The Zimmers Reheat My Generation for BBC Documentary

My Generation, originally released by The Who in 1965, has become a music video hit by The Zimmers, a group of forty seniors in their seventies, eighties, nineties and older. Under the leadership of 90 year old lead singer Alf Carretta, group members jive, smash guitars, kick over drums and rock away for the cameras. The name of the group is derived from the brand of walkers made popular in the UK by Zimmer Holdings. The music video, along with photographs and trivia on group members, is available on the recently launched www.myspace.com/thezimmersband.

The Zimmers Finger in My Generation


Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Production Background

The concept of the My Generation music video was developed by documentary director Tim Samuels for part three of BBC2’s Power To The People series. His documentary, to be released in May 2007, exposes the plight of isolated and lonely old people who cannot leave their flats or are confined to lifeless rest homes. Samuels pulled together the music video as a finale for the documentary, handpicking forty people to perform. The singers were trained by Fame Academy voice coaches before being brought from around the UK to Abbey Road Studios in London, in many cases along with their medical staff. Recording of the single and music video were produced by Mike Hedges and directed by music video director Geoff Wondor.

Samuels told the Daily Mail: ‘The series is all about finding those middle Englanders who suffer in silence. We are doing three programmes where those who have been disfranchised fight back with a bit of guerilla action and chutzpah. We collected a group of old people and take them through a rock and roll journey to bring them back to life a bit. ‘We decided to get them recording a single to highlight the way they are mistreated in this country by challenging the misconceptions we have about them. And as it turns out, it has really taken off. We are negotiating a personal appearance at a nightclub in Haymarket, London, banking on plenty of radio play, and the single is out in May. They are all enjoying the rock and roll ride in a very understated way. Some of them might not be able to stand for too long as their knees might give them a bit of gyp, but they are all sprightly enough.”

Producer Mike Hedges, known for his work with U2, said in a BBC report, “My grandmother died when she was in her nineties and my mother in her late, late seventies and I miss them. Old people are highly entertaining to talk to. Their experiences, the things they talk about are just fantastic – really, really exciting. People forget that they know a lot and they’ve been through a lot.”

Music video director Geoff Wonfor, the man behind Band Aid and Live Aid, is also a passionate champion of senior citizens. “I’ve just always got on well with old people and have a great love and respect for them. My mother lived to the age of 89 and my father was 92, and I loved them both so much. I did this because it’s a really great cause and very close to my heart,” Wonfor said in a BBC report.

Lead singer Alf was discovered in the Mecca bingo hall on Essex Road, Islington. He and his friends Ivy, Rose, Delores, Rita, Sylvia and Sally are hoping that the attention provided by the music video will help them keep their bingo hall open in the face of double taxation on bingo.

99 year old Winifred Warburton, who plays the organ in the video, has moved rest home so many times (16) she is on first names basis with the removals van staff. She describes the Abbey Road recording as “the best day in her life”.

Buster Martin, 100, who flicks a middle finger at the camera at the very end of the video, works three days a week for Pimlico Plumbers, making him the oldest working man in Britain.

Marketing for the music video was given a boost by 79 year old Peter Oakley, (geriatric1927) a popular YouTube video blogger.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

“My Generation” will be released as a single on iTunes and in CD stores in May. Profits from the single will go to Age Concern.

Lyrics for My Generation

Words and music by Pete Townshend.

People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

See the background on The Who My Generation at Wikipedia

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