Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Best Live Band That Ever Was

Seriously, I'll quit the music postings now, but I had to close with this video of Baba O'Riley and the original lineup of The Who. This song was practically the anthem for a whole generation -- or it was for the segment of it that I was a part of. I was trying to find a song that captured the essence of what that last couple of years of high school was like for me and this is it. It's not necessarily that I played "Who's Next" any more often than the dozens of other albums that provided the soundtrack for that period of time, but if I had to choose one track, this would be it for me.

If you had to pick one song to characterize your high school years, what would it be?


Stephen Parrish said...

I just looked at a list of songs that were hits when I was in high school, and so many could serve as anthems, I can't possibly name one. Or even ten.

kristenspina said...

I was in high school from 1977-79, and the song that stands out is the one my class chose for our homecoming theme "We are the Champions/We will Rock You" by Queen.

And, of course, right around 1978, there was the disco extravaganza, though that seemed more my parent's thing. High school to me was all about rock and roll. Supertramp, The Knack, Cheap Trick...

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

Although I went to high school during the late nineties, Depeche Mode's Never Let Me Down Again was pretty much my theme song for that period. In many ways, it still is...

Carleen Brice said...

I don't recall any song being an anthem for me, though I did listen to Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" a LOT.

My high school experience musically can be summed up by the fact by best friend Carl wanted "Aqua Boogie" by Parliament to be the theme song for the prom.

I think we ended up with "Sailing" by Christopher Cross.

Lisa said...

Stephen, I'd been incorporating a lot of music into my work in progress and I was researching music that was released at the time when I realized that back in those days, the music I was listening to had usually been out for a while. It seems like there was always much more of a time delay between when new music was released, when it got airplay (the only possible exposure), when people would actually buy the album (we didn't buy nearly as many as we eventually would) and when it became well known. Cuz yeah -- Who's Next was out a long time before I was a junior/senior in high school, but it and lots of other older music were pretty popular. Kind of weird compared to how quickly we pick up on new music now.

Kristen, Oh yeah -- I remember all of those too! The disco was the reason I think me and all of my burnout friends were listening to a lot of older rock and roll -- whatever was still being played on the FM stations that still played full album sides. It was so contentious!

Orchid Hunter, It's funny because I vividly remember when Depeche Mode came along in the early 80's. I was living in the UK at the time ('81-'83) and they were huge, although back then, whenever I think of going into an English dance club I mostly think of the synthesized beginning of "The Human League" and "Fascination" and my personal fav from that time, "Where Did Our Love Go". I had to Wiki Depeche Mode because I hadn't realized what a long run they've had!

Carleen, Oh my God, I so love your best friend, Carl! I remember Parliment, but I never heard "Aqua Boogie" and when I was checking out the link, Scott's ears perked up, he got a big grin across his face and knew exactly who and what it was. That was hysterical!

It will probably come as no surprise that I did not go to my senior prom -- I was out with my 20 year old boyfriend that night (such a rebel and way too cool to go to the prom/please note the sarcasm is directed at myself), but I do remember that they chose "Do You Know? -- the theme from Mahogany" as our prom theme. Or maybe that was the theme to my junior prom, which I did attend with Larry Smith. We had broken up the week or so before, but -- well, I had the dress and the hideous tux was already rented, so we went anyway :)

Larramie said...

No need to stop, Lisa, as this trip down memory lane is FUN!

Mardougrrl said...

Oh, Lisa...what fun! Hmm...I would say dance music was huge in my high school and with my subgroup. We LOVED Depeche Mode and basically listened to nothing but "Violator" my whole senior year. And CC Music Factory.

And then as soon as I started college, things were pretty much defined by "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and "Nevermind."

Ah, good times!

Charles Gramlich said...

My high school experience? At the risk of being crude, it was best characterized by Z Z Top's "Lord take me down town, I'm just looking for some tush."

steve said...

I'm not sure if there's any song that would characterize my high school years. I started high school in 1965 and graduated in '69. What comes to mind is Simon and Garfunkel, especially "Scarborough Fair/Canticle." I discovered the Incredible String Band when I was in high school, and "Painting Box" has to be up there on my list. And one more: "Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Lisa said...

Ooops, I meant to say "Tainted Love" not "Where Did Our Love Go", which later remixes segued into from "Tainted Love".

Larramie, It must have been "School's Out" that got me into summertime, easy post mode :)

Mardougrrl, "Everybody Dance Now!"

I used to love that video! Ah, and Seattle and grunge -- yes, that was a fun period too.

Charles, Hahahahaha! That's funny. I think the crude equivalent to that when I was in high school was Meatloaf and "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights". I'll bet I still know all the words to that song!

Steve, Although I'll concede that some great music came out of the 70's, I have to admit I was always envious of your age group and the changes musically and politically that characterized the late 60's. I'm sure I'd have been a great big hippy and I hope, political activist :)

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

Mardougrrl and her friends have exquisite taste.

Vesper said...

I can't pick just one...
Thanks for making me think of my high school years. Yeah, the 80s were great times. :-)

CindyLV said...

Stairway to Heaven?
Rock On?
Dust in the Wind?
You're my best friend?
Dream On?
Keep on Truckin' Baby?
I Will Survive?
Ooohhhh, the memories these songs bring back!

Lisa said...

Orchid Hunter, Mardougrrl is just exquisite all the way around :)

Vesper, It's a pretty daunting task!

Cindy, Oh, you triggered some more memories -- and going back even further to when I first started going to dances at Catholic schools in Boston, does anyone remember that slow dance oldie but goodie, "Color My World" by Chicago?

Sustenance Scout said...

Oh wow, talk about fun. I still love Tainted Love, when did that come out? Early 80s was high school for me; everyone in ski club belted out Rock the Kazbah on the bus to Labrador mountain in upstate New York; coming down the slope to hear J. Geils Band's My Angel is the Centerfold on the lodge loudspeaker was the best; and of course the Kinks' Lola!

Riss said...

ok so here's something...I graduated high school in 2001 (I know...) and I'm trying to think what songs got me through...I know I personally spent a lot of time listening to Metallica, The Offspring and The Smashing Pumpkins. We picked a Green Day song (their sappy acoustic one) for our senior anthem.

I guess for me not a whole lot has changed...I listen to less Metallica but still love Offspring, Smashing Pumpkins, NIN, all those 90's bands. Big fan of Poe and The Refreshments too hehe. Anyway-I'd have to say maybe something from Weezer's Pinkerton or something. yeah. Sure. All of it? can I just vote for all of it? The conglomeration makes for a good soundtrack. And They Might Be Giants...and...ok I'll stop now.

Denis said...

Here's where my age will show. My early favorites were "Don't worry Baby - Beach Boys, Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Zimmerman, Fingertips - Little Stevie Wonder. Senior HS: For what it's worth - Buffalo Springfield, lots of Beatles, lots of Temptations. Then Light my Fire, Crystal Ship, etc - the Doors, Bobby McGee - Janice Joplin, anything by Jimi, Neil Young, Van Morrison It was a good music era!

Sustenance Scout said...

Denis, a list like that makes it clear that was a phenomenal music era! K.

Tim said...

Lisa -- For me, as a model introvert, the top song was Brian Wilson's ode to loneliness, "In My Room," which I still think has one of the most achingly beautiful melodies ever written.

And I think the greatest live band I ever saw was Traffic. I remember them playing for more than three hours at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, with Steve Winwood and Chris Wood, both of whom could play anything, just wandering the stage looking for something new to pick up while the rest of the band vamped along and watched to see what they'd do. It was like watching five guys who loved to play, and we'd been invited into their garage, except that the level of musicianship was ridiculously strong.

Scott Mattlin said...

This was a post that elicited responses that were truly a kick for me to read and enjoy.

T'were I to pick one live concert that truly was a benchmark performance; and one of the few that I'll NEVER forget; was TRAFFIC;.-playing at the Academy of Music in Greenwhich Village, N.Y.C.
I believe that it was their first live performance after their "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" album was released. After the warm-up band (Savoy Brown, if memory serves), was done with their set, and an intermission to allow us time to roll a few more joints;...; there was a literal hush that came over that wild N.Y. crowd;...and the dark stage was very gradually lit by a moody deep blue halo. The band members were hidden at the back of the stage ; while the few deep, distinctive bass notes of "Low Spark" began resonating repeatedly throughout the hall.
Eventually; the band came into view; and Stevie Winwood has never sounded better. It was an amazing performance . Thanks for prompting a wonderful memory.

Tim said...


A kindred soul. Weren't they amazing? And you always had the sense that they could have changed the entire playlist on a whim, and it would have been an even better night. If that were possible.

One other great thing about Traffic was that they never got big enough to play arenas, so you generally saw them in some venue that seated 2,000-5,000 people -- you felt much closer to the band.

Both Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi are dead now. Hard to believe.

Lisa said...

Karen, I'm not sure what year "Tainted Love" came out, but it was a jukebox staple in the club at RAF Bentwaters when I was there between '81 and '83. That and "Red Red Wine". The J. Geils Band was from Boston and they were HUGE there before they were very big anywhere else. Oh, I loved The Kinks too.

Riss, Actually, all the 90's bands you mentioned make me think of when my son was still living at home. He had MTV on constantly or was playing music and so I know exactly the time frame you're talking about and I liked all those bands too. He's the one who turned me on to Beck, who I've always loved. We used to talk about bands and music all the time and when he moved out, I lost touch with most new music. I remember the first time I was the NIN video for Closer and I told Josh I was probably going to have nightmares from it and he laughed and said he thought there was a good chance he might too :)

Denis, You are so lucky to have been in high school in the 60's! There was hardly a bad song on the radio.

Tim, I was never a huge Beach Boys fan, but there is something about that song.

As far as Traffic goes, as you saw in Scott's post, that's two of you now that make me envious that I never had the chance to see them live. I did have the Traffic album with Low Spark of High Heeled Boys though -- it had the corners cut off and the checkerboard pattern on the front.

Scott, I LOVE that Traffic story. I would love to have known you back when you were hanging out in The Village. What a great story.

Tim, We are really looking forward to when your tour brings you to Denver!

Dana King said...

I missed out on The Who (and pretty much all "popular" music) when I was in high school. I was hooked into jazz and classical solely then. I got a chance to see The Who in Boulder while visiting my brother in 1989 and was hooked, Older and more cynical now, I'd have to say the song that resonates best with me is "Won't Get Fooled Again." (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.)

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon

Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf