Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In 69 I Was 21

Happy 64th birthday, Jackson Browne.

TigerBlog didn't realize it was Browne's birthday until Don Imus said that he'd be coming back to a "Bernie Briefing," a few pop culture/political snippets thrown together by Bernard McGuirk in what has become the best part of the Imus In The Morning Show.

As TB has said before, he has been listening to Imus since he was a kid, hearing it on the little transistor radio in the kitchen on WNBC AM 660, which is now WFAN's signal.

Anyway, this morning Imus threw it to a commercial by saying that he was about to play one of his favorite records, which intrigued TB. When the first notes started, it was clear that it was Browne's best song, not to mention one of the 25 best songs TB has ever heard. Imus then topped it off by wishing Browne a happy 64th.

Browne isn't one of TB's favorites. He's on that next level of performers that have put out songs that TB likes, but TB has never been to one of his concerts or really gone too far out of his way to hear his stuff.

In fact, of the 1,232 songs on TB's iTunes, only one is by Browne. By contrast, there are two by ABBA, four by Air Supply, five each by the Fifth Dimension and Barry Manilow and even three by The Bangles.

It's not "Doctor My Eyes" or "Somebody's Baby" or "The Pretender."

It's the song Imus played as he went to commercial. "Running on Empty."

Now that's a great song.

TB remembers that from when it first came out, back in 1978. If you weren't alive in the 1970s, you missed out on some good times.

Interestingly, "Running on Empty" never reached the Billboard Top 10, peaking instead at 11. It hasn't hurt TB's love for the song that Browne has often performed it live with Bruce Springsteen.
TB likes to watch the Palladia channel, which is basically non-stop concert video. The channel showed Bruce and the E Street Band live in New York City from 2000 Sunday, and yesterday the group was back, playing alongside some others - including John Fogerty, for a great version of "Pretty Woman" - at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions from some random year.

As for Browne, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

When Imus said Browne was 64 today, TB did the math and realized that when Browne sang that in "69 I was 21 and I called the road my own," he really was 21 in 1969. The next line of the song if, of course, "I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on."

TB isn't sure what road the Princeton football team is on right now, but it's clear that the Tigers are not the team they were the last two years.

When the Tigers hit the road two weeks ago, they were 0-2 this year and 2-20 since the start of the 2010 season, with neither of those two wins on the road.

So what happened?

Princeton won at Columbia and at Lafayette, by a combined score of 68-20 and a point differential of +48. The last time Princeton had at least a +48 point differential in consecutive games?

You have to go back to 1995, when the Tigers defeated Lafayette 41-0 and then Harvard 14-3. The Tigers won the outright Ivy title that year.

Will these Tigers win the outright Ivy title? Probably not.

Still, there are good vibes everywhere in the program these days.

Okay, okay, you can say that in the last three seasons, Princeton is 4-1 against Columbia and Lafayette and 0-19 against everyone else. And that in the last two years, Princeton is 0-12 against its six remaining league opponents.

To that, TB says "so what?"

TB was at Penn when the Quakers went from 1-8 in 1981 to a share of the league title in 1982, so he knows how quickly it can all turn around.

Princeton has a great chance this weekend to demonstrate how far it has come when it hosts Brown (noon, NBC Sports TV). The Bears are 0-1 in the league, but they also have the misfortune of opening the league schedule against the prohibitive favorite, Harvard.

Princeton hasn't beaten Brown since 2006, the year the Tigers last won the Ivy title. The same is true of Harvard and Penn, two other teams that Princeton hasn't defeated since that championship season.

Again, TB says "so what?"

The offense has good balance, and the special teams have contributed some huge moments to the two wins.

But it's Princeton's defense that has improved tremendously, led by the tandem of Mike Catapano and Caraun Reid on the line. A year ago Princeton was last in pass defense in the Ivy League; this year the Tigers are first.

This year Princeton allows 14.5 points per game and 322 yards of total offense per game. A year ago, those numbers were 32.5 points per game and just under 400 yards per game.

And the Tigers have gotten some breaks. Twice bad snaps on field goal attempts have turned into touchdowns, for instance.

Going from back-to-back 1-9 seasons to title contention in not easy. Can Princeton make that leap? 

That's not what matters. What would be ideal for Princeton would be to be playing well, to put together some wins, to get into November knowing that .500 is a real possibility, to pull off a win or two that nobody saw coming.

The next two weeks are at home (Brown and Harvard) followed by a game on the road (Cornell), against maybe the three best teams in the league.

It's an exciting time for Princeton football.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

But do you have "Angela" (the theme from the TV show Taxi) as performed by the Manalapan HS Jazz Band circa 1980/81 on your iPod?

I do!