Monday, November 11, 2013
I do not take a very curated approach to my iPod. It holds a substantial portion of my cd collection, and I have a tendency to download quite a bit that I run across as "subjects for further research." This means that frequently stuff pops up on shuffle that is long- forgotten, obscure and never heard before. I think obscure is what Keith Moon's "When I'm Sixty Four" qualifies as. It is, truth be told, a rather pointless cover. Keith Moon was a charming enough singer in his way, but the arrangement adds nothing to the original. As soon as I realized it was Keith Moon I knew what it was from: in 1976 a film and soundtrack album called All This and World War II briefly graced movie screens and record stores. The movie was a pastiche of period films and documentary footage with a soundtrack of Beatles covers by a bunch of mid 70's characters. You know, the BeeGees (who were prone to this sort of thing), Leo Sayer, Elton John... that crowd. As I think back on it, those were peculiarly Beatles-obsessed times. There was always some sort of Fab Four project in the wind, to the extent that on Saturday Night Live Lorne Michaels made a running joke of offering $400 dollars for them to reunite and play on the show. Remember Klaatu? The whole thing was sort of sad, now that I think of it, and of course it became much sadder shortly thereafter when John Lennon was murdered. The irony, I think, is that although the 70's produced a generous amount of rank garbage those years also represented a peak in rock and roll. When you stop to think about it, a lot of artists who we think of as 60's artists-- Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Sly Stone, the Rolling Stones, did some of their most memorable work at the same time that Peter Frampton and the BeeGees were rehashing Beatles tracks for Robert Stigwood.
I can only assume that Keith Moon recorded that with tongue firmly in cheek. Surely not even he thought he'd make it to 64.