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The Freedom of Music: Rock is Dead They Say

May 31st, 2015
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

“Hope I die before I get old,” Roger Daltrey sang in 1965. Fast forward 50-years and last week at a concert in Long Island, Daltrey threatened to walk off stage if someone smoking a joint up front didn’t put the joint out. One wonders if his specific request used the line “get off the grass!”? Pete Townsend, writer of the above line, followed Daltrey’s threat with a suggestion the offending pot smoker take his medication in suppository form. It’s like Grumpy Old Men 3: the Rock and Roll Tour™.sidebar-1

“How the hell am I supposed to hear myself sing with you people clinking your ice-cubes around in your glass?” Frank Sinatra never yelled at his audience. Sinatra died at 82 and performed until about a year before his death, when heart problems, bladder cancer and dementia forced him to stop performing. The smell of scotch never becoming an issue with Frank, even as he was dying of what was basically old age, Sinatra never seemed quite as old as The Who’s lead singer. Daltrey, now 71, for the last several years has kept his light, curly hair cut short and wears small colored glasses, looking more like your Granny than Tommy.

But the Who came of age when Sinatra was middle aged. They cut their teeth the 60’s in front of the stoned hippies and cemented their reputations in the 70’s in front the of the hippies ever more stoned brothers and sisters. Smoking a joint was as much a part of the experience as the music was.

Here’s another Townsend penned line that Daltrey sang:

long live rock, be it dead or alive.

When rock has been reduced to a nostalgic hippy paying $100 to have Roger Daltrey’s granny yell at him to get off the grass, then it has lived long – long past it’s dead date.

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