|THE WHO-My Generation/Shout And Shimmy U.K. Brunswick 05944 1965|
With 31 years as a "mod" under my belt I think I can now survey my life and state, unequivocally, that "My Generation" is quite possibly the greatest mod anthem of all time. Sadly I cannot recall when this number first came into my life precisely. I have vague recollections of seeing a clip on a British invasion segment on a 60's music TV special with the band miming the number to bored London spectators and hearing the track on the radio during the moments before I took the leap from a " British invasion"/60's music fan to "mod". With my introduction to The Jam and "mod" in 1980 The Who were next in my logical process. My high school library featured a large coffee table book called "The Sixties" with a chapter on mods written by Pete Townshend that featured a large two page black and white photo of some parka wearing mods on scooters bedecked with mirrors. There was also a full page photo of Townshend in a plaid shirt playing a Rickenbacker in front of a large amp draped with a Union Jack (both of which, with the aid of a razor blade became part of the art in the hallway outside my teenage attic bedroom door). I do recall, however the great joy upon purchasing an American double LP that coupled the U.S. 1965 LP "The Who Sings My Generation" coupled with the U.S. only 1968 LP "Magic Bus" on MCA records and taking it home and playing it for the first time soon thereafter. My life was literally changed. And though I was perhaps too young and naive to yet be cognisant of railing against the authority or my elders I was terribly misunderstood by my backwards, ignorant small minded peers at school. That in itself made "My Generation" a perfect middle finger for the people around me who found my French crewcut, Desert boots and narrow ties alien and worthy of abuse.
"My Generation" was for many years, a sort of disgrace for me, because as a young arrogant bastard I carried a grudge against The Who because they became everything they railed about:the establishment, the old. It also became an anathema to me because too many times in my 20's and 30's I'd witnessed younger (or even my age) poseurs or "instant mods" (the sort who were 'mad for mod" for a few months before moving onto the next fad) jumping around to it acting like assholes in a club, almost as disgusting and juvenile as the stupid "We are the mods" chant. In my period as a DJ I never once played the record for that reason alone. As I approach my semi-centinial I find myself able to transcend all of that and once again enjoy the crash bang wallop that is "My Generation".. Regardless of the lyrics it's still an amazing record musically. What's not to love about Daltrey's arrogant deliberate stuttering, Moon's utterly ridiculous ill timed drum rolls, Entwistle's seamless bass solo and Townshend's repetitive main riff with near country style licks that twang in and his eventual coaxing of Morse code from his Rickenbacker against a wall of classic feedback cacophony?
|The spokesman of a disaffected generation|
In the U.K. the flip was "Shout And Shimmy", a number that I enjoyed back in the day thanks to bootleg LP's that collected the band's B-sides. These days I'm pretty ambivalent about their cod-soul numbers like this one that might have been fun for them to play live but didn't do much for me. Here in the States we were instead treated to "Out In The Street" as the flip side, which on some copies (mine included) was titled "Out In The Street (You're Going To Know Me)"!