When the alarm rang to end the '50s snooze, it sounded to me like Allan Ginsberg instead of Elvis.
Rock 'n' roll changed the world. Whether for better or worse, it is what today's Culture Wars are all about.
But before it went punk, metal and grunge, rock was a joyous vibe. And that's the way movie director Cameron Crowe wants to remember it, back in the summer of 1973, when he was a 15-year-old music journalist on the road with bands like the Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin.
Almost Famous is Crowe's love letter to his own youth, as embodied in Patrick Fugit
who gets his first assignment from the great rock critic himself, Lester Bangs, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman
who is warned by his wonderful college-professor mother, played by Frances McDormand
who is wowed by his first Golden Girl, Kate Hudson as Penny Lane
who is hired by Rolling Stone to write about Billy Crudup and a band called Stillwater
and who will have to decide where he belongs.
And that is exactly what's missing from another 1973 production, The Exorcist, released this week with a scene we weren't allowed to see the first time.
You will recall the demonic possession of Linda Blair, about which her divorced, agnostic movie-star mother, Ellen Burstyn, could do nothing. There's no feeling at all in The Exorcist, for the abused child, the hysterical mother, the dead priests, or the human condition.
It is advertised as the scariest movie ever made. Rather, it may be the ugliest: Gothic horror, cheap thrills, Catholic porn, dirty words, and green gurgle. At the screening I went to, everybody laughed all the way through, a contagious heartlessness.
I had to go home and listen to rock to gentle my mind.