May 19, 2021 Playlist

"Tommy" by The Who (1969)
The Who "Tommy"  1969 (UK)
Peter Townshend is 76 years old today. Back in the sixties, he wrote the world's first "Rock Opera" - which was not Tommy, it was a nine minute multi-sectioned song called "A Quick One, While He's Away" from The Who's second album released at the end of 1966. But this week's classic album is of course Townshend's most famous Rock Opera and a far more ambitious affair. It solidified The Who as rock superstars at the forefront of British Classic Rock but unfortunately, as an album, it was recorded on the cheap under intense pressure from the record label and really did not turn out as well as it could have. But then The Who is one of those bands where the concert performances were the real deal and their studio recordings were often on the disappointing side. Pete has written a few more Rock Operas since the sixties; The Who's next studio album was originally intended to be a rock opera called Lifehouse and the one after that Quadrophenia is probably Pete's best effort at the long form rock concepts. Most recently he wrote a mini-opera called "Wire & Glass" that came out in 2006. So how great are Rock Operas? Maybe not that great, but the idea of theatrical rock music with overarching concepts and stories was a huge influence on seventies progressive rock from Jethro Tull to Styx.
In Japanese theatrical rock news, today is releasing their first single of 2021, which is also the first release since Eitaso retired in February and they unveiled FIVE new members to fill her spot. The new song "Dempa Princess Power! Shine On!" is mainly a vehicle to introduce the new gals but also twists princess metaphors through their cheery girl power vibe (turn on closed captioning for the English lyric translation: since Prince Charming is an illusion "the princess alliance is building our own castle"). So far I have mixed feelings about the new lineup: with 10 members they definitely seem more like a Broadway dance troupe than a singing group now, which is not out of line since choreography is such a large part of what they do, but I feel it could lead to a "dilution of awesomeness". For example: Pinky is one of their best singers, she's been with the group nearly 10 years, and she only gets two solo lines to sing in this song (poor Rin only gets one line!?) It will also be "interesting" to see how they reconfigure classic songs from the six-girl systems of the past for a much larger group - the five new girls can't just share Eitaso's old lines, so I guess they're going to reassign solo parts from the veteran members? Or some members will only sing on the choruses and not get solo lines?  So far they have only performed two songs as a ten-piece (for the encore of their February concert, and only one of those performances has been released online). Dempagumi's first full concert with the new lineup happens in Tokyo next week, so we'll find out soon enough.
(N) = New Release
(R) = Listener Request

Artist Song Album Year Country
Pere UbuFinal Solutionsingle (Terminal Tower compilation)1976USA
The MoveFeel Too GoodLooking On1970UK
CreationCan I Join Your Band?Complete Collection Vol. II: Biff Bang Pow (compilation)rec. 1968UK
Tom Jones Samson And Delilah (trad.)Surrounded By Time (N)2021 (S Curve / EMI)UK (Wales)
Tom JonesDelilahDelilah1965UK (Wales)
Tom Jones One More Cup Of Coffee (Bob Dylan)Surrounded By Time (N)2021 (S Curve / EMI)UK (Wales)
Guided By Voices I Bet Hippy
   / Test Pilot
Earth Man Blues (N)2021 (GBV Inc.)USA
Black SabbathDie Young (R)Heaven And Hell1980UK
Patti Smith (with John Cale) My Generation (live - The Who)Rock On The Edge (various artists compilation)rec. 1976, rel. 1986USA
Peter TownshendForever's No Time At AllWho Came First1972UK
The WhoA Quick One, While He's Away (live)The Kids Are Alright (original move soundtrack)rec. 1968, rel. 1979UK
The WhoAmazing Journey / SparksTommy
The WhoUndertureTommy
The WhoWe're Not Gonna Take It (See Me, Feel Me)Tommy
The Small FacesLazy SundayOgdens' Nut Gone Flake1968UK
Hampton Grease BandHendonMusic To Eat1971USA
John EntwistleNightmare (Please Wake Me Up)Whistle Rymes1972UK
The Grodeck WhipperjennyInside Or Outside
   --> Evidence For The Existence Of The Unconscious
The Grodeck Whipperjenny1970USA
ExmagmaThe First TuneExmagma1973Germany
FaustMunic AMunic & Elsewhererec. 1975, rel. 1986Germany
Hapshash & The Coloured CoatEmpires Of The SunHapshash & The Coloured Coat Featuring The Human Host & The Heavy Metal Kids1967UK
Univeria Zekt (Magma)AltcheringaThe Unnamables1971France Princess Dempa Power! Shine On!single (N)2021 (Meme Tokyo/Toy's Factory)Japan

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