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1970s—The Decade of Country Duets

Songs that offer comfort and memories

By Rachel CarringtonPublished 4 years ago 3 min read
Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

Duets were big in country music in the 1970s. Couples with powerhouse voices like Conway Twitty and Lorretta Lynn, Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius, and George Jones and Tammy Wynette burnt up the airwaves. They crooned of love, both broken and new, of wedding rings that weren’t so golden anymore, and living in a beautiful dream with the ones they loved.

The old hi-fi in the corner of our living room always played country. My sisters and I would sit on the shag carpeting with our ears pressed to the speakers so we could learn the lyrics to our favorite songs. Then we’d have impromptu duets later in our bedrooms until Dad had issued his second warning. Then we knew he meant business.

There was a sense of security as we listened to those songs, whether they were about broken hearts or shared emotions. Because as long as the music played, everything was all right in our world. When Dad turned on the hi-fi, it provided stability, the knowledge that life would go on as normal.

Normal didn't last very long in our family. Times got tough, and we lost that constancy as the seventies gave way to the eighties. Darkness overtook our home, and the music stopped for the longest time. Dad sold the hi-fi to pay bills. He didn’t want to hear any music anyway. But we already knew the songs so we’d still sing them at night in our beds with our voices low so he couldn’t hear them.

Occasionally, when the bottle had gotten the best of Dad, we’d sneak out to the car and pop in an eight-track. And for fifteen or twenty minutes, we’d crowd into the front seat and sing along to the beautiful sounds of Helen Cornelius singing of being in the mood and Jim Ed Brown’s deep voice on harmony. We’d giggle as each of us tried to out-sing the other all while trying to keep our voices low.

For fear of running the battery down, we wouldn’t listen longer than twenty minutes. We’d scurry into the house, tiptoeing past our dad asleep in his recliner, and for that night, our hearts would be full. And we’d be happy again.

So much of our time was spent focused on these songs, these singers, because we were reminded that once life was good, and it could be good again. We believed that. Maybe we were too young and naïve, but that belief kept us going. When we walked to school, we’d sing, after first fighting over who was going to sing the female portion of the song.

That decade of country music duets saved us. We just didn’t know it as we were listening. To us, at the time, they were just wonderful songs sung by beautiful people with amazing voices. But once the music stopped inside our home, we’d scrunch together on one twin bed and return to our happy place with an out-of-tune rendition or two. Then it didn’t matter that all wasn’t right in our world.

Now, so many decades later, I still need those songs. My dad has long since passed on, but when I hear a duet that I memorized so many years ago, I’m right back there in my bell bottom pants, and life is much simpler. And listening to even one takes me back to that that living room with the hi-fi and our bedrooms with the David Cassidy posters where we held hairbrushes and belted out our favorite tunes while the setting sun glinted off my Dad’s old Pontiac in the driveway. When things were normal.

70s music

About the Creator

Rachel Carrington

I'm an avid writer and reader. I've had over 53 novels published and over 2,000 articles. Here I review movies, TV series/episodes, books, and write about entertainment.

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