Episode 11: I Can't Explain
Welcome back! In our 11th Episode, “I Can’t Explain,” we will wrap up (for now) our excavation of the British Invasion.
We start by taking a clear-eyed look at the infamous seaside “Riots” in the resort town of Clacton, United Kingdom and several other towns in the summer of 1964. The British press were WAY over the top in their depiction of these events, but they did document the first schism, the first big division in Rock music and culture: the traditionalist Rockers versus the Modernists, or “Mods.”
We spend a little time on something we call Anti Rock. It’s a form of Moral Panic, and it’s something we will see more of as we move through the Rock N Roll years.
Then we meet the first Mod voice in Rock (although they would probably smack you for suggesting it): The Kinks. The Kinks, in our view, never really got the props they deserve, and we talk a little bit about why.
Then we move on to one of our all-time favorites in the Rock pantheon: The Who. They are fractious and fractured, insanely loud and auto-destructive—and utterly brilliant. We get to know the guys a little bit, and we feature some nice quotes from the Lambert & Stamp documentary, and the audiobook version of Pete Townshend’s autobiography.
The Mod movement comes and goes rather quickly—it really only lasts a year or so—and The Who decide to break out of the Mod culture that defined them, and seek a new audience in America. The New York shows in early 1967 are a triumph, and The Who get booked at the Monterey Pop Festival that summer.
Along the way, Pete Townshend makes a frenemy in London. The flashy, sensational guitarist Jimi Hendrix starts making big noise on the Soho club scene in the fall of 1966. Pete is, by turns, awestruck by Jimi’s talent, and furious at him for copping some of his ideas—and doing them better.
There’s gonna be a showdown in California, at Monterey Pop, in July of 1967, where we close out the show.
Put on the earbuds, and take a ride on the Magic Bus. Turn it up, smash it up, burn it up! And thanks always for your comments, questions, and reviews!
The Who: “My Generation,” from The Who Sing My Generation, 1965 Decca Records
The Who: “I Can’t Explain,” from The Who Sing My Generation, 1965 Decca Records
Spencer Davis Group: “Gimme Some Lovin’,” single released 1966, United Artists Records
The Animals: “It’s My Life,” single released 1965, MGM Records
Bobby Fuller Four: “I Fought the Law,” from I Fought the Law, 1965 Mustang Records
Small Faces: “Tin Soldier,” from The Autumn Stone, 1967 Immediate Records
The Zombies: “She’s Not There,” from Begin Here, 1964 Decca Records
The Yardbirds: “Train Kept A Rollin’” from the soundtrack to “Blow Up,” 1966 MGM Pictures
James Brown: “Out of Sight,” from the soundtrack to “Get On Up,” 2014 Universal Pictures
The Kinks: “You Really Got Me,” from You Really Got Me, 1964 Reprise Records
The Kinks: “All Day and All of the Night,” from Kinks Size, 1965 Reprise Records
The Kinks: “Tired of Waiting for You,” from Kinks Size, 1965 Reprise Records
The Yardbirds: “For Your Love,” from For Your Love, 1965 Columbia Records
The Who: “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere,” single released 1965, Brunswick Records
The Who: “The Kids Are Alright,” from The Who Sing My Generation, 1965 Decca Records
The Who: “Magic Bus” from The Who: Live at Leeds, 1970 Decca Records
The Who: “Boris the Spider,” from A Quick One, 1966 Decca Records
The Who: “Happy Jack,” from A Quick One, 1966 Decca Records
The Who: “Substitute,” single released 1966 Atco Records
The Kinks: “Till the End of the Day,” from The Kink Kontroversy, 1966 Reprise Records
The Kinks: “A Well Respected Man,” from Kinkdom, 1966 Reprise Records
The Rolling Stones: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” single released 1965 Decca Records
The Kinks: “Where Have all the Good Times Gone?” The Kink Kontroversy, 1966 Reprise Records
The Kinks: “Waterloo Sunset,” from Something Else by The Kinks, 1967 Reprise Records
The Who: “A Legal Matter,” from The Who Sing My Generation, 1965 Decca Records
The Who: “The Seeker,” single released 1970, Polydor Records
The Who: “A Quick One (While He’s Away)” from A Quick One, 1966 Decca Records
The Who: “I Can See For Miles,” from The Who Sell Out, 1967 Decca Records
The Who: “Young Man Blues,” from The Who: Live at Leeds, 1970 Decca Records
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Wild Thing,” from Live at Winterland, recorded 10/10/68, released 1987 Rykodisc Records
Note: we are using the American release dates and label imprint for all the songs on this episode’s playlist.
Barnes, Richard (1979): Mods!
Blake, Mark (2014): Pretend You’re in a War: The Who and the Sixties
Cohn, Nik (1969): Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock
Cross, Charles (2005): Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix
Fletcher, Tony (2010): Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon
Hasted, Nick (2013) You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks
MacInnes, Colin (1959): Absolute Beginners
Townshend, Pete (2011): Who I Am
Weight, Richard (2013): Mod: A Very British Style
Films and Documentaries:
Lambert & Stamp, directed by James Baker, 2014 Sony Pictures
Monterey Pop, directed by D.A. Pennebaker 1968 Leacock Pennebaker
Blow-Up, directed Michaelangelo Antonioni, 1966 MGM Pictures