Queen Mary 2 at the Right Time

Has it ever occurred to anybody that celebrities just might go on cruise ships because they want to, not because they can’t get work anywhere else or because it’s a cheap way for them (and their entourage) to get from A to B…especially when A is on one side of the ocean and B is on the other?

Earlier this year, Roger Daltrey of The Who was pilloried for having “hit rock bottom performing in a cabaret on a cruise ship” going from England to New York after canceling three concerts at home due to poor ticket sales. Critics changed famous lyrics and song titles were changed to “Sea me, Feel me…” and “Crew Are You?”

It turns out he “hit rock bottom” by sailing the Queen Mary 2 — clearly the skid row of cruising — and his performance was impromptu, not part of Cunard’s sales pitch. And is there no mercy? He is, after all, 67 and far removed from stadium sellouts.

Daltrey talked for half an hour about his musical roots, starting with his love of Hank Williams music…of Elvis…of Johnny Cash…of Tommy…and of the three Everly Brothers guitars he has. “I love them to bits,” he said, after taking a few questions and just before launching into another half-hour of playing and singing.

Whether the 120 passengers on the Queen Mary 2 liked him or not, they were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. The same ship once had James Taylor and his band (and entourage) on board from New York to Southampton. He was there specifically to perform two concerts, in advance of a European tour. Taylor, his knockers said, was “singing for his supper” by finding a way to get his band across the ocean cheap.

If you shop around YouTube, as we did yesterday, you’ll find a video of Taylor on the ship, saying how it “harkens back to a different era” and “gives you a sense of the distance.” He also reminisces about being on a Holland America ship in 1957, when his mother (alone) took him and four siblings across the ocean.

Among his “entourage” on the Queen Mary 2, in a wheelchair, was his mother.

You won’t find a lot of Roger Daltrey or James Taylor in our music collection, but we wish we could have been there.

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