Living in the Past: The best band you never heard (or just forgot about)

Back when I was a young, spry, skinny lad going into college there was a band that was pretty big in the South called The Connells. They put a record out every year, toured a lot (you didn’t have to look hard to find a place relatively near where they were playing on any given weekend) and played great songs full of big hooks and even bigger sing-a-long choruses. They were going to be huge.

Only, a funny thing happened. They never were. They got a decent amount of airplay on MTV for a while (remember the song ’74-’75? It was legitimately a pretty big hit in Europe. And yes, I know this is starting to sound like a Spinal Tap story. See below for proof though, they were huge in Germany!) Things, as they say, just never panned out for the usual reasons (record label squabbles, etc).

And hey, they once rocked Conan!

Anyway, I loved this band a lot, and was more than a little hacked off when what I considered inferior bands that used to open for them went on to huge success (yes, I’m looking at you, Hootie and the Blowfish).

Well guess what? They are playing in my hometown next weekend and I really couldn’t be happier about it. To celebrate, and to introduce some of you that were too young to revel in their glory days (shout out to Katie, who inspired this impromptu post. You may recall her from such TV series as “Buck Henderson, Union Buster” and “Troy and Company’s Summertime Smile Factory”. Wait, no, that’s actor Troy McClure. You might remember Katie from her fabulous book Keowee Valley and our conversation here.) Man, that was a really long parenthetical digression, even for me. Where was I? Oh yeah, I made the playlist below with 15 of their best tunes as an introduction to one of my favorite bands ever. (Fun fact: They played my 21st birthday! Really! Well, they happened to play ON my 21st birthday, at the venerable Georgia Theater in Athens, GA, and it is still one of my favorite concerts ever. Just a big bowl of fun they were.)

Enjoy, and happy listening. And to all of you going to the Handlebar next Friday, I look forward to seeing all of you. I’m sure it’ll be a blast.



Posted on October 31, 2013, in Music and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Boylan Heights is still one of my favorite albums of all time. I had to have seen them live at least 15 times, the biggest of which was the amphitheater in Charlotte, where they played with Indigo Girls and Matthew Sweet. Great great memories. I wish I could justify the 7 hour drive to see this show but it’s not in the cards.

  2. One other comment for all of your readers, especially those that check out the Spotify playlist and happen to like what they hear. I’d suggest that Drivin’ N Cryin’ is a band of the same vein, and if you like/love the Connells, you are doing yourself a disservice to not check out the Kevn Kinney fronted band. I just looked and he is still touring…playing the 40 Watt Nov 14! Anyway, Drivin’ N Cryin’ is just a bit “darker” version of the Connells….not as shiny and not as optimistic, but similar all the same.

  3. Um, LOVING this. Thank you for the musical education! Your playlists make my day. I think this sound might inspire some new writing….

    • I thought Scotty’s Lament might kindle something. I prefer a simple “Nature’s Greatest Miracle” instead of James for the author dedication page. Thanks in advance.

  4. Katie: You should definitely check out Drivin & Cryin & Guadalcanal Diary after you savor the Connells pl. I saw Drivin & Cryin @ the Cradle in Chapel Hill multiple times, Parker. Jimmy: Just make sure, Driver 8, you take a break, so you can reach your destination. Bwaaahhhh 🙂

  5. Litany (Life Goes On). On my best 25 songs of all time list. Yep, I said it.

  1. Pingback: The best of 1987 mix tape | Fables of the Deconstruction

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