Monday, February 8, 2010

When He's Sixty-Four

When I finally got the progeny all tucked in last night, a quick check on the Intehnets brought joyous tidings from the South--New Orleans had stunned the Pop-Jock Colts, and I'm sure Bourbon Street is flowing as I type, merely 10 hours later.

Here's my take: The Saints watched living legends Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry putting all men to shame in 12-minutes flat, and then came out 50-some-strong to answer one of rock's--and teendom's--ineffable questions: "Who the bleep are you?" Who the bleep are we? We're survivors. We're onside kick at the top of the Second Half. We're Special Teams, and we want our goddammed football back. Who the BLEEP are YOU?

When I was hanging out in college radio land, there was this guy named Holmsie (and not for nothing, isn't there always a Holmsie?), who went on and on about The Who. Tied up in Tears for Fears as I was, I didn't get it, and I never understood the sheer power of The Who until adulthood. Like the Fab Four, two of them have rocked on to the next life, and after last night's Super Bowl Halftime Show, I'm thinking of accepting Pete Townshend as my personal Lord and Saviour.

Cagey in Matrix-styled mirrored shades and topped with a cheeky porkpie hat, the lead guitarist for the greatest rock band ever was a walking wink; ever the sly one, Pete Townshend has consistently been up to no good, his whole life. The cat can play. He can still sing. He's 64.

No one can top him. Let's just run down the list.

Sir Elton's candle has flickered into Pop-Musical Theatre Irrelevance, Age 62

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is back in rehab, and once he dries out needs to get back to the business of presiding as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Age 61

Pauvre Guillame Joel... you will always be the man, but for now, see Tyler. Age 60

Sir Paul. I'm so sorry, Sir Paul. You are THE living legend. A pharoah amongst songwriters. Your music is scripture. But you fell from grace quite a bit when you released a pro-war song for pity's sake. And then the one-legged lady hopped away from you. Honestly, what are we to make of that? Age, 67
Mick. OK, in fairness, this guy is a close second, but he doesn't play guitar. At least not like Pete. Age, 66.

Keith Richards. Title of Greatest Living Rocker only open to the living.

Robert Matthew Van Winkle. Thank you for tipping your Wal*Mart of Pensacola Valet Parking Attendents! Age, 42.

Pete Townshend oughta get the key to New Orleans. I may be the only one who knows, and I'm giving him full personal credit for motivating last night's dreamy deliverance. It was every bit as good as Prince singing Purple Rain *in* the rain. Hypnotic lights. Ejaculatory fireworks. Transcendent rock, nearly every lick a line of poetry. God Bless the British Invasion.


  1. A fabulous post. I love your 'still rockin' elder-rock list. BUT where is Eric Clapton? Hmmmm? And Pink Floyd? And moving a little closer to the 90s...Sting? Oh woe woe if you do not consider Sting, a.k.a "Mr. I Can Strum the Guitar 19 Trantic Positions" :o)

    I do believe I am going to enjoy reading your other posts.

    Cheers, Avery

    (Oh, and by the way...I personally think Tears for Fears was a highly underrated duo)

  2. L'Avery,

    You're so on point with Sting!

    Yeah, all lists are subjective, and blogging can be notoriously shot-from-the-hip and not totally thought out. - How, for example, could I have left out the Boss? Shows that I'm merely *in* Jersey and not *of* Jersey.

    Floyd.... yeah I love them and maybe they get best rock album (Dark Side) but I don't have a space in my head for their guys... David Gilmour and Roger Waters. I don't think I even know what they look like! (coupla old guys...)

    Clapton's too much of a gentleman.

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. Reaaly wonderful post! The Elders remain in the collective memories of those of us who knew them "when." But many are still rockin' and I love it. My husband is a huge Pink Floyd fan, so I must join the chorus of those who want them here too.

  4. Cheers Cher,

    Maybe I'll devote a whole post to Floyd. And what about Led Zep?

  5. lol, how did you guess that i don't own nikes?

  6. Kal -- it was 70% deductive reasoning, and 30% luck.

  7. omg Steve Tyler is 61?! Am I still allowed to have a crush on him?...

    mind you, he looks like an elf from Lord of the Rings..

    Some great names here, thanks for the awesome post!