Friday, March 11, 2005

Pinball Wizard

Who wrote this? Oh yeah, The Who wrote this. Evertime I think of The Who, I think of this song. Well, this song, and Magic Bus, Teenage Wasteland, Seeker...Anyway, this is a great song. If you didnt' know, this song was written for the rock opera, "Tommy." It was played off broadway, made into a play, and is still performed today. It was made into a movie in 1975 starring Jack Nickelson. Weird huh?

Tommy, a dumb, deaf, and blind kid, sure can play a mean pinball. He feels the vibrations of the game, and can outplay anyone.
"He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
He plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball"

The composer of the piece likes to think that listeners of this song will pick up the vibrations of the piece, much like Tommy. The rhythm of this piece is very unique. The first few measures lets the lead accoustic guitar intro with the melody. Enter a great drummer, the piece really gets moving. Next comes the singer, wailing on the melody. Man, these lyrics are amazing. You have a twisted mind to write a song about Helen Keller playing pinball, and "crazy flipper fingers." Say that three times fast...Unlike many pop songs, this song does not have a simple tonic dominant harmony. Instead The Who plays with Gmin, Bmin, F#min, Amin, etc. I think these harmonic progressions give the piece a lot of momentum, and color. It is not a cookie cutter pop song, it has a lot of variety, even if it is strophic.
In conclusion, I like The Who a lot. They are one of the best bands to walk the earth. If you haven't heard Magic Bus, you haven't lived. Do they remind anyone else of Led Zepplin? Peace.

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