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Senior Year

Senior Year, 1969: Another Year With Nothin' to Do

by Chuck Eddy

Senior Year, 1969: Another Year With Nothin' to Do

About this playlist

"Well it's 1969, okay, all across the U.S.A./ Another year for me and you, another year with nothin' to do." Straight outta the Ypsilanti trailer park, that's James Osterberg, aka Iggy Stooge, aka Iggy Pop, on the first Stooges album, released in exactly the year he says it was, telling us that last year he was 21, but now he's gonna be 22 (true: born in 1947), but really staking his claim as the all-time embodiment of the smart but bored Midwestern wiseacre aching to put fists through the kitchen wall. Not a hippie by a long shot, and as much a geek as a freak. Raised on Mad, addicted to National Lampoon, ready for Creem (first published in March). But mainly, just plain ... restless.

This playlist pays homage to the nasty kind of noise that a growing human being of said variety might have been holed up in his basement with in the year our Lord MCMLXIX: the year of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and Nixon getting sworn in and Manson disciples killing Sharon Tate and Scooby Doo going on the air and Stonewall riots and Vietnamization and draft lotteries for males born between 1944 and 1950. (Notice who's smack dab in the middle of that window?)

A bunch of included bands (Stooges, MC5, Amboy Dukes, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk, The Temptations a million miles from reality on Cloud Nine) come from the Detroit/Ann Arbor/Flint megalopolis. And just as many (Silver Apples, Holy Modal Rounders, Fugs, Good Rats, Velvet Underground, Yoko Ono sort of) come from New York, though admittedly it might be a stretch for some burnout in Mid-America to have heard of all those weirdos. But our brat has ears to the ground. He has been known to wade around in Muddy Waters' Electric Mud (released late '68 -- close enough!); he digs that big Zager and Evans hit about how things will suck even worse 556 years from now; and he's even aware of free jazz sax wailer Albert Ayler and Munich commune art-radicals Amon Duul II. Though then again, Ayler did come from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

There's more famous stuff here, too: Stones, Who, Doors, Hendrix, Lennon, James Brown. But mostly this two-hour mix documents the beginnings of heavy metal (most of the aforementioned Michiganders, plus Bubble Puppy, Ten Years After, Taste, Juicy Lucy, Blue Cheer, Steppenwolf making a hero of a draft deserter who's jumped ship to Sweden); glam ( Alice, Bowie, Mott The Hoople); and, most obviously, punk rock. In fact, a few of the songs are basically about punks, at least in the pre- Ramones "slimy greasy smartass from the gutter who's ticking like a time bomb and probably has a sharp knife in his back pocket" sense of the term: Good Rats' "Joey Ferrari," The Deviants' "Slum Lord," The Doors' "Wild Child," heavy British blues band (at that point) Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" ("Don't ask me what I think of you/ I might not give the answer that you want me to.") Not to mention the two by the Stooges themselves: "So messed up, I want you here/ In my room, I want you here." "Now I'm gonna be 22/ I said oh my, and a boo hoo."