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A Quick One While He's Away


Jaimoe
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Following on the heels of Dr. Evil Mouse's "Join Together" love-in thread from last week, let's give it up to the first rock opera, albeit a mini-rock opera, 1966's " A Quick One While He's Away ".

For me, it rock didn't get much better than The Who's performance on The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus from 1968. No wonder The Stones shelved the TV special for over 30 years:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82usxXFTwZE&search=townshend

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I'm listening to Disc II of the Deluxe Who's Next. It is a must own, albeit a pricey must own. Disc II is all live and mostly unreleased from a series of club concerts from 1971 - as part of their aborted Lifehouse project. Some of the songs were still being worked on, like Won't Get Fooled Again and Gettin' In Tune. Pure and Easy smokes as does the jamming Love Ain't For Keeping. Young Man Blues finds Townshend frying his guitar 40 seconds in and Entwistle and Moon jamming the main riff until Pete comes back with with a new guitar and then he hammers a monster power chord and some fierce driving chords. I've never heard Moon's drums sound this ferocious.

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I'm a big fan of

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nwQtEXABh4&search=townshend

which shows off "Won't Get Fooled Again" as being almost a protest tune.

That gets a great treatment too on the Townshend live disc.

I have to say I've come to prefer his voice to Daltrey's' date=' even for range of expression alone.

[/quote']

Other than the original studio version, I like that particular version of Won't Get Fooled Again second. By the way, the version on Youtube is severely edited. I own the original Monty Python's Secret Policeman's Ball album.

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Hey, just chiming in here to say that I am a big fan of A Quick One....the best part of one of my favourite rock movies, The Kids Are Alright. I love seeing Moon singing along and screwing up his face, just absolutely absorbed and consumed by what is happening in the song.

P.S. Whats a fella gotta do to see or hear this Secret Policeman's Ball that I have heard about?

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If you check

http://www.imdb.com/find?s=all&q=secret+policeman

the movies are the top three or four titles listed. The key one is the first movie, "The Secret Policeman's Ball", though "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball" is also good. Since they were released about 25 years ago, they might not be in your local mass-market video rental shop, but a smaller independent place might have it; check the comedy section.

Also check

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Policeman%27s_Ball

for background info.

Aloha,

Brad

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Don't ask me how I know this but my understanding of Won't Get Fooled Again is that it refers of all things to Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman and reflects what I understand to be Pete's hatred of the man.

I can't remember if that's true, although I've read a number of Who biographies. I love listening to the Woodstock footage of Abbie getting slugged in the head by Pete's SG, knocking that hairy yippie into the crowd.

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I guess I had the gist of it right although this doesn't explicitly mention Abbie. It's more of an anti-protest song you could say aptly.

Won't Get Fooled Again

...Although they had been a hugely influential band throughout the revolutionary period of the late '60s, the Who had never really fallen prey to the peace and love crowd. Being a product of England's Mod era, which had to be one of the most narcissistic trends in the history of pop music, the Who tended to be more exclusive than inclusive in their disposition. This lent their music a self-obsessed thrust, which was completely at odds with the "brotherhood of man" approach that was standard currency for the times. For the most part, this added to the Who's unique appeal as a vocal outlet for alienated and frustrated youth. At times, though, they could appear to be outright hostile, so it would have been difficult to deny that the Who was definitely out of touch with the platitudes of the hippie movement. While others were singing "All you need is love," "We can change the world," or "Smile on your brother," the Who railed against conformity by singing "Hope I die before I get old" and "Substitute you for my mum. At least I'll get my washing done," and "It's only a teenage wasteland."

Songwriter Pete Townshend seemed to be genuinely disaffected not only from the older generation but from his own as well. While most people of the younger generation vowed never to trust anyone over thirty, Townshend made it his business to not trust anyone who was under thirty either. The band's appearance at Woodstock only exacerbated Townshend's hostility toward hippie politics when he forcibly removed a ranting Abbie Hoffman from the stage so his own band could begin their set. Some were offended by his inability to lay back and accept the hippie agenda at face value, but time may have proven Townshend to be the wiser. "Won't Get Fooled Again," from the Who's Next album, first charted on Aug. 7, 1971, and spent 10 weeks on the American pop chart. A staple of FM rock radio, Who's Next reached the #4 position on the Billboard Hot 200 and spent a total of 41 weeks on the charts.

Once the smokescreen of rhetoric and posturing dissipated, the politics of youth were revealed to be as one-dimensional and muddled as the values they were rallying against. In 1967, the dream was fresh and new, but by 1970 it had become little more than a deceitful memory. The incident at Kent State University that left four students dead was only one of many that could have sparked an honest to goodness revolution, and God knows that plenty of political activists attempted to capitalize on the fallout for exactly that purpose. Unfortunately, a lack of clarity in the hippies' overall vision made unification all but impossible. Since a large part of the unwritten hippie manifesto had to do with pacifism, evolution seemed to be in direct contradiction to their inherent beliefs. Furthermore, despite outward appearances, most hippies preferred to remain apolitical (read "indifferent"). Like an influenza virus, something was in the air that infected the mind-set of the Western world, leading us to believe that some combination of communism, socialism, democracy and outright anarchy would save the day and result in worldwide peace and brotherhood, but since no consistent ideology came into focus, the youth movement collapsed into a morass of self-contradiction and confusion.

If you ever wondered what could have caused the mind-set of the socially conscious '60s to degenerate into the political indifference of the '70s, then here is where your answer probably lies. If the Nixon/Agnew/Kissinger administration wasn't enough to launch a thorough and permanent counterforce, then it is only fair to say that the agenda of the youth movement failed at its most basic intention. Yes, the war in Vietnam did stumble to an end, mostly due to the efforts of demonstrators, but the quantifiable force of dissension dissipated almost immediately afterward. With no righteous agenda, the movement was dead. Goals that were once lofty became as directionless as the music that was the byproduct of the times. To most people, the failure of the hippie generation to live up to its intentions was a disappointment, but to Townshend the whole thing was an insult to his intelligence -- "Pick up my guitar and play just like yesterday, and then I'll get down on my knees and pray that I won't get fooled again."

Townshend had every right to say "I told you so," and that's exactly what he did with "Won't Get Fooled Again." It was easy to fool ourselves into thinking that things were different than they were, and Townshend was annoyed by the proclivity of youth to blindly endorse an agenda that was as rudderless as it was optimistic -- "Cause I know that the hypnotized never lie...do ya?" Worse, he noticed that a healthy portion of these ideals had somehow managed to penetrate his own consciousness, despite his efforts to remain inured, and felt it necessary purge them. Townshend was ready to kick himself for being swayed, and made it his business to let us know that he no longer had "faith in something bigger." In the end, everything changes nothing.

"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."

- Thomas Ryan, American Hit Radio, Prima Entertainment, 1996.

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According to

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abby_hoffman

At Woodstock in 1969, Hoffman interrupted The Who's performance to attempt a protest speech against the jailing of John Sinclair of the White Panther Party. He grabbed a microphone and yelled, "I think this is a pile of shit! While John Sinclair rots in prison ...". The Who's guitarist, Pete Townshend, unhappy with the interruption, cut Hoffman off mid-sentence, snarling, "Fuck off! Fuck off my fucking stage!"

He then struck Hoffman with his guitar, sending him tumbling offstage. Townshend later said he actually agreed with Hoffman on Sinclair's imprisonment, though he made the point that he would have knocked him offstage regardless of his message.

According to Hoffman, in his autobiography, the incident played out like this, "If you ever heard about me in connection with the festival it was not for playing Florence Nightingale to the flower children. What you heard was the following: 'Oh, him, yeah, didn't he grab the microphone, try to make a speech when Peter Townshend cracked him over the head with his guitar?' I've seen countless references to the incident, even a mammoth mural of the scene. What I've failed to find was a single photo of the incident. Why? Because it didn't really happen.

"I grabbed the microphone all right and made a little speech about John Sinclair, who had just been sentenced to ten years in the Michigan State Penitentiary for giving two joints of grass to two undercover cops, and how we should take the strength we had at Woodstock home to free our brothers and sisters in jail. Something like that. Townshend, who had been tuning up, turned around and bumped into me. A nonincident really. Hundreds of photos and miles of film exist depicting the events on that stage, but none of this much-talked about scene."

so Townsend says it happened, Hoffman says it didn't.

Aloha,

Brad

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