Jul 082010

England pulls out pyrrhic victory over Jamaica.

In a major upset over Team USA, Jamaica will face England in the Finals of our inaugural Rock Town Hall World Cup of Rock ‘n Roll!

The coaches, Mr. Moderator and bostonhistorian, know the drill by now. There will be no ties, so: have a third strike ready. You will pick up with the rosters you used to end the semi-final round of play. Remember: any artist substituted for is now OUT of play.

Coaches can submit their opening two strikes in the Comments section. If you want to play your hand close to the vest and/or would like to submit mp3s for me to post, please send them to the Commissioner: mrmoderator [at] rocktownhall [dot] com.

Thursday, July 8
England v Jamaica

Tomorrow (or Friday, depending on the length of the match) we make history!


  41 Responses to “RTH World Cup of Rock ‘n Roll: England vs Jamaica in Finals!”

  1. Mr. Moderator

    Because it’s down to bostonhistorian’s fine Jamaican squad and my own Team England there’s no need for or ability to play our selections close to the vest. Team England has entered the following two songs into play for the Finals in the inaugular RTH World Cup of Rock ‘n Roll.

    Our theme, in this closing match, is England’s Glory. Some have felt we’ve cruised through this tournament, but I can assure you that a great deal of thought went into our selections. As I said, we looked to win each match and do so in a way that thought ahead to our next possible opponents. We were extremely relieved to get through the semis vs Ireland on the strength of our “Satisfaction”-“Pump it Up” power play. This allowed us to save two songs that best represent the unique contributions our nation has made to rock ‘n roll:

    From The Beatles we present “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the German version, in true stereo:


    (Read more about this song and this version of Magical Mystery Tour here: https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/index.php/strawberry_fields_forever_in_true_stereo)

    Then we will go to our bench for the first time, calling The Who in to replace maybe our MVP through the tournament, Elvis Costello & The Attractions. The Who will play another English rock song that redefined the possibilities of the genre and blew the lid off teenage rebellion, “My Generation”:


    Thank you, and we look forward to getting this match underway with the great rock nation of Jamaica.

  2. bostonhistorian

    Team Jamaica anticipated a strike from The Who–after all, as Chekov wrote “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” and is pleased that “My Generation” is the bullet. Jamaica presents Don Drummond and The Skatalites from 1964, performing “Man in the Street”. The Skatalites were, quite simply, one of the best bands in the world when this was recorded. Not only was this a top ten UK hit before The Who could even get on the charts and the Stones could only chart with cover versions, Skatalites’ trombone genius Don Drummond managed to record hundreds of songs *and* die before he got old, murdering his exotic dancer girlfriend in 1965 and was confined to a mental asylum for the last years of his life, until his death in 1969. Pete Townshend’s mod generation was listening to the Skatalites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69-Ux-dxyU4

    Finally, Bob Marley brings it home with “Get Up Stand Up”, the soundtrack for action around the world…… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuMlHdxiIZ8

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    One thing is certain: “Get Up, Stand Up” beats “My Generation.” Both songs are meant to menace and threaten the system — but one is adolescent anger and the other is grown-up and speaking truth to power. Not that rock is about the “maturity” of one’s voice — but since they’re both fine pieces of music, I give Marley’s tune the edge, if only barely.

    Have to listen to the other track before opining.

  4. 2000 Man

    Wow, I figured there was no way England could lose this, but if they were dogging it before (which I didn’t think they were), they’re throwing the match now. Strawberry Fields? Snore. I like the pick of The Who song, but I think it was anticipated and blocked by one of the few Bob Marley songs I like.

    Jamaica could have walked off with it, but the Skatalites song just doesn’t do much for me. Just a little more In Yo Faceness and I’d have given the trophy to Jamaica.

    Man, I never thought I’d say that. I like reggae about as much as acoustic blues by guys dead 70 years ago. I get it’s historic impact and stuff, but you can have it, I’ll rock out instead.

    Looks like a tie to me.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    Nice challenge, bostonhistorian! I am confident that England will prevail on the strength of their two opening strikes, but tell me that’s not “Ob-La-De-Ob-La-Da” I see stretching out in hopes of getting the call for a fight-fire-with-fire tie-breaker!:)

    Don’t worry, THAT call’s not coming, but we’re loaded for bear, if it comes to bear-hunting season!

  6. bostonhistorian

    What’s Ob-La-De-Ob-La-Da”?

  7. OK for the finals. Strawberry Fields is the top of the heap; rock music as art, the possibilities of recorded sound, all that. Didn’t compare “true German stereo” to whatever copy I listen to but it sounded great in earbuds. I figured Mod would run in a Who song, but what would he choose over all of those fine 60’s Stones numbers? I’m a little disappointed with My Generation since it doesn’t really get at the complexity of Townshend’s project. However, it is a great 1st blast, teen rebellion anthem. The song never gets old so “Hope I die before I get old” does not apply here. And a crowd pleasing moment (but no goal) for the appearance of Tommy Smothers!

    Get Up Stand Up deserves to be in this company. Another fighter’s song (along w/ Redemption Song) that shows why you see Marley’s image can be found in every bazaar worldwide, even in places where they have never heard the Beatles. Man in the Street is quite familiar to those of us in Philadelphia since it was 1st radio demo for The Hooters (I betcha bosonhistorian knew that). Very cool to finally hear the original version.

    Very close win for England but I would not be averse to hearing 2 more penalty strikes.

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Interesting analysis by k.! I agree with his overall premise, that English has pulled out a close victory:P The points off for the Tommy Smothers appearance took us by surprise. We were certain that the unexpectedly rebellious Smothers Brothers would help our cause!

    I was trying to remember which neo-ska band covered “Man in the Street.” The Hooters did NOT come to mind. UGH! We’ll see if the shot stands, but I want to see a yellow card issued to Rob Hyman and Eric Bazillian for running onto the pitch!

  9. bostonhistorian

    Of course you would agree Mr. Mod. For me, it comes down to this: would you rather have music painstakingly created in a studio so that all the life is drained out of it, or would you rather have eight guys around a microphone in a studio, playing their hearts out?

  10. bostonhistorian

    And no, I had no idea about the Hooters connection.

  11. mockcarr

    As I’ve said before, I’d rather hear rock songs in a World Cup of Rock & Roll. Otherwise, the US should have put Armstrong, Sinatra, and Slim Whitman in the contest.

    I’m just kidding about Sinatra.

  12. Mr. Moderator

    bostonhistorian, I think “Strawberry Fields Forever” is the best of all worlds: a song written by a guy pouring his heart, mind, AND soul out that was then arranged, played, and recorded with the greatest of care. I love “Get Up Stand Up,” especially the verse that Peter Tosh (I think) sings – it’s like one of those verses when Rick Danko jumps in and takes a Band song to a new level – and I love that entire Burnin’ album, an album that like the best Beatles stuff has is ALL together. No matter the process, I think Marley and The Beatles nailed what they set out to do on their numbers.

    Now that I think about it, was Don Drummond and the Skatalites on your initial roster of three artists plus one sub? Regardless, that’s a cool performance too, but to me it doesn’t match the epic reach of the other three songs in play.

  13. bostonhistorian

    Yes…the Skatalites were my sub….

  14. Mr. Moderator

    Excellent, bostonhistorian. I wasn’t trying to give you a hard time, just hoping for an easy way to claim victory:)

  15. bostonhistorian

    “I’d rather hear rock songs in a World Cup of Rock & Roll.”

    I would argue that both of Jamaica’s song rock more than Strawberry Fields Forever…

  16. mockcarr

    No, no they don’t BH.

    I haven’t heard a song like Get Up Stand Up since we settled our union contract last February. Those eight people chanting rhymes around a microphone meant it too, I don’t think we would have gotten the deal we did with studio trickery.

  17. mockcarr

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really think Dancing Queen by ABBA was rock and roll either, and I used that sucker quick.

  18. hrrundivbakshi

    Does the fact that you settled your union contract have anything to do with the increased amount of goldbricking you’re doing at RTH these days?

  19. mockcarr

    Spoken like a man who doesn’t have a desk job!

  20. mockcarr

    I take my 15 minute break in 3 minute intervals throughout the day, in addition to my many mandated non-smoking breaks.

  21. As much as I love My Generation and all its Eff U-ness, I must give the nod to Get Up Stand Up. Pete admits that he’s not tryin’ to cause a big sensation, but Marley is and does. Advantage Jamaica.

    England gets the nod for Strawberry Fields. The Skatalites are no match for this brilliant shot.

    Since we’re not going head to head on each title, one must take the total sum of parts as a whole. In that case, England edges out Jamaica in my eyes.

  22. hrrundivbakshi

    Re: Big Choice Poll —

    Where’s the option for extra time/penalties? That gets my vote.

  23. Mr. Moderator

    Registered as such, hrrundivbakshi. Thank you.

    Any votes for overtime must be stated in this thread. The judges will not allow the anonymous copout option with so much at stake.

    Sonny, you make some excellent points, especially your concluding one.

  24. BigSteve

    I’ve never liked My Generation. I love Strawberry Fields, but not the German true stereo mix. The cellos are too loud. The English are all attitude in this final round? I’m sorry, but in the beginning was rhythm, and the Jamaicans own rhythm (aka riddims). The English team won’t mind losing, since by their own admission nothing is real.

  25. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve writes:

    …in the beginning was rhythm…

    Sure, let’s discount anything beyond the first caveman to band a couple of rocks together. The lukewarm reception to either of England’s strikes reeks of the same pipe-tamping attitude that was expressed when Team USA played Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” I’m not buying it. I’m all for Jamaica’s pluck, but come on, you want to hold a fun ska song up against either of my team’s life-changing numbers? The referees are trying hard to keep an open mind, but they can only keep the door propped open so long before bugs fly in.

  26. Mr. Moderator

    My math, so far, tallies 10 votes for England, 6 for Jamaica, and 2 for overtime. We’ll keep this historic match going for another hour, in case anyone feels the need to make a strong case for the outcome. Thanks.

  27. BigSteve

    Implying that the Jamaicans who were colonized and exploited by the English are cavemen is unworthy of you, Mod. Yes, those were life-changing records, but the match is being played today. You could make the case that the changes Jamaica infused into the rock template are more powerful and effective in today’s musical game than what the English did to their American sources. I think the limeys may experience a Pyrrhic victory here, winning the tournament but losing to history.

  28. Mr. Moderator

    No, BigSteve, that was not my intent with the banging of rocks reference! I’m sorry if it came off that way. I was trying to insult you for clutching onto some kind of dimestore primitivism. Yes, England is sensing a Pyrrhic victory, but a victory nonetheless.

  29. bostonhistorian

    Team Jamaica accepts defeat.

    Team Jamaica knew it would be a tough battle against songs acclaimed to be among the greatest in the history of music–trying to defeat forty-three years of unvarnished praise and adulation with a Skatalites song known to very few is a tall order. But, at the end of the day, it comes down to this: when kids first started listening to rock and roll it was the beat which moved the feet, the “jungle rhythm” which so scared parents, not trumpets and cellos and vague lyrics about alienation. Rock and roll wasn’t art and poetry. Rock and roll was going to make your kids drop out of school, have sex, or, worst of all, encourage the races to mix. Little Richard was a parent’s worst nightmare, a bouffanted screaming Negro with a leer in his eye and lust in his heart. McCartney got the scream right, but he only wanted to hold your hand, and then both he and Lennon retreated into their own heads. Meanwhile the Skatalites were the soundtrack of 1960s Jamaica and in large parts of London(a Jamaican group hitting the English charts in the 1960s was a minor miracle), one of the best bands in the world from a pure playing standpoint, the equivalent of Motown’s house band or the Stax/Volt players. They were topical, they were dangerous, they rocked.

    “Strawberry Fields Forever” represents a turn for music away from the rock and certainly the roll, an intellectual exercise where you need your John Lennon decoder ring to decipher the lyrics as you sit around expanding your mind. It represents a level of maturity, but at what cost?

    Given the choice between the two, I’m with Stiff Records which so succinctly phrased it, “Fuck art–let’s dance!”

  30. I’m not a big fan of the notion that one must choose to between the raw and the “real” and the ethereal and the pretentious. Is there a particular reason the two cannot co-exist? Do I need to worry that my Stooges albums are gonna kick my ass if they find out about my McGarrigle Sisters albums? Using a record collection to devise consistent musical taste is maybe good for high school and even college, but gets pretty boring so afterwards, I think.

  31. Mr. Moderator


  32. bostonhistorian

    “I’m not a big fan of the notion that one must choose to between the raw and the “real” and the ethereal and the pretentious.”

    I’m not saying it’s either or, just stating the direction my tastes run, a rationale for why I wanted to coach Jamaica in the first place. We all don’t like everything equally.

  33. Mr. Moderator

    That’s for sure, BH, and the fact that you progressed to the finals with such a relatively narrow genre is a testament to the importance of rhythm and spirited recordings. I’m grateful that those qualities are still appreciated, despite my attempted, misguided poke at my man BigSteve!

  34. Again, I’m underwhelmed by the Brits.

    Strawberry Fields is one of those songs that kept me from really embracing the Beatles for a long time. It feels like a museum piece, or something not particularly interesting that I’m supposed to be studying for an exam.

    My Generation is a good song and all but there are about 15 other Who songs that are much more interesting/exciting.

    Get Up Stand Up is the best of the lot.

    As mentioned, the Skatalite’s song suffers from my associating it with with the Hooters’ version, which was called “Concubine”. Unfair, I know, but what are you going to do.

    I’d like a shoot out but will vote Jamaica if pressed to pick an outright winner.

  35. oops, too little too late

  36. Congratulations to the Mod on bringing the favorites in over the wire. Thats is not always easy; ask the Brazilian football team!

    And toast to BH for playing the hell out of his Jamaican squad. But it is not really a choice between heart and mind here. BH wasn’t saying things like “Rock and roll wasn’t art and poetry. Rock and roll was going to make your kids drop out of school, have sex, or, worst of all, encourage the races to mix.” when he knocked off the US combo of Chuck Berry and Elvis. Music ebbs and flows; Lennon went back to the primitive later in his career. As far as I know, current Jamaican music is very techno-advanced dancehall.

    I enjoyed the tournament as a whole and will have to further investigate some things I’ve heard here – starting with more Toots and the Maytals.

  37. Mr. Moderator

    I’ve got a great 2-CD Toots and the Maytals collection. It’s loaded with great, meaty stuff, including all (I believe) of the songs bostonhistorian played in this tournament. He’s an easy reggae artist to swallow for those of us with more rock ‘n roll leanings.

  38. bostonhistorian

    I’d recommend the double cd of Funky Kingston/In the Dark…you can get it for like 12 bucks via the amazon link to the right.

    You have to make different arguments at different times k. 🙂

  39. I really like the double-disc reissue of the s/t of The Harder They Come. The second disc is called REGGAE HIT THE TOWN: CRUCIAL REGGAE 1968-1972, and compiles a lot of great stuff. And the first disc is of course essential, even if it repeats two songs twice.

    Also, my sister burned the Trojan 25th Anniversary box set for me recently. Lotta good stuff on there too.

  40. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Especially the 2 disc Harder They Come, I have never replaced my old copy on cassette.

  41. BigSteve

    I’m just glad that teams outside the Anglo-American axis got to make a real run for it. I was afraid this was going to be the White Cup rather than the World Cup. I only wish Nigeria had been able to shake up some minds for a moment or two. I think four years from now musical globalization will have made even more progress, and fewer people will be able to deny that there’s lots of non-rock music that rocks.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube