It Might Get Loud
This opened my eyes that the electric guitar was the instrument that killed the further production of the music I love. The guy who really legitimized it, Les Paul, probably didn’t realize the outcome of what started out as an inventive cover of the 1940 tune “How High The Moon” in 1951 by Paul and his wife Mary Ford (neither their real names, which were Lester William Polsfuss and Iris Colleen Hatfield, respectively). While the electric guitar certainly contributed to the rise of rock ‘n roll, it resulted in Springsteen and U2 and all that later stuff. To me it’s just cacophonous noise, without melody or intelligent lyrics. The only thing Springsteen has ever done that I enjoyed was the album of folk songs he put out a few years ago, and that was wonderful.
When the ‘60s came crashing to an end, it marked the end of my kind of music, marked by wonderful melodies and lyrics, music that had been evolving since Irving Berlin wrote “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” in 1911. The Beatles broke up with the release of “Abbey Road” in 1969 (I think “Let it Be” was released after “Abbey Road,” but it was written and recorded before), Paul Simon had written most of his great music by then, The Mamas and Papas broke up, and on and on. In fact, The Beatles only lasted 5 years after their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and the Mamas and Papas a little over three. But they produced great music, melodic and lyrical, music that will last forever. Sure, the ‘70s saw some music that fit in with the tradition of good melody and lyrics, ABBA and Neil Diamond, for example, but by and large the creation of what I think of as good music was history (until recently; I’ve been hearing some new old style music lately on XM Radio).
A few years ago I was sitting in my local coffee shop and someone commented on how great Springsteen was. I asked him to name Springsteen’s three greatest songs. He could only name one. I asked him to quote some lyrics. He couldn’t. I asked him to hum some melodies. No way. If someone asked me that about The Beatles, the problem would be which ones to pick from the many dozens I know.
So this film, directed by Davis Guggenheim and shot in Ireland, consists of interviews with three guitarists, Jimmy Page of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin (who, like Glen Campbell, started as a studio session musician who played on hits by Donovan, Tom Jones, The Rolling Stones, and others), The Edge (David Howell Evans) of U2, and Jack White, a veritable kid compared with the other two, of The White Stripes. There are archival shots of bands and performances, including Led Zeppelin and Springsteen. There are many songs played during the course of this. All of it sounded alike, just loud noise to me (in fact, White admits “I can’t sing,” and I agree with him; but, then, he doesn’t need to sing because this modern music is mostly just yelling). This film would be a lot more meaningful to someone born later who likes this kind of music. The girl sitting next to me knew all the music and gave the movie a 7. Walking out of the theater I asked another man what he thought and he enjoyed it, too. He said he knew all the music, also.
However, music should stand on its own. If it’s good, you should be able to like and enjoy it at first hearing. I didn’t have to hear “South Pacific” or “Revolver” more than once to know I liked them. I’ve heard this hard rock stuff for decades now; didn’t like it at first hearing, and still don’t. My guest, who found the film somewhat entertaining, couldn’t identify any of the music either. She gave it a 4/10.
This movie has no raison d’être. The disjointed editing doesn’t tell enough about any of the three to learn what makes them tick. Although each talks about his music, they didn’t say much of anything that had any substance to it. Page was asked how he writes and he couldn’t articulate any creative method. The Edge said he could play an entire song using just one string and pedals, and he proceeded to demonstrate. All we learn about White, except that he can’t sing, is that he grew up in a room with no bed but loaded with musical paraphernalia. The fact that none of the three ever says anything instructive about