“After the Fire” — Roger Daltrey

After the fire, the fire still burns

The heart grows older but never ever learns

The memories smoulder and the soul always yearns

But after the fire, the fire still burns

About twenty years ago, I saw this video on U68, an over-the-air UHF “competitor” to MTV. It never actually competed, of course, being locked out of the best videos and cycling the ones it could show over and over. But I liked U68, and I liked this song a lot. It’s a haunting coda to love lost that’s really stuck with me.

About two weeks ago I finally found a version of it on iTunes, albeit by Peter Townsend rather than Roger Daltrey. Ah, well, one Who is as good as another, right? It’s a decent live version and starts off with the same haunting coda, so everything’s great. Except… the second verse is sort of goofy. I mean, Matt Dillon in black and white? Laughing at Dom DeLouise? What’s up with that? I assumed this was a twist by Townsend while “borrowing” Daltrey’s song, a little joke between former bandmates.

Then I went online and searched for the actual lyrics, and discovered Townsend got them right. The actual song is just as bizarre and goofy in the second verse. It ticks me off, just a little, because the chorus is so amazing. Another cherished childhood memory, slain by the Net and by time.

Damn you, iTunes!

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