Its a Generational Thing
The song, “My Generation” composed by Pete Townshend for “The Who” at the age of twenty in 1965, was written for British youth called “Mods”, and expressed their feeling that older people “just don’t get it”. The performance of “My Generation” on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was another defining moment in the television comedy series. As they often did during that period, “The Who” destroyed their instruments at the conclusion of their performance. However, a stage hand, at the request of Keith Moon, had overloaded Moon’s kick drum with explosives. When they were detonated, the explosion was so intense, Moon was injured by cymbal shrapnel and band-mate Pete Townshend’s hearing was permanently damaged. Here are the basic lyrics:
“People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation); Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation); Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) , I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
This is my generation , This is my generation, baby
Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) ; And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) ; I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
This is my generation , This is my generation, baby”
Christian music group “Starfield” has their own version of “My Generation” from their album “Beauty in the Broken” – it’s quite a contrast to the Who’s of 45 years ago.
“One of the first truths we had to face was that the generation we sing about is not defined by age”, guitarist Jon Neufeld says, ““We all ache for God, but if we don’t know God we use ‘created things’ as substitutes for God – material things, knowledge, relationships, sex – all of these things are good and if we’re looking – we can see God in them. But if we don’t know how to piece them together we will inevitably try to take these broken pieces and substitute them for the Creator. And the created will never fulfill us.” Here’s their version:
“There is something more; hello, we’re going down the hallway to the door; we know there’s something more
Our soul has a got a hole; we know but what’s it waiting for, scattered in the street, like dreams and destiny, the things we wanna be, are scattered in the streets, If we’re coming clean, we’ve seen to know we’re incomplete
How do we feel, how do we feel; my generation is aching for real; dyin’ for love cryin’ for truth; my generation is aching for you.”
Maybe that 45 year difference charts out some kind of cultural progression that began with “hope I die before I get old” (which drummer Keith Moon & John Entwistle both managed to do) to a new awareness of spiritual need that reflects how God works in the events of culture and history “that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him” (Acts 17:27).
Maybe I still “just don’t get it” – I understand my generation’s angst of yesteryear but besides Entwistle’s cool bass riff in the old version, I’ll take the search for something more over wasting a Rickenbacker guitar anyday.