The Song: "Slit Skirts," Pete Townshend. Music & lyrics by Pete Townshend. Track 11 of All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, 1982.
How/when acquired: Gift bootleg cassette, 1982.
Watch/listen here. That's a remix with a cool harmonica riff that isn't on the album version; the album version is here.
In honor of my 45th birthday — and my twin sister Kathy's — the closing track of the one album I'd need on the desert island, if I could only keep one. My friend Gary gave me my first copy of this record, taped from his LP. I still consider it Townshend's finest work, which is saying a lot, and this song has turned out to be more important to me than I could have imagined, when I first heard it at the age of 16.
Townshend was only in his mid-30s when he wrote this song, which is all about that realization that you can't pretend to be young forever. It gets harder to take risks, to be willing to be seen as foolish, to absorb losses and start over. As Pete says, we have to be so drunk to try a new dance . . . and yet, once in a while, we still do.
"My Three Angels" closes tonight at Hallowell City Hall, so if you're in the area, you've got one last chance to see it. 8:00 p.m., $12, reservations shouldn't be necessary.