There’s Something About March 9th
- Joshua M Brown
- March 9th, 2012
There's something about March 9th.
25 years ago today, U2 released their seminal album The Joshua Tree (March 9th 1987). I've bought (or downloaded) 30 to 50 albums a year for the last 25 years and almost none of them have even come close to having the same impact on me as this record did (I was ten and just starting to break away from whatever music my parents were listening to). My favorite song in the world, if forced to choose one, is probably Where the Streets Have No Name. Maybe...
Here's Backbeat's Josiah Hesse on what inspired the band to make The Joshua Tree:
Coming on the heels of the Unforgettable Fire -- the compact, ambient sounds of which represented a new direction for the act -- the members of U2 were looking for something more disciplined, with a vast, cinematic feel. Having toured America for a half dozen years, the band had the imagery of expansive deserts and failed dreams on their minds, and so the band used America as the prism through which the songs were filtered. After digesting the beats at a young age, Bono was recently discovering American authors like Norman Mailer, Flannery O'Connor and Charles Bukowski, becoming fascinated with the ambition and illusions of the world's most powerful country.
The U2 frontman was also spending more time with groups whose sounds were rooted in southern blues and traditional folk music. After an embarrassing night drinking and attempting to play songs with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Bono discovered he knew next to nothing of American roots music -- his sound being more grounded in late-'70s British punk. The young Irishman was further humbled when his new friend Bob Dylan invited him on stage to perform "Blowing in the Wind" with him, only to discover Bono was unfamiliar with the song (he improvised whole verses on stage).
You should read the rest when you have time.
In addition, March 9th is also the anniversary of Biggie's death, it happened 15 years ago today in 1997. My mini-tribute here in the Mixtape section.
On top of that, March 9th 2009 is the day the relentless bear market finally found a bottom and reversed. Today is the third birthday of the current bull market - it's up over 100% in the last 36 months from the 57% peak-to-trough bludgeoning that had began in late 2007. We all have our scars - financial, emotional etc. And the healing process these past three years has not exactly been a pleasure cruise either, we've spent this time on high alert (Defcon?), usually not enjoying what the market has been given us.
My friends at Attain Capital have some interesting commodity-related stats you may not have heard about the 2009-2012 rally:
Natural Gas – if you couldn’t go up over this period, do you have any hope of ever going up ?
Cotton – Up over 466% since the 09 lows at this point last year, and now just 132% – that was a tough past 12 months.
Gold – you would think from the TV ads and your rich uncle talking about how he bought Gold that it had quadrupled in the past three years – not so, and in fact all the main US stock indices have done better than Gold since the crisis ended.
Anyway, we're alive and jobs are starting to come back. Housing still sucks but the worst is over and there are signs of improvement. And at least we're not living in Greece.
Sorry if I've gotten overly wistful. Something about this day, man.
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The Reformed Broker is a blog about financial markets and the economy. Joshua Brown is a New York City-based investment advisor for high net worth individuals, charitable foundations, retirement plans and corporations... More.