LORELAI: I have earned the right not to be quizzed about my social life by my sixteen-year-old daughter.
RORY: I thought I was your best friend!
LORELAI: When we’re at a U2 concert, you are my best friend. But right now you are my sixteen-year-old daughter and I am telling you I do not want to have this conversation.
U2 are an Irish rock band, earlier mentioned. It was formed in 1976 and consists of Bono (Paul Hewson), The Edge (David Evans), Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. Their debut album was Boy (1980), and their first #1 album in the UK was War (1983), with singles such as Sunday, Bloody Sunday and Pride (In the Name of Love) establishing their reputation as politically conscious. By the mid-1980s they were globally renowned as a live act, and their 1987 album The Joshua Tree made them international superstars; it remains their greatest commercial and critical success. Their most recent album from Lorelai’s viewpoint is All That You Can’t Leave Behind, released in 2000. One of the world’s best-selling musical acts, U2 have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. They are famous for their campaigns for human rights and social justice.
This establishes Lorelai as a U2 fan. U2 gave a concert in Hartford as part of their Elevation tour on June 3 2001, although in the Gilmore Girls universe it seems to have taken place around mid-May – this was the concert that Tristan offered to take Rory to on a date (with PJ Harvey as the support act). It doesn’t seem plausible that Lorelai and Rory attended the concert, although it is just possible, particularly if they went to the real-life concert rather than the fictional one in the show.
U2’s previous concert in Hartford was as part of their Zoo TV tour, and it took place on March 12 1992 – this is the only other U2 concert that Lorelai could have taken Rory to. Unfortunately, the concert would have been when Rory was eight years old, and later Lorelai says that Rory thought she “discovered” U2 when she was ten; Rory could hardly believe that after attending an elaborately staged concert by the band two years before. It is possible that Lorelai is referring to a purely hypothetical U2 concert.
Lorelai lets Rory know that the idea of them being “best friends” is something of a fiction, being entirely at Lorelai’s convenience. As long as Rory is doing exactly as Lorelai wants, they are best friends; once she deviates from that, they are back to being mother and daughter.
LORELAI: We could sing.
LORELAI: Yeah, we could sing Anarchy in the UK at the top of our lungs.
Anarchy in the UK is a 1976 song by British punk band The Sex Pistols. It was released as their debut single, and later featured on their 1977 debut album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Anarchy in the UK reached #38 in the UK. It is now regarded as a classic rock song, and highly influential in the development of modern rock.
LORELAI: Okay, I think we just found the first room in the history of the world that would’ve made Liberace say, “Whoa. Step back. No one’s that gay.”
Władziu Liberace, known professionally as Liberace (1919-1987) was an American pianist, singer, and actor. A child prodigy, he had a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television and film. At the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1960s, he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, with residencies in Las Vegas, and an international touring schedule. He was known for his flamboyantly excessive lifestyle, earning him the title “Mr. Showmanship”.
For years, Liberace denied allegations he was homosexual, successfully suing publications that hinted at his sexuality (hence his famous catchphrase: “I cried all the way to the bank”.) He continued denying them, even when his chauffeur and former lover sued him for palimony (it was settled out of court). He died of AIDS, having been diagnosed as HIV positive 18 months previously, with other of his lovers dying of the same illness.
LORELAI: You know, if I was in a rock band touring and stuff, I’d make the bus driver stop at every Haden’s Nut House we pass.
RORY: Wow, your Behind the Music is gonna be really wild.
Behind the Music is a documentary music television series. Each episode, a particular band or musical artist is profiled and interviewed. The show has been broadcast since 1997.
RADIO: Coming up, a three song super set from Hootie & the Blowfish.
Hootie & the Blowfish are an American rock band formed in 1986 by Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim Sonefeld. Their debut album Cracked Rear View (1994) was an instant success, being one of the fastest-selling debut albums, and the #1 album of 1995. They were named Best New Artist at the 1996 Grammy Awards, while their song Let Her Cry was named Best Pop Performance. The band have been on hiatus since 2008.
The band plays what has been described as a middle of the road pop version of blues rock, so are far too mainstream for Lorelai.
A small part of this country song written by Jai Josefs and Roy Brown and sung by George Highfill plays on the radio before Lorelai switches stations. It seems to have been written as music for film and television, and has been included on the soundtracks of other shows, including Supernatural.
Rather unbelievably, there is nothing on New England radio except country music and Christian rock – they are driving through Massachusetts, not Alabama!
LORELAI: Never been in this car for any extended period of time without playing AC/DC … I need my Highway to Hell.
AC/DC are an Australian rock band, formed in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. They have sometimes been identified as heavy metal, hence the heavy metal-loving Lorelai being a fan, but they see themselves as rock and roll, and are classified as a hard rock/blues rock band. Their first internationally released album was High Voltage in 1976, while For Those About to Rock We Salute You (1981) was their first #1 album in the US. Their most recent album from Lorelai’s perspective is Stiff Upper Lip, released in 2000 and well received commercially and critically. AC/DC have sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest-selling music artists. Their 1980 album Back in Black is the best-selling album by any band in the world. Regarded as one of the best hard rock bands of all time, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
Highway to Hell is the lead single and title track from AC/DC’s 1979 album, written to reflect the hardships of constant touring and life on the road. Lead singer Bon Scott, his talent at its peak, was found dead just six months after the song was released, as if to underscore the toll that such a life takes on one. Highway to Hell went to #47 in the US, and #24 in the UK; it went to #1 in the US on re-release in 1992, and in 2012 was the #1 song on digital download. It is regarded as a classic rock song.