The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end --- drank his ale too light.
Death's head belt buckle --- yesterday's dreams ---
the transport café prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.
Jethro Tull – Too Old To Rock ‘n Roll: Too Young To Die
Ian Anderson wrote these words as he approached his 30th birthday. Hippies in the US and Mods and Rockers in the UK, they were the post war generation who wanted change but weren’t sure how to get it. Now Anderson found himself about to be enshrined in the club he rebelled against – 30! Chuck Berry was 32 when he crowned himself Johnny B. Goode yet that fact was lost on this new generation. Bo Diddley was on the cusp of 30 when he declared “I’m am man” and asked “Who Do You Love?” He was 32 and when he released “Mona.” Bill Haley was staring down the barrel of 30 when he released “Rock Around the Clock.” The dirty truth is teenagers were shaking it to old men in their 30’s ever since Alan Freed coined the phrase “Rock ‘n Roll.”
We all survived that 30 threshold, But in the 80’s came the dreaded 40. The Icons from the 60s who were still making records: Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, were all turning 40 and the question was raised again: How old is too old? We got some relief when Don Henley went back to his summer haunt and found the “deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.” Could it be we could have careers, be responsible and still rock ‘n roll? The Grateful Dead made further speculation moot. “I will get by, I will survive.” Jerry passed on a few years later. No one will deny it was the bitter fruit of a lifestyle that no doubt shaved substantial time off the back end of his life.
Thank goodness for the Rolling Stones releasing Voodoo Lounge because it trampled down the “50” argument before it began. Grunge was fading into “alternative” (that’s what happens when you label your music, by the way. You have to keep relabeling the box). The Who greeted the new millennium still a much coveted concert ticket.
In the dawn of the second decade of the 21st century everyone’s too old. Depending on the blog/facebook page you read it seems The Who and the Rolling Stones embarrassed themselves at their Superbowl halftime gigs. Really? I thought they looked pretty good in the most trying of situations. The sound check is the night before, then the stage is disassembled only to be hurried together in 8 minutes and you play. It’s never the same as it was the previous night. Would Mick have been easier to accept if he pranced in a $2K business suit instead of spandex? If Pete ditched the leather jacket for Armani would it have gone over better?
John Gotti said “In the end all we have is memories.” I guess that’s never truer than in Rock ‘n Roll. In the end you have to fight you’re fans’ memories. If you saw The Who in ’78 does that mean every time you see them it must be 1978 all over again? Even if you’re closer to 50 than 20? The only band I know to pull off that trick is Kiss. Taking the makeup off in the 80;s was their second best idea. The best idea was putting it back on. They’ve become a tribute band to themselves, playing the same notes and doing the same shtick for 35 years. I’m not knocking it, it’s a quality show. For some it will be one of the biggest nights of their summer. Still, if you watch Gene Simmons’ reality show he’ll take you into his plastic surgeons office before the tuck. So why isn’t he over the hill? Kabuki makeup? If the band performed without the 7” heels and the leather would they seem silly singing “I wanna rock ‘n roll all night and party every day?”
I’ll leave you with one final point. I’ve included a link to the Scorpions Raised on Rock video. The Scorpions for those not up on their history came together in 1965. Three years after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, a year after The Who. The first time I saw them was in 1979, their first US tour (it took them 13 years to be an overnight sensation in the US). The were the first act on a bill with AC/DC and Ted Nugent. By the way the ticket was $8 including the ticketmaster fee (there’s a memory I miss, the $8 ticket). They worked and I thought they were quality, though the never became “my band.” I like some of their things, though I really never warmed up to much of it. The song fits their sound for the past 30 years and the video is a nice retrospect of their career from bigger than life stages to pick guitars and 80s fashion. I think it’s a great statement: HEY! WE CAN STILL DO IT AND (bleep) YOU IF YOU SAY WE CAN’T!
I’d really like to know what you think. And I’ll post some of the best responses.
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Who’s going to the hall of fame? It’s always fashionable talk when an athlete is on top of his game to say he’s a future hall of famer. It’s a phrase that gets tossed about like with the ease one may use to toss socks into a hamper. Donovan McNabb’s name is being mentioned. I’m a big fan of “5,” but I think he has a few more years of high level performance ahead of him to punch his ticket to Canton. I think it’s in the scope of possibility, but McNabb isn’t quite there yet. Still, to get into the debate is an accomplishment. Hall of famers are rare. Brian Westbrook is the greatest Eagle running back of the past 50 years and he’s not even close. Lynn Swann got in before John Stallworth. Swann made some unbelievable catches, but Stallworth both played and performed at a high level longer than Swann.
The truth is hall of fame voting is subjective. Popularity has as much to do with getting in as a lifetime body of high performance work. Has Ray Lewis sufficiently rehabbed his reputation after that obstruction of justice verdict several years ago? I think he gets in. I’m not sure if he’s first ballot. He should be. I’ve seen Ray play. Ray owns the middle of the field when he’s on it like no one else I’ve ever seen. Not Harry Carson, Brian Urlacher, Dick Butkis, Mike Singletary or Willie Lanier. Tom Brady probably gets in, but it’s not quite sealed. Tom gets hurt again and clings to a few subpar years trying to chase the past and he could play himself out of the hall. Kurt Warner almost did. After last year I think he redeemed himself and gets in, but I don’t think he’s a first ballot lock. Really I see two in the game right now: Terrel Owens (groan if you want but outside of Jerry Rice he’s the best I’ve ever seen) and Payton Manning. Payton is that rare stuff that lives up to the hype of being the first overall selection.
That brings us to Bill, as in Belichick. In coaching there’s a holy trinity of Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner and Vince Lombardi. Belichick was almost in the ultimate coaching ring of honor, the rarest of rarified air. Alas, Bill, why didn’t you punt? Forget the game, we’re talking your legacy here. Seriously, send Ray Perkins a Christmas card this year. Ray was the NY Giant coach who signed off on a call that had Joe Pasarchick handing off to Larry Csonka that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the “Miracle of the Meadowlands.” Ray’s blunder is still considered the dumbest call in the history of the NFL. That’s the good news, Bill. The bad news is you get to take the heat for making the right call. Manning was Michael Jordan-like in the zone hot. I know like you did that punting and giving ol’ Payton 40 more yards to work with was futile. Your best chance to win was to hold on to the ball and run the clock out. It’s not your fault the ref blew the spot on that 4th and two call. Like so many times in life when we make the right decision for all the right reasons and things just don’t work out. At least it wasn’t surgery. right Bill? Do yourself a favor, next time think of yourself and punt. If your defense caves in the fans and pundits will blame your players, and you’ll still be the hero. Whether your team wins or not.
Alright here are the games as I see them this week. Remember any losses incurred by relying on said information is the result of your own dumbness.
Eagles -9 over Redskins. The birds went into the season with lofty ambition and have come down to earth with a paltry (poultry?) 5-4-1 record against the spread. This is the time of year when Philadelphia suddenly gets it together and goes off on a miracle ride and makes the playoffs. The Redskins on the other hand play like a team truly snake bitten, and they know it. Scoring more than 20 points only three times this season does not a good road bet make. The zippo’s out of butane. Eagles in a beat down.
Rams +3 over Seahawks. The Rams are horrible. The Seahawks are average. But the Rams can run the ball, they’re home and they’ve covered 4 of their last 5. That’s a trend I’ll stay with. Rams, baby.
Patriots +3 over Saints. The Saints may be the most complete team in the league right now, but I’m not sold on the inevitability of a Creole Champion. The Saints have trailed at some point in their last 4 games and covered once in those four. And that was only because the Bucs are challenging the Lions for the first pick in the 2010 draft. This is where the bubble pops. Take the pats and the points.
49ers – 4 ½ over Jaguars. Jacksonville is usually the biggest team in the league. That may be why they can’t get out of the way. Remember a few years ago when Jack Del Rio decided the best way to encourage his team was to bring in a log and an ax? That motivational speech went horribly wrong when the punter buried the ax in his thigh. The Jags have covered once in their last 6. Hardly the stuff winners are made of. 49ers wear gold for a reason. Take the bay area boys.
Vikings – 10 over the Bears. 10 points is a lot to lay. Consider that the Bears have covered only once on the road all year and that 10 spot looks reasonable.
That’s my five. Enjoy the games.