Tag: popular culture

Popular Culture (Music) 20111216: A Brief History of The Who

Hello, boys and girls!  Last week, until my ill advised outburst, we were finishing up 1968.  Actually, I think that some of their finest work was done then, but their commercial success was not as much as they would have liked, and Townshend in particular was in sort of a crisis of his ability to write and delivers songs that would chart well.

There were other things going on as well.  Please remember the it was Daltrey who invited Townshend to join HIS band, and by the end of 1968 is was pretty clear that Daltrey was not the “owner” of the band any more, Townshend was.  Daltrey had always been pugnacious, but he recognized that under the leadership of Townshend The Who was much more successful than The Detours ever would have been.

There were some other dynamics as well, as Kit Lambert began to spiral out of control with drink and narcotics, hard narcotics.  This was not full blown at the end of 1968, but the die had been cast and Townshend was well on his way to being the undisputed leader.

Popular Culture (Music): A Brief History of The Who. Part III

Our last installment in this series appeared on 201111.  This took us up to about the middle of 1967, and we shall pick up where we stopped.

They had been recording material for what ended up being The Who Sell Out, and some singles from that effort appeared beginning in September.  However, they also did a tour in the US and Canada.

Popular Culture 20111125: A Brief History of The Who. Part II

Last week we started this series, beginning in 1958 and going through early 1966.  This week we shall cover to the end of 1967.  The reason for the shorter timeframe is that the band were much busier and beginning to know real success beginning then, with a really good year in 1967.

Last week I failed to mention that Keith Moon married Patsy Kerrigan on 19660317.  He nicknamed her “Kim”, which stayed with her for the rest of her life.  She was killed in an automobile accident in 2006.  I apologize for the oversight.

I also neglected to report this piece of trivia about “Substitute”.  In the original US release on 19660402, the line in the original that goes “I look all white, but my dad was black.” was altered to “I try going forward but my feet walk back.”  I strongly suspect that this was because the Atco executives (this was the only song released by Atco with The Who) feared reprisal from the bigots in the US.

In any event, let us take up where we left off, more or less, last week.

Popular Culture 20111118: A Brief History of The Who. Part I

In this series about The Who we have reviewed all of their albums through Who are You, and I chose to stop there because the band were just not the same after the death of Keith Moon.  We shall now go back and look at the formation of the band, their rise to fame, and their slow decline after the release of Who’s Next.

Tonight we shall concentrate on their meeting and early success, ending with the departure of the really shady Shel Talmey in 1966.  Most people are not really aware of how far back some of the band members actually went, and how the band came to be in its lineup of Roger Daltrey, John Enwistle, Keith Moon, and Peter Townshend.  There were two others who, although they did not play or sing or write, were absolutely essential to the evolution of the band into what it became.

Translator is Coming Back from Vacation 20111111

This might sound like a trivial entry, but it is not.  I have been sort of burnt out writing almost continuously for the past many months.  It would be different if I were paid for it, but I am not.  I do it as a labor of love, and also have the calling to be a teacher.  I just did not have the heart in me to write Popular Culture last Friday, and that carried over to Pique the Geek Sunday, and My Little Town Wednesday.

There are several reasons for that.  For one, the comments, tips, and recs just do not seem to be coming like they used to do.  That is probably my fault.  I believe that the quality of my pieces has sort of slipped here of late, and I sincerely apologize for that.  There is a reason, but it is personal.

Popular Culture (Music) 20111104. Who Are You

This is the last post that I shall do for albums released by The Who.  They died in 1978 when Moon died.  However, that does not mean that this is the last post about them.  There is lots of other material from 1978 back that I have not covered, and a few gems from later than 1978.

However, as a vital, functional band The Who really ceased to exist after the death of Moon.  As a matter of fact, the death of The Who was actually before that of Moon’s death since they were no longer in studio since Who are You had just been released.

This installment might get to be a bit emotional, so please bear with me.  The reasons will be obvious as the story unfolds.  With that said, let us go!

Popular Culture (Music) 20111028: The Who by Numbers

The Who by Numbers is the second to last studio album released by The Who, released in October 1975.  The UK release date was the the third, by Polydor Records, and the US release date was the 25th on MCA Records.

The album did rather well, charting at #8 in the US and #7 in the UK.  Personally, it probably my least favorite album from The Who.  Many of the songs are very dark, likely because of Townshend’s deepening alcoholism.  However, at least one song was upbeat.

With that said, let us listen to some music!

Popular Culture (Music) 20111021: The Mamas & The Papas

I do not always write about bands that I particularly like, and this one of those times.  While they were quite popular at the time, none of the songs released by the band were very important in the grand scheme of music in my opinion.

The band formed in 1965 and by 1968 was no more, as they wanted solo careers.  We see how well that worked out for them with one exception.  The reunited for a couple of months in 1971, but not much came of it.  Their entire existence sort of reads like a soap opera, and we shall hit the high (this is quite a pun) parts of it during this piece.

Even though they are still remembered, they only had six songs to chart in the Top 10 in the US, and only two or three of those are remembered by more than real hardcore fans of them.  “Monday, Monday” and “California Dreaming” are about all there are known to most folks.

Popular Culture (Music) 20111007. The Who. Odds and Sods part II of II

We had a really good time with Part I last week!  I very much appreciated all of the comments and suggestions that folks sent.  Now we are ready for Part II, and it gets even better!

This week we shall look at the bonus tracks that were included on the 1998 remastered CD, some of them previously unavailable except as bootlegs.  Some of them are quite good, by the way.  Of course, there are several stories to go along with them so we had better get started.

Popular Culture (Music): The Who. Odds and Sods Part I of II

Odds and Sods was the third “canonical” compilation album released by  The Who, released 19740928, almost exactly 37 years ago today.  

In the US the record was released by MCA, and in the UK by Track.   There is some discrepancy as to how the record charted, some references saying #10 and #15 in the UK and US, respectively, whilst others indicate #10 and #8.

This is one of my favorite records, since it contains material not previously released, some of which is amongst their best.  It also marked the final release of material that I consider “classic” Who, since the next studio album, The Who by Numbers, was a considerable departure from their old sound, a trend already started by Quadrophenia, discussed here and here.

All of the material was previously unreleased, except “I’m the Face” which we shall discuss in a bit.  None of the material on the record was specifically recorded for it, but rather were studio tapes recorded months to years before it was compiled and released.

Popular Culture (Illness) 20110923: Remedies for the Common Cold

First, please join with me in wishing Youngest Son a very happy 22nd birthday!

Now to the topic at hand, which is timely for me since it seems that I am getting one.  I had a scratchy throat at bedtime last night, but with the change in the weather here in the Bluegrass beginning yesterday, I just sort of did not pay attention to it. When I awakened this morning, it was a different story.

I had fever.  I am extremely sensitive to changes in body temperature, because my normal is around 97.7 degrees.  Thus, when I hit 99, I am SICK!  I also had the scratchy eyes and the runny nose.  As the day wore on, and I did not get better, I decided it was time to act.  I took aspirin for the fever, a gram of ascorbic acid and 50 mg of zinc to boost my immune system.

Popular Culture (“Music”) 20110916: Ray Stevens

Those of you that read this regular column know that I sometimes give space to what I do not like.  More often I write about things that I do like, but just to mix it up, now and then I have to be the author of a critical piece.

This is one of those.  The career of this hack has been rife with nothing but luck and I think that he has been more detrimental to musical art than he has contributed.  Why would I take on one of the most honored icons of pop music?  Because he is a shallow and an opportunistic person.  Can you say Tea Partier?  Sure you can.

His entire life is pretty much a lie.  We shall start with his name, and go further.  Ready?

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