A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Thursday, June 19, 2003 :::
Ah, youth. Well, sort of youth-like... A Mind That Suits has a youngish friend--mid-20's--who is heavily into music. Surprise, surprise. He is sharp, heavy set, shaven-headed and opinionated. He is also A Mind That Suits's favorite bartender, and they share one passion: the Beatles. A Mind That Suits parked his carcass on a stool one night after enjoying Paul McCartney's epic farewell tour as it blew through DC, and told his friend about it, expecting him to respond, "totally cool, man." But that is not what happened. "Oh," the youngish friend looked intrigued, "Paul McCartney did something good after the Beatles?"

There are three aspects to this comment that are funny. One is that of course Paul McCartney had a string of albums which have withstood the test of time, not to mention a boxload of classic singles. The other is that, good or not, Paul McCartney is the most popular entertainer of all time, bar none. (Elvis only comes out on top because McCartney's records are split in two.) The third is that nearly everyone born before 1960 had the same experience at some point in a record store: they overheard 14-year-olds who had found the Beatles section and were stunned. "Paul McCartney," they would blurt out, "was in a band before Wings?!?!?!?!"

"Why, yes," A Mind That Suits assured his bartender friend, giggling into his wine that couldn't be tasted for the smoke, "Paul McCartney made a LOT of wonderful music after the Beatles." So when this bartender decided to try other climes--specifically, Madison, Wisconsin--A Mind That Suits bought him a going away gift: McCartney's fabulous, career spanning greatest hits album. Very few artists have 50 songs they can legitimately call "Greatest Hits," but ol' Macca does. It is a wonderful album, and it doesn't have everything.

Said bartender was back in Washington for a few weeks, and made a comment that serves as a perfect bookend to his initial question, but first, a little background.

One may argue over how one describes the "Seventies Sound," but, as anyone who has seen the wonderful That '70's Show can attest, there is clearly something that can be identified as a " '70's style." (A Mind That Suits hates that show because it is 100% accurate, and the characters were all born, apparently, within 6 months of each other, and of A Mind That Suits. It embarrasses him, and makes him squirm, although he admires the sparkly writing and the inspired casting.) In music, one could point out that the Sex Pistols were from the '70's, but Nevermind the Bollocks did not go gold until the '80's. If you define the '70's Sound by what one expected to hear when one snapped on the radio, one band clearly defined the decade the way the Beatles defined the '60's, and that band was Paul McCartney and Wings. From Up Against the Wall to Cheap Trick, beating Paul was what pop music was all about. Given the sporadic output of John Lennon and George Harrison at that time, A Mind That Suits found himself in many arguments with other young people who said that Paul McCartney was all there was to the Beatles.

And then John was murdered, and, for some reason, Paul's career sputtered out a few years thereafter, if you can describe a nuclear rocket ship as "sputtering out." A Mind That Suits began to find himself in arguments with people who maintained that John Lennon was all there was to the Beatles. He did not find this a comfortable position to be in--he has always been on the Lennon/Harrison side of things. But he has always been a fair person, and it takes a lot to minimize Paul McCartney's role in the Beatles.

The details of Paul's career in the last 20 years are interesting, in an antiseptic, analytical kind of way, but the main point is that he has not dominated public consciousness the way he dominated it, with few challengers, for the 20 years before that.

And so A Mind That Suits happily gave the greates hits package to his youngish friend, with the warning that much of it was precursor to the '80's Hair Bands.

What was the bartenders reaction? "I can't get into Wings. If I want to hear the Seventies Sound, I can listen to (list of second-tier, forgettable bands.) I don't have to listen to (Wings.)"

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

One final note. Concert ticket prices have been collapsing with the economy. The ridiculous price rich baby boomers will pay to hear Crosby, Stills, and Nash was first tested by, yes, Paul McCartney, on the Tripping the Live Fantastic tour. A Mind That Suits willingly but grudgingly shelled out, he thinks, $39 bucks for each ticket, and grumbled that they could not go higher. Ha. With tickets for the farewell tour going for $250, A Mind That Suits was forced to sit well back, though the show was still utterly breathtaking. That boy still has it, but, with the collapse in prices, he has also apparently taken another title that no one should aspire to: Most Expensive Tour Next to the Streisand Come-back, Go-away-again Tour.

Have a good one.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:18 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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