A Facebook comment on a favorite group’s site seemed to memorialize the death of George Harrison in a positive, mournful way.
Loving controversy as I do, and real Rock ‘n Roll, my opinion of George Harrison is much less flattering, my sentiment on his passing much less mournful, and my comment on him and his fellow performers in his most famous band, the Beatles, far less charitable: TWO DOWN, TWO TO GO…
Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, this was real AMERICAN MUSIC; the musicians drank straight-up whiskey, did mountains of speed, and smoked a lot of weed! No Psychedelic Brit Crap, no agnostic guru leader, no hippy hedonism, just simple self abuse and dissipation.
Ever wonder why members of my generation, iconically called Baby Boomers, are leaving behind a lower standard of living for future generations? Why we now have massive debt and deficit? Well, toke another hit, Boomers; bitch like a brit, Boomers; do your thing Boomers; do what you’ve got to do, no one can tell you what to do, ’cause you and millions like you listened to: Four low British bred, surely less than brilliant, electrically amplified, lysergically distorted, acid eroded, agnostic, misogynistic, whinny baby, musical bastards whose greatest contribution to music will be said to be, a hundred years from now, that they played the guitar and sitar in concurrent convulsive cacophony while the children of America’s Greatest Generation, the “Gifted Generation,” writhed on the couch in a calamitous stupor avoiding all responsibility and the “awful pain, man,” of “growing up! The “British Invasion” of the Sixties was the first whiff of the nascent decay of our rotting, indolent generation, far more concerned with “me” than “you” and the beginning of the musical Europeanization of America. George, like Lincoln, you lived too long.
Now I’ll go, put on a vinyl disk, and remember what it was like to dance cheek to cheek with someone special, a real slow dance, crinkled chiffon prom dress swirling as we swayed, thinking of an embrace, a kiss, of our years growing up together, and amazed at what a fine young woman that little girl next door had so suddenly become…
No, George Harrison wasn’t such a bad musician, actually he was a pretty fair lyricist, but he wasn’t us, just like entitlements, welfare, drug abuse, amorality, perversion and selfishness isn’t us. It’s all from EUROPE and it’s all wrong.
Even I must admit to spending hours listening to many of the Beatles’ Albums, beginning with Rubber Soul, the Album that corresponds with the beginning of the Beatles psychedelic drug abuse. Catchy and subversive, our generation enjoyed, even acclaimed, the melodies and lyrics of the Beatles’ songs. And while many actually enjoyed the just the “music,” I “enjoyed” watching other young radicals and rebels get sick, release pent-up demons, abuse their minds and bodies on acid, hash, peyote, alcohol, reds and yellows, barbies and the old favorite, heroin, or as we called it, smack.. I enjoyed watching a friend, Danny G., fly off the 5th floor balcony of a dorm at Berkeley; and, oh, was thrilled at finding a 14 year old “flower power girl” dead, curled up in a fetal position, laying on a filthy mattress in Hashbury. I thrilled to the screams of adolescents in the Psych Ward who OD’d and had to be “restrained” while they tripped out “on a magical mystery tour,” all while the Beatles lived in a luxury “Ashram” surrounded by pagans, mystics and fools who worshiped cows while India’s lower castes starved.
Our parents were right, these hippie kids, oh, weren’t they hip, were losers, angry, disturbed, mental, lazy, weak, weird…long hair drop-outs, or buzz cut marines, illiterate or literati…all were seeking a different life, a more fulfilled life, and had they the millions of dollars that each Beatle pocketed (those poor Limey bastards who got rich on the misery of so many), had they those millions perhaps they would have found peace. I am 64 and my best friend at the time, Tom P., has been institutionalized for 40 years; he who knew every word of every Beatles song.
I am truly glad that so many of the most Gifted Generation, that’s us Baby Boomers, were strong enough to avoid the temptations and dangers offered us by the pied pipers of sex, drugs and dissipation, but then again, I refer to my premise and ask my generation why have we failed to advance our culture, our civility and our country? If you are happy and prosperous in your life, in your family’s life, enjoy the blessing. In my life I have seen too much pain and suffering, been the cause of too much pain and suffering to ever rest easy. Maybe it wasn’t just the Beatles, or the Cream, or the Who, or Pink Floyd, or the Mamas and the Papas or the Airplane, or the Dead; maybe it was me at the Filmore intoxicated by the sadness, the meaningless of it all, or maybe it was just me failing to find hope as I watched brilliant people tune in, turn on and burn out…maybe I should have written TWO DOWN AND THREE TO GO.
Y’all really would rather listen to the Beatles than George Gershwin or Cole Porter or Woody Guthrie or Muddy Waters or Hank Williams or Ella? Really?