July 21, 2017

"Call out the instigators..."



Just a song on my mind after Meade used the word "instigator."

According to the OED — which, have I ever told you?, is unlinkable — the word goes back to 1598:
1598 J. Florio Worlde of Wordes Instigatore, an egger on, a prouoker, a pricker forward, an instigater.
A pricker forward. I love that!

I feel as though I've blogged about that song before, but I can't find where.

Here's an alternative video, showing the band playing. Here are the lyrics. It's one of the great "revolution" songs of a half century ago. Like the more famous Beatles song "Revolution," it wears its confusion about revolution openly:
Hand out the holy spirits
We got to remake all our life
Hand out the arms and ammo
We're going to blast our way through here
Because the moment will arrive, and you know its right
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
The band, Thunderclap Newman had something to do with The Who:
In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, was the catalyst behind the formation of the band. The concept was to create a band to perform songs written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky", the first track on The Who Sell Out. Townshend recruited jazz pianist Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman (a friend from art college),  and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who subsequently played lead guitar in Paul McCartney's Wings from 1974 to 1977 and died of a heroin overdose in 1979 aged just 26. Keen played the drums and sang the lead [and wrote the song].
"Something in the Air" would have been called "Revolution" if The Beatles hadn't made its use confusing. But there is another song called "Something in the Air," one of David Bowie's lesser known efforts (but 2 movies, "American Psycho" and "Memento").

Now, I'm guessing that what you're wondering is what was "Armenia City in the Sky." So here you are: 



"If you're troubled and you can't relax... If the rumors floating in your head all turn to facts...."

20 comments:

Fernandinande said...

David Bowie - The Laughing Gnome complete with gnome voices.

traditionalguy said...

Instigators make the world go round. I remember the Nazarene Carpenter turned Prophet instigated the hell out of Judaism. He used to say , "Blessed are the Instigators..." but that was lost in translation.

readering said...

Great song. Memorable for me because it came out in the summer of '69 when I turned 13, and was part of a great run of summer number ones: The Beatles "The Ballad of John and Yoko", Thunderclap Newman "Something in the Air", The Rolling Stones "Honky Tonk Women", Zager and Evans "In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)", Creedence Clearwater Revival "Bad Moon Rising". Top 40 radio not the same any more.

tcrosse said...

Glenn Reynolds moves to Florida to raise trade-marked Alligators.

Roy Jacobsen said...

What an album. The image of Roger Daltrey sitting in a tub of baked beans is seared into my memory, as are the tunes.

Robert Cook said...

I believe Pete Townshend played bass on the Thunderclap Newman album...which I have in my record collection. I haven't played it in decades, (shudder), but I recall liking the album very much.

Ficta said...

There's also Petra Haden covering all of The Who Sell Out using just her voice and an 8-track recorder.

Infinite Monkeys said...

I haven't found where the song was mentioned in a blog post, but I found it in a comment - http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/06/whats-best-opening-track-ever.html?showComment=1275512077529#c2998896483257231389

Infinite Monkeys said...

You did mention it here - http://althouse.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-sandwich-manifesto-sounds-like.html?showComment=1424267760782#c2939410841840376890

Ambrose said...

Pricker forward sounds like an English footballer; "Nigel Malcolm, the famed Manchester pricker forward, ...."

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Infinite Monkeys!

On the first thing, I must note that "Something In the Air" isn't the opening song on the album "Hollywood Dream." (Which I have!) It's the last.

On the second thing, that made me think it was going to be an old post that I remembered that really was a sandwich manifesto. Now, I need to look for that.

Ah! Here it is:

"We have gone too long and too far with the evolving meaning of the sandwich. It is time to return to the original intent. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, may not have been the first person to want his food inside 2 slices of bread, but the thing is certainly named after him, and we know his specific purpose: He didn't want to have to stop what he was doing and he didn't want to get any sloppy meat grease on his playing cards or his books and papers. (There's some dispute about whether he was absorbed in gambling or serious professional work.)

"But the original intent of the sandwich is clear: To take messy food and make it neat and convenient. You want a substantial meal, but you want to have it on a plate over to the side, so you can continue doing something else. You want to be able to reach over without paying attention, pick it up in one hand, and easily take a bite and put it down again. You shouldn't have to use your fingers to poke stray pieces in before you pick it up. No sauce should drip out. You shouldn't have to use both hands and lean over the plate and expect your bite to eject miscellaneous items from the other side of the bread. You hands should remain clean.

"Sandwich makers, quit trying to impress me with piles of slippery ingredients uncontrolled by inadequate bread. The bread must be in charge of the filling. Nothing should be falling out. I don't want to struggle with these slovenly concoctions anymore. I don't want the job of reassembling what you have assembled. I want to sit here and type on my laptop keyboard, use my mouse, and eat a meal at the same time without even thinking about grease and drips. This desire traces back through the whole noble tradition of Sandwich, which you need to respect and value.

"In the name of the fourth Earl of Sandwich, return to the original intent."

antiphone said...

Instigatore, an egger on, a prouoker, a pricker forward, an instigater.

An eggman.

Earnest Prole said...

Pricker forward is just an old phrase for troll.

Larry Ozone said...

"The Who Sell Out" was presented as a radio station, with announcements and commercials. "Armenia City in the Sky" was The Who imitating The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper.

YoungHegelian said...

Sadly, "Something In the Air" is lead song for the soundtrack to the movie "The Strawberry Statement", which is as lame of a piece of 60's lefty agit-prop as you're ever gonna see.

That association has forever damaged the song for me.

Robert Cook said...

It was also the song played during the final scene in THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN, where respectable Brits, tempted by English pound notes placed in a vat of excrement by millionaire Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) and his adopted son (Ringo Starr), hold their noses and climb into the vat.

David said...

There are so many comments that come to mind that are best unsaid.


n.n said...

1590s, from Latin instigator "a stimulator," agent noun from instigare "urge on, incite" (see instigation). The classical Latin fem. form instigatrix is recorded in English from 1610s.
etymonline.com

dbp said...

I found the Who's pronunciation of Armenia really weird: Do Brits actually say it that way or was it just for the sake of the lyric?

We say it ɑre'mi'niə, in the song it is more like are'men'iə.

Mrs. Bear said...

"We have got to get it together now." But, of course, they never did.