Music Video of the Day: Sister Disco by The Who (1979, directed by ????)


On August 1st, 1981, MTV premiered. Over the course of 24 hours, 166 unique music videos were played on MTV. Yes, there was a time when the M actually did stand for music.

The 76th video to premiere on MTV’s first day was the video for Sister Disco by The Who.  Sister Disco was Pete Townshend’s way of announcing that, even though he liked a lot of disco music, The Who would never become a disco band.  Even though they had a new drummer in Kenney Jones, The Who was going to keep playing the same type of music that made them famous.

This performance clip was filmed at The Concert For The People of Kampuchea, which was held in London in December of 1979.  Other videos that were filmed at that same concert include Lucille by Rockestra and Little Sister, performed by Rockpile and Robert Plant.

Enjoy!

The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx
  11. When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters
  12. History Never Repeats by Split Enz
  13. Hold On Loosely by .38 Special
  14. Just Between You And Me by April Wine
  15. Sailing by Rod Stewart
  16. Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden
  17. Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon
  18. Better Than Blue by Michael Johnson
  19. Message of Love by The Pretenders
  20. Mr. Briefcase by Lee Ritenour
  21. Double Life by The Cars
  22. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
  23. Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer
  24. Too Late by Shoes
  25. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  26. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  27. Surface Tension by Rupert Hine
  28. One Step Ahead by Split Enz
  29. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
  30. I’m Gonna Follow You by Pat Benatar
  31. Savannah Nights by Tom Johnston
  32. Lucille by Rockestra
  33. The Best of Times by Styx
  34. Vengeance by Carly Simon
  35. Wrathchild by Iron Maiden
  36. I Wanna Be a Lifeguard by Blotto
  37. Passion by Rod Stewart
  38. Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello
  39. Don’t Let Me Go by REO Speedwagon
  40. Remote Control and Illegal by The Silencers
  41. Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton
  42. Little Sister by Rockpile with Robert Plant
  43. Hold On To The Night by Bootcamp
  44. Dreamin’ by Cliff Richard
  45. Is It You? by Lee Ritenour 
  46. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
  47. He Can’t Love You by Michael Stanley Band
  48. Tough Guys by REO Speedwagon
  49. Rapture by Blondie
  50. Don’t Let Go The Coat by The Who
  51. Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart
  52. Talk of the Town by The Pretenders
  53. Can’t Happen Here by Rainbow
  54. Thank You For Being A Friend by Andrew Gold
  55. Bring It All Home by Gerry Rafferty
  56. Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine
  57. The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush
  58. All Night Long by Raindow
  59. Boys Keep Swinging by David Bowie
  60. Rat Race by The Specials
  61. Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  62. Victim by Bootcamp
  63. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna be Alright) by Rod Stewart
  64. Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe
  65. A Little In Love by Cliff Richard
  66. Wild-Eyed Southern Boys by 38 Special
  67. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
  68. Celebrate The Bullet by The Selecter
  69. More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer
  70. A Message To You, Rudy by The Specials
  71. Heart of Glass by Blondie
  72. Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight by Rod Stewart
  73. Kid by The Pretenders
  74. Come What May by Lani Hall & Herb Alpert
  75. I Got You by Split Enz

Music Video of the Day: You Better You Bet by The Who (1981, directed by John Crome)


This week, I’ve been counting down the first videos played on MTV when it premiered 40 years ago.  Today’s music video is the fourth video to be played on MTV, following Video Killed The Radio Star, You Better Run, and She Won’t Dance With Me.

The video for The Who’s You Better You Bet was filmed at Shepperton Studios in March of 1981 and it provided a look at the new Who as this was the first video to feature Kenney Jones on drums.  Jones, of course, replaced Keith Moon after the latter’s tragic death.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Don’t Let Go The Coat by the Who (1981, directed by John Crome)


Don’t Let Go The Coat is thought to be a tribute to Pete Townshend’s spiritual guru, Mehr Baba, who often told his followers to “hang fast to the hem of my robe.” Just as Mehr Baba told his followers to not lose sight of his teachings, the song’s lyrics seem to reflect Townshend’s struggle to remain true to his beliefs even when he’s feeling depressed and struggling with his demons.

The video is a performance clip, directed by John Crome. Crome also directed the video for The Who’s You Better You Bet. The video features Kenney Jones on drums. Jones joined the band after Keith Moon’s tragic death. Roger Daltrey has often said that The Who became a different band after the death of Moon and that none of the drummers that they brought in could duplicate Moon’s frenetic approach. As was often the case when it came to anything Daltrey said, Pete Townshend disagreed. Jones played with The Who until the band’s first break-up in 1983.

Enjoy!

Some Things I Liked In 2018


Since I don’t feel comfortable doing a traditional top ten list, I’m just going to list a few things that I liked in 2018.

When it comes to last year’s movies, my two favorite films were both comic book adaptations.  Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse both redefined what we traditionally expect from the comic book genre and they worked as both entertainment and as something a little bit deeper.

Among the other films I liked this year, Mission Impossible — Fallout reminded us of just how exciting a good action film can be while Game Night was hands down the best comedy of the year.  Deadpool 2 proved itself to be a worthy sequel while Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Three Identical Strangers, Free Solo, and Shirkers made this a great year for documentaries.

David Peisner’s Homey Don’t Play That was a fascinating book about the history of In Living Color, examining both the show’s tumultuous history and how it continues to be relevant today.  Also worth reading: Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite by Roger Daltrey and Cult City by Daniel J. Flynn.

In a year that seemed to be dominated by adaptations of comic books, it seems appropriate that one of the best comics was about the history of the medium.  Written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey and Adam Guzowski, Comics For All was the second installment in their Comic Book History of Comics.  No matter how much you think you may know about comic history, you’ll learn something new from Comics For All.

When it comes to the year’s video games, I’m torn.  Red Dead Redemption II is a totally immersive gaming experience that challenges much of what we’ve come to expect from video games.  On the other hand, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the most purely enjoyable games that I’ve ever played.  If I had to pick a best, I’d go with Red Dead Redemption but Spider-Man is the game that I’ll probably end up replaying a month from now.

On television, I continued to enjoy and occasionally be baffled by HBO’s Westworld.  I also enjoyed playing around with Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, an interactive program that introduces you to a likable game designer and then give you the chance to totally mess up his life.

In the States, BBC America televised the the animated restoration of the “lost” Doctor Who serial, Shada.  As an episode of Tom Baker-era Doctor Who, Shada was just as disappointing as many have warned that it would be, an overextended mix of inside jokes about Cambridge.  However, as a piece of Doctor Who history, it was priceless.

Finally, as far as the year in music is concerned, I recommend The Who’s fifth studio album, Who’s Next.  I know Who’s Next came out in 1971 but good music is timeless.

Book Review: Thanks A Lot Mr. Kibblewhite: My Story by Roger Daltrey


On March 1st, 1959, a 15 year-old student at Acton County Grammar School brought an air gun to school.  Years later, the student would write about how he and a friend were “in the changing room, mucking about after football,” when someone fired the gun.  The pellet ricocheted off a wall and struck another student in the eye.

The student who brought the air gun was taken down to see Mr. Kibblewhite, the headmaster.  Mr. Kibblewhite announced, “We can’t control you, Daltrey.  You’re out.”  As the now-expelled student left the office, Mr. Kibblewhite added, “You’ll never make anything out of your life, Daltrey.”

Roger Daltrey, of course, went on to become the lead singer of The Who and is considered to be the epitome of a charismatic rock and roll frontman.  As for Mr. Kibblewhite, he went on to lend his name to the title of Daltrey’s autobiography.

As befits someone who, has a reputation for being one of the most down-to-Earth people in rock and roll, Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite is a short and straight-forward account of Roger Daltrey’s life, from his youth in war-scarred London to his time as the frontman for one of the loudest bands in rock and roll to his current life as one of rock’s elder statesmen.  If it’s not as salacious as some other rock-and-roll tell-alls, that’s because Daltrey never gave into the excessive behavior that proved to be the downfall of many of his contemporaries (including, of course, his former Who bandmates, Keith Moon and Jon Entwistle).  As Daltrey tells it, he avoided hard drugs to such an extent that he was briefly kicked out of the band for flushing Moon’s stash of pills.

As is true with The Who’s best albums, the heart of Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite is found in Daltrey’s close but often difficult collaboration with Pete Townshend.  Even after performing with Townshend for over fifty years, Daltrey still seems to be struggling with how he feels about his legendary bandmate.  Daltrey’s admiration for Townshend’s talent is obvious but he also writes that Townshend could be like “a scorpion with a good heart.”  Daltrey recounts not only the numerous times that Townshend was dismissive of the rest of the band in the press but he also tells the full story of the infamous fist fight in which Daltrey knocked Townshend out with one punch.  And yet, when Townshend is falsely accused of downloading child pornography, Daltrey is just as passionate about explaining how he knew his bandmate was innocent.

Daltrey also writes extensively about Keith Moon.  In Daltrey’s telling, Moon comes across as a unique, one-of-a-kind talent who was ultimately destroyed by his need to keep up with his own wild reputation.  Daltrey is open about often becoming exasperated with Moon but he also writes that, for him, The Who ceased to be The Who after Moon died.  Without Moon, Daltrey writes that The Who’s anthems were “now just songs.”

Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite is a short book and Daltrey is such a straight-forward and no frills storyteller that it makes for good airport and airplane reading.  For fans of The Who, this book is essential.

Rockin’ in the Film World #18: The Who’s TOMMY (Columbia 1975)


cracked rear viewer


Before MTV ever hit the airwaves, there was TOMMY, Ken Russell’s stylized cinematic vision of The Who’s 1969 ‘rock opera’. It was a match made in heaven, teaming Britain’s Wild Man of Cinema with the anarchic rock and roll of Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon (not to mention England’s own enfant terrible,Oliver Reed ). Russell both captures the spirit of Townsend’s hard rock opus and expands on it visually with an all-out assault-on-the-senses musical featuring an all-star cast that includes an Oscar-nominated performance by Ann-Margret as the mother of “that deaf, dumb, and blind kid” who “sure plays a mean pinball”!

The Who’s original album cover

Townshend, the group’s primary songwriter, had been experimenting with long-form rock’n’roll since the beginning, notably the nine minute suite “A Quick One While He’s Away” on their second album A QUICK ONE (retitled in America HAPPY JACK). TOMMY was…

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One Hit Wonders #12: “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” by The Blues Magoos (Mercury Records 1966)


cracked rear viewer

The very first concert I saw was… er, a very long time ago! Teenybop pop rockers Herman’s Hermits headlined the show, and the opening act was The Blues Magoos, performing their #5 Billboard hit, “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”:

The Blues Magoos, from The Bronx, were early practitioners of psychedelic rock’n’roll, going so far as to name their debut album “Psychedelic Lollipop”. They were loud, heavy, and wore these electric suits that blinked on and off during their rendition of the classic “Tobacco Road”:

Even without the suits, they were pretty far out, man! The lineup consisted of Emil “Peppy Castro” Theilheim (vocals, rhythm guitar), Mike Esposito (lead guitar), Ralph Scala (organ), Ron Gilbert (bass), and Geoff Daking (drums). They made the rounds of all the TV shows, like AMERICAN BANDSTAND, THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR , and the above clip from a Jack Benny-hosted episode of THE KRAFT MUSIC…

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