Kindred-spirit blogger Gerard van der Leun has a regular nostalgic feature of posting “Boomer Anthems,” i.e. old Rock & Roll classics. This week, it was a real winner, with the Stones, circa 1964 and looking like high school kids, covering the Buddy Holly favorite on American TV. Brian Jones joking about Mick Jagger’s “ambivalence” is priceless and you marvel that the joke was actually broadcast back in that so much more innocent era.
Followed by the middle-aged and already pretty wrinkly Stones’ circa 1994-1995 Voodoo Lounge version.
And finally, topped off with the Austin City Limits 2014 cover by a host of famous names, including Jeff Bridges no less.
I was nine years old and in 4th Grade when the Buddy Holly original came out. This one seems a pretty appropriate protest choice as Gerard’s generation and mine finds itself well along in the process of fading away.
The Hu (a Mongolian Rock Band) musically contends (“Black Banner be awakened”) that Mongolian boys should stop eating popcorn, sleeping, and watching soccer, and get on out there, horde up, and sweep down on Europe, or China, or somebody.
“This song makes me proud to be Mongolian, which is weird because I’m Latino.”
“this is the mongolian rammstein.
Nobody understands a shit but everyone likes it”
“Imagine being Chinese in the 12th century and hearing this outside your village”
“My cat listened to this song, he’s now a mongolian warhorse”
This brilliantly-edited version of The Band’s 1968 classic has the song’s principal author Robbie Robertson accompanied by Ringo Starr and a load of talented performers from five continents.
Despite all the Goo-Goo Gobalism BS, Gerard van der Leun is right: turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy, this is a really terrific performance. The shit-eating grin on Robbie Robertson at the end is the perfect finish. Great job all around.
Damon Linker notes glumly that the final end of Rock& Roll and the Baby Boom generation is not that far away.
Rock music isn’t dead, but it’s barely hanging on.
This is true in at least two senses.
Though popular music sales in general have plummeted since their peak around the turn of the millennium, certain genres continue to generate commercial excitement: pop, rap, hip-hop, country. But rock â€” amplified and often distorted electric guitars, bass, drums, melodic if frequently abrasive lead vocals, with songs usually penned exclusively by the members of the band â€” barely registers on the charts. There are still important rock musicians making music in a range of styles â€” Canada’s Big Wreck excels at sophisticated progressive hard rock, for example, while the more subdued American band Dawes artfully expands on the soulful songwriting that thrived in California during the 1970s. But these groups often toil in relative obscurity, selling a few thousand records at a time, performing to modest-sized crowds in clubs and theaters.
But there’s another sense in which rock is very nearly dead: Just about every rock legend you can think of is going to die within the next decade or so.
Yes, we’ve lost some already. On top of the icons who died horribly young decades ago â€” Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, John Lennon â€” there’s the litany of legends felled by illness, drugs, and just plain old age in more recent years: George Harrison, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty.
Those losses have been painful. But it’s nothing compared with the tidal wave of obituaries to come. The grief and nostalgia will wash over us all. Yes, the Boomers left alive will take it hardest â€” these were their heroes and generational compatriots. But rock remained the biggest game in town through the 1990s, which implicates GenXers like myself, no less than plenty of millennials.
All of which means there’s going to be an awful lot of mourning going on.
Behold the killing fields that lie before us: Bob Dylan (78 years old); Paul McCartney (77); Paul Simon (77) and Art Garfunkel (77); Carole King (77); Brian Wilson (77); Mick Jagger (76) and Keith Richards (75); Joni Mitchell (75); Jimmy Page (75) and Robert Plant (71); Ray Davies (75); Roger Daltrey (75) and Pete Townshend (74); Roger Waters (75) and David Gilmour (73); Rod Stewart (74); Eric Clapton (74); Debbie Harry (74); Neil Young (73); Van Morrison (73); Bryan Ferry (73); Elton John (72); Don Henley (72); James Taylor (71); Jackson Browne (70); Billy Joel (70); and Bruce Springsteen (69, but turning 70 next month).
A few of these legends might manage to live into their 90s, despite all the â€¦ wear and tear to which they’ve subjected their bodies over the decades. But most of them will not.
This will force us not only to endure their passing, but to confront our own mortality as well.
Henry Racette is not one of those swaddled, buckled-up-for-safety types, begging for the Government to take away his guns and drive his car for him.
Thereâ€™s talk â€“ silly, absurd talk â€“ of banning the private ownership of cars. Molon labe, baby! You can have my Yukon, my three-ton id, when you pry it from my cold dead hands. And you can forget the self-driving nonsense, too: up here where I live, you canâ€™t see the lines on the road four months out of the year on account of the blowing snow. Good luck dealing with that, Google.
Ayn Rand, in one of her two major works of fiction (Iâ€™m going to go with Atlas Shrugged, but someone correct me if Iâ€™m wrong â€“ itâ€™s been almost 40 years since I read it) has her heroine wax rhapsodic (as if thereâ€™s any other way to wax) about the act of smoking. Dagney (or possibly Dominique) marvels at the flame held in obeisance inches from her, the spark of destruction so casually lashed into service for the pleasure of mankind. Never having been a smoker, and coming of age as I did during the first great anti-smoking crusades of the â€™70s, I admit that the imagery was less compelling for me than it might have been for someone of my parentsâ€™ generation. But Dagneyâ€™s ruminations have remained with me, an oddly vivid example of our peculiar attraction to dangerous things â€“ and to mastering them.
I like guns. I didnâ€™t always: when I was a child, I was indifferent to them. Then I became a man, a lover of liberty, and an enthusiastic critic of the insipid and emasculating idea that safety comes first. Lots of things are ultimately more important than safety. Being able to credibly say â€œthus far, and no fartherâ€ is one of them; merely reaffirming that we have the right, the moral right and the legal right, to say that is another.
Safety is important, donâ€™t get me wrong. But of all the parameters that define the human experience, safety isnâ€™t the one we should seek to maximize. John Lennonâ€™s â€œImagine,â€ the most comprehensively evil song ever written, is an ode to safety above all else, the pathetic celebration of the apathy-induced coma. Iâ€™m glad Lennon never became a US citizen.
Living as an adult male â€“ as opposed to an androgynous, pajama-clad, cocoa-sipping man-child â€“ means spending years, decades even, standing precariously close to the edge of doing something stupid. (The life of a young man is a race between the rising arc of sensibility and the statistical certainty that, if weâ€™re only given enough time, weâ€™ll have our â€œhold my beerâ€ moment and, if weâ€™re lucky, the ER visit that goes with it.) That sometimes leads to tragedy, but most often to maturity, and thereâ€™s no path from baby to man that doesnâ€™t, at least occasionally, tread close to a dangerous edge.
The best things in life are dangerous: freedom, love, faith, women, sex. Children â€“ those raw nerves we thrust out into the world. Cars. Guns. Saying what you think.
Let’s raise a toast to the late great Anita Pallenberg, queen of the underground, the Rolling Stones muse who gave the Glimmer Twins their glimmer lessons. Pallenberg, who died Tuesday night at the age of 73 [Really 75], wasn’t merely Keith Richards’ consort â€“ she was a rock & roll legend in herself, a style icon, a crucial part of the Stones’ mystique. She taught Keith her sinister glare, taught Mick Jagger her wiggle, taught Brian Jones how to wear floppy hats. Look at pictures of Keith before and after Anita â€“ it’s like the difference between Buddy Holly and Jack the Ripper. As soon Keith connected with Anita, he lost his gawky shyness and learned to strut like her, wearing her scarves and shirts and bangles. She was the flower of evil in the Stones’ orbit, the baddest of bad girls â€“ her grin declared she knew more about sin than any of these English schoolboys had ever imagined.
Things tended to burst into flames around Anita. Her friend Marianne Faithfull used to call her “Glenda Hindenburg.” “Loads of people were scared of me,” Anita said in Victor Bockris’ Keith Richards: The Biography. “I guess it was all that savoir-vivre that I had, and I was from Rome and I had traveled and been in New York and I knew all these people, and I was pretty reckless as well. You could see Keith and Mick exchanging looks like, â€˜Who is this weird bird?'” That was putting it mildly. As Keith recalled, “She knew everything and she could say it in five languages. She scared the pants off me!”
What an embodiment of the mod beauty we adored in the 1960s! Go to the link â€” it’s to the NYT â€” to see the photographs of her that made us so envious â€” in the arms of Keith Richards in 1969 and drawing lipliner on Mick Jagger (in the movie “Performance”) in 1970.
That movie “remains as hallucinogenically strange and disturbing as ever and Pallenberg will be for ever remembered as Pherber: sexually omnivorous, dangerous, sweetly amoral. The movie… captures the psychosis of the end of the 60s, where art, crime and sex open up the gates of social mobility but identity becomes fragmented.”
Pallenberg spoke of drugs freezing her, so she did not grow emotionally. Faithfull has spoken of not being able to have sex without being semi-anaesthetised with drugs. Their stories remind us of what sexual liberation could mean for women in the 60s. These great beauties paid a huge price for being the â€œgirlfriendsâ€ of rock stars. Both these clever, multilingual, arty women educated their boyfriends (Jagger and Richards) about culture and art and style. Pallenberg got the boys to wear her clothes. Everyone, Faithfull once told me, was in love with Keith, even Mick of course â€¦
“I like a high-spirited woman. And with Anita, you knew you were taking on a Valkyrie â€” she who decides who dies in battle.” â€” wrote Keith Richards.
Traditional Values defender Maggie Gallagher seems to have gotten the last laugh.
Lou Reed was the minstrel boy to the wars of the sexual revolution. His haunting 1972 anthem urged young Americans to â€œTake a Walk on the Wild Side.â€ It celebrated the polymorphous perversity of Andy Warholâ€™s New York. …
Lou Reed was transgressive, progressive, and prodigiously talented. And yet somehow over the weekend Reed became the poster child of â€œtransphobicâ€ intolerance? How?
Meet Chelsea, Emily, Becca and Kayla. Theyâ€™re the executive officers of the University of Guelph Central Student Association in Ontario, Canada. Guelph is one of Canadaâ€™s top five universities. Last Thursday, these young women held an event to distribute summer bus passes. One of them (they wonâ€™t say which one) prepared a playlist. It included Reedâ€™s anthem.
Apparently a transgender student complained. The young executives posted a heartfelt apology on the CSAâ€™s official Facebook page. They said that the song appeared because of â€œignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.â€ …
Here are the new moral rules outlined by the young executive officers of the CSA: â€œThe song is understood to be transphobic because of the lyrics and the sentiments that they support in present day,â€ the group responded to the student. â€œThe lyrics, â€˜and then he was a she,â€™ devalues the experiences and identities of trans folks.â€ And thus â€œminimize the experiences of oppression.â€ They also said the song was problematic because it suggests that transgender people are â€œwild,â€ â€œunusualâ€ or â€œunnatural.â€
â€œWhile we acknowledge that the song was written with certain purpose and intention, we would also emphasize that media is not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,â€ they added primly.
The whole comic incident lays bare certain truths about our own cultural moment, compared to the 1960s.
The old SSRs (Sixties Sexual Revolutionaries) wanted to transgress norms. To break boundaries. To â€œliberateâ€ behavior and trample on icons. Then to rip up the Bible-based sexual morality associated with the bourgeois life. The new SJWs want to build a new moral orthodoxy imposed uniformly on all. If anyone from the properly certified minority group has hurt feelings listening to â€œWalk on the Wild Side,â€ then nobody should have to hear it. The SJWs want to be the new bourgeois morality.
SSRs attacked Bible-based moral codes. But these sex codes also had deep roots in human nature across lines of culture and religion. They were multicultural in the best sense. Details varied. Virtually every human society has understood that disciplining sexuality in the service of children and marriage was a critical and necessary social task. …
The lack of any standard, paradoxically, makes the SJW moral code far more intrusive and punitive than Victorian morality. (Could Lou Reed have ever dreamt of that?) You canâ€™t avoid breaking its rules, since they arenâ€™t announced in advance. You only find out youâ€™ve done wrong once someone complains. And from that, there is no appeal. Guilt is absolute and automatic. You have no choice but to grovel for mercy. The Guelph students clearly knew that. Hence their abject apology.
The old SSR codebreakers threw out the Biblical baby with the bathwater (often literally).
But at least they understood one great and obvious truth: You canâ€™t take a walk on the wild side in a safe space.
Guitarist Eric Clapton (who knew?) is evidently a salmon fisherman, and caught this year the biggest fish, 28 lbs. (12.7 kilo.) 42.5″ (108 cm.), taken in Iceland’s VatnsdalsÃ¡ River on August 5th.
“Clapton had to run a good kilometre down river with the salmon before he was finally able to draw it ashore, the salmon was hooked and after an exciting hunt came ashore just over an half hour later.”
Comments indicate that Clapton is partial to Marc Aroner’s fly rods.
Nice fish, even if it has been in the river quite a while and is getting very close to “wearing the Brodie tartan.” Look at the kype on him! If I were Clapton, I’d smoke this one.