i tell you what-what, doo doo doo hey what-what
don’t bring me down.
i just thought i’d let jools, who was two at the time he uttered those inimitable words, introduce today’s:
guilty pleasure monday.
yes, my clever son takes after his gram’s unspoken musical motto: if you don’t know the words, make ’em up. there was a time when the formerly-known-as-a-classic-rock-station-now -a-station-that-pretends-to-be-progressive-station seemed to play ELO’s don’t bring me down every hour. at least, it was on every single damn time i was driving with the boy in the car. and no matter your age: it can, and it will, take over your brain in a powerful way, much like my number one earworm for all time, bittersweet symphony.
(you can thank me later for that last link.)
and symphony is where it all started for this band from birmingham (england, not ‘bama.) at the dawn of the 1970s, jeff lynne (probably one of the biggest beatle worshippers of all time) formed a band with roy wood of big-in-Britain group the move. only, too bad for wood, as he wasn’t happy and left the band, leaving lynne to take over wood’s vision of immersing classical music into rock.
yes, it’s a long stretch to go from symphony to xanax xanadu, but there was a time when the music ELO put out was actually interesting, at least to youngish me (who was trying to figure out how my flute lessons fit in with my beloved rock.) (and no, don’t tell me jethro tull. most of tull leaves me yawning.) i was probably reeled in first by can’t get it out of my head, a beatlesque ballad that. has. strings. face the music is one album that, if you play it backwards, actually DOES have a message for the intrepid listener, and it’s not paul is dead. (i know. i used to do it when i was younger and had a working turntable.) roll over, eleanor rigby, and tell mccartney the news. do ya is simply a dashboard-thumping anthem.
and rockaria clinched it with such lines as:
she’s sweet on wagner.
i think she’d die for beethoven.
she likes the way puccini lays down a tune.
and verdi’s always creeping from her room.
sure, they put out plenty of crap. but i give them a ton of credit for attempting to mix classical with rock. they tried to do something novel, at least novel for that period of time.
and anyway, how often can you say that classical music has a good beat and you can dance to it?