Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Going down, going down now, going down.

When I started blogging in 2007 I listed my favorite songs on my Profile. The ten I selected were all produced between 1965 and 1971. Hmm. Last year I listed my favorite albums on my Profile. I've already discussed one by the Beatles and one by the Stones, and one by Procol Harum, leaving seven LPs. The seven remaining represent the core of rock and rolldom. You'll notice that they're all productions of the late sixties, a cultural phenomenon that I experienced as a young man.

I recently read an article that the generational gap so prevalent then is back. I wouldn't be surprised or dismayed. But this is nothing new. The young should question authority and strive to change things, as we did back then. There was a war then, and there's a war now. Undoubtedly it's not a coincidence. For 2009, I'm going back to listing just songs again on my Profile.

Who's Next by the Who (1971). I dropped out of college in 1972 and went to work on the McGovern campaign in an attempt to defeat Richard Nixon's re-election bid and end the amoral Vietnam war. I used to come home during that summer bone-tired after yet another 15/7 day at the campaign headquarters of Staten Islanders for McGovern and put this album on the turntable to unwind before I went to sleep. My favorite cut was Won't Get Fooled Again. Roger Daltry told me all summer long that the shotgun sings the song. McGovern got crushed so badly that I swore off ever again working in a political campaign. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

The Doors by the Doors (1967). An incredible debut album. Beyond the seminal Light My Fire, my favorite groove was Back Door Man. You men eat your dinner, eat your pork and beans, I eat more chicken than any man ever seen, yeah, yeah. I'm a back door man, the men don't know but the little girls understand. All eleven cuts by Jim Morrison are truly classic. Jim Morrison, dead at an early age.

Man With Sticks by Led Zeppelin (1971). Led Zeppelin was good. This untitled album, known colloquially, by me at least, as Man With Sticks, is great. When I saw the perfect photo from my trip last summer down the Grand Canyon, photo by Barry Sevett, I instantly named it after the most famous song on the album, Stairway to Heaven. Your stairway lies on the whispering wind. All the cuts are great. How about When the Levee Breaks. Little did I know as I listened to this driving hip hop riff that the wailing Robert Plant was portending the disastrous tenure of the Decider and his ruination of a great American city three decades early. All for the want of 400 votes in Florida. Going down, going down now, going down.

The rest:

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Eric Clapton (1970). Like a fool, I fell in love with you, turned my whole world upside down.

Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix (1967). We'll hold hands and then we'll watch the sunrise from the bottom of the sea. But first, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have. Jimi Hendrix, dead at an early age.

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by the Mamas and the Papas (1966). Another incredible debut album. California Dreamin' might be the most famous rock and roll song of all time. Its opening chords are instantly recognizable by anyone. This album was on when I kissed a girl for the first time, at a party. It was a long kiss, and I was in la la land for the rest of the weekend. Mama Cass, dead at an early age.

Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane (1967). The San Francisco scene, man. You better find somebody to love. I saw Jefferson Starship, sans Grace Slick, a year ago in Falls Church. Some things are better left strictly in the memory banks.

You come up with your favorite half dozen albums, excepting the Beatles and Stones. It's hard to do.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I'm not old enough to have worked for McGovern, but I am old enough to have had quite a few of those albums in my LP collection. I always thought the Led Zep one was called Ozozo, or something like that. Man With Sticks makes sense.