Foreigner released Head Games right at the beginning of my senior year of High School. By the time graduation rolled around the album had scored four hit singles and sold over a million copies. It would sell four million more in the years that followed.
I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but my senior year in high school was a seriously crazy time for me. Looking back, I’m surprised I lived through it (I almost didn’t, but that’s another story) let alone graduated. It was so crazy that I honestly don’t remember a lot of the details from back then (which is really the main reason I won’t go into them). One of the finer things I do remember from that time is Foreigner’s third album, “Head Games”. It was the soundtrack of making it through that seemingly insane year.
I got my life together after my senior year in high school ended. I had to. But whenever I listen to “Head Games” I can’t help but think of where my life was and where it might have gone had I not had music to help reel me in.
Even though the term head games alludes to playing with someone’s mind, Foreigner’s third album helped ground mine. Like Foreigner’s earlier albums, “Head Games” was a perfectly calculated combination of British progressive rock structures with American hard rock blues riffs. It was music that could have reeled me in or pulled me over the edge. Fortunately, it did the former. I guess ultimately that choice was mine. Still, I am forever grateful “Head Games” was part of the soundtrack to it.
“A Child’s Garden of Grass” was a comedy album that was nearly 50 years ahead of its time. Subtitled “A Pre-legalization Comedy” it foresaw the day that occurred in my home state of Michigan this past election day and all across Canada not too long before that: the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use.
I’ll admit it. I used to smoke pot. I haven’t in decades, but I did pretty regularly back in the late ’70s (not too bright for a kid still in high school, but hey, I still got good grades). The thing is, I never saw marijuana use as any different from drinking alcohol – with one exception – it was illegal. I never felt it should be. Well, it’s not any more. This record knew that day would eventually come. Way back in 1971, it knew.
When I ran across this record a couple of weeks ago, I had to pick it up. It brought back memories relating to a book of the same name that I read back in the day (The book was subtitled “The Official Handbook for Marijuana Users”) This album is based on that book which was published a year earlier. I found the book in my high school library during my junior year. (Disclaimer: It wasn’t a book that actually belonged to the school library. I always guessed that somebody put it on the shelves as a joke, for someone to find…and guess what!) I decided to use it later as the subject for an English class book report assignment. Now that might seem a little brazen, but you see, the whole school knew I had smoked pot anyway. Students, teachers, the administration, even the janitors. (Let’s just say there was an incident during my sophomore year and leave it at that.) So I figured what the hell, let’s have some fun.
I think my general synopsis of the book was that I found it to be factually accurate but at the same time, absolutely hilarious. The same goes for this album. The one thing I will say is that I remember the book being more detailed. “A Child’s Garden of Grass”, the album, is a somewhat quirky collection of the more humorous parts of the book of the same name. But right now, it’s mostly a great trip down memory lane.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I got a ‘C’ on the book report. The teacher told me I would have gotten an ‘A’ but they marked it down because of the poor choice of subject matter.
I didn’t care. It was so worth it.