Exactly twice in my life have I heard a work of music and thought, Wait, what? You can do that? That’s allowed? These internal queries tend to occur when we’re younger and possessed of a capacity for wonder that, alas, tends to lessen as we get older and pleasing puzzlement gives way to concerns of how best to organize one’s collection of downloaded music. Not so very romantic a notion. Then again, there’s nothing especially romantic about the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK,” a song that induced that questioning wonderment in me as I listened to Johnny Rotten bray a lyric that seemed like it could put its writer in jail. But as awesome as that sense of being in on something both illicit and epic was, it didn’t really compare to the first time I heard the fourteen-and-a-half minute version of “My Generation” from the Who’s Live at Leeds.

I had… More…