Forever Plaid

Speaking of playing, has anyone else noticed the connection between plaid and music? Maybe it began with the first tartans, woven to march to the skirling of the bagpipe, but it stuck. Plaid and music are literally a “match made in heaven” in Forever Plaid, a musical about a guy group playing a back-from-the-beyond revival concert after crashing en route to their first big gig in a cherry-red 1954 Mercury convertible and, natch, their matching plaid jackets. In the 1960s, Pendleton Woolen Mills brought plaid to the airwaves. In 1963, the Majorettes’ number one song, “White Levis,” proclaimed: “My boyfriend’s always wearin’ white Levi’s. . . and his tennis shoes and his surfin’ hat and a big plaid Pendleton shirt,” and soon after, a new group named itself the Pendletones, inspired by its uniform of plaid shirts, t-shirts, and khakis. Pendleton Woolen Mills objected to having its name coopted, and the group changed its name to The Beach Boys, to Pendleton’s later regret. (You can’t buy buzz like that.) More contemporary groups like The Plaid Jackets (their Star Wars tribute Ode to Chewbacca is loud, but amusing), and the British electronic duo, Plaid. Their web site has the best product disclaimer ever: “Warning. This product may contain plaid.”

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