David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 39: Atlanta Rhythm Section (I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight)

June 4, 2020

When I started this series of 365 artists by 365 songs, I had in mind about 180 artists that I was pretty sure I would eventually cover. That other half would come from a multitude of bands and musicians that could represent almost anything I might have heard in my life. Somehow through randomness, they would emerge.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure Atlanta Rhythm Section would be one of them, which is really kind of naïve.  I do have their greatest hits on CD, in part because they did have a handful of memorable hits in the 1970’s: “So Into You,” “Imaginary Lover,” “Spooky,” “Do It Or Die.” I also possessed Champagne Jam in the late 1970’s. On top of that, A.R.S. were the first rock and roll band I saw in concert.  They came to Morgantown in support of Champagne Jam and I went.

Still, they exist outside of my immediate scope of listening in part because I have none of their songs downloaded to my computer or my phone, and since they don’t exactly appeal to my wife, I am unlikely to put the greatest hits CD on the CD players in the house. Out of sight, out of mind.

That is until yesterday, when completely frustrated by internet challenges in our area (I am still working from home for a few more days at SMC) that made my work with Googledocs, which I already hate, all the more exasperating, I threw up my hands, shut down my computer and decide to get an earlier walk than usual.  Given all of the bigger problems in the world right now, I quickly found myself thinking of “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight,” their second hit off of Champagne Jam.

“I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight” is a damn fine song in the southern rock genre.  Ronnie Hammond really does have a first-rate voice, and the band was in the midst of their greatest string of pop hits. Between 1977 and 1979, A.R.S. had 5 Top 20 Hits, one of which is “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight.” The chorus hooks you with simplicity: “I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight/The world is in an uproar and I see no end in sight/But, I won’t let it bother me tonight.”

There’s even a little levity thrown in at the end, “Lord, lord, lord, we got nothing but trouble/I’ve done all I can do today/So bartender pour me a double.”

I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight! That’s what I said on my walk as I thought about the evils of Comcast Infinity, the malevolence of Google Drive, the rancor of the trucks tearing trees out of my neighborhood for more houses, even the chaos that is our world.  I’m going to go home and pour myself a double.  Listen to the song, David.

As an aside, or not, when I saw Atlanta Rhythm Section at the Coliseum in Morgantown back in the late 1970’s, I actually went alone (still not exactly sure how that happened). Spent the night as the infamous third wheel, in the friend zone, with a girl I liked and her boyfriend, who I was a friend with. I remember all that stupid teenage pain and angst, and then hearing the band play this song and thinking, “screw it, I’m not gonna let it bother me tonight.”

I wasn’t good at following their directions then either.

Pardon me, I have a double scotch waiting for me.

Hmm, maybe I do take direction well.

"I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight." Atlanta Rhythm Section. Champagne Jam. Polydor. 1978. Link here.

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Day 40: The Jam "Town Called Malice."

See full unfinished list here.