Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:26 am
Location: New Jersey
Plants Strider wrote:
The Wall and Tommy have much better and more sophisticated concepts than What's Going On and Sgt. Pepper.
"Better" is a matter of subjective opinion.
What makes this.....Synopsis
British Army Captain Walker is reported missing and is believed dead. His widow, Mrs. Walker, gives birth to their son, Tommy. Years later, Captain Walker returns home and discovers that his wife has found a new lover. Captain Walker confronts the two and the lover is subsequently killed in the struggle. To cover up the incident, Tommy's parents tell him that he didn't see or hear it, and that he will never tell anyone about the incident. Traumatised, Tommy subsequently becomes blind, deaf, and mute. Now in a semi-catatonic state, Tommy's subconscious manifests as a figure dressed in silvery robes who guides him on a journey of enlightenment. Years pass and Tommy becomes a young man, now interpreting physical sensations as music.
During Christmas, Tommy's parents worry that his soul is at risk of damnation, since he is unaware of Jesus or prayer. One day, Tommy is left alone with his cousin Kevin, who bullies and tortures him for his own amusement. A pimp referred to as "the Hawker" is introduced and peddles his prostitute's sexual prowess, reputed to heal the blind, the deaf, and the mute. Tommy is ultimately taken to this woman, who calls herself the Acid Queen; she tries to coax Tommy into full consciousness with hallucinogenic drugs and sex. When this does not work, Tommy's parents reluctantly leave him temporarily in the care of his Uncle Ernie, an alcoholic child molester. He takes this opportunity to abuse Tommy without fear of being caught. Eventually, Tommy is discovered to have a talent for pinball and quickly defeats the local champion of the game.
In yet another attempt at 'curing' him, Tommy's father finds a medical specialist. After numerous tests, the doctor informs Tommy's parents that his disabilities are psychosomatic rather than physical. Meanwhile, Tommy is internally trying to reach out to them. His mother continues to try to reach him, but becomes frustrated that he ignores her while staring directly at a mirror, despite his apparent inability to see. Out of this frustration, she smashes the mirror and brings Tommy back to reality. This "miracle cure" becomes a public sensation and Tommy attains a guru-like status. Thereafter he assumes a messianic mantle and attempts to enlighten those willing to follow him. During one of Tommy's sermons, a reverend's daughter, Sally Simpson, sneaks out of her home to meet with Tommy. As the police try to control the crowd, Sally is thrown from the stage and suffers a gash on her face. Tommy opens his own home to anyone willing to join him and urges them to bring as many people with them as they can. When his house becomes too small to accommodate them all, a camp is built with the intended purpose of spreading Tommy's teachings. Tommy's Uncle Ernie assists him at this camp, but uses it as an opportunity for profit and to exploit Tommy's disciples. Now with all necessary resources at his disposal, Tommy instructs his followers to blind, deafen and mute themselves in order to truly reach enlightenment. They eventually reject his methods and ideology after finding that his enlightenment is not reached by being cured, but by discovering a state of awareness while blind, deaf, and mute.
....better than this?While traveling on his tour bus with the Four Tops on May 15, 1969, Four Tops member Renaldo "Obie" Benson witnessed an act of police brutality and violence committed on anti-war protesters who had been protesting at Berkeley's People's Park in what was later termed as "Bloody Thursday". A disgusted Benson later told author Ben Edmonds, "I saw this and started wondering 'what the fuck was going on, what is happening here? One question led to another. Why are they sending kids far away from their families overseas? Why are they attacking their own kids in the street?" Returning to Detroit, Motown songwriter Al Cleveland wrote and composed a song based on his conversations with Benson of what he had seen in Berkeley. Benson sent the unfinished song to his band mates but the other Four Tops turned the song down. Benson said, "My partners told me it was a protest song. I said 'no man it's a love song, about love and understanding. I'm not protesting. I want to know what's going on.'"
The song was presented by Benson and Cleveland to Marvin Gaye while finding him at a golf game. Returning to Gaye's home in Outer Drive, Benson played the song to Gaye on his guitar. Gaye felt the song's moody flow would be perfect for The Originals. Benson, however, felt Gaye could sing it himself. Gaye responded to that suggestion by asking Benson for songwriting credit of the song. Benson and Cleveland allowed it and Gaye edited the song, adding a new melody, revising the song to his own liking, and changing some of the lyrics, reflective of Gaye's own disgust. Gaye finished the song by adding its title, "What's Going On". Benson said later that Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, "added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story and not a song... we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it." During this time, Gaye had been deeply affected by phone conversations shared between him and his brother after he had returned from service over the treatment of Vietnam veterans.
Gaye had also been deeply affected by the social ills that were then plaguing the United States at the time, even covering the track, "Abraham, Martin & John", in 1969, which became a UK hit for Gaye in 1970. Gaye cited the 1965 Watts riots as a pivotal moment in his life in which he asked himself, "with the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?" One night, Gaye called Berry Gordy about doing a protest record while Gordy vacationed at the Bahamas, to which Gordy chastised him, "Marvin, don't be ridiculous. That's taking things too far."
In an interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Marvin Gaye discussed what had shaped his view on more socially conscious themes in music and the conception of his eleventh studio album:
In 1969 or 1970, I began to re-evaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say... I was very much affected by letters my brother was sending me from Vietnam, as well as the social situation here at home. I realized that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world.
To me, one (Tommy) is total fiction while the other is an important statement about real life events.
No contest as to which concept is more important for society to learn from.