Monday, December 01, 2014

The Who at 50

I like to think that this blog represents all aspects of music from the late 50s and 60s, but I have to admit that British R and B groups of the 60s don't get much of a look in. I was too much of a purist to accept the cover versions of US soul and blues records by the likes of the Stones, Beatles, Yardbirds etc etc at the time. They were on the whole, I felt, rather poor imitations of what I considered, and still consider, to be some of the greatest records of all time.
Yet I have to admire the staying power of some of these 60s British groups, not least The Who, who have just begun their 50th anniversary tour. There was something anarchic about the Who's first few singles on Brunswick which even now sounds fresh: I Can't Explain, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, Substitute and, especially, My Generation. In 1965 when it came out it seemed to sum up the mind set of most of us baby boomer teenagers. Live hard and die young. Yet here we are, still around (most of us), sipping our Chablis, eating our chicken tikka masala and still listening to music from the 60s. 'I hope I die before I grow old'. No chance. We still think we will live forever (although the aches, pains and hospital appointments tell us otherwise.)
I remember going to Paris in 1966 to see The Who play at the La Locomotive club and they were as anarchic as one would expect, smashing their guitars and generally making a lot of noise. It wasn't subtle but it was fun. Keith Moon was on good form as were the rest of the band.
In all the years since then I have taken only passing notice of The Who, the Stones or other British R and B bands. I love my original soul, blues, ska, rock and roll and R and B much more than I love British covers. Yet it's the UK bands that have largely kept the memory of that era alive over the decades. So begrudgingly I have to raise my hat to The Who, and to the Stones, and others, for continuing to keep the music alive. And to all the other baby boomers, of which I proudly admit I am one, who refuse to give up, despite the advancing years, let's keep on rocking.. Long may we last.


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