the whoKinda quiet here in Hoosier land today.  It’s Paul McCartney’s birthday today.  He’s 90.  Doesn’t look a day over 46, though.  Surviving on the souls of the young and Noel Gallagher’s ego is rough business, but I think Macca will do just fine.

Seriously though, I should be listening to some Beatles, or Wings, or “Say, Say, Say”, but instead I find myself listening to The Who.  Why?  Because for some reason as I get older I find myself more drawn to them.  The early stuff, before Tommy. There was something about those early tracks, “I Can’t Explain”, “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere”, “Substitute”, “Happy Jack”, and especially the freakshow that was Entwistle’s “Boris The Spider” that makes me want to play air guitar(funny, especially since I can play the non-air variety of six-string), break s**t, and drive my car at alarming speeds.  It’s that youthful vigor I haven’t seen hanging around since I was a kid playing concerts in the living room with a tennis racket and an audience of just the family dog.  I’ve always appreciated Pete Townshend, his playing, and especially his songwriting prowess, but since I’ve gotten older I find his playing and brash tones that were exorcised from those Vox amps he used to be particulary tasty, in a non-food sort of way.  It’s like putting the tip of your tongue on the end of a 9-volt battery.  It hurts, but in a strangely pleasureful way.  Keith Moon, the guy played one long continuous drum roll that seemed to be destroying everything in its way, yet the beat never got lost.  Entwistle, the bass sound of the Gods.  Townshend could set his guitar on fire or smash it on the stage or both and still there would be a solid rhythm filling in that blank space.  His playing was the strongest bass playing of anybody in the 60s or at any point in time(sorry John Paul Jones or whoever else has the cojones to say they can stand up next to Mr. Entwistle).  Roger Daltry, despite that Robert Plant hair and the chest-showing shirts he acquired around 68′, he had some of the best pipes in rock n’ roll.  And thanks to not going crazy on the blow or smoke, the guy still sounds pretty amazing today.  And I’d rather here Daltry sing about magic buses, blue eyes, pinball wizards, and teenage wastelands than Plant’s Tolkien Hobbit stories put to rock riffs anyday of the week(still love Zep, though).

Bottom line: I’m nearly 40 years old and I’m just now falling for The Who.

Happy Birthday Macca!

About the Author jhubner73

This is where I drop the spat and spittle, the sentimental fat and drivel... Music and such, and maybe a word or two about a word or two. Midwest point-of-view, without all that religion and gun stuff. Intellectually unintellectual. Elitist for the pizza and beer crowd. Grab a bean bag and lounge in the basment for a while, won't you?

6 comments

  1. I saw a concert video of the Who-remnants recently and although they’re older and less capable, there was something truly entrancing about watching them perform. Ignoring the music, I was fascinated by how Daltrey and Townsend would watch each other, careful to use their own personal excellence for the good of the music and not for the good of their own ego (of which both have over-sized versions). There’s something to that attention/respect that is so cool.

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  2. I absolutely love “A Quick One While He’s Away”. The Who was a great band (I know they still play, but I’m talking the original lineup.) I coworker of mine once said “you know, The Who would have been much better if they had a better drummer…” We are no longer on speaking terms (just kidding). But still, what a crazy thing to say… Moon was the heart and soul of that band!

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  3. I always preferred the Who to the Beatles because of their storytelling. The Who have this insane spectrum of different topics, themes and tones in their songs that blew me away when I got into them. And “Quadrophenia” should be mandatory at school, it’s the musical Coming-of-Age-story. And musically, they were everywhere. Although I think that the Beatles had the bigger influence in an historical context, the Who were always the more challenging band for me because there was always a little punk-attitude mixed in there.

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