody I knew owned any of the act's work.
But then Gary Wright made a deal with Warner Brothers and made "The Dream Weaver" and in the summer of '75, "Love Is Alive" was all over FM radio.
It was different from today. There were no iPods, at best you had a tape player, satellite radio was inconceivable, we were addicted to FM, hell, they even made a movie about it. And we'd push the buttons and wallow in a glorious sound that evidenced the youth of the U.S.A.
I was working at Hollywood Sporting Goods, on Hollywood Boulevard. In addition to the wackos, one day H.R. Haldeman came in looking for Tretorns. I sold him a pair, even though the discount price in the newspaper ad he brought in didn't apply. And I remember distinctly listening to "Love Is Alive" in my car waiting to go in for my shift, listening to the radio during lunch.
The rap was it was all keyboards. That's what the deejay said. And most certainly it was about the sound.
But really, it was all about that change.
"My heart is on fire
My soul's like a wheel that's turning
My love is alive
My love is alive"
The track started off all exuberant. Not so different from the emotion and attitude in so many other tracks. But when you hit the chorus, it was like Gary Wright got down on one knee, put his hand over his heart and testified.
But it was more than that.
It was that synthesizer bass all over the track.
The otherworldly synths.
And the drums. Slapping. Gary Wright didn't have the best voice, but the track pulsed with power, it was undeniable.
Every time that intro sound came through the speakers my heart started to glow. The backbeat, the synthesizer bass, the ethereal synth and then...
Before this they'd been on guitars. Which made this one novel, you were entreated to come join the party, of the seventies, the sixties were finally done, but music was still burgeoning.
"Well I think it's time to get ready
To realize just what I have found
I have lived only half of what I am
It's all clear to me now"
It was different back then. No one was on the fast track, at least no one I knew. We didn't meet with campus recruiters, we had no plans after college, our main goal was to find ourselves. You turned on the music and hit go!
"There's a mirror moving inside my mind
Reflecting the love that you shine on me
Hold on now to that feelin'
Let it flow, let it grow, yeah, yeah"
That's what we were all doing. Looking for love. Hookup culture was decades away. Nobody got married early. We were all looking for fulfillment, enrichment and satisfaction.
And no date went on without music.
No sex transpired without music.
It inspired us.
It made us who we were.
And "Love Is Alive" was part of it. "Dream Weaver" is kitschy nostalgia, "Love Is Alive" is seventies essence. A decade that gets a bad rap but featured some amazing music.