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Unformatted text preview: History of Rock Music - Lecture 6 The Who, The Kinks, The Doors, The Velvet Underground Basically. .. [guitar smashing is} a gesture which happens at the spur of the moment. I think with guitar smashing, just like performance itself, it's a performance, it's an act, it's an instant. And it really is meaningless. Pete Townshend, 1968, quoted in Rolling Stone THE WHO Imagine singer Roger Daltrey, resembling a perpetual-motion machine, commandeering the stage for a two-hour athletic romp. Guitarist Pete Townshend swings his right arm in a gigantic windmill motion, striking his guitar to produce loud, crashing, ringing power chords that saturate the hall. Sometimes these blasts are accompanied by agile leaps as Townshend vaults across the stage. Drummer Keith Moon frantically thrashes at his drum kit, occasionally launching one of his drumsticks off a drumhead and toward the audience. This whirlwind surrounds bassist John Entwistle, who stands as if anchored to the stage, motionless except for the blur of finger attack on the bass fretboard. This hypothetical set climaxes with the song "My Generation." After an extended solo, Townshend raises his guitar above his head and smashes it to pieces against the stage, jamming the remaining skeleton through the protective grill cloth and into his speaker cabinet. Squealing, tortured feedback wails from the speakers, sounding the instrument's death rattle. Daltrey swings his microphone by its cord in an ever- increasing arc until it too smashes into the stage. Moon's bass drum has been set with a small charge of smoke-producing explosive and it erupts as he kicks it off the raised drum podium onto the stage. Standing behind his kit, Moon laughs maniacally at the smoldering pyre. Finally, Entwistle's throbbing bass ceases and the Who straggle offstage, just another day in the life. 1. "My Generation Also, one of the British Invasion bands, The Who have always been considered one of the most energetic and entertaining live bands in rock/pop music history. Even when compared to 1970s hard rock performances, with their displays of athletic prowess, explosive charges, and frantic energy, the Who hold their own. At the same time, the Beatles bobbed their heads and the Rolling Stones sold sex and spectacle. But the incredible power of the Who's live performances has overshadowed the extraordinarily thoughtful and musically interesting material that songwriter-guitarist Pete Townshend composed during the Who's twenty-five-year existence. Of the three major British invasion groups-the Beatles and Stones being the other two-the Who most directly and thoughtfully confronted the philosophical and political issues of the day. To Townshend, good rock music reflected important societal concerns and was a powerful vehicle for ideas....
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- Fall '11