Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wednesday's Moment of "Words Fail Me"

The 'Oo, and perhaps their finest studio effort.

Found this on YouTube the other day and a) I'd never seen it before and b) it's like the coolest thing ever. Actually, it may in fact be the official video for the song (although the '60s term was promo film, of course).

It is perhaps also worth noting -- according to no less an authority than the song's composer Pete Townshend -- that drummer Keith Moon went to his grave having absolutely no memory whatsoever of the session at which the song was recorded.

An indication, as Pete told Rolling Stone, of Moon's "state of mind at the time."


Gummo said...

My only objection is, how can anyone possibly pick just one song as the Who's finest?

Haik Mendelovich said...

My favorite thing about the Who promo films is that Moon didn't even try to drum along accurately.

Watch him here, and he is sort of simulating flying around the kit.

The unique poses and moves are all there, but bear very little resemblance to what he actually played on the track!

And he did this on lip-synched (drum synched?) promos all the time. :)

Anonymous said...

That guitar intro gives me chills. Its one of the top guitar intros of all time.

The cameraman liked Keith Moon more than Roger Daltrey, I think. Who can blame him?

Your videoplayer segued into I Can't Explain , and as brilliant as it is, there is a striking difference in sophistication and self-awareness between it and Substitute.


steve simels said...

May I also just say that Roger Daltrey's shirt in this clip deserves a Nobel Prize for fashion?

Anonymous said...

It might be the Who's greatest song but the video is a big nothing.


cthulhu said...

I love the punchy 3 minute Who singles from their early days, and agree that Substitute is in the top two or three of those. But I would probably put Bargain and Won't Get Fooled Again as their top studio efforts. Overall I like WGFA the best, but Bargain may be the tightest ensemble work they ever did in the studio.

But, hey, it's the Who. What's not to like? Thanks for posting it!

bo bo skediddle daddle said...

Watch him here, and he is sort of simulating flying around the kit.

Yeah, Keith's tippy-stick drum moves are hilarious. Like Pete's arrow-back jacket, flailing arm, and Roger's shirt, they're all about drawing the eye and holding it -- they understood that attention was the valuable commodity, and they went for it with everything they had. The early Who's innate graphic sense makes them one of the characteristic art objects of their time -- right up there with Warhol's soup cans and Wesselman's nudes. The loss of this sense is one of the things that makes post-Magic Bus Who such a disappointment, as they allowed their impact to be diluted into the general hippie aesthetic, and Roger Daltrey edged into Fabio territory with the sex-object look.