Jan 282011

Rock Town Hall seeks THE most powerful and glorious example on video of The Power & Glory of Rock. This is a Battle Royale. Winner takes all! Let’s start by seeing if we can’t top the Power & Glory of The MC5 playing “Kick Out the Jams,” as submitted by Townsman Hank Fan.

To review the tenants of The Power & Glory of Rock, click here. May the Power & Glory of Rock be with you.


  62 Responses to “Battle Royale: In Search of…The Most Powerful and Glorious Example of The Power & Glory of Rock”

  1. I humbly offer “Wont Get Fooled Again.” That seems to capture P&G as I (sorta) understand it, after reading Mr. Mod’s glossary entry from way back when.

  2. I have to admit that I didn’t study the definition before submitting the video. I just thought it seemed to be very powerful, glorious, and–most of all–very “rock”. How much more “rock” could this video be? The answer is none. None more “rock”. (Though I don’t think it’s intended to be any kind of overt tip of the hat to rock’s roots).

  3. There is no better example (nor will there ever be) than this:


    I rest my case.

  4. You mean the version from The Kids Are Alright, when Townshend slides across the stage? That’s got to be a prime contender. Good one!

  5. Is study really necessary in the presence of The Power & The Glory? I think not. Of course we’re taking things to another level, but I doubt there will be a submission in this Battle Royale that doesn’t at least qualify for the belt. I showed my son this clip as a reward for the hours of studying he put in for his French midterm tomorrow. Midway through he asked if one of the guitarists was going to do the slide, and then he did a Townshend slide across the kitchen floor. The Power. And The Glory.

  6. See what I mean? James Taylor need not apply. Talking Heads won’t get a sniff of the squared circle. Keep ’em coming – and don’t be afraid to be judgmental and knock another Townsperson’s contestant out of the ring.

  7. BigSteve

    I would have picked that one too before I saw the glossary entry, but Won’t Get Fooled Again doesn’t have any hint of 50s style rock&roll.

  8. jeangray

    Bon Scott is truely strange looking.

  9. jeangray

    Wayne Kramer is a fucking badass!

  10. That’s a great reason to throw this strong contender out of the ring, although it could be argued that there are shades of “Summertime Blues” running through the chording vs vocal phrasing.

    “Long Live Rock” is The Who’s most blatant contender in this category, but I don’t think that would stand up to some of our other challengers in terms of commitment and desire.

  11. TOTALLY, even with the sound turned off, as it initially was on my computer when I clicked PLAY!

  12. I’m not entering the following in the ring, but think of this as one of those soft-lens human interest stories that run between matches:


  13. HVB will dig this gentle example of The Power & Glory of Rock.


    Who would have thought someone would beat me to this cover?

  14. Is the riff from “Day Tripper” the first riff in rock that was self-consciously constructed to celebrate The Power & Glory of Rock?

  15. Yep, this it the 1st one that came to mind and I can’t image it will be displaced. “Long Live Rock” is a blatant attempt to re-capture the P & G, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is the real deal.

  16. The Clash were my 2nd though although I would have gone with “Brand New Cadillac”. Odd that those are both Clash cover versions when they did great original stuff.

  17. So far it seems like no one’s knocking “Won’t Get Fooled Again” out of the ring. I am troubled by all the free thinking among band members, though. Compare it with The Move’s “Brontosaurus,” in which everyone is committed to pushing the riff forward in a more Iwo Jiman fashion. Could just be the function of another denomination; they’re all giving praise to the same guiding force.

  18. BigSteve

    I think the Clash clip is a better example, both because it’s more rootsy and because you can see the audience reaction.

    Dig this clip:


    I had been thinking about starting a thread about whether it was the greatest live rock video clip of all time, though this thread kind seems like and alternate version of the same thing.

    I wasn’t really a big Fugazi fan, and I’m not sure you can make the case for their music having roots in the 50s, but the throbbing audience here, totally at one with the band, seems like a primal example of the essence of rock.

  19. misterioso

    That was awesome!

  20. misterioso

    I soooo don’t get that.

  21. misterioso

    Netherlandish? Or?

  22. I still don’t really get the whole ’50s angle of The Power and The Glory, and anyway, I think there’s just enough Chuck Berry in Townshend’s guitar on WGFA for it to get by. Nor do I hear too much “free thinking.” I think P&G requires a little bit of an untethered quality, otherwise it’s just too lab-coaty for me.

    And, yes, Mr. Mod, I was thinking of the Kids are Alright version.

  23. misterioso

    The Who, Young Man Blues, live at Tanglewood or Isle of Wight. Can’t miss with either.


  24. Stating the obvious, unless you’re a blues afficianado like mwall, rock ‘n roll started in the ’50s. It is right to incorporate walking bass lines, pinky rock, and at least a lyrical nod to Chuck Berry’s self-referential style of lyrics.

  25. alexmagic

    That’s a perfectly good cover of a perfectly great song, but don’t let it deter you from covering it yourself, Mod. The trick, which the guy from Husky did not pull off, is to really sell the “YES, I DOOOOO BELIEVE!” line. That’s where the power and glory lies.

  26. Entwistle’s skeleton suit is powerful and glorious. It’s a shame to rock stars of today don’t dress in such an interesting fashion. Half of them look like advertising copy writers anymore.

  27. BigSteve

    Given the eagerness of musicians to have their songs used in commercials, I fail to see the distinction.

  28. hrrundivbakshi

    No, no, no, NO! If you’re going to cover a Roy Wood song that captures the power and glory, the obvious choice is “Rock Down Low”!

  29. hrrundivbakshi

    Again, I think you guys have got a lot of this wrong. Sure, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is an easy choice — but don’t fool yourselves. My all-time favorite Who “performance” — which many of you have seen and discussed in the past — is a far more explosive combination of swagger, message and intent. Come on — “Join Together” is ABOUT the fucking power and glory!

    Can anybody watch Pete strut his polyester-suited stuff across the stage, delivering high-stepping marching band moves, karate kicks and holding the guitar on high as if to bless the multitude — without feeling the need to throw their rock fist in heartfelt salute? Look at Keith Moon being carried out of the hall on a rock palanquin, for chrissake! That’s power and glory!

    Hand over the belt!



  30. It’s about time you stepped forward, HVB, with your favorite “live performance” video! You’d think you were stuck in traffic for 5 hours or something.

  31. misterioso

    Admittedly, Join Together (like Long Live Rock) is unambiguously an invocation of the Power and Glory of Rock, and mostly successful. But, surely, a song doesn’t have to be *about* the aforementioned P&G of R in order to capture it. (Otherwise, some wag might suggest “We Built This City,” which is clearly *trying* to be about this.) No: we are more sophisticated than this, I should think; and are able to find P&G regardless of whether it is the stated subject matter.

    For instance, Like a Rolling Stone is not *about* the P&G. But the live Before the Flood version becomes some kind of embodiment of it. Says I.

    Then there’s Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner, which is both about it and captures it, without the bombast.

    Then, too, there is the possibility that I am entirely misunderstanding the concept and have gone snow crazy. or Snowblind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joL3SFwboA8

  32. The song doesn’t necessarily have to be about The P&G, but the lyrics should aspire to getting back to rock’s roots, rock’s heart, and the sense that rock ‘n roll is a unifying force. I’d say the lyrics of “Like a Rolling Stone” – as powerful and glorious as the music is – contradict these notions. They’re encouraging the listener to move forward, to leave the past behind. There are more liberal denominations and parishes that can contain the multitudes of what Dylan has to say and that have prospered from these notions, certainly, but in terms of *this* Battle Royale, shouldn’t the most powerful and glorious example of The P&G of R encourage us to renew our faith? The song and the way it’s played meets most of the criteria and does broaden the battle. Good suggestion.

    Along these lines I’d wholly agree that “Roadrunner” does ALL that we’re asking for! Remember this passage from the RTH Glossary entry on this concept:

    …every shred of humanity in each riff and downbeat must be thrust to the fore, revived, exploited. The song becomes secondary. The act of getting back becomes secondary. Rather, it is the act of giving thanks and praise itself that comes to represent The Power & Glory of Rock.

    Listen to the way the Roadrunners lay it all out on the court for those two chords! That’s the commitment to the riff that I was talking about that The Who, with their free-thinking rhythm section, can be seen as straying from – in some circles. I do not deny that this concept is highly personal and deeply spiritual. There are cultures in which band members and listeners shouting out their own words of praise is the norm, and there are cultures in which complete silence is the accepted norm for receiving The Power & Glory. Provided that The Power & Glory flows freely, I am not worthy to judge whether one way is more or less reverent.

    May the Battle Royale rage on!

  33. If have to watch dudes with their shirts off rocking — I choose this guy.


  34. 2000 Man

    I love Roadrunner, and I know what you’re saying, but it’s more about The Power and Glory of Rock, like a musical discussion of how wonderful it is, than an actual example of The Power and Glory. There’s too many songs that could actually, physically, kick Roadrunner’s skinny ass.

    So I submit Iron Man. Even Ozzy’s hair is committed to The Power and Glory. And even if it doesn’t win the Battle Royale, it won’t get it’s ass kicked.


  35. jeangray

    Oh God… Couldn’t finish that one…

  36. If this performance doesn’t suggest some kind of peak level of Dionysian frenzy, I’m not sure what does:


  37. Yes, that’s a killer example, dr john! And talk about commitment.

  38. hrrundivbakshi

    I love the way Ozzie says “okay everybody, take your hand and clap them!”

  39. hrrundivbakshi

    Mockcarr’s onto something here.

  40. hrrundivbakshi

    You’re just saying that ’cause you were AT that show!

  41. I played several of these for my 3 year old girl and 5 year old boy this morning.

    We ignored the “Power and Glory” part of it and just focused on the “Rock”.

    They were lock step in their assessment that Led Zepplin rocked, but the MC5 rocked harder, and the Clash rocked harder still. Then we went off the menu and watched ACDC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock And Roll”, which was the hands down winner. It rocked so hard that the two Who videos (Young Man’s Blues and Smothers Bros version of My Generation) were rendered persona non grata, although Entwistle earned some points for his skeleton suit.

  42. machinery

    I’ll admit I did look for myself in the very front. To blurry to tell 🙂

  43. ladymisskirroyale


  44. ladymisskirroyale

    Ok, he’s not shirtless, but I think this demonstrates the right R & R attitude:

  45. So that’s the complete opposite, right? That’s the way I’m reading it. Initially I thought it was going to be all Glory and no Power, but then all the music dropped out and he walked up to the music stand.

  46. Definitely both powerful and glorious!

  47. plasticsun

    While the ACDC clip is impressively powerful, I favor the MC5. Also, the Clash may need to be disqualified – they overdubbed most of the sound in studio. Does that matter?

  48. Overdubs – and even outright lip-synching, as HVB might argue – are OK. It’s all about the overall effect, not what got us there.

  49. cherguevara

    I never really cared for songs that are actually about “rock’n’roll.” Can’t really say why, it’s just not something I ever identified with, l never thought, “boy, I’d really like some music that affirms the kind of music I like.”

    Whichever clip wins this Battle Royale, I suggest this clip is its evil opposite twin – I love this song but could these guys look more bored?


  50. Funny, I agree completely re: Rockpile’s lack of Mach Schau in this clip. TREMENDOUS song!

  51. I’ve long been fascinated by Rockpile’s complete lack of stage presence. Ever read any of those Nick Lowe interviews where he boasts of blowing headliners like The Cars and Blondie off the stage? Okay, The Cars probably wasn’t too hard, but Blondie? Did Lowe really think they were more fun to watch than Debbie Harry?

  52. Have you ever heard another musician give credit to Blondie? I think it’s a case in which the little boys understand…

  53. misterioso

    While Blondie’s visual appeal was evident and the records are good, I can’t recall seeing much footage of them that made me think much of them as a live band.

    Still, this clip has its virtues. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12w5wykucgk&feature=fvw

  54. misterioso, thanks for providing me the only opportunity I’ve ever had to excuse the wearing of “skorts” and a headband. That’s DEFINITELY NOT Steve Perry!

  55. BigSteve

    I actually saw Rockpile on the tour where they opened for Blondie. I don’t recall Blondie being weak. They had Clem on the drums after all, so they were a credible rock band. But Rockpile was a high-octane rock machine. It was Play That Fast Thing One More Time all the time. Not much subtlety by that point though.

    The Girls Talk clip was shot in the daylight, so I think they were probably just incredibly hung over. Nick Lowe compensates by playing the 128-string bass.

  56. I vote for “How many more times” from Zep #1. The clip of Iggy is lacking the complete P&G due to a too fast tempo. The Clash are totally P&G. AC DC (one of my favs.) does not qualify for full P&G status cause the song is about rock, which makes things too obvious. This song also leans more towards power than glory so the ultimate balance is off.

  57. You’re on fire, sethro b!

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