_ | \ | \ | | \ __ | |\ \ __ _____________ _/_/ | | \ \ _/_/ _____________ | ___________ _/_/ | | \ \ _/_/ ___________ | | | _/_/_____ | | > > _/_/_____ | | | | /________/ | | / / /________/ | | | | | | / / | | | | | |/ / | | | | | | / | | | | | / | | | | |_/ | | | | | | | | c o m m u n i c a t i o n s | | | |________________________________________________________________| | |____________________________________________________________________| ...presents... Retrospective Rock Ramones, The Runaways, and The Who typed by The Pusher >>> a cDc publication.......1989 <<< -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc- _______________________________________________________________________________ Ramones From the liner notes of "RamonesMania" by Billy Altman August 1974, Washington, D.C. An entire country watches as Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States, steps aboard a waiting helicopter and vacates the White House. News of the Nixon resignation fills newspaper pages and television and radio broadcasts the world over. From this moment forward, politics will never again be the same. August 1974, New York City. Scattered Bowery residents pay little notice as four young men from Forest Hills, Queens, enter a small club called CBGB in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The owner, Hilly Kristal, isn't sure if this strange-looking group - identically dressed in leather jackets, T-shirts, ripped jeans, and sneakers, and calling themselves the Ramones - are the ones who are supposed to be auditioning for a gig or just a bunch of hoodlums who've come to fence stolen musical equipment. They take to the stage and play a set, but even after they're through, Kristal still isn't sure if they're a real band or just a bunch of hoodlums. All of their songs are very loud, very short, and very fast. In fact, the only thing separating them are the bass player's shouts of "1-2-3-4" during the milliseconds in which they stop. He decides to book them anyway; business is bad. Their first public performance draws no attention from newspapers, radio, or television, and, in point of fact, is witnessed by a grand total of five warm bodies - six if you count the bartender's dog. No matter. From this moment forward, rock & roll will never again be the same. As the great philosopher Marx (that's either Karl or Groucho) once said, "Revolutions begin with ideas," and the revolution known as punk, ignited by the band known as the Ramones, began when four members of the New York division of the worldwide force known as disenfranchised youth realized that they shared some very basic ideas concerning music and culture. As Joey Ramone once explained it, "We decided to start our own group because we were bored with everything we heard. In 1974, there was nothing to listen to anymore. Everything was tenth-generation Led Zeppelin, tenth-generation Elton John, or overproduced, or just junk. Everything was long jams, long guitar solos. We missed music like it used to be before it got 'progressive.' We missed hearing songs that were short, exciting, and GOOD! We wanted to bring the energy back to rock & roll." And though, in their formative stages, they might not have displayed an abundance of what some might call "chops," the Ramones quickly discovered that, as a unit, they possessed a warehouseful of other qualities which, perhaps even more than music, have helped define rock 'n' roll throughout its history. Qualites like energy. And attitude. And passion. At their first rehearsals, the band tried to play songs by the artists they liked most- Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, The Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Kinks, the Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, Slade- but recalled Johnny, "we just couldn't figure them out, so we decided to try and write our own, and we had to make them basic enough so we could play them." That they did and, in the process, rock & roll was re-invented. Having found the old textbooks unusable, the Ramones simply created their own. They wrote about alienation ("Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue") and isolation ("I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You)" about the power (Blitzkrieg Bop") and the fury ("Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World") of untamed youth, and about life on the mean streets ("53rd & 3rd"), and in the last house on the left ("I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement"). Their songs were often funny, often hysterically so, who could keep a straight face envisioning all 6'3" of Joey Ramone stepping up to the plate to "Beat on the Brat" with a baseball bat? Yet their humor was adroitly counterbalanced by a ferociously serious musical attack, made up of Johnny's buzzsawing, no time-for-solos guitar (Pusher Note: More like no talent-for solos guitar), Dee Dee's pinpoint (and hell-bent) bass, and Tommy's "all meat, no filler" four on-the-floor drumming. The Ramones weren't the only alternative band on the New York scene during those fateful days of '74 and '75. There were those who'd come before, like the glittery New York Dolls from St. Mark's Place, the boys-will-be-boys Dictators from the Bronx, and the priestess from New Jersey, Patti Smith. And there were those who emerged alongside them. The Neon Boys, Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell who split up to form (respectively) Television and the Voidoids, the art school refugees Talking Heads, and the pop-aspiring Blondie. And they all met at such unlikely shrines as the aforementioned CBGB and the old Warhol hangout, Max's Kansas City. No one ever got up and officially proclaimed this motley crew of musical misfits as a movement. But as they began to draw increasingly larger audiences- audiences made up of people who, like them- selves, were bored with the music on their radios, and in their record stores- and as the critics began chronicling their exploits and singing their praises in print, a movement was indeed nurtured. Eventually it was given a name, Punk. And no band symbolized it better than the Ramones. The group never campaigned to be the spokespersons of punk, but as their following swelled, and record companies began to sniff around, the band's image and style became issues of controversy. While the Ramones fancifully thought of themselves as a nouveau bubblegum band with guts, most music industry executives saw their twelve song 20-minute bursts of newspeak as a violent threat to the status quo, and many nervous jokes were made at their expense ("I would've walked out on them," one company president said, "but they were finished before I could get up.") By the end of 1975, though, the Ramones had a recording contract with Seymour Stein's Sire Records, and it was their signing that paved the way for the rest of New York's- and ultimately the nations- punk and new wave bands. Their debut album, recorded for the incredibly low sum of $6000 and featuring 14 songs crammed into less than 30 minutes, exhilarated many, shocked more than a few and, in general, caused quite a stir upon its release in early 1976. While critics raved, radio programmers scratched their heads. What would their ad-conscious station managers say if they played a song whose only lyrics were, "You're a loudmouth baby/ You better shut it up/ I'm gonna beat you up/ Cause you're a loudmouth baby"? The right people, though, got the joke- and the point- of the Ramones' music. As summer arrived, the clarion call of "Hey ho, let's go!" was being sounded not only all across the U.S. but overseas as well. It somehow seemed fitting that on the Fourth of July of 1976- the exact day of the American Bicentennial- the Ramones stood on a stage in London, England, and proclaimed rock & roll's new declaration of independence to an audience composed of the future members of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, Generation X, and, indeed most of what would soon be the core population of the British punk scene. Early in 1977, the group released their second album, Ramones Leave Home, another fun-filled excursion into the realms of unconsciousness ("Carbona Not Glue"), self-mutilation ("Suzy Is A Headbanger"), electroshock therapy ("Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment"), and freelance military activity ("Commando"). And, of course, "Pinhead." Partially inspired by the scene in Todd Browing's classic '30s horror film, Freaks, in which the title circus sideshow characters welcome a "normal" into their ranks, the cry of "Gabba gabba/ We accept you/ We accept you/ One of us" became the official slogan of the House of Ramones, the supreme howl of liberation for rock's underclass of punks and new wavers. Hot on its heels that spring came "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," an infectious, anthemic tribute to the band's fans and their beloved hometown, and as the single made its way onto the Top 100 charts, its success served warning that the Ramones were well on their way to becoming a commercial, as well as artistic, force to be reckoned with. Rocket to Russia, released near the end of 1977, more than made good on that warning, for it established the stance, the philosophy, and the viability of the Ramones as never before. The bone-crunching muscularity of their live sound was finally captured accurately in the studio by producers Tony Bongiovi and Tommy (T.Erdely) Ramone, and engineer Ed Stasium. Songs like "Cretin Hop" and "Teenage Lobotomy" (Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em/ That I got no cerebellum) showed that the Ramones' wit was waxing ever sharper, while "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" and "We're A Happy Family" (We ain't got no friends/ Our troubles never end/ No Christmas cards to send/ Daddy likes men") displayed a bite as sharp as the bark. And with the glorious, Beach Boys-styled chart single "Rockaway Beach", the Ramones proved conclusively that "Sheena" was indeed no fluke, that they could merrily rock out with anyone, anytime. 1978 found the band crisscrossing the U.S. on their first full-scale national tour as a headlining act, but at a price- a physically and emotionally drained Tommy announced at tour's end that he was leaving the band to concentrate on producing. His place was taken by Voidoid Marc Bell (known from that day forth as Marky Ramone). Road to Ruin, the group's first record with their new drummer, found the Ramones expanding their horizons while consolidating their by now prodigious strengths. Tracks such as "Go Mental" and "I Just Wanna to Have Something To Do" struck with the savage efficiency expected of the world's hardest-rocking punk band, while the rollicking "I Wanna Be Sedated" and a strikingly poignant cover of the Searcher's British Invasion classic, "Needles and Pins," (showcased here in its specially remixed 1979 single release form), once again underscored the fact that the Ramones could be as commercial as ABBA so long as the game was played on their own turf. Between these tunes and such heretofore uncharacteristic songs as the country-flavored "You Don't Come Close" (complete with- ahem- guitar solo) and the haunting ballad, "Questioningly," it was clear that the Ramones, secure with past accomplishments as leaders of a worldwide revolution, were now ready for an internal evolution. Tabbed by film director Allan Arkush to guest star in a Roger Corman -produced movie about life in America's secondary school system (Corman had no previous knowledge of the band, but gave them the nod when Arkush showed him the Cormanesque "Mutant Monster Beach Party" action comic issue of PUNK magazine which featured Joey as the behemoth-battling, surfin' safari-ing hero), the Ramones finished 1978 in Hollywood making their celluloid debut in- and supplying the theme song for- Rock 'n' Roll High School, in which they led the dedicated students of Vince Lombardi High in that time-honored tradition of blowing up the school at the end of the term. While in California, the band was approached by legendary record producer Phil Spector, who expressed his desire to work with them. The following spring, the band returned to Los Angeles to record under Spector's supervision at the famed Gold Star Studios, site of all those Crystals, Ronettes, and Righteous Brothers classics. True to his word, Spector succeeded in giving the Ramones his patented "wall of sound" treatment, as evidenced by "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio," a cascading, swirling salute to rock & roll's inspirational past, "Danny Says" (featuring the world's loudest acoustic guitar), and "Chinese Rock," a dark tale of hard times on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Over the course of the next few years, the Ramones continued to experi- ment, broadening the range of both their material and overall sound. With former 10CCer and British Invasion hit songwriter Graham "Bus Stop" Gouldman at the controls, 1981's Pleasant Dreams brought out the more pop-orientated facets of the band's musical personality without any loss of identity. After all, only the Ramones could have you blissfully humming along the chorus of "The KKK Took My Baby Away" or giddily grabbing the nearest blunt object with which to smash your radio to smithereens ("We Want the Airwaves"). Likewise, 1983's Subterranean Jungle, produced by Ritchie Cordell- uberlord of all those wonderful Tommy James and the Shondells records, and composer of the eternal teen mating call "I Think We're Alone Now"- saw the band adding a glistening shine to their music, reflected brightly on such jet-propelled fireballs as "Psycho Therapy" and "Outsider". And those bubblegum roots which were always implicit in the band's work finally emerged with the recording of "Little Bit o'Soul" and the Cordell co-authored "Indian Giver" (originally released solely as a B-side in the U.K. and presented here in album form for the very first time.) The summer of 1983 marked yet another turning point in the Ramones' career. After more than 5 years of virtually incessant worldwide touring, the band was forced off the road for a spell due to a variety of reasons (Joey and Johnny were both hospitalized for illnesses, and Marky left the band to attend to personal matters). When they emerged, with new drummer Richie (Beau) Ramone on board, it was with a renewed and recharged sense of purpose. Incorporating the fiercest aspects of both the punk rock they'd originated and the hardcore/speed metal genres they'd laid the groundwork for, 1984's Too Tough To Die (produced by old hands Tommy (Ramone) Erdelyi and Ed Stasium) answered any possible doubts about the band's rightful place as keepers of rock & roll's white-hot flame. From the rockabillying "Mama's Boy" to the breakneck-paced "Warthog" (the latter featuring a rare vocal by Dee Dee), and from the shoulda-been-a-hot-catchiness of "Howling at the Moon" (produced by Eurythmics' Dave Stewart) to the disarmingly heartfelt "I'm Not Afraid of Life", Too Tough to Die was a towering reaffirmation of the Ramones' rock & roll principles. Animal Boy (1986, produced by former Plasmatic, Jean Beauvoir), continued the band's resurgence. And among the album's many gems, like the headbanging title track and the ominous "Somebody Put Something in My Drink", came graphic evidence of the Ramones' growing maturity, in the form of the politically active "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg", a song takes dead aim at a certain actor-turned-President we all know. With 1987's Halfway to Sanity- represented here by the affirmative- actioned "I Wanna Live" and the appropriately frantic "Bop Til' You Drop"- and with the appearance of this collection, the Ramones commemorate two rather significant milestones. They have, at this point, contributed ten studio albums's worth of might fine music to the world, and they are celebrating (with Marky Ramone back in tow, we might add) their 15th year as a working rock & roll band. A decade and a half after their humble beginnings at the corner of Bleecker and the Bowery, much of what fills the air on radio stations and the racks of record stores, is STILL tenth-generation Led Zeppelin, tenth- generation Elton John, or overproduced, or just junk. So long as the Ramones continue to soldier on, however, there will also still be a living, breathing entity known as rock & roll. And something to believe in. ______________________________________________________________________________ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Runaways From the liner notes of "The Best Of The Runaways" by Len Epand January 1976. Hardly rock 'n' roll's proudest moment. America's pop Top 10 drifts aimlessly in the Me Decade, awash with MOR flotsam and disco jetsam. What little rock 'n' roll succeeds in poking through probably attracts scant attention in rock 'n' roll heaven: The Bay City Rollers and Sweet are more on the level of confection or novelty, not unlike, say, C.W. McCall, whose "Convoy" is serious business. In short, the charts offer little that's potent, important, tough 'n' honest. Interviewing Joan Jett, the emerging head of the Runaways, for a magazine's update on the group as they finish recording their second album in L.A., I note the state of pop radio and ask how she likes the gestating New York CBGB scene and acts like Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, the Ramones, et al. For there is a sort of connection - they're all sparks in a rock 'n' roll renaissance, new voices making some noise. "It's about time some fun kind of music came back," Joan asserts. "We want to get some other kind of music in there 'cause every time I turn on KHJ [then L.A.'S reigning Top 40] I can't listen to it for more than 10 minutes. 'Cause it's the same kind of music over and over, disco, pop, and... if they'd just throw something in there once in a while! I think a lot of people want to hear it." April 1982. A lot of people do want to hear it, and they keep Joan Jett's first single from her second solo album on Boardwalk Records, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," number one for seven weeks. Unfortunately, KHJ, on which Joan very much wanted to be heard, has long retired into a country format. But Joan is heard on Top 40 stations as well as FM album rock radio, and her song stands as an anthem. It's all more triumphant-sounding when you know what went before it. From the critical lambasting the Runaways suffered (ROLLING STONE still refers to them as "Kim Fowley's quintet of teen teasers"), the group's failure to succeed in the U.S. (in Japan they were superstars), and the fact that the other Runaways twice refused Joan's plea to record the song, to the lengthy string of rejections Joan Jett's first solo album elicited from major labels. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" exemplifies the winning style Joan has forged with produced/manager Kenny Laguna. It's a heavy metal approach to pop that might lapse into bubblegum were it not for Joan's sensibility, which is very much punk. The origins of Joan's style are here to be relived in The Best Of The Runaways. With a directness previously unheard from women in rock, the Runaways belted out statements of teen rebellion. Lady James Deans, if you will. Teenagers themselves, they championed for their g-g-generation the glories of rock 'n' roll, late night partying, and sex, but the archetypal emphasis was on living to the max, true to your passions. And of course in a middle class world this meant being "bad." And fairly often - as in most of the tracks selected for this set - they expressed this most devastatingly in writing and performance. The Runaways played loud, hard, heavy, and... well. The rhythm section of Sandy West (drums), Jackie Fox (bass) and later Vicki Blue (bass), and Jett (rhythm guitar) cooked, and provided a great foundation for Lita Ford's adept and aggressive lead guitar playing, which ambitiously reached for Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page heights. The Runaways moxie shocked many (including some critics?). But it also changed some male-female stereotypes, and spoke for a whole lotta girls, some of whom consequently turned to playing rock 'n' roll too. Arguably, the Runaways made possible Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar, the Go-Gos, Girlschool, and countless others. If that end justifies the means, one cannot fault the Runaways for the way they were formed, produced and "directed" - largely by Hollywood Argyle- turned-rockmeister Kim Fowley. Fowley, it seems to me, was more catalyst than Svengali. Most of the Runaways were very talented, and when they came to Fowley they were rockers looking to happen, not seals looking to be trained. The beginning predates Fowley, actually. It goes back to 1974 when 14-year old Joan Jett trailed Suzi Quatro around Hollywood's Continental "Riot" House. Quatro, though Detroit bred, was one of the several glitter-pop stars (Gary Glitter was another) who became the rage in England in the early 70's but could barely get arrested in the U.S., except to fans like Joan. As she explained her Quatro fixation to me, "I didn't like [early 70's all-women groups] Fanny or Isis. They didn't really do it - play rock 'n' roll." In 1975, Joan and friend Kari Krome approached Fowley to help them form a band. Fowley, the story goes, told them if they could find one more he'd do it. Soon after Joan and Kari met Sandy West in the Rainbow Bar parking lot... and Kim went to work. First he determined that Krome was okay as a lyricist but not as a singer, and proceeded to bring in Mickey Steel (quickly replaced by Jackie), Lita, and a vocalist Cherie Currie, whom he found at a San Fernando Valley teen club called the Sugar Shack. After rehearsing them, Fowley signed them to Mercury, and produced THE RUNAWAYS. Like most first albums it was raw like the ch-ch-cherry bomb of the opening track, "Cherry Bomb" (which by the way was the sort of number that tagged them as Jailbait Rock. Consider such lines as "Hey street boy...I'll give you some/to live for/Have ya, grab ya, 'til yo're sore"). Definitely not the stuff of Queen/Yes/Genesis-styled opuses, the music prevailing on album rock radio in the mid-70's. QUEENS OF NOISE, the second LP, wasn't exactly subdued, but its songs and production were far more refined, with Earle Mankey (Sparks, the Beach Boys) brought in to co-produce. By this LP, Joan's sphere had grown more dominant. Previously, she'd written or co-written much of the Runaways' best material, now she sang most of it, too. Yet, the Runaways persisted as a group effort, and this is evidenced on their Live In Japan LP, an LP never released in America but represented here by "You Drive Me Wild", and "Queens of Noise." Back in the U.S. in 1977, the girls cut their third Fowley-produced studio LP, WAITIN' FOR THE NIGHT. It was pretty much Joan's record, considering that both Cherie and Jackie earlier had left the band, and only Jackie had been replaced (by Blue). Once again, the Runaways propounded their essential pop/metal/punk style, but American radio refused them again, now lumping them with the Sex Pistols, Clash, Jam, and whatever as an excuse not to admit that times had changed. Still, Joan, Lita, Sandy, and Vicki clung together, and in 1978 they parted ways with Kim Fowley and, since their deal was tied to Fowley, Mercury. In now was Suzi Quatro and Blondie's manager at the time, Toby Mamis. It was Mamis' inspired idea to offer the group to producer Kenny Laguna, but Laguna, Joan's current mentor, turned them down! Mamis then turned to ex-Thin Lizzy producer John Alcock, and they cut AND NOW...THE RUNAWAYS!, as it was titled in Europe (The LP wouldn't find release in North America until 1981, when Rhino Records put it out as LITTLE LOST GIRLS). It was during these sessions that the difference set in that would tear them apart, with Lita and Sandy on one side (heavy metal), and Joan on another (punk). Vicki Blue, meanwhile, was sidelined with a medical condition (not drugs), leaving Lita to record many of the bass parts on the album. For their remaining gigs, they replaced Blue with Laurie McCallister. But McCallister would leave shortly to form the Runaways- like Orchids (who released one LP on MCA). Yet the final bizarre twist in the story came in the months before the Runaways' total dissolution in early 1979. Joan ended up fulfilling an obligation to film the Runaways movie (!). Called "We're All Crazy Now", it would star Joan with actresses playing her fellow bandmates. The movie, thanks to Joan's current success but much to her chagrin, may find release in late 1982. In the meantime, it sits vaulted away. The Runaways' records, thankfully do not. And where are the Runaways now? Joan: Well accounted for here and in journals everywhere. Lita: About to release her debut with the Lita Ford Band, a metal outfit also featuring Neil Merryweather on bass. Cherie: Acting in films. Did "Foxes" and recorded one poorly received LP with sister Marie called MESSIN' WITH THE BOYS. See Vicki. Sandy: Rehearsing the hard rock Sandy West Group to begin playing the Hollywood club scene. Jackie: Last reported to be working for a motivational therapy organization, after having toiled in record promotion. Vicki: Recording with Cherie in the Currie Blue Band, after having recorded one unreleased LP. Epitaph: "I think the Runaways were just too honest." - Joan Jett, New Musical Express, April 1982. ______________________________________________________________________________ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Who From the liner notes of "Who's Better, Who's Best" by Richard Barnes The Who's 20-year career saw them progress from school mates jamming at the Acton Congregational Church Hall to become The Greatest Rock Band In The World. During those two erratic and spectacular decades they produced a series of records which include many of the greatest-ever classics in rock and pop history. Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle attended Acton Grammar School in West London. Entwhistle could already read music but Townsend admitted he'd been 'buggering about for guitar for years getting nowhere'. They joined Roger Daltrey's group - the Detours, which two years later they renamed the Who. Their next incarnation, from long-haired R&B group to short-haired mods, brought another short-lived name change, to the High Numbers, and a new drummer - Keith Moon. After a 'mod single' flopped, they reverted to the Who. By late 1964 through word-of-mouth and sheer hard work the Who had attracted great interest plus a large, loyal following and were ready to make another record. A demo of their song, this time written by Townsend, was played over the phone to record producer Shel Talmy. He saw them play and found them '...funky, loud, raw, but they had balls...I loved them the moment I heard them.' I CAN'T EXPLAIN was released in early 1965. The Who had been regularly playing Tuesday (the duff night) at Soho's Marquee Jazz Club transforming it into a packed-out 'Maximum R&B' success. This led to a live TV appearance on Ready Steady Go. A pre-arranged "spontaneous outburst" at the end of their song by Who fans in the studio audience caused a rumpus, drawing viewers' attention to the group. It worked and next week the record charted at no. 28, eventually making no. 8. I CAN'T EXPLAIN is a great pop classic. It's brilliantly held together by a tight funky guitar riff. Moon's drumming is like well-timed snatches of a hammer-gun. Daltrey's voice slurs against the high dreamy backing voices of the Ivy League. As first records go, it was miles better than either the Beatles or the Stones. Much of the Who's breakthrough was due to their very devoted Mod cult following plus the heavy airplay they got from pirate stations, Radio Caroline and Radio London. By 1965, Melody Maker described their attitude and music as, "defiant!... their sound is vicious." The Who were THE loudest group and ended their sets by systematically destroying their equipment. Townsend would violently shove his guitar through the speakers, or hammer his Rickenbacker on the floor to get electronic feedback. He'd use the mike stand on it as if playing violin to get more strange effects. Moon would 'take it out' on his drum kit in sympathy, then set about anything left. Daltrey would scrape the mike over the cymbals creating a wrenching sound, while Entwhistle, ignoring the mayhem, would keep still, calmly playing on, protecting his bass, and acting as anchor to the others. Surrounded by smoke and a debris of fused smoldering amps, buzzing speakers, smashed guitars, and battered drums, they'd walk off. They were a highly 'visual' group - Moon continually twirling and hurling drumsticks as he played. Townsend spinning his arm like a windmill smashing at the strings, and Daltrey swinging his mike around like a lasso. The NME's Roy Carr said, "It was like seeing a piece of pure energy, pure raw energy." An attempt was made to capture their live sound on their next record. When ANYHOW, ANYWAY, ANYWHERE was released in May 1965, Decca at first returned the tapes assuming the feedback was a technical fault. It reached no. 10 and was described as a 'Pop Art' single now that the group had moved on to wearing clothes plastered with Pop images such as targets, chevrons, and flags inspired by 60's Pop artists. The next single was a monster and shot the Who straight into the limelight, propelling the articulate, intelligent and verbose Townsend even further as semi-official spokesman for pop music and the young. MY GENERATION, the legendary Who anthem released in November 1965, had the most fantastic heavy pounding bass riff. It's about a stuttering piled-up mod telling the older generation to F-F-F-Fade Away (or words to that effect), and has the provocative line "Hope I die before I get old." It went straight into the British charts at no. 16 and despite being initially banned by the BBC reached no. 2. It's still a f-f-fading great record today. They released their first album, also called MY GENERATION a month later. SUBSTITUTE (March 1966) was yet another powerful classic and a brilliant follow-up single. The great 'Plastic spoon' lyrics, are mugged along once more by Entwhistle's superb deep, rich, overloud power-bass. SUBSTITUTE was produced by Townsend himself as the Whowere now attempting to break from their record deal with Shel Talmy. The very same day, Decca released another Who track confusing the market. Despite injunctions and seizures, Substitute reached no. 5 staying in the charts for 13 weeks. Later that year the band again had two competing records out at the same time. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT was released two weeks later before I'M A BOY, on a rival label. Moon was particularly praised on THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT for "one of the most sublime drumrolls in rock." It charted at 41. I'M A BOY, with its Beach Boys vocals, rose to the top of the Melody maker Top Fifty (In the NME it only managed No. 2 - beaten by JIM REEVES' Distant Drums). In December their second album, A QUICK ONE was released. HAPPY JACK, released December 1966 in the UK and March 1967 in the US was the Who's first American breakthrough reaching 24 in Billboard and selling over 300,000 copies. It got to no. 3 in the UK. PICTURES OF LILY (April 1967) hit trouble too as it was thought to be about masturbation and banned by many US radio stations. It got to no. 5 in the U.S. As Townsend remarked later - PICTURES OF LILY, I'M A BOY, and HAPPY JACK, had "the strange attraction of being 'sweet songs' sung by a violent group." In 1967 they played the Monterey Pop Festival, followed by seven weeks of havoc on the U.S. Herman's Hermits tour. Moon celebrated his 21st birthday at Decca's party in Flint, Michigan by ruining several cars with fire-extinguisher foam and diving into an empty swimming pool, smashing his front teeth. The $15,000 or so damages were paid by a tour whip-round (including Herman). The Who were banned - their first - from Holiday Inns worldwide. I CAN SEE FOR MILES. An obvious masterpiece. Though released in October 1967, it had been written much earlier and held in reserve. When it failed to reach no. 1 in Britain, Townsend was 'crushed' (it reached no. 10 and 9 in the U.S.). The slightly sinister sound, Moon's timing, Townsend's one-note solo: Critic Dave Marsh enthuses, "...it's quite simply the most exciting piece of music the Who ever recorded." A month later they released the album THE WHO SELL OUT - considered pure pop at its very best - a tribute to the recently outlawed pirate radio stations including the actual jingles from the late Radio London. In September 1968 they released MAGIC BUS with its simple Bo Diddley-like guitar. It got to no. 26 in the UK and 25 in the U.S. Amazingly, it was accused in the U.S. of being drug oriented. The great PINBALL WIZARD was released in 1969. This brilliant no-nonsense triumph of guitar rock immediately caused another row. The BBC attacked it as sick. However, the New Yorker magazine called it, "...more than excellent - one of the great rock songs of the decade." It climbed to no. 4 in the UK and 19 in the U.S. Shortly after the Who presented their much-awaited rock opera double album TOMMY, from which PINBALL WIZARD, I'M FREE, and SEE ME, FELL ME are taken. TOMMY was a major milestone in rock history. The most important and innovative rock album since SGT. PEPPER. It was an immediate huge success and obviously inspired Townsend's interest in the mysticism which he'd developed two or three years earlier. He'd been discussing in interviews his devotion to Mether Baba for some time. Life Magazine said, "...for sheer power, invention and brilliance of performance TOMMY outstrips anything that has ever come out of a rock recording studio." It established Townsend as the greatest rock songwriter after Lennon and McCartney, and elevated Daltrey as the most important rock vocalist and stage performer. At live shows TOMMY sounded even better. Seeing the Who perform TOMMY on stage must have been the high point of rock for very many people. When they were good - they were overwhelming. During 1979 and 1980 the group toured America, Europe, and Britain with TOMMY, leaving a trail of mind-blown disbelieving Who converts in their wake. They also played it in the major European opera houses, at the London Coliseum, and finally, the New York Met. They were now the biggest box office draw on both sides of the Atlantic. The extent of the success of TOMMY surprised even the Who. The post-TOMMY Who had finally reached the position of the DEFINITIVE rock band. The Melody Maker summed it up declaring, "Surely the Who are now the group against which all others are to be judged." Their concerts sold out twenty times over. The San Francisco Chronicle claimed the show, "Absolutely staggering in its emotional and musical power." Townsend said later, "We went from the ridiculous to the sublime - being told we were musical geniuses when really we were just a bunch of scumbags." In 1970 to counter TOMMY-hysteria they released an album of a live concert, LIVE AT LEEDS, still regarded as the best intelligent heavy metal album ever. In June of 1971 came the phenomenal WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN, almost a 70's version of MY GENERATION. The first intelligent use of synthesizer in rock. It reached no. 15 in the States, and no. 9 in Britain. The next album, WHO'S NEXT, their first "polished" studio album, went gold in six weeks in the U.S. reaching no. 4. The Who had opened London's new Rainbow Theater and were soon back for a posher do when a star-studded cast performed TOMMY in a version scored for the London Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir (The Royal Albert Hall refused it as 'unsavory'). JOIN TOGETHER was released in June 1972 reaching no. 9 in the UK and 17 in the States, and the long-awaited concept album QUADROPHENIA, about a young 60's mod was issued in November 1973. ODDS AND SODS, an album of previously unreleased material was issued in 1974. In 1975, Ken Russell's film version of TOMMY was lavishly premiered in London, New York, and L.A., and was a huge box office success. THE WHO BY NUMBERS album came out in October of 1975. The Who introduced lasers into the act in America. It was the first time they'd been used in rock. The band were now using 72 speakers and 14 tons of equipment. 1976 saw SQUEEZE BOX a lively foot-stomping number, brilliantly sung by Daltrey and with a banjo guitar solo from Townsend, it reached 16 in the U.S. charts and 10 in the UK. At their Charlton football ground concert, 70,000 loyal fans braved five hours of rain to hear what the Guinness Book of Records measured as the loudest ever rock concert (76,000 watts producing 120 decibels). The Who were inactive throughout 1977. Moon had beenliving full time in America and early in 1978 Townsend declared the Who wouldn't tour any more. WHO ARE YOU issued in the summer of 1978, was hailed (by some) as their best single for ten years. It's driven along by a strong riff which is a combination of guitar, bass, and synthesizer with a powerful chanting chorus. In the UK it reached 18, in the U.S. 14. The WHO ARE YOU album which followed became their biggest and fastest seller ever. Daltrey was much praised for the vocals. Moon had moved back to live in England but in the early hours of September 7th, 1978, after attending Paul McCartney's party for the screening of The Buddy Holly Story, Keith died from overdosing on a drug prescribed for alcoholic withdrawal symptoms. Keith Moon was unique and universally acclaimed as the greatest drummer in rock (as nearly all the tracks here prove). He could almost be called the lead drummer on many of the tracks. He not only kept the beat but played like an extra instrument. His ability to anticipate a gap in the music, jump in quick as a flash, fill it with a dozen sharp machine-gun 'shots', and get out cleanly in time for tea, was incredible. (Just listen to I CAN SEE FOR MILES, PINBALL WIZARD, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT - any of them). He was also (in)famous as 'Moon the Loon', the witty, outrageous, lovable, eccentric of rock. Master practical-joker and hotel-wrecker par-excellence. He was genuinely funny and one of the most-liked individuals in the music business. For a time it looked like the end of the Who. However, the other three eventually decided that Keith wouldn't have wanted that and resolved to carry on and even go back on the road. Old friend and ex-Faces drummer Kenney Jones joined the band and proved himself at their first concert at London's Rainbow Theater. They played the huge Wembley stadium to 77,000. A major tour of the States followed starting in Detroit. The Who were back on the road and did several more major concerts in Europe and the States. The film version of QUADROPHENIA was premiered in 1979, very timely for the mod revival. As Newsweek noted, "...a damn good movie," and a huge box-office success in Britain . About the same time THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, a documentary film on the band came out. The first single with Jones as drummer YOU BETTER YOU BET was released in February 1981 and the album from which it came FACE DANCES, a month later. Both went to no. 1 in Billboard's rock charts and the single to no. 9 in the British charts. The album was beaten into the no. 2 spot in Britain by ADAM ANT who sold just nine copies more. The last album the Who released was IT'S HARD. They played their farewell concert in Toronto at the end of 1982. No guitars were smashed at the end. They reformed to play four numbers for the Live Aid concert in 1985. In February 1988 the British Phonographic Industry presented the Who with a special Lifetime Achievement award for their contribution to rock music and in March this album WHO'S BETTER WHO'S BEST was released. JIM REEVES, and ADAM ANT permitting, it deserves to go to no. 1. _ _ _____________________________________________________________________ /((___))\|The Convent..........619/475-6187 The Dead Zone.........214/522-5321 [ x x ] |Demon Roach Undrgrnd.806/794-4362 Greenpeace's IGB......916/673-8412 \ / |PURE NIHILISM..........new # soon Ripco.................312/528-5020 (' ') |Tequila Willy's GSC..209/526-3194 The Works.............617/861-8976 (U) |===================================================================== .ooM |1989 cDc communications by The Pusher. 09/30/89-#119 \_______/|All Rights Pissed Away.