I talked about “Hair” to Fidelity High
“The People You Dig. The Records They Love”
I talked about “Hair”
Singer-Songwriter, Political Activist
Jill Sobule is an acclaimed singer-songwriter and political activist. Since 1990, she has released 11 albums, including her eponymous sophomore record which featured the overwhelmingly successful radio hit “I Kissed A Girl.” She most recently released Dottie’s Charms, a collaboration between her and 11 of her favorite authors including Jonathan Lathem, David Hajdu, Rick Moody, and more. Jill asked each author to write a song based on a charm found on a bracelet she purchased on eBay. Her idea was to bring the bracelet’s owner, Dottie, to life by examining each charm that was attached. Jill is widely recognized as a pioneer in crowd sourcing. In mid-January 2008, she launched the website jillsnextrecord.com that offered an innovated and tiered system of rewards in order for fans to contribute to the funding of her album California Years. She raised over $75,000 and this project was the foundation of the Kickstarter model, which was launched over a year later. She has performed with Neil Young, Cyndi Lauper, Warren Zevon and more and also inducted Neil Diamond into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. This is Jill’s Fidelity High: Hair – The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical // The Original Broadway Cast Recording // RCA Victor // 1968. Jill says, “When I was 10, my parents brought home the album. The only song I knew was the 5th Dimension cover of “Age of Aquarius”. I was indifferent as I felt this was more or less “parents music”. Plus, I didn’t think I was supposed to be into musicals. But then, I heard, through some grapevine, that this was not just any musical – it was rather controversial, not only for it’s LSD and anti-war references, but for…a nude scene. I just had to give this album a closer listen.
One day, I was in my bedroom singing loudly and proudly along to the 3rd track while my mom was in the living room playing Mahjong with her friends:
Father, why do these words sound so nasty?
Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
My mother rushed into the room and pleaded with me to put on…the Beatles. It was weird. I didn’t know at all what the words meant, but they upset my mom and that was good enough for me. I did look up the lyrics soon after in the dictionary, and was still quite befuddled. What I also connected to was the story telling aspect of the songs – in the same way, I attracted to the narrative of, say, Joni and John Prine records.
Side note: one of my best friends and writing partner, Robin Eaton, was in the original cast of Hair at the Public Theater before it went to Broadway. He told me that they would give you an additional $12 dollars a week if you would take off your clothes for the brief nude scene. $12 was nothing to sneeze at for young actors in 1968.