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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

November 5, 1965

I hope that you're ready for the first Tuesday Timeline of November 2013, because this week, we're going to be rocking out!

In case you haven't guessed, we're going to be making some sweet, beautiful music today in our weekly look back through time. But before we crank up the record player, let's have a look back at some other exciting events that took place on this, the fifth day of November.

Let's begin with the historical happenings! How about it?

1138 – Ly Anh Tong becomes the emperor of Vietnam – at the age of two

1605 – Guy Fawkes is arrested

1831 – American slave leader Nat Turner is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in Virginia

1872 – Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time in an American election despite women not being allowed to vote, which leads to a one hundred dollar fine

1895 – George B. Selden is granted the first American patent for an automobile

1900 – Natalie Schafer (d. 1991) – best known for her role as Lovey Howell in Gilligan's Island – is born in Red Band, New Jersey

1912 – Woodrow Wilson is elected to the presidency of the United States

1914 – France and the British Empire declare war on the Ottoman Empire during World War I

1916 – The Kingdom of Poland is proclaimed by the Act of November 5th of the emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary

1925 – Sidney Reilly, a Jewish-Russian secret agent is executed by the OGPU

1931 – Singer-songwriter Ike Turner (d. 2007) is born in Clarksdale, Mississippi

1943 – The Vatican is bombed during World War II

1945 – Colombia joins the United Nations

1957 – Actor/model Jon-Erik Hexum (d. 1984) is born in Englewood, New Jersey

1960 – Singer Johnny Horton dies of injuries sustained in a car accident at the age of 35

1967 – 49 people lose their lives in the Hither Green rail crash – among the survivors, Bee Gee member Robin Gibb

1977 – Canadian-American bandleader Guy Lombardo passes away at the age of 75

1983 – Byford Dolphin diving bell accident kills five and seriously injures one

2003 – Gary Ridgway – otherwise known as the Green River Killer - pleads guilty to 48 counts of murder

2006 – Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death for his role in the massacre of 148 Shi'a Muslims twenty-four years earlier

2007 – China's first lunar satellite – Chang'e 1 – goes into orbit around the Moon

2008 – Author Michael Crichton passes away at the age of 66

2010 – Actress Jill Clayburgh dies of cancer at the age of 66

(Is it just me, or did a lot of people die at the age of sixty-six on November fifth?)

Why don't we move on to a happier subject? Here's the list of famous faces blowing out candles today! A happy birthday to...Douglass North, Christopher Wood, Elke Sommer, Art Garfunkel, Sam Shepard, Peter Noone, James Kennedy, Joyce Maynard, Kris Jenner, Mike Score (A Flock of Seagulls), Mo Gaffney, Robert Patrick, Bryan Adams, Tilda Swinton, Andrea McArdle, Tatum O'Neal, Famke Janssen, Sam Rockwell, Tamzin Outhwaite, Corin Nemec, Danniella Westbrook, Ryan Adams, Lisa Scott-Lee (Steps), Sebastian Arcelus, Samuel Page, and Andrew Hayden-Smith.

So, what is the date that we will be looking at this week?

How about November 5, 1965?  That sounds like a great day to reflect on.  Sigh...I almost missed this old logo.  It's been over a month since I've used it.

And, another interesting fact about this blog entry.  This is my 900th post since I began this blog two and a half years ago!  So, for this being my 900th blog entry, I know that I had to choose a topic that was huge.  

And, what better topic than a single that was released forty-eight years ago that defined a generation of people?  In fact, the word "generation" happens to be one of the two words found in the song's title!  Would you like to hear the song in its entirety?  I'll post it below.  Don't worry.  We'll talk about it in more detail after the video.

ARTIST:  The Who
SONG:  My Generation
ALBUM:  My Generation
DATE RELEASED:  November 5, 1965

Okay, first things first.  The song only peaked at #74 in America?!?  Really?!?  At least in Canada, it made the Top 5! 

But, who really cares about something as trivial as a chart position anyway?  The song itself is one of The Who's biggest hits ever.  And, that's a bold statement to make considering that three of their other singles were used as theme songs for all three CSI television shows!

Did you know that Rolling Stone Magazine listed this song as number eleven on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time?  And, did you know that VH1 ranked this single as the thirteenth greatest rock and roll hit ever?  This particular song is unique in that it is one of a handful of songs that has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame!  How's that for an honour?

At the time that the single was released, The Who had four key band members.  They were Roger Daltrey on lead vocals, Pete Townshend on guitar, Keith Moon on drums, and John Entwistle on bass guitar.  And, if you want to thank one person for the song's conception, you can give all the kudos to Pete Townshend.

It was on a train trip that Townshend took (try saying that last sentence seven times fast) which inspired him to write down the lyrics that would make up the song "My Generation".  But here's another interesting theory about how the song came about.  According to a couple of sources, Townshend allegedly wrote the song after an incident in which the Queen Mother had Townshend's hearse towed from a city street because she was offended by the sight of it!

I don't know exactly how accurate that story is, but given the context of this tale and the meaning of the lyrics contained within the song, it does seem to hold a little bit of weight.

Look, we've all been there in our lives.  When I was a teenager, it always seemed as though we were always picked on by people of an older generation.  And that older generation was likely picked on by the generation before that.  

But, in all fairness, I find myself complaining about the teenagers du jour...particularly those ones who have lost all of their self-awareness by burying their faces in a smartphone.  You can't escape it.  You either get judged by the generation before, or you judge the generation after.

I think that's why so many people love this song so much.  It's a perfect "screw you" song to all of those people who make unfair judgments just because when you were born.  I mean, one of the lyrics of the song is "I hope I die before I get old", famously screeched by Roger Daltrey himself.

The now almost 70-year-old Daltrey.

The song was also purposely delivered in an angry stutter by Daltrey, and there have been several explanations as to why this was the case, ranging from being influenced by American R&B, to trying to sound like a British mod on speed!  And naturally the instrumentation had to match the song.  John Entwistle's bass solo in the song was one of the first to be heard on a rock record, and after breaking the strings on three different Danelectro bass guitars, he ended up using his Fender Jazz Bass with a much simpler solo.  Although given how well the solo turned out, I admit that it would have been interesting to hear what Entwistle initially wanted the solo to sound like.

At any rate, it was a song that defined a generation and demolished the generation gap.  And, that's why "My Generation" is the subject for this blog.

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