Susan's Blog

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Crazy about Hair

I was driving back from an event in New Jersey yesterday, (in my new XC90, by the way, every bit as wonderful as I imagined. We are going to call it “Das Boot,” as a nod to both its yacht-like hugeness and sleek dress boot aura.) I had stayed at my parents’ house for two nights because it was so much shlepping. Dad, ever cool in his musical taste, even at the age of 68, lent me his CD “Hair,” the original Broadway recording. I used to listen to Hair as a little girl, which he played while he exercised in our basement playroom. We had a phonograph down there, and he used to run in place with music blasting. I guess I was six when it came out (1968?). So many of the songs are inappropriate for a small child, and I don’t remember how my dad explained the strange words in some of the songs. I don’t think it actually came up; there are many things little kids accept as the mystery of adultworld.

What I do remember is how he explained the political upheaval of the era, how proud he was that people were finally asking questions about everything that was going on, from horrible foreign policy decisions (Viet Nam War) to interracial relationships to how men should wear their hair. Hair is breathtaking in its joyful innocence and exuberance about everything in life.

As I was driving home, I blasted the music and was transported to the basement playroom. Sometimes tears streamed down my face as I recalled playing at Dad’s feet, looking up at him, so big, strong, and wise! How excited I was back then, about the era I was living in — because of his excitement. His attitude of “Question Authority” and reverance for progressive ideas has stayed with me and helped make me who I am.

I played some of the songs for my kids, “Hair” for Max, who has shoulder-length hair. The lyrics are very a propos to his hairstyle and worldview:

Give me a head with hair,
Long, beautiful hair,
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen-waxen…
…Oh say can you see, my eyes?
If you can, then my hair’s too short!

While he listened, I hoped he was grooving on how there could be an old song that expressed some of who he is; I hope I get an opportunity to convey some of what I got from this album, to him.

I also played it for Benj, who is just the right age for some of the songs (I skipped the more outrageously inappropriate ones, about drugs, and sex). He loved “I got Life,” because the guy says, “I got my ass!” He also loved “Crazy for the Blue, White and Red,”

Crazy for the blue white and red,
Crazy for the blue white and red,
You look at me, what do you see?
Crazy for red blue and white…
My heart beats true… for the red, white and blue!
Crazy for the red white and blue, and yellow…fringe!

Because it is okay to mix up the colors and disrespect the traditional; you can still love your country! This is what I explain to my kids. That is what America is all about — or should be/used to be.


They are wonderful songs. We were just talking this week about hair and kids. Max, Matt, Sam, Ezra and others — all with hair covering their eyes. Hopefully, it is a sign that the eerie absence of any rebellious voice from college students over the last decade will soon be giving way to much needed protest. The hair might be the only sign, but it is a good sign. The dawning of (another) age of Aquarias?

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 9:58 am

Should be/used to be/will be again. In politics, as in autism, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. And as a good friend of mine pointed out to me, if you look back through history, the progressives are always the ones who win the race.

— added by MOM-NOS on Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 11:27 am

You can make a medley out of “Crazy”, by Patsy Kline, and “Crazy for the Blue, White and Red”.

— added by Aaron on Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 11:29 pm