Monday, March 08, 2010

Blame Pete Redux!! The Update

I know this blog is sort of turning into "All Who, All The Time", but I really have to share this with you all... it's a great story. More non-Who content soon, I promise.

A while ago, I wrote a long-ish piece about how the Who shaped who I am, my music tastes, and a whole lot of times where the Who factored into my past. I signed it off thusly:

Now that I’m a father myself, I’m introducing my kids early on to the classics; my son as an infant would fall asleep every night to a Beatles lullaby CD made by Jason Falkner. And one of the songs which routinely calmed him down was Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo”. My daughter, though she is still sometimes shaky when she walks, tries to play the guitar with me whenever I am playing it. I created lullaby comp CDs for my kids, with Verbow, Tom Waits, and yes, The Who among the included songs. Unlike my own pre-Who diet of John Denver and Helen Reddy, I want to give my kids an appreciation for the finer tunes, or at the very least point them in the direction of good stuff. And who knows… if early signs are any indicator, the kids may take after the father and become music fanatics. Heaven help us if that happens; Pete Townshend will then be guilty of corrupting two generations of Murphys!!!!

Well, I have to tell you, that's now come true. My son and daughter are now bonafide Who fans, at ages 6 and 2 1/2 respectively. You know how a lot of people can identify John, Paul, George, and Ringo almost immediately? Well, my kids can identify John, Keith, and Pete, and I'm working on having them able to identify Roger. Do you want to know the perfect way to introduce young children to the Who? Watch and learn:

Yes, I always thought that "Happy Jack" was a song that kids might like, but I had no idea how addicted my kids would get to the video. It makes perfect sense, really: the Who, in full madcap keystone cops mode, have lots of fun throwing cake at each other.

I showed my kids my DVD of The Kids Are Alright to show them the video of "Who Are You", which they liked, but I really caught them when I showed them "Happy Jack". My son, when he first saw it, had a genuine look of concern; he didn't get it. Then I told him how John was eating a piece of cake, and how Pete and Keith were being silly and would need to take a bath after getting all that cake on themselves. Then I pointed out the poor policeman, who would also have to take a bath after those silly guys put cake all over him. Now that he gets it, he loves it. And my daughter loves it because he loves it. In her 2 year old way, she'll fix me with a serious look and try to narrate it what's going on in the video; it's priceless. The video is perfect for kids, really. Their fandom started with "Who Are You" at the SuperBowl, and has become the real thing with the video for "Happy Jack". I couldn't be prouder.

POSTSCRIPT: I was singing "Who Are You" for the kids while I was at my folks' house last week, and my father (in his mid-sixties), says, "Oh yeah, that's the song in CSI: Miami." I was STUNNED, I tell you. He never knew it was a Who song, even though I was such a huge Who fan growing up. Serves him right for being so deep in John Denver lala-land all those years he could have been getting into the Who, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton.... but NOOOO!! He had to dig Richard Harris, Ferrante and Teischer, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Old before his time, at least musically so. For him to reference "Who Are You" as merely "that CSI: Miami song" floored me.


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