Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musical Hair

Why is it that surviving pop music icons of our youth that haven't entered our consciousness for eons all seem to be surfacing a brand new opus? Hard to miss the publicity for Paul Simon's new CD, his first solo writing for yonks. I saw one print interview where he is photographed. He's talking about the creative process in the context of this new output.  I'm amazed he's so tiny - just a little gnome with wispy hair. I dug out my original of his iconic 60s album Bridge Over Troubled Water with then sidekick Art Garfunkel. I'd forgotten how much Garfunkel towers over him.  To be sure I checked out my DVD of the Simon and Garfunkel reunion Concert in Central Park - it's true, they are folk music's Laurel and Hardy thinned-down visual.

By now I'm hooked, and I'm off! 

First I order online new vinyl reissues from the sundazed label of  '66 and '67 Simon and Garfunkel US gems from Columbia records. Then I dig out to play with them my ancient CBS UK mono LP The Paul Simon Song Book  (a treasured companion in an otherwise dingy flat in undergrad days), a 1973 stereo album from Columbia NY There Goes Rhymin' Simon and WEA Music of Canada's 1983 printing of Hearts and Bones I've owned since then. Finally Amazon gets an order for the new CD but not before I note that another icon Robbie Robertson has just sprung his muse free again after another age with How To Become Clairvoyant. As I just read a newspaper interview with him where he looks tall and so more like me, I order the deluxe version of Roberston's CD along with Simon's. As this lets me get the 'FREE Super Saver Shipping' I feel less spendthrift.

Just in case you think my tastes are stuck on my own age group, I should mention that it's only a matter of time before the latest Foo Fighters  'muscular new album'  Wasting Light gets my business. Irresistibly this new CD was recorded on analogue equipment in the band front man's garage!  These guys are grunge. I'm not quite sure what that means but my son moving on from his CD collection to MP3 left me some of that stuff.  I do know Grunge came right after Big Hair. I'm up on Big Hair because I picked out Young, Wild and Free from 1970s/80s local boys Brighton Rock in a thrift rack last week. These guys had serious Pink Floyd-style tresses.

I' m a bit ashamed I didn't know about Brighton Rock and especially not that they are Glam Metal and that: 'Glam metal (also known as hair metal and often used synonymously with pop metal)  is a sub-genre of hard rock and heavy metal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene. It was popular throughout the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, combining the flamboyant look of glam rock and playing a power-chord-based heavy metal musical style' (Wikipedia).  On the bright side, now knowing this I'll be able to keep up with younger Boomers and local GenXers in the musical name-dropping stakes.

What's the moral from this journey of acquisition and relearning?  Perhaps just that old hair never dies; it only thins out.

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