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The Who – My Generation (1965)

January 22, 2015

[Album 369/1001]220px-My-Generation--1965

“Why don’t you all just fade away”
– The aging ladies man, Rex Manning, from Empire Records

At the time, this struck me as an odd exit line.  Initially, being a 90s movie about a fictitious music store, I thought it was a nod to Kurt Cobain (whose non-fiction exit line I later learned was a Neil Young reference).

I wouldn’t be surprised if Rex’s line was intended as a tip of the hat to the title track heard here.  In The Who’s case, it makes for a terrific verse-opening lyric, especially with the drawn out fff-fade.

The more I think about it, the more I like the line.  It starts off so aggressively, “why don’t you just,” it feels like it would escalate into something violent.  But then, encouraging the recipient to, “just fade away,” is a brilliant anti-climatic curve; in a confrontation, there’s no comeback for that!

In the spirit of the current movie awards season, a 1001-project ‘Most Improved’ award.

My nominee for (the chattily titled) “artist that’s grown on me the most since the start of the 1001 project” is…well, I’d gone off Nirvana but their 3 listed entries won me back.  Neil Young would also be a contender, as I’ve come close to a full 180 degrees there.

Both, however, have temporarily been leapfrogged by The Who.

In 2011, I didn’t really get their appeal; I wasn’t offended, but I wasn’t a fan.

After Live at Leeds, I started to change my tune.  Following The Who Sell Out, I joined the fan club.

I liked Who’s Next but it didn’t speak to me in the same way.

My Generation however, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

It appears I prefer the less grandiose version of The Who.  It’s difficult to pinpoint but there’s something very appealing about their mid-60s sound.

Though this album shouldn’t be confused with being just another British Invasion record.  In fact, the lyrics to A Legal Matter, “And not work all day in an office just to bring my money back to you, Sorry, baby,” sound more like a group that’s determined to distance themselves from A Hard Day’s Night.

So instead of Beatle parallels, with The Who I have perhaps, perpendicular(?), opinions about their chronology.

Whereas I live for late-career Beatle records, early Who albums, like My Generation, are the ones for me.

From → 1960s

  1. jprobichaud permalink

    Great album and great tune but I often wondered if Roger Daltrey ever regretted singing the now ironic line: “I hope I die before I get old”.

    • Ahh I hadn’t thought about that – is does 50 years later count as old?!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        I think it might. I don’t know about you but I feel pretty old these days and that songs was recorded before I was born.

      • When you launched the ’94 series, I thought wow these songs are 20 years old and I can distinctly remember listening to them – and now make that 21!

        Speaking of which, are another 5 on their way today?

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Yes, indeed. Momentarily, in fact…

      • Tangled Up In Music (by Ovidiu Boar) permalink

        “Old” does not necessarily refer to actual age, you know. 🙂

      • I think it was Joe Mantegna in Airheads that said “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” – so I guess as long as it’s not too loud!

  2. Empire Records…I’m well on “record” as strongly hating that movie. Ugh. Every ex-girlfriend: “Oh you’ll love it! It’s about working in a record store!” Then I finally saw it about 10 years ago and said, “THAT was about working in a record store? Could have fooled me! Nothing like any that I’ve ever worked in…”

    Anyway, THE WHO! Leeds is my album. I own very few of the studio albums. I don’t have this. But Leeds…YES! I’ll go with you on that one.

    • Admittedly I haven’t seen the film since the late 90s, for some reason that line jumped out at me when listening here.

      I suppose saying “oh a record store, you’ll love this” is like saying “oh you’re a journey fan, you’ll love Glee!”

      Leeds would easily be in my top 5 live albums, Live Between Us is tough to unseat for #1, but Leeds ain’t bad!

      • Well said on the Glee thing. My mom did actually tell me I would “just love” Glee, though she doesn’t remember it now.

  3. As a big Who fan for 35 years it’s hard (no pun intended) for me to be objective about their discography. I love all of their albums for different reasons, and I get as much pleasure from The Who Sings My Generation as I do from Face Dances, even though I would always recommend the former over the latter to a Who newbie. I’m curious which version of My Generation you own. If you haven’t heard the 2-CD Deluxe Edition I heartily suggest you check it out. The extra material is more than just scraps and the sound quality is phenomenal.

    • I had the 1966 Who Sings My Generation – but it’s the 1965 My Generation that’s in the book so I had to enlist the help of YouTube for the slightly modified tracklist! I don’t think there’s a wrong answer as to each one is better.
      I was quite pleased with the 1-cd version, the 2-cd sounds like it would also appeal!

  4. Nice one.
    The Who are a band where I’ve always enjoyed the singles more than the albums. Not sure why. But this is certainly part of the bedrock of the UK 60s explosion and a worthy inclusion in the 1001.

    • It’s interesting you mention the stength of singles as opposed to full albums – often with albums, I’m fussy about the tracklisting, but the differences in the UK & US versions didn’t really bother me here. So they may be a group that works on shuffle

  5. I don’t have this one either, but it’s OK. I tend to lump all of The Who into one big happy pile and request it be turned up to 11.

    The era you prefer is just that. I wouldn’t say it needs a Beatles comparison, unless then you’re going to compare to the Stones, and the Kinks, and… I find it a bit of an insidious thing, every time the music of the 60s comes up, we have to compare it to the Beatles. They were great, ‘yeah yeah yeah.’ I get it, and we’ll keep hearing about it ad nauseum forever and ever men. Just not the only band going, right? Right.

    Anyway, sorry, I was ranting. The Who. Cool beans. CRANK IT!

    • I hear you – I know whenever there’s a sport unfamiliar to Canadians, announcers always (some might say unnecessarily) try to give viewers context by saying, “he/she is the Wayne Gretzky of the sport”

      I prefer Gerry Dee’s version when Christine Sinclair was dominant at the Olympics:
      “Wayne Gretzky is the Christine Sinclair of Hockey!”

      So if I have to bring up the Beatles, I’ll try it with a fun twist like that!

      • Tonight, I am the Wayne Gretzky of blog commenting! And I haven’t even had a drink.

        Haha man, it’s your blog. You can write all the Beatles love you like. Don’t let me make you tiptoe around a reader! Say what you gotta say, man!

      • Or Wayner’s the KMA of whatever he’s up to these days!

      • Haha thanks for the plug. That’s quite a compliment!

        As for Wayner right now, he might seem like he’s busy with hockey stuff, but I’d wager he’s mostly just trying to convince his daughter to keep her clothes on.

  6. Any truth to the rumor that the stutter was caused because Roger, without his glasses, couldn’t quite make out the lyric?

  7. Never had too much time for the Who, apart from the singles – which are almost all brilliant. I inherited this view from my mum who said her ears were still ringing 2 days after seeing one of the first ever live performances of Quadrophrenia, she held a grudge ever since.

    • My wife and I both laughed at a Community line yesterday, “My father held grudges, I’ve always hated him for that!”

      I can imagine the multi-day ear ringing would sour just about any group for me as well

  8. Can’t say I’m familiar with much o’ their stuff on account of not being that fussed about them. Spending more time around a fan of theirs recently I’m a tad more inclined to check out an album or two. I may well start with this one.

    • I’ve heard Who fans saying the studio recordings don’t do them justice (as evidenced by Leeds, they excelled live) but this one’s probably as good a place to start as any.
      It’s funny the power of referral – if a friend’s really into a group, I’m definitely more willing to give that group a chance

      • Yeah – I dare say I’ve listened to a load of bands that I never found that interesting initially following praise from friends. It’s only a matter of time before I hit a run of listening to the Who.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. More like 563 Albums in 6 years! | 1001albumsin10years
  2. 1965 | 1001albumsin10years

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