Monday, December 24, 2012
Merry Christmas, circa 1977, circa 2012
This song was a staple on classic rock radio where I grew up in upstate New York. I loved it from the first time I heard it, and still love it today. 1977 and with the exception of the lyric that mentions the 70's television show The Six Million Dollar Man ( don't bring my brother a Steve Austin outfit...) it sounds like it could have been written and recorded today.
Ray Davies' tale of economic disparity between the classes in England had a serious message wrapped up with a sense of humor. The intelligence is all in the lyrics: the story is told through the eyes of a guy who played Santa for a low level fund-raising job that references the Salvation Army Santa:
But the last time I played father christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor
Father christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
Well beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys
So I'm loving the song, cranking it up for my kids this week. Reliving my time of discovering this song, seeing them discover it too. We all laugh and rock out! They love the street hooligan antics and the reference to the toys, the wants and needs of the classes.
Then of course, the world has turned.
They grab on to the last line. That line always really had been so boyishly funny, but a total buzz kill in the wake of current events:
But give my daddy a job cause he needs one
Hes got lots of mouths to feed
But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street
So sorry...but this stuff is still raw. And really you can't have one without the other.