There’s no such thing as a perfect piece of rock music but I believe Sea and Sand from The Who’s Quadrophenia comes as close as most. It’s a song set on many levels. A song about being young, confused and distraught. It’s a song about being let down by life and most things in it.
Although of Mod sensibilities (My jacket’s gonna be cut slim and checked) it can apply to anyone who has felt these emotions very deeply. As I have.
The first verse is an absolute anthem to anyone who experienced an upbringing of mixed messages as I did. sometimes love and sometimes the confusion of the presence of apparent naked hatred and distrust in the family home. Did you ever feel unwanted in those days?
A young man looking for direction but with no anchor, nowhere to turn as his life slowly but surely collapses around him. let down by those who bore him, betrayed by the girl he loved, uncertain of his place in the world.
Finally desolate loneliness.
Here by the sea and sand
Nothing ever goes as planned,
I just couldn’t face going home
It was just a drag on my own.
They finally threw me out
My mom got drunk on stout,
My dad couldn’t stand on two feet,
As he lectured about morality.
Now I guess the family’s complete,
With me hanging round on the street
Or here on the beach.
The girl I love
Is a perfect dresser,
Wears every fashion
Gets it to the tee.
I got to match her
She knows just how
She wants her man to be
Leave it to me.
SEA AND SAND
My jacket’s gonna be cut slim and checked
Maybe a touch of seersucker with an open neck
I ride a G.S. scooter with my hair cut neat
I wear my wartime coat in the wind and sleet.
I see her dance
Across the ballroom
UV light making starshine
Of her smile.
I am the face,
She has to know me,
I’m dressed up better than anyone
Within a mile.
So how come the other tickets look much better?
Without a penny to spend they dress to the letter.
How come the girls come on oh so cool
Yet when you meet ‘em, every one’s a fool?
Come sleep on the beach
Keep within my reach
I just want to die with you near
I’m feeling so high with you here.
I’m wet and I’m cold
But thank God I ain’t old
Why didn’t I ever say what I mean?
I should have split home at fifteen.
There’s a story that the grass is so green,
What did I see?
Where have I been?
Nothing is planned, by the sea and the sand