This is Day one! I’ll tell what album I chose in a minute. Look here for my intro.
Don’t know this challenge? Here is the basic idea (which I’ll semi-ignore):
Post a song a day for five consecutive days. (will do, well album, not song)
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional) (nope – instrumental)
Post the name of the song and a video. (will do – a song from the album)
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge. (Well…, All of you)
Sometime when I was five or six years old I visited some cousins on my dad’s side of the family. I’ll admit now that I’m not 100% of exactly when it happened and believe it may have been two different visits, but there were two albums that I fell in love with. One, which if it was two visits would be the second visit, I remember very well hearing it the first time, asking questions and all (next post). The other, must have been the first visit and I don’t remember much about it, but my mom tells me that I was completely entranced and made them play it over and over and over…
My mom ended up buying the album for my brother for Christmas. It is possible it was that same year, in which case I would have been five. I quickly learned all of the words and listened non-stop to the instrumentals.
So when other kids my age were singing itsy-bitsy spider, I was singing about child abuse, pedophilia, bullying, tripping on acid, cult-religions, etc., etc. Have you guessed it yet?
Tommy by The Who
I listened to that album a huge amount as a kid. It made part of the soundtrack of my youth. I particularly remember from when I was six until I was about 10. This defined for me what rock music is supposed to be about. As it should.
When I was a teen I went for prog-rock. The thing with prog-rock is that it’s a fusion of rock and classic, often with a bit of jazz thrown in. It’s slick and polished. Musicianship is prized almost above the music itself. I still love prog, and spend a lot of time with it. Tommy is not prog.
Tommy was different. It is still Rock. But it is Rock that has been pushed to classical limits. Not a fusion of rock and classical, but Rock become Classical. Just like jazz – Jazz didn’t become America’s Classical Music by copying classical (though some did) but by staying true to the jazz esthetic while pushing the boundaries.
In my opinion, there are few times that rock music achieved such heights. Listen to Tommy. It is still Rock music. It is still raw. But it has moved beyond. In my opinion, it is in the top five best Rock albums of all times and remains fresher than most of the best of the rest.
OK, some of the songs didn’t age as well as we would have liked. And not all were good. But they created a unity that you don’t see in other “concept albums” of the times (Pink Floyd’s The Wall is one that came close over a decade later) with themes, specific rhythms, chord progressions, etc. repeated through out, tying all of the songs into a unified whole. And the instrumentals are just phenomenal.
I picked one of those instrumentals as my song for today, Underture. (The (double) album starts with an Overture, and half way through there is an Underture. get it? ;) ) This is Rock at its highest. Listen to those drums! This is hard hitting, gritty music, yet sophisticated.
I don’t have any recordings of me that are really influenced by Tommy. I can say “everything I’ve done”, but that is a cop out. Here is one of the few rock songs I’ve posted. It is, well, different. I call the genre “prog-light”. It is very non-traditional. Although as far away from The Who as you can get, it does not rock, yet I’m sure I never would have written it if I hadn’t listened to Tommy as a child.
(If you like the song, the story behind it is here)
I hope you enjoyed!