The Who

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey!!! (and some sidemen) THE WHO!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!
* special introductory paragraph!
* The Who Sings My Generation
* A Quick One
* The Who Sell Out
* Fillmore East
* Magic Bus - The Who On Tour
* Tommy
* The Tommy Demos
* Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy
* Live At Leeds
* Live At The Isle Of Wight
* Who's Next
* Who's Missing
* Two's Missing
* Quadrophenia
* Odds And Sods
* The Who By Numbers
* Who Are You
* The Kids Are Alright
* Hooligans
* Greatest Hits
* Face Dances
* It's Hard
* BBC Sessions
* Who's Last
* Live: The Blues To The Bush/1999
* Live At The Royal Albert Hall
* Endless Wire
Although old people consider them to be the third most important band of the 60's (behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones), us youngsters know better. The Who have completely tarnished any reputation they might have had by not only sticking around way too long, but by refusing to just stay dead - how many friggin' reunion tours do we have to sit through?

Unlike The Beatles, they didn't break up at the pinnacle of their career. Unlike the Stones, they didn't keep putting out hit singles until they were finally able to come up with another good album. They just sank and sank and stank and stank. This is unfortunate, considering how good they used to be. Although they were by far the worst R 'n' B cover band in history, their guitarist Peter Townshend was an extremely talented songwriter, stretching his pop/rock sensibilities so far that the band became first operatic, then bombastic, and finally, unintentionally self-parodic. And he was one of the first and best masters of feedback noisemaking; unfortunately, as Eddie Van Halen would a generation later, he lost interest in noise by the early '70s and concentrated more on his songwriting, ironically at the point when it was beginning to deteriorate. Early Who is fun and catchy, middle Who is impressive but overbearing, and late Who is too overblown to listen to. But man, could Keith Moon drum cool!

Reader Comments

thewho1@optonline.net (Gregory Kurtz)
I am so tired of this crap placing The Who below The Beatles and The Stones in the rock and roll triumvirate.

They blew the Stones off the stage and they were superior musicians. Case closed.

People always say, "well The Stones have lasted so long, blah blah blah". What have they put out since the mid seventies that qualifies them as the greatest rock band? Nothing!

The Who is and always will be pure energy realized through powerful music- Kick ass music.

So don't get fooled again


The Who Sings My Generation - MCA 1966.
Rating = 9

This was their original sound. No exploration or opera - just straight-up R 'n' B-influenced, pop-inflected INCREDIBLY melodic rock 'n' roll. I imagine it stood out among the pack of like records of the era by actually being good all the way through; most of the mid-'60s bands could churn out a decent single and nothing else (Ever tried to sit through an Electric Prunes album? Don't!). This record features two amazing singles, "My Generation" and "The Kids Are Alright," but also boasts seven other originals that should have been hits. In fact, I hold the opinion that "The Good's Gone," "A Legal Matter," and "Much Too Much" are three of the catchiest songs they ever did. That's the opinion I hold. And remember, if you've got 3.14159 onions, you've got opinions. That makes little sense. I'm boring myself.

Are you familiar with The Who? The singer was Roger Daltrey, a dinky cocky jerk who couldn't sing R 'n' B for crap, but had a decent rock and roll voice. The bassist was John Entwhistle, a quiet, boring-looking guy who wrote dark comedy and played pretty interesting bass lines. The drummer was Keith Moon, the personification of pre-punk hyperactivity who insisted on foregoing normal rhythm lines in order to concentrate on round-the-drumset attacks that gave The Who an exciting, rollicking sound that would have been impossible with a normal thumping 4/4 beat. And the guitarist, main songwriter, and occasional vocalist was Peter Townshend, a very gifted young man who played so loud, he gave himself tinnitis.

The band gained notoriety early on by becoming the favorite band of the "mods," a silly British subculture of teenagers who rode motorbikes and loved American R 'n' B. The Who also loved to smash their instruments on stage, adding an extremely violent streak to their stage show which would later be imitated by thousands of other bands (most notably, Kiss and Nirvana). This album just sounds like mid-'60s rock (you know, The Beatles, The Stones, The Animals, The Yardbirds, etc., etc.), but the songs still sound terrific. Plus, they were just little kids! Keith was eighteen! EIGHTEEN! Are YOU eighteen? Oh, how I doubt it.

Reader Comments

la314w@crown.icongrp.com (Jesse Lara)
Weellll, I guess so except for that onion part. Gotta love that "My Generation" though.

nesrallah@sympatico.ca (Phil Nesrallah)
I am 18. Not really 18 but 17 instead. Mind you I can't drum worth a shit but don't be so doubtful of WHO fans.

David.Steel@newcastle.ac.uk
Why is he taking the piss out of us mods?? We don't drive motorbikes, we drive SCOOTERS. Decent review though, although maybe this guy should listen to Roger sing "Heatwave" before he comments on his R'n'B abilities.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
What this album rocks. You can't write a better song than "I Can't Explain"

kalbright@sprynet.com (Kelly Albright)
Chalk up another 18-year-old.

Stryker120@aol.com
I'm 17, going to be 18 soon and already in a rock band, thank you very much.

buckmann@concentric.net (Ben Mann)
(the "mods," a silly British subculture of teenagers who rode motorbikes and loved American R 'n' B.)

Spot on as usual. Thanks for reminding us all that it's really that simple. "Silly" indeed. Hear that, ya parka wearin' retro-mod revivalists? SILLY!

dstreb@mail.sssnet.com (Daniel Streb)
Forget all them damn Velvet Undergrounds and Stooges and MC5s and any other dorkus band popular for creating pre-punk rock. THIS is PREPUNK dammit!! Listen to the ear-splitting solo at the end of My Generation. That's punk rock!! The Ox is punk rock. The Who smashed their instruments like punks. Need I say more??? THIS IS THE VERY FIRST PUNK ALBUM.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
An excellent album, and truly revolutionary. Not only is it good all way through, it is the first rock album that celebrates Noise, and in a creative way that was never to be repeated. Maybe this is the very first punk album. But it's better than any punk album. The James Brown covers are kinda feeble, but the rest is very very very much fun. And it has 'A Legal Matter', too! And it's Beatlish ('Kids'), and it's Stonish ('Out In The Street'), and Kinkish ('La La Lies'), and, of course, very much Whoish. 'The Ox' is a terrific instrumental! I bet I'd hate it ten years ago, but I've grown, you know...

The only problem with this album is that it's very hard to get it anywhere but in the States. I was lucky, though.

jose.neto@eurorscg.pt
i'm not 18, of course, but i've no problem admitting that i've once been that. and even less. anyway, nobody asked my opinion about the who but here i go with it (beware now, youngsters): WE ARE MODS! WE ARE MODS! WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE MODS! great stuff, what?

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Definite 8. The covers suck a bunch, but the other songs just rule.

9402992h@student.gla.uc.uk (Dan Hackney)
The Sex Pistols used to cover "Substitute". Why is everyone so suprised and insistent that The Who might then be considered punk? Blummin' obvious...

JSALDATE@mediaone.net (Joseph Saldate)
I just wanted to comment on the amount of idiots this review attracted, me being newest one!

Caleb462@cs.com
Eh, I don't know. Early Who just doesn't seem to have the same power as the later material. Sure, I like the stuff, it's catchy, but it's not even in the same ballpark as "5.15" or "Baba O'Reily" or even "Who Are You". I actually haven't heard too much of this album as a whole though, I'm just commenting on early who in general.

katsman7@hotmail.com
I love The Who and I want to say that I'm 16 years old (younger than 18). I love very much "My Generation" and all their singles and good songs. Never heard "TWSMG", but I'd like to post a question: IS "TWSMG" available on CD??? (because I heard that isn't). Thank ya.

JohnnyB8@aol.com
Ugh........some dude up there commented on i cant explain. yes its an awesome song, but its not on this album. i think u need to brush up on your whostory. as for the 16 year old, well im 14 and even i know that every friggin who album has been remastered with like 4 more tracks and put on cd, mainly because townshend and daltrey are moneyhungry bastards,which is why they still tour, but i still love them ha. maybe its outta print, but its still able to be bought, possibly on ebay or half.com. as for my thoughts on this particular album, i can dig The Ox, Instant Party (Circles), My Generation, La La La Lies, and nearly everything else. Its a pretty good debut album, for a group of Englishmen who had to try and beat out the Stones and the Beatles, even just for fanbase!

markphilipevans@hotmail.com
I am so disappointed that you have allowed Starostin to brainwash you into thinking that the Who actually made good albums! My Generation, The Kids are Alright are both fine songs while Legal Matter is also quite good. However the rest of this album is utter shite and words simply cannot express just how bad the James Brown covers are. Nothing more to say. 5/10

junkyjunkygarbage@hotmail.com (Jay Banerjee)
Geez, with all the cries of "I'm Eighteen" on this board, you'd think it were ALICE COOPER KARAOKE NIGHT at CLUB I CAN'T GRASP IRONY.

(And why can't they grasp irony? 'Cause they're eighteen! Duh.)

Ha ha, I'm so clever. But anyway, THIS is The Who. A lot of people don't understand this: The Who essentially had two separate careers. In the first phase of their career, they were a "pop" group. A very aggressive pop group, but a pop group nonetheless. The focus was on catchy songs, chiming Rickenbackers, and being cool and menacing, but with an undercurrent of a sort of wounded romanticism (evident on "La-La Lies", "The Kids Are Alright", "So Sad About Us", "I Can't Explain", "I Can't Reach You", etc.) In their later years, they were a "rock" group, with all the excesses that implied: rock operas about deaf, dumb, and blind pinball messiahs (???), overblown, pompous, super-fake vocals, and assorted '70s arena-rock trappings. The dividing line is a bit murky: Tommy is where their ideas just started to become more important than the music, but at least that had some good songs, and Roger wasn't singing in that hideous voice...yet. I love how Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy distills Tommy down to its essence: "Pinball Wizard". That's all you really need. But a lot of people, especially we Americans, appear to be blissfully unaware that The Who were anything but an over-the-top arena-rock band. I remember one time I played "So Sad About Us" on the guitar for some members of my family. To paraphrase: "That's really nice. Who's it by?" "The Who." "No, really, who's it by?"

But enough anecdotes about my family--I need to save those for therapy, anyway--and onto this record. What's revolutionary about this record is not the songs themselves but the very SOUND. Like The Ramones, like Never Mind The Bollocks, like Please Please Me, it's the very sound of the record that assures it a place in the annals of all-time great albums. No one had recorded anything so rough and tough and VIOLENT ever before! The Kinks kame kinda klose, and they're a very obvious influence, but this is a brave new sonic vista. And Pete Townshend's ringing mod/pop Rickenbacker tone is so fascinating; how can something so jangly sound so heavy? Ringing guitar and menacing bass, three-part harmonies and absolutely gonzo wild-man drumming, it's like listening to an internal conflict-turned-nervous breakdown.

Oh yeah, and the songs are great, too. Ten originals, two JB covers on the US release. I've come to love all the originals, that's for sure. Five seconds into the album, when Roger Daltrey comes in out of nowhere to shout "OUT!" during the tremulous guitar intro of "Out in the Street", you know this is going to be like nothing you've ever heard. And then it kicks into the song proper: tough, ringing mod pop with great "no-no-no" backing vocals, innovative guitar breaks, and a dead-on closing by Daltrey: "I'm a-gonna know, I'm a-gonna know YOUUUUUUUUUUU!" And then there's "My Generation", the first ever punk song...would we remember it as fondly as we do if not for the inimitable s-s-stutter? And two fucking key changes? And the nuclear-bomb Keith Moon drums at the end? My personal favorite, though, has to be "The Kids Are Alright", the first ever power pop song. I find it so refreshing that they put the loveliest, most gorgeous song on the album right after the unadulterated violence of "My Generation". "The Kids Are Alright" is probably one of my 5 or 10 favorite songs ever, and "My Generation" is in the top 100, somewhere. As for the covers, "I Don't Mind" is actually done well. "Please Please Please" I'm still ambivalent about even after dozens of listens, especially since it comes right after the twin titans of "My Generation" and "The Kids Are Alright". Daltrey tries too hard to imitate Godfather Soul on that one, but it's still listenable, at least. Bottom line: one "okay" cover, another good cover, eight great originals, and two all-time classics makes a great fucking album.

Oh yeah, get the USA issue, to be sure. Yes, the cover art is inferior. Yes, they cut out the solo in "The Kids Are Alright". But the tremendous psychedelic nugget "Circles" more than makes up for that, as opposed to the Faux Diddley "I'm a Man" on the UK version.

And in regards to some of these comments: "I Can't Explain" IS on the "deluxe edition" CD re-issue of this album (which combines the US and UK issues and a fuckload of extras, but has some really dodgy issues with the remastering that I won't go into since this has already turned into a novel, just check out the reviews on Amazon.com or wherever). So lay off the guy who mentioned that. Instead, I suggest you turn your ire towards the guy who says, and I quote, "It's not even in the same ballpark as...'Who Are You'. I actually haven't heard too much of this album as a whole though, I'm just commenting on early who in general." Now, the first sentence is mind-bogglingly stupid enough, but everyone's entitled to an opinion. However, YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A FUCKING OPINION IF YOU HAVEN'T ACTUALLY LISTENED TO THE FUCKING ALBUM YOU STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLE. Imagine if every guy on Prindle's site wrote comments like this guy: "I don't know, Revolver just doesn't seem in the same league as Let It Be. I haven't actually heard the whole album, though, I'm just commenting on '62-'66 Beatles in general." And with that, I bid you farewell. I'll spend the next five years writing a review of "The Who Sell Out".

(P.S. OK, I lied. Before I go I must also say a word for the too-often-overlooked Nicky Hopkins. Incredibly deft piano touches that make great songs brilliant. Can you envision "La-La Lies", "The Ox", or "A Legal Matter" without his flourishes? He belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with all the other great sidemen.)

jdj7@charter.net
im not eighteen but im thirteen and i love The Who.

the.apple.o@gmail.com
I agree with the high marks on this one, but need to add a couple of comments here... To say this album just sounds like mid-'60s rock (citing Beatles, Stones, etc.) is just not accurate, when you consider that when this was released, the current Beatles ablum was Rubber Soul... RUBBER SOUL! (Not sure how accurate it is, but wikipedia even says they were even released on the same day!)

Not to put down that fine record, or the Stones, Animals, or any of those other guys, but this first Who record gave the world way more than just R&B and pop tunes. There's this Zeppelin-like heaviness & punk hyper attitude that leaves the peace & love vibes in the dust 2 years before the "summer of love" even happened.

Consider the drums & guitar noise on "out in the street", the kick ass "much too much" where the guitar isn't quite distorted or even playing power chords but this electric heaviness is implied, & then there's "the ox" (talk about proto metal) and tell me they just sound like typical mid 60's rock... Even that James Brown cover kicks ass! No one will deny the Kinks their high marks for coming up with that distorto 2-note riff, but the Who really did some butt whompin here for 1965. Sure Bonham is the man, but Keith Moon laid down the template!

In terms of scoring, I'm a little biased towards this one cuz it broke so much ground, that I might give it the 10, even though they kept coming up with great tunes and innovative music for years afterward.

I will probably do some editing of the 2-disc version and take out the wankier tracks (or move them all to last / afterthought), and include some stuff that really belongs in sequence here (such as the "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" single, etc) but all in all, this record is just so fun and fresh even today.

nategoldsmith@yahoo.com
im not eighteen but im thirteen and i love The Who.

Ben
Good album! This is the perfect place to start with the who. Full of great tracks, very fun, no stupid overblown rock operas, just playing straight ahead proto punk and r&b. My personal favorite here is "The Kids Are Alright," but I also really like "Please Please Me," "A Legal Matter," "The Ox," "The Goods Gone," "Out in the Street" and "Its Not True." I'd also say "My Generation" but it's so overplayed these days that all the fun has been taken out of it. It also doesn't help much that the who have become everything they spoke out against in that song.

Add your thoughts?

A Quick One - MCA 1967.
Rating = 7

Already, they're turning their backs on straight-up R 'n' B-influenced, pop-inflected rock and roll. Okay, there's a couple of 'em on here (the fantastic groover "Run Run Run" and the abysmal "Heat Wave" cover), but the rest of the record is split between generic but nice pop music that showcases The Who's growing prowess at vocal harmonizing ("So Sad About Us," "See My Way," "Don't Look Away"), Entwhistle black comedy ("Whisky Man" and the classic "Boris The Spider"), and early experimentation (Keith Moon's horn-driven carnival song "Cobwebs and Strange," and Townshend's first mini-opera, the cute but somewhat stupid "A Quick One While He's Away"). It's always nice to see a band trying to grow, but these guys didn't quite have the hang of it yet, so the more ambitious stuff sounds pretty darn embarrassing. It's odd to listen to this awkward collection of diverse - and prissy - material after hearing the amazingly confident and tough band that they were on the debut album. Still, it's good enough. Fun, anyway.

Reader Comments

la314w@crown.icongrp.com (Jesse Lara)
THIS WHOLE ALBUM SUCKS!

ashley@freenet.msp.mn.us (Thomas Ashley)
Sorry dude, this is one of the Who's low points. I can't believe you give this record a higher rating than Quadrophenia. Too many of the songs are plain filler, and the sound quality is incredibly tinny. "Boris The Spider" and "So Sad About Us" are great songs however.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
maybe not such a good idea to do "Heatwave" but this still rocks.

ModOxGS@aol.com (Kendra Levine)
It's awesome!!! John's work starts strong. The whole album is great for any band's second album. The horn work is fantastic, singing is great. Pete Townshend wrote great masterpieces, like the title track. "Whiskey Man" is one of Entwistle's classics.

astarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Its main problem (as you should know) is that ALL the members of the band were FORCED to write songs (due to financial problems). This certainly results in a lot of throwaways (Daltrey's "See My Way" is ridiculous, and Moon's "I Need You" is unintellegible; I kinda like "Cobwebs And Strange", though, even if it belongs to a circus show rather than a Who album). As for Townshend's songs, all of them are first-rate, as usual (though "A Quick One" would certainly only become great in concert, much later). By the way, "A Quick One" is not STUPID - it's HUMOROUS. Feel the difference?

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Huge falloff from the terrific debut. The title track is funny, but not as good as it is live. And Boris is of course good, but .... guh

5.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Carbon copy of goddamn Sell Out. I actually was lead to believe that this album was made after Sell Out, just before Tommy. Good thing it wasn't, because then Tommy would have been as bad as this.

Yes, I guess that like Sell Out, I need to give this a few more listens. So here's the first impression: SUCK. Run Run Run, I Need You, Heat Wave, Don't Look Away, See My Way, and So Sad About Us are pathetic Beatlesesque shit. I mean, even for some kind of crappy Beatles rip off band, this sucks. And didn't Pete hate the Beatles? What the fuck is going on here?

And you know, Heat Wave really does suck. It's a cover, and it sucks. Doesn't matter what the original was, this song is just fucking stupid.

All those bad songs, all it leaves are the bland but sorta ok Boris, the insane last minute "ok song" entry knwon as Whiskey Man, Happy Jack, and a totally lame ass and inferior version of Quick One While He's Away. These remaining tracks are at least a reminder to my young self that the Who only got better.

Sadly, the very best song on here is that crazy carnival band song called Cobwebs and Strange. That song just kicks ass. That's at least worth the $12 I spent on this big fucking sleepy heroin jam album.

I tried reading the liner notes to this one, but it was just too goddamn painful, seeing the massive blowfest for these guys. I mean, there can be no doubt that The Who did some of the best music ever, but reading these quotes by these trend fuck newspaper rock critics about how The Who in 67 were the "most gutsy and powerful and electrifblahblahblah rock band ever" while listening to Don't Look Away... it just made me feel extreme pain in the abdomnal area. BA DABADADADAAAAAA. Oof.

The title track is *so* *much* better on Rock and Roll Circus. I will never ever even buy Sings My Generation, because there'll be no fucking point. It's probably even worse.

It doesn't matter what you say about Quad, it's gotta be better than this. Shit, Face Dances is probably better.

davydd@ozemail.com.au (Davydd Marrie)
Granted that this album probably was not as good as My Generation, it still had some great sounds that really get me going. 'So sad about us' is fantastic; Paul Weller felt something about this song. 'A Quick one while he's away' has a great finale; that harmony singing on "...you are forgiven etc..." although not much by classical standards (I am a choral singer) was very emotional, different and really grabs you. Give them 10/10 for trailblazing a new path!

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
For some reason or another, I find myself listening to this album quite often, despite the fact that it is incredibly sloppy and haphazardly put together and many of the songs simply aren't that good. But I, for one, adore the Entwistle songs, the Keith Moon songs (both the excellent Brit-pop of "I Need You" and the circusy revelation of "Cobwebs"), AND the destined-to-be-inferior studio version of "A Quick One, While He's Away". Maybe I'm just too big a fan of British Invasion posturing and the shoddy Shel Talmy recordings. Maybe the bonus tracks of the awesome psychedelic "Disguises" and energetic covers of "Batman" and "Bucket T" do it for me. I don't quite know. Oh wait, I know, it's "So Sad About Us", quite possibly the best ever pop song that Mr. Townshend EVER wrote for The Who. Live at the Marquee, this song was rousing, but on record it's just fantastic.

TVEye70@aol.com
Yeah, this album's fairly weak. "So Sad About Us" is a freaking stellar song though, and the title track is great though better heard on the Rock 'n' Roll Circus version. I think I'm the only person who likes "See My Way", it's a catchy little tune! What's wrong with that? Just not a whole lot sticks here, really. 6/10.

JohnnyB8@aol.com
Well, obviously, this isnt the who's best album, but it did produce such show staples as A Quick One, While He's Away and Boris The Spider. I dig Run, Run, Run which is a pretty awesome song when u listen to it, although its way better on BBC Sessions. As for the dude up there with the idiotic comment about how this is a "carbon copy" of Sell Out, well you really arent that smart are you? Sell Out is so much more different than this, but it doesnt put this album to shame at all. I Mean sure, when you make Keith Moon write two of the songs, you arent going to have a stellar album, considering the fact that he just wasn't a songwriter. And if thats not bad enough, you make Daltrey write a song? I think hes better off just singing them. I mean, hes only written 4 songs with the Who in a span of near 40 years with them. But, even for one of the first budget albums of it's time, i still think that its a solid effort, even if it wasn't meant to be. I mean, hey, Townshend will tell you himself how much he hates the Call Me Lightning single, and how much Entwistle hated the solo in the middle. He'll tell you how much of a throw-away it was, but yet the fans still like that song. I say this album gets a 7.

astika@trancetrip.com (Olivia Lawrence)
"Too many people have forgotten that rock'n'roll is fun." -Keith Moon

gag05@bigpond.com.au
Yeah, more like A Shit One (While He's Away With Pete Townshend). This album, as the title so casually suggests was made "quick" while Townshend was off with some guy..They obviously loved this formula so much, coz as the next 5 years of their career shows, ("Tommy" and "Who's Next"??? plz don't throw that shit at me) Pete Townshend had no fucking clue on how to write a good album!!! Lord knows why the fuck he is called a genius...anyone???? These songs aren't mature or even worth listening to. "Boris" and "Whiskey Man" are cute.but fucking hell the Beatles were doing "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Eleanor Rigby" at this time and people compare the two bands!!! What kind of competition is that??? Cool Band to watch on stage for sure, but Jesus Christ in the studio.... ahhhhh these guys aint good, Townshend is a nutcase anyway. 0/10

stu in nyc @aol.com
you younger people don't get it. when this album came out in 1967, the who were practically unknown in the US. The record company had to rename the album "Happy Jack" to support the single that a few AM top 40 radio stations thought was catchy enough to merit very little airplay. And the album still didn't sell. the who had yet to become the bloated band of the mid-late 70s. they were writing and releasing songs about questionable gender ("I'm a Boy"), race relations (check out the original lyrics to "Substitute", which had to be changed for the US market), and pornography ("Pictures of Lily"). this was unheard of at the time. so this album was a breath of fresh air, and totally amazing, for the few that knew it existed. seeing the who perform live at this point in their career was amazing. although it may seem played out today to destroy equipment, watch their performance in the "Monterrey pop" film, which got them onto the smothers brothers TV show (look for the clip of "my generation" in "the kids are alright" film) later that year. you young whipper-snappers might think this album sucks, but you can't compare it to something that was released later (does it suck in comparison to "who's next"? no, because you can't compare 2 minute pop songs to long guitar solos and synth-laden opuses, if that's a real word).

slimsanjuro@hotmail.com
This is probably my personal favorite Who album also having the fewest songs on it I actually like. Boris The Spider, Whiskey Man, Don't Look Away, Disguises, Doctor Doctor, and In The City are awesome songs. I'm talking about the CD reissue I should add cause 3 of those songs probably aren't on other versions, might as well get the newest reissue, don't waste your time on shit with less songs especially when they add the best tracks on this one. With those great songs out of the way there are 14 songs on here that range from so-so to awful and I almost always skip them. The thing is the songs that are good are so fucking good they're better than the entire Who discog past Tommy. And I'm not an old fart (a young fart) either but I know when to give up on a band, Quadrophenia and everything else is a depressing cobweb filled basement of bullfuck you wish you could like but its so fucking void of GOODNESS you just can't enjoy it no matter how hard you try. And its not cause Quad was supposed to be dark, its that it sounds like a gay broadway musical, like I can envision men in sailor suits face different directions on a bad stage mock up of a battleship doing leg lunges (you know those stretches to get your hams ready for a run if any of you fat fucks exercise) in navy blue Daisy Dukes during some of those parts where there's that fucking bad synth "heroic" strain of a theme that pops up throughout the whole album. I bet Pete Townshend saw the same thing too, as well as Roger's faggot ass as well. The Ox and Keith were too busy getting pussy to care about Pete's D&D dork story time Harry Potter world of drama.

the.apple.o@gmail.com
This isn't as even a record as the 1st one, but that's not to say the group wasn't still writing as many great tunes (more about that issue below along with a solution).

So anyway, there's more to say about the Entwistle tunes ("Whisky Man" & "Boris The Spider") than just black comedy - he pretty much invents Ozzy Osbourne's persona on these 2 tunes, does he not??

Also "Cobwebs and Strange" is more than just early experimentation - no it's not a "real" song from the standard rock point of view and people consider it a joke, but this track is just so kick ass and fun! It just DESTROYS so joyously in a way that so few have done in the 40+ years since. And here Keith Moon goes inventing John Bonham again - this is like Moby Dick v1.0...

Finally, "A Quick One While He's Away" is more than just a cute & stupid tune, have you seen the "rock'n'roll circus" performance? It's like the greatest live rock performance ever, it's just so damn fine, and who else would put English choir boy vocals in a tune with ass kicking power chords, and then it turns into some wacky cowboy "happy trails" sendup? So they're making contributions to prog rock too.

There were other tunes that came out around this time on singles that I burned onto the CD with this, the electric "Happy Jack" (more catchy melodies & choir boy vocals over kickass hyper drums & power chords) and "Pictures of Lily" (super-infections power pop[1]) fit along with this album well.

The thing that annoys me most about the Who's early records is they way they are compiled - being somewhat riddled with these filler tunes (if memory serves: I Need You, Heatwave, Don't Look Away, See My Way) but there doesn't need to be when you consider they had stronger tracks at the time that were left off the album and put onto singles.

The CD reissue of A Quick One has this hit & miss track listing, and some lame ass bonus tracks (wtf is Batman doing on here??? Who gives a darn about Barbara Ann?) with some decent ones (Bucket T is fun even if it isn't that different from Barbara Ann), and it's missing the electric Happy Jack (the acoustic one is good as a bonus track but you can't leave off the electric one). I guess the record co. or the band didn't want to render the well known compilation albums Magic Bus & Meaty Beaty redundant?

So anyway, if you're interested in "fixing" A Quick One & putting all the fine mid-60s tracks onto one "period" album, take out the bad tracks (or move them to last in the running order) and insert the tunes from these other collections. Then this record would possibly be the one that gets a "10"...

PS I haven't yet done all my homework on exactly when which tunes were recorded/released (a fun pet project for any music dork) but I'm sure this method will also yield an improved "The Who Sell Out", "My Generation", and "Tommy" (and "Who's Next" etc too)! [2]

[1]Here's a weird side-story... I transferred my vinyl Odds n Sods & Meaty Beaty LPs to CD the other day (they fit on one CD if you take out 18 or so seconds at the end of "I Can See For Miles", just fade it out, it goes on too long anyway), and listened to "Pictures of Lily" whilst taking a shower thinking what a great catchy tune, even though in the shower I can't hear the lyrics, and later that day read some more of "Ayn" Rice's 1st Mayfair Witches book which is pretty fun, the chapter on Stella who people fall in love with from seeing her picture and who dies in 1929, and within one hour after that I went out and waiting on line at the grocery store, looked up the lyrics to "pictures of lily" on me iPhone just for the heck of it out of boredom, and wth is this song about but the singer falling in love with pictures of a chick who's been dead since 1929? And I have had no prior knowledge of what this song's lyrics were about. Kinda makes you wonder!

[2]At this point I have yet to really appreciate the Who's studio output after "Sell Out" - it just seems like they became increasingly generic mid-tempo classic schlock, not inventive like the early records. I recently got "The kids are alright" soundtrack CD and hearing them do "Sparks" at Woodstock is kind of mind-blowing what with the in-tense HUGE guitar, galloping bass & whalloping drums that just have my head spinning, "they played this shit at woodstock???!?! this is like, so 80s metal!" so maybe that's my "gateway drug" into "Tommy". Only time will tell! (Or do I put this effort into appreciating some new unknown band? WHO is making music now that is as innovative as the 'Ooo did in THEIR prime?)

Ben
This is the who's "democratic" album, with every band member writing at least one song. Keith's songs are actually pretty good, I've always loved that instrumental "Cobwebs and Strange" and that Beatles ripoff "I Need You." I don't think Johns are that great but they're still enjoyable. Roger's are okay, not really memorable, but Petes are great. The rock opera is the best song on here. Not as accessable as the first album but it's still good. "So Sad About Us" is great too.

Add your thoughts?

The Who Sell Out - MCA 1967.
Rating = 7

More experimentation. This is a conceptual album that tries to parody British radio. The actual songs are pretty darn impressive, but all the goofy fake ad jingles are a waste of time for band and listener alike. Plus, as on A Quick One, it sounds like the band as a unit doesn't really know where it wants to go. Are they a pop ballad band? A psychedelic band? A rock and roll band? A macabre band? Did they ever sit down and actually discuss what it was they were trying to do? This is one of the most poorly-flowing records I've ever heard. I don't mind, really; I just feel like a band that is regarded this highly should have had a better idea about where they were heading than they've shown us here.

Burying gems like the mean riff rocker "I Can See For Miles" (LISTEN TO THE DRUMMING! MY FUCKING GOD, LISTEN TO THAT DRUMMING!!!) and the beautiful pop "Can't Reach You" between "funny" songs about guys with acne and girls with B.O. was a rotten idea. Plus, the re-recording of the wonderful B-side "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands" is about a jillion times weaker than the original, and Townshend's second mini-opera, "Rael," though containing guitar bits which would later end up in Tommy, starts and ends absolutely nowhere. The song "Tattoo," though, is a fantastic rocker that in a perfect world would have been a much bigger hit than "Long Live Rock," but that's how it goes down here on spaceship Earth. Whoooooshhhhh!

The fake ads on the album cover are funny, but they should have just stopped the concept right there. Lousing up a perfectly enjoyable record in hopes of being considered "avant-garde" and "clever" was stupid. Oh, Pete, what were ye thinkin'?

Reader Comments

leonard@lyco.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
It's funny. I kinda agree with Mark, and yet...somehow I find the concept endearing. The acne/B.O. ditties are fairly humorous and catchy, and I think the jingles seg nicely into the songs. And the songs! What songs! They are just fantastic! "Rael" may not go anywhere...but that's the point! Neither does the subject of the song. All in all, a much more (thankfully) concise version of Tommy. And "Sunrise" is gorgeous, and I'll second Mark's comments on "Tattoo"...I just love this record; it's one of their three best and therefore one of the very best pop records ever. Ignore the concept if you must and listen to the songs (and The Who's playing)!

LSDiety@aol.com
The concept of this cd (the fake ads and what-not) breaks down on side two, but that matters very little when songs like "Tattoo", "Odorono", "Sunrise", "Armenia City in the Sky" and "I Can't Reach You" are so good. This is, in my opinion, their best studio album. PS, I like the SELL OUT version of "Mary-Anne" better than the original b-side.... none of those cheap 1960's vocal effects!

liberty@ptialaska.net (Marc Kovac)
With the 96 re-release, this is the best Who CD purchase outside of Who's Next. Townshend makes Daltrey look like a worthless ponyboy greatly.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
You guys are nuts. The Who Sell Out is one of the greatest albums by one of the greatest bands of all time. Hilarious and great.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
I don't quite get this review of yours, Mark. The band "does not really know where to go"? A strange remark. Did the Beatles "know where they wanted to go" on Pepper? That album is also a terrible mix of styles. Did the Stones know "where to go" on Let It Bleed?

What do you expect from such a great act as the Who? To fill the complete album with heavy rockers? Or screw them in favor of light pop ballads? Or go totally psychodelic? Or what? Would you like all the Who records to be like Live At Leeds (which is pretty good but I would never respect Pete if he never did anything else!)

This record shows the TRUE MASTERS OF ROCK at their (or probably HIS) creative and imaginative peak. The "goofy fake ad jingles" are just a piece of humor: anyway, if you prefer listening to "Revolution 9", we'll never agree on this one. But even within these "jingles" some gems are to be found: the guitar line on "Odorono", for instance!

As for the actual songs, most of them are first-rate. I would dismiss "Silas Stingy" (funny, but not half as good as "Boris") and "Relax" (acid rock was not Townshend's forte). ALL the other songs are beautiful.

On this album, Townshend is especially good at ballads: "Tattoo" manages in some magical way to combine humor with genuine emotion; "Sunrise" has some incredible guitar and Townshend's singing on it is maybe his best effort; "Our Love Was" has a tremendous chorus (and I am sure Lennon ripped off the guitar riff for "Dear Prudence")! A FANTASTIC record! Maybe even better than TOMMY! Could this be the Ultimate Record...? Hardly... but pretty close!

lukas.ljungdahl@are.mail.telia.com
After the first listen to this, I didn't like it at all, but after a few listens I realized it. This album's GREAT! I love it, it's one of my favorite albums. I also really liked the 1995 bonus tracks. The commercials are funny, and a good add to the whole thing.

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
I'd only give this '6' myself. Whether or not the advertising 'concept' is amusing or not, the songs aren't that good! "I Can See For Miles" stands out, and "Sunrise" is charming, but the rest of the songs are something and nothing.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Fantastic. What you call a poorly flowing record, I call a wonderful mix of styles. And the ads and jingles are humorous. Lighten up. 9, easily.

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Ugh. Mark, I have agreed with you on just about everything else you write on this page, from that great White Album review to yor views on the state of modern music and philosophy. But this time, you've gone WAY too far! The Who Sell Out is the great lost classic album of the Sixties. Yeah, "I Can See For Miles" is awesome, but who can forget the beautifull me-too psychedelia of "Armenia City in the Sky", the mischevious humor of "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" and "Tattoo", the sheer grace of "Sunrise" and "Relax", and the epic "Rael"? Add to that all the superb bonus tracks ("Melancholia", "Jaguar") and the hilarious commercials ("Odorono", "Heinz Baked Beans") and you've got the most underrated album of all time! I'd give this a 9 because "Silas Stingy" can get on my nerves sometimes, but overall this is probably my favorite Who album. Oh, and the commercials are just the icing on the cake! It really FEELS like a radio station. Or at least one run by The Who. Wouldn't _THAT_ be something?

Also, I really would like to disagree with the other album ratings (all too low!) but I think that The Who are a preferred taste. Of course, if you don't really care for them, all of their albums (even the really good ones) are going to get low scores. But if you like how they sound and what sort of songs they write, each album will be really good and you'll have a hard time picking a favorite. By the way, I don't even bother with the last 2 Keith-less albums. In my book, those don't qualify as Who (although "You Better You Bet" is a pretty good songs).

Amgreenberg@aol.com
Gotta agree with you on "I Can See For Miles" and "Tattoo", killer tunes both. Especially "I Can See For Miles", a personal fave of mine. Gotta love the slightly menacing atmosphere.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Wow, the Who sucked cocks. This album... even tho I've only heard the whole thing a few times... shit. Listened to this in a car with a friend. I figured that there would be really cool stuff on here that went along with I Can See for Miles, BUT IT'S ALL JUST SHIT.

A very large amount of these songs are just stupid and weak. O God. Now my friend hates the Who, I'll never be able to get him to listen to Live at Leeds or see Kids Are Ok now. Shit. And yet, he played us 311 and told us about how he wants to move to shitty California. Goddammit. Fucking Sell Out album. I couldn't even really explain to him why this album isn't that great compared to Who's good stuff. Probably because I don't have that many Who albums yet. But goddamn.

The only other good song with be the funny lyriced Tattoo and also MAYBE Silas Stingy, but the music here really isn't good. What the fuck was going on? What's with all these echoy fluff songs? I mean, I know these guys thought they were "power pop," but SHIT. The music sucks.

I Can See for Miles is awesome tho. Which is too bad, because I wasted $11 on this album. I'd have to give it a 4. However, I haven't really heard the whole thing.

Ok, heard the whole album. I guess I'd up the score from a 4 to a 5. Mary-anne, if it's inferior to a b-side, it still an ok tune. Odorono might be dumb as hell, but it's an ok tune as well. Yay for Tattoo, and I Can See For Miles, and Relax is also not all that bad. Rael has some very nice vocalizing I suppose, but it still sucks.

You know, this is totally confusing. The Who in the late 60's and throughout the 70's we powerful and moving, yet this is all just a Beatles derivitive. Shit, Daltry can't be on any of this early shit because it all sounds like about 10 John Lennon/Paul Mac imitators singing at once.

This album is ok as far as the joke songs are concerned. I actually put the CD in just to hear Medac once. I'm not bothered by the jokes. I'm bothered by the serious shit. None of these songs could be considered rock, at all. Half the album is simply ok. Where are the real Who albums?

I don't even know what album I Can't Explain is supposed to be on.

Silas Stingy would have been about a thousand times better if they could have cut the chorus, by the way. Seriously. Maybe if they had used to chorus once in the song, it would have been really something. But the way it is now, it's flawed.

mjhaag@webtv.net (Michael Haag)
Coke after Coke after Coke after Coca Cola Coke after Coke after Coke after Coca Cola

binro@webtv.net (Marc Paskvan)
They shouldn't put these albums out on CD without separating the bonus tracks from the original setlist, off the vinyl. It waters down the impact of the original. But since I only just got this album, Sell Out by the Who, my opinion of the album as a whole is flawed by its length--due to the bonus trax. It's a lot to take in.

I'm an old geezer now, but when this album came out, I was too young to afford an LP. So I'm catching up, by buying it. And though the 70's stuff after, and including Who's Next was certainly great music, I secretly prefer the earlier, 'lighter' fare. It had humor, and told stories. It was a great snapshot of "mod" London in the '60's. Though not as well recorded as later stuff, it was a group effort. Certain personalities hadn't come too far to the forefront, fistfights notwithstanding.

I guess the standouts, IMO, are "Armenia..." and "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand". And of course, " I can see for miles", but since I've heard that a billion times on radio, it goes in one ear and out the other.

So yeah, I'd say it's not classic in the same way as Who's Next, but then, I guess it just depends what you're in the mood for; a heavy trip or a happy buzz.

The radio jingles are great fun. I think I bought this album as a reaction to browzing the current record bins and seeing nothing but either psycho-wannabe's or corporate pop airheads. Nyeah-haha!

Pepperpot13@aol.com
Just stumbled on your site and thought I'd contribute a bit to your Sell Out review. This pertains to the 1996 reissue, since I have yet to get an original version!

I agree that The Who are, for the most part, an aquired taste. If you like one or two songs of theirs, you're probably not going to be interested in Sell Out. It's quite a departure from their sound as most people expect it to be (either the Anglopop Mod-ness of "My Generation" or the arena rock of "Won't Get Fooled Again"). I can see why many will pass off the songs as "fluff" and "shit" because at first hearing, it kind of seems that way. Just like if you simply glance at one of those 3-D pictures, you're not going to see what is really there.

Sell Out is certainly worth a close look - and a close look is necessary for most to pick up on the astonishing accomplishment of this album. Thiswas the first Who album I bought (aside from a compilation album). At first, I didn't care for it much. I really didn't know what to make of it. But then I put it on in the car druing a long-ish road trip. I find that when I listen to music while driving, I can concentrate on it more.

What I discovered during that drive was that this album is the best that The Who have done before or since (I too don't count the post-Moon "Who" albums. What a load of shit. Won't waste my money).

Some of the songs *are* a bit shitty. "Armenia" and "Girl's Eyes", for instance, should have been left off altogether. But what gems remain! The whole run from "Heinz Baked Beans" to "I Can See For Miles" is just astonishing.

"Our Love Was", in particular, is, literally, breathtaking. The opening line that Pete halts as if he were taking a hitching breath, trying to explain what the hell "their love" is..."Our love was..." and he stops, but you can feel that he's on the verge of what he wants to say next. It gives the impression that he's biting his lip, trying to come up with what to say next. And then the instruments mimic Pete's hesitance - the drums especially do this very well. A nice example of a song devoid of Daltrey. And even though it's *so much* Pete's song, it's really John and Keith who carry it. It's driven by a wonderful bass line, the hesitant drumwork, and a lovely French horn on top of it all (courtesy of John!). Townshend's guitar solo isn't half bad either - I agree that it sounds an awful lot like Lennon plagerized it for "Dear Prudence"!

"Odorono" is easy to pass over as simply one of the advertizement songs. But it was the first song to catch my ear the very first time I heard the album. I liked the tune a lot and the lyrics really drew me into the song (that I had been half-listening to)...I wanted to hear how it ended! I especially liked Moon's drum fill after the line, "She was happier than she'd ever been, as he praised her for her graces..." It sounds like someone tripping over tons of junk, boxes, whatever. Nice juxtaposition with the lyric!

Anyway, so I was digging the music and really getting into the story and then..."her deodorant let her down, she should have used Odorono," and then it was gone, melted into the "smooth sailing" Radio London jingle. I was pissed! That whole lovely song - nothing but a deodorant ad! In retrospect, that's exactly the reaction I imagine Townshend wanted! Don't you hate it when you hear some song on the radio or TV and you *really* like it...until it turns out to be about maxi pads or fast food? This song seems to embody the spirit of the album most fully. It's sardonic and cheeky - you don't really see it coming. I think this attitude is the best one to take for this album...once you understand what's going on, it all flows much better...and the music will begin to stand out from the fascade of the "concept".

"I Can See For Miles", "Jaguar" and the rediscovered gem, "Glow Girl" are soaring, powerful songs, perfect showcases for Moon's unequalled talent for lightning-quick, hard ass drum work. "Tattoo" is a wonderful example of how moon could underplay the drums if he really tried (compare to "See My Way" where he had to play on cardboard boxes because he just couldn't get quiet enough)! "Tattoo" is a good example of how well Daltrey could sing, when he put his mind to it (and perhaps many, many takes). Don't get me wrong, I like his style. He's one of the most unique voices in rock music...but his range is definitely not the best. "Tattoo" showcases Roger before the growly Who's Next era and after the "white-Mod-boy-blues" era. Good work here. The harmonies on "Tattoo" and "Mary Anne" are wonderful, if not a bit Beatle-y. I wonder if "Mary Anne" was more of a parody on the lovey-dovey, harmony-driven sound of the early Beatles? It certainly sounds that way to me: a raunchy parody of the Beatles' sound. Actually, if anyone, I think The Who were ripping off on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds vocal stylings on some songs, "Rael" especially. Has anyone else noticed that besides me? It seems likely, since Pet Sounds was the most popular album in England around that time and the fact that Keith Moon was a HUGE Beach Boys fan. I don't think there's any shame in being "inspired" heavily by Pet Sounds. After all, Paul McCartney said himself that Pet Sounds was the direct inspiration for Sgt. Pepper and that he thought "God Only Knows" was the most beautiful song ever written. But I digress...

John is definitely not in his best songwriting form on this album. He was far more prolific on A Quick One. "Silas Stingy" is okay and " Someone's Coming" is forgettable. Maybe he was too preoccupied with coming up with the jingles? I will say this - he is in fine musical form on "Sell Out". His playing is top-notch. Listen to "Relax", "Early Morning Cold Taxi", Our Love Was" (I already mentioned that at length) and "Glow Girl". But wait for Tommy - John really comes into his own starting on that album and, of course, explodes on Quadrophenia. Actually, when listening to "Rael", one can already hear what John would soon improve upon in Tommy.

Pete, of course, is writing so well at this point. "Sunrise" is beautiful. I don't think I could say enough about it - "Pinball Wizard", here he comes! "Rael" is ambitious and of course, we can all see now where that song was going to. "I Can't Reach You" has lyrics that are as playful as they are poignant: "...once I caught a glimpse of your unguarded, untouched heart...our fingertips touched and then, my mind tore us apart..." Pete's at his guitar-distorting best on this album. Check out the end to "Melancholia" and the solos in "Our Love Was", "Relax" and the entirety of "Glow Girl". Fucking great stuff. Yeah, a few of the songs lapse into psychadelic and over-angsty nonsense ("Glittering Girl" is Townshend at his most sappy and "Melancholia", for example, is a good tune, but its lyrics are a tad insipid). But there's little filler in his work on this album. And he sings so well - it's a wonder he kept Daltrey along for the ride!

This album is so wonderful. But if you don't try a *little harder* to think a *little more*, you're probably not going to enjoy it or see any depth to the songs. This is definitely not an album for those who are just getting into The Who. It took me a while, but it was worth the time. I mean, it didn't take *that* long...but I knew there was *something* there. I knew it was GOOD music. And no, I wasn't just searching for things to like and finding them by hell or high water. I tried really, really hard to like Pink Floyd's The Wall and I still don't care for it. If you don't really care for The Who or if you're a casual listener, you'll probably hate this album. It was a rough one as my first exposure to the band in real album form. Most people are not ready for it and probably won't ever be.

jtcable@home.com (Josh Cable)
Listened to it again after I made my old review.

Rael isn't really that bad, Relax is really nice and catchy. And I love the bass solo, or whatever it is.

This album is still a gigantic dissapointment. City in the Sky doesn't even count as a real song. In general, the album's not good enough to exchange for money. Even Roger's singing is dissapointing on some of this. That sucks. Then again, he never seems to keep from getting winded unless a TV crew is recording him (Live at Leeds, any bootleg ever).

Fuck this Sellout.

richbunnell@home.com
Well, just to provide a contrasting opinion after Josh Cable's usual "Journal Of Every Single Time I Listened To This Stupid Faggy Album, Hey Did I Mention That S&M Sucks?" post, I'd just like to say that I'm really fond of this particular platter. It does kind of bother me that it seems like they spent five times as much time on "I Can See For Miles" as the rest of the album, but that doesn't stop "I Can't Reach You," "Armenia City In The Sky" and "Tattoo" from being wonderfully-melodic little numbers. The jokey commercials and radio bumpers are hilarious too, especially that "Goooo to the chuuurch of your choooooice!" one. I guess I'd give it a nine, it's not the Who at their peak but it's definitely worth more than a middling seven.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Man, this is outstanding stuff if you ask me. I really think the whole "sell out" and Radio 1 London concept is a overall a humorous and clever idea, actually. And as for the songs, they range from absolutely gorgeous ("Cant Reach You", "Our Love Was", "Sunrise", "Tattoo") to awesome experimental/psychadelic pop ("I Can See For Miles", "Rael 1" and "Rael 2", (a bonus track on the remastered CD version) "Relax"). Also some funny but great joke product songs ("Odorono", "Medac"). Definatly my second favorite Who album, only cuz Tommy gets the 10. This one gets a 9 from me.

artefact_theatre@hotmail.com (Adrian B.)
I agree with the person who thought bonus tracks on CD's detract from the original album. Yes, they are worth listening to but the original album gets buried. I hate this trend! So, what would it have been like to spin the original WHO SELL OUT album in 1967/68? No, this is not a nostalgiac fan talking! (I was only 5 when it was released). I went to my used vinyl store here in Chicago and bought a hard-to-find1960's copy of this (on the US Decca label). I fell in love with it straight away. I can't believe that the only song I knew was I Can See For Miles - this is full of great songs!

The currently available CD can only hint at the amazing impact this album would have had. First of all, the fuck-you cover, in full album size, offended the un-hip even before a note of music was played. Then there's the music. A feature of vinyl was the careful choice of opening and closing tracks for each side. Side one of SELL OUT would have to be one of the strongest from the period. Great pop songs bracketed between the raw, sonic attack of Armenia City in the Sky and I Can See For Miles.

The Who have been let down by their record companies through the years. US Decca were very sloppy in their release of Who albums (they altered covers and switched songs on the first two LP's). In fact US Decca were mainly an easy-listening label and had nothing comparable to the Who. It kept the "offensive" cover of THE WHO SELL OUT intact (apparently it was unhappy with the cover, but by this stage the Who's English management were fed up with it and made demands.) Decca still managed to misspell Daltrey's name on the front cover, and the use of the entire back cover (where liner notes would normally go) for the Moon and Entwistle photos meant there was no track listing on the sleeve at all, only on the record label. No songwriter credits anywhere! Only Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp's names appear as producers. Terrible!

Even through all this the album shines through. Some faults (the "concept" was criticized by some reviewers as half-hearted) can be attributed to the fact that, prior to TOMMY, the Who were not well off and had to constantly play live to make any money, so studio work was sporadic. And they obviously had less control over their product than a band like the Beatles.

TVEye70@aol.com
There are some fantastic songs on this album, and maybe I haven't listened to it quite enough, but for me it kinda peters out towards the end. It starts with "Armenia, City In the Sky", and the first half alone has "Tattoo", "Our Love Was, Is", "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" and ends with "I Can See for Miles" - that side alone gets a 10! Even with the ads (to hell with the concept, they're just hysterical!) However, after "I Can't Reach You" (certainly the most gorgeous song the Who ever recorded) side two seems to die down. I never could get into "Rael". But otherwise, this is a stunner! 9/10

host@planeta.cz
who sell OUt is BEst WHo album I EVER HERd! i waS IN Pub with FRENd and we TakINg abOUT THIS and WOmen come OVer AND we Had SEx!

PoweR OF ROck and rolL!!

procha@optonline.net (Pete Rocha)
Every Who album is pretty spotty, but I'd probably say this one is my favorite. The advertisment/rock angle is clever and it has three of my favorite Who songs, "Armenia", "Mary-Anne", and "See For Miles". The Beatles and Stones may have made "more consistent" full LP's (whatever that means), but the Who baked a more common roast beef for the mass potatoes and, ah, I'm pretty fuckin' zipped right now. This is about comment #72 on this album, even Roger's chest hair implants aren't reading this far down, so never mind.

JohnnyB8@aol.com
I'm a fan of concept albums myself. Thats why i like Tommy, Quadrophenia, Who's Next, and Sgt. Pepper so damn much. For an earlier Who concept album, Sell Out puts up "good numbers" so-to-speak. I Can See For Miles, of course, is the stand-out on this album, but once again i don't think that it puts the other tracks to shame. Tattoo is an awesome song, by any standards, and i can dig John's Silas Stingy. The commercials are hillarious, no matter what anyone says. Odorono is a funny song, It's meant to be taken lightly! Armenia City In The Sky is a great opening song, its real powerful, and the blaring horns after the faint "Sundayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy" is great. It wakes you up, if you dared to try and sleep on the who. As a Who album, this is damn near one of their best. As a "Weird Al" Yankovic album.....its even better!!!!!

astika@trancetrip.com (Olivia Lawrence)
"You know, people don't appreciate that the Who are really the only top group still raving mad left on the scene. We are left holding the torch to illuminate the stupidity of the world!" -Keith Moon

bri.hyndman@sympatico.ca (Brian Hyndman)
This would be on par with other famous concept albums of the era -- 'Pets Sounds', 'Sgt Pepper' et al. -- were it not for the silly-ass commercial jingles and the John Entwhistle contributions. I never understood why 'the Ox' was given carte blanche to spread his manure over every LP the WHO released over the course of their checkered career. Perhaps Entwhistle had prior knowledge of Pete Townshend's 'research interests' (ahem) in child pornography and demanded 3 songs per LP in return for his silence on the matter. How else can one account for the horror of 'Silas Stingy', 'Boris the Spider', 'Doctor Doctor' and every other Entwhistle-penned cartoon jingle for not-overbright children?

Jay Banerjee
The best album of 1967. A pop masterpiece. The greatest album The Who ever put out.

Maybe it's time I started writing some sentences with verbs. Let's see, where do I start with this beyond desperate panegyrics? This album boasts some of the finest popcraft ever, and it totally fucking rocks. How about that? And it's funny, too. Come on, Prindle, the commercial jingles liven up the album. I'll be the first to admit that they're not as substantial as the songs proper, but that isn't really the point. Pete turned in some damn fine songs proper here. Every jingle acts as a glue or a segue in lieu of the standard fade-outs, fade-ins, and abrupt changes.

(You know what's funny? "Glue" and "segue" end in "-ue", but don't even rhyme. And "lieu" ends in "-eu" but rhymes with "glue." So instead of just going from one sentence to another like a normal person, I'm going to digress on parenthetical, insubstantial points that may at first blush seem only to hinder unity and forcefulness but ultimately make my review more memorable. Get the connection?)

And now let's tackle those actual songs. "Armenia City in the Sky" is a great slice of poppy psychedelia. Yeah, The Who did psychedelia here. And they did it fucking RIGHT! I'll take "Armenia City in the Sky" over "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" any day of the week, thank you. One of the finest moments on this album is just a few seconds in, the "Monday...Tuesday...Wednesday..." bit fading out and giving way to that absolutely incomparable backwards guitar tone. (Imagine instead that the album just starts with that backwards guitar bit straightaway. Brilliant, sure, but missing a certain something, right?) The lyrics are very non-Whoish--indeed, they were written by some associate of the group--but the psychedelic imagery works wonders with the chugging rhythm section, Daltrey's keening vocals, and of course that fucking backwards guitar, neeeeeeeeowwwww!

The acoustic and electric "Mary Annes" both have their own merits. The electric has that terrific Hammond organ; the acoustic has those absolutely gorgeous harmonies. And the lyrics are distinctively Townshend: an off-kilter, sexually confused take on a classic pop theme. "Tattoo" is just beautiful, and at once both funny and moving. "Our Love Was" is touching; I'm still not completely sold on that jarring bridge ("LOVE LOVE LOVE LONG LOVE LOVE LOVE LONG"), but I'll tell you, I simply cannot picture the song without Pete Townshend coming in just as "Go to the church of your choice!" fades, and cutting into those heart-tugging guitar lines over Moon's pounding drums. The song just wouldn't be the same.

(More music, more music, more music, more music!)

There's nothing to say about "I Can See for Miles" that hasn't been said a hundred million times by a hundred million other amateur hacks, so "fucking brilliant" will suffice here. And that extends to the placement, too: gorgeous ballad, headbanging rocker, gorgeous ballad. And speaking of that next gorgeous ballad, "I Can't Reach You" is the best song on the album, and arguably the best song in The Who's entire catalogue. I know that's a perverse choice to make since Pete takes the vocal, but I don't care. How many rock and roll songs have gone over this theme of not being able to "reach" some beautiful, distant girl? I don't know, maybe ten thousand, but none I've heard top this, musically or lyrically. I'm surprised this one isn't covered as often as, say, "The Kids Are Alright" or "So Sad About Us". The All Music Guide recognizes four covers, two of which sound pretty agonizing from the samples, one decent but ill-advised, and then of course there's Petra Haden's, which is the best of the lot, perhaps not surprisingly. Maybe it's one of those songs that simply can't be re-created, so why bother trying? You know, like "Teenage Kicks" or "Waterloo Sunset". (Rubber-band guitar my ass, Prindle. But next time.)

"Relax" and "Silas Stingy" are the album's weak points. "Relax" is the snoozer rocker, very monotonous. I think they were going for a pseudo-R&B sound here, but it didn't really work out. You know what I hate the most about "Relax"? That part that goes, "We try harder and harder trying to get away/But it's a long long way until judgment day." What the fuck does that mean? "Silas Stingy" is John singing a funeral dirge with next-to-no accompaniment...sounds as good as it sounds.

Fortunately, we're back in peak form with "Sunrise", yet another Pete-sung ballad, but utterly unlike the others. It's just him and a classical guitar. It's a very intimate song, both musically and lyrically, and you get the feeling that maybe it's the sort of thing Pete always wanted to do but was too embarrassed to bring up in front of the lads. Mind-blowing jazz fingerpicking, too. And, of course, the closer is "Rael", an inscrutable "mock opera" that might not carry a hell of a lot of emotional charge (tough to top "Sunrise") but sure manages to stay interesting for six whole minutes. It really is difficult to follow such a personal, even haunting song as "Sunrise" at all, and sometimes I almost think the band should have just stopped the album right there, but in the final analysis "Rael" does bring some worthwhile elements to The Who Sell Out: ambition, mystery, and another dash of psychedelia.

So! If you've gotten this far, well, you're even crazier than I am. Just listen to the album, for Chrissake. And let's part on one final note: I heartily disagree with the sentiments that the nineties re-issue improves upon the album. Some of the bonus tracks just flat-out aren't very good, "Hall of the Mountain King" being the most obivous example. "Rael 2" rules, though; it's a chilling, ninety-second hymn that is more resonant than any of "Rael 1", though of course the two songs do complement each other. Whenever I listen to The Who Sell Out straight away but don't want to listen to the bonus tracks, I still listen to "Rael 2". It's become an inseparable part of the album for me. "Glow Girl" is great, too.

(Track records, track records, track records, track records, track records...)

ricardo.nunez@poliformusa.com
“The Who Sell Out” to me is the best Who album. As a matter of fact, I consider the concept behind this record to be the only concept that actually “works”. I mean, think about it; there is a whole bunch of Rock & Roll “concept albums” out there that tell you stories of the future, fantasy worlds, the apocalypse, this & that, bla bla bla… some of them are fine, but the truth is that when one is listening to music the last thing to cross you’re mind is a goddamn story; you may pay attention to the lyrics but who the hell cares about whether Ziggy Stardust saves the world or not, and if you are following the story there is a good chance that by the third song you might not even know who the fuck Ziggy is… that’s what books are for. “The Who Sell Out” is not only a collection of EXCELLENT songs but it’s a concept that works because it’s simply trying to mock a radio station; no stories, no main character; just music to you’re ears. If you like the songs or not, well that’s just a matter of taste (and a different story).

Imperialjg@aol.com (Jay)
i love love the concept. i love love love the adverts. i like to put it on and pretend that I'm listening to the greatest radio station ever. you should try that the next time you put it on.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
I'd say they do a damn good job with the conept at hand. When listening to the radio, one is likely to find a certain degree of variation between the songs played, which sounds like what they're trying to do here. Without the commercials and "station ID" spots to string it all together (I wonder how much these guys got paid for including all the ads on the album [though I can tell you for a fact that Entwistle used and helped design Roto-Sound strings {speaking as a bassist, they're probably the best damn string I've ever used, though I had to bite the pillow paying for them}]) this record would sound like even more of a non-cohesive mess than it already does to some. Most of the songs are pretty damn good, though the only one one here that I really don't enjoy is "Silas Stingy." Also, using the "all the rhythm instruments in one speaker, all the leads in the other" mixing technique for the stereo version makes it sound simultaneously squished and empty, and that's just not cool.

slimsanjuro@hotmail.com
I can't stress enough that you should get the CD reissue of this if you plan on buying (prolly find it for 2 bucks used on da infranet), it adds pretty much an entire albums worth of material. If Glittering Girl, Melancholia, Jaguar or Early Morning Cold Taxi aren't on your version you got duped. Listening to this album for the first time ever in 2007 only knowing I Can See For Miles was refreshing, it gave me the feeling I got when I first listened to Ween so long ago. Lots of stupid silly high pitched vocals (for The Who) and odd spots of effects in songs, shit they have songs about deodorant and zit cream that are done with conviction. The idiotic ad songs make me like it more, might as well, shit why not? Play this, one of the more effeminate Who albums around your metal friends and tell them Iron Maiden was a great bar rock band but an AWFUL arena rock WWF pro wresting stage production band.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
Great album. Some complain about the concept, but I really like it - and the funny songs are actually funny, which is pretty shocking, since this is The Who we're talking about. Is it me, or did Pete Townshend turn into the most humorless bastard on the planet when he hit 25? He had to have known how lucky he was to have John Entwistle around.

Anyway, my one big complaint about the album is that the mix is so cliched '60's that it actually detracts from a couple of the songs. I have no doubt that "Armenia City In The Sky" would be revered as a classic amongst many if it wasn't for the fact that you can barely hear the rhythm section crammed in the extreme left speaker. It would also have been nice to have heard John Entwistle on "I Can See For Miles." There is no bass. None. The mix also lets "Our Love Was" down.

Complaints about mixing aside (something I almost never do), this is a classic album. The guitars sound great (though often you can barely hear the bass, which is a pretty big complaint considering The Who had one of the five best bassists in rock) and the band's heavy-handed, overblown style in the mid-'70's is not within miles of the lighthearted, humorous, incredibly well written and poppy songs and "ads" that characterize this album. The fascinating thing about this album is that they could have included a couple more songs and turned it into even more of a classic; "Magic Bus" and "Pictures of Lily" were also 1967 singles, like "I Can See For Miles" was. That might've been better than including "Rael," which is okay, but clearly a bunch of different parts thrown together into one song - though it is absolutely shocking to hear the music that later fit so well into "Sparks" as the last part of "Rael." (Pete knew it was the best part of the song, obviously.) The bonus tracks - ten completed songs with rejected ads from the sessions inserted between them - are pretty much all okay, but none of them are as good as "I Can See For Miles," "Tattoo" and "Armenia City In The Sky," which I suppose is only to be expected.

This gets an A.

Add your thoughts?

Fillmore East - Koine 1968
Rating = 5

Fans of jamming - why? Are you high on dope? The bands presumably are - how could Led Zeppelin be so far up their own bums (homeless people) that they thought fans attended their concerts to hear not radio favorites like "Walter's Walk" and "Ozone Baby" but rather a violin bow bouncing up and down on a drum for four hours? And what convinced The Doors that their long-time supporters wanted not a set of tight classic rock songs, but rather a fat bearded man urinating on a harmonica? And, getting to the actual point, what collective psychosis possessed The Who to fill their late '60s shows with tepid oldies and excruciating go-nowhere rock improvisations? It's one thing to riff on those wicked Tommy licks (as on Live At Leeds), but here they literally just shove all their instruments up their asses and jam with their duodenums for ten minutes at the end of every song. Nobody needs that. Not even some asshole.

The Who's April 1968 Fillmore East concerts are apparently available on many different bootlegs of many different lengths. The version I'm reviewing is a single disc with the following tracks:
"Summertime Blues" - Eddie Cochran cover
"Fortune Teller" - Allen Toussaint cover
"Tattoo" - Adolescents cover. "IT'S TATTOO TIME!!!!!"
"Tattoo" - Okay not really an Adolescents cover
"Little Billy" - Sweet cover. "Little Billy Billy won't - go home! But you can't p
"Little Billy" - Okay not really a Sweet cover
"Can't Explain" - Classic
"Happy Jack" - Classic
"Relax" - Frankie Goes To Hollyw
"Relax" - Okay not r
"Relax" - 5-hour jam
"Easy Going Guy" - Another Eddie Cochran cover. I'd like to thank Eddie Cochran for coming down tonight and playing his hits for us.
"Boris The Spider" - Classic
"My Generation" - Classic (aside from the 18-month jam at the end)
"A Quick One" - If only
"Shakin' All Over" - Guess Who cover/lengthy improvisational passage of low artistic quality

One thing's for suretain: this recording has very good sound for a 40-year-old bootleg. The guitar tone is filthily rough and raw, all the instruments and vocals are perfectly audible, and even Pete's between-song banter is surprisingly comprehensible. In fact, some might argue that the sound quality is a bit too good at times, as when Roger tries to sing "Boris The Spider" with John and immediately sings the wrong verse, or during "Can't Explain" when Pete's ugly falsetto back-up vocals threaten to derail the whole project. But make no mistake - if this disc is substandard (and it IS), it's not the bootlegger's fault. He's not the one who put "A Quick One" and "Little Billy" on the set list, for example. Bootleggers don't have that kind of power. At least I have to assume they don't, lest my safe little world be ripped apart.

Augh! That's not Cheney approving an offensive strike against Iran; it's just some kid who put a bunch of Screeching Weasel singles on Rapidshare!

That was just a dramatization, but you see what happens when you put too much power in the hands of bootleggers.

Instead of in the hands of bootlickers, where it belongs. Go lobbyists!

No I'm serious. Go away.

Also, this album stinks.

Add your thoughts?

Magic Bus-The Who On Tour - MCA 1968.
Rating = 7

I don't understand this record's existence, so maybe you can help me. This isn't a concert album. Three of these songs come straight from the last two albums, but the rest are new. Three are by John Entwhistle. One is a Jan and Dean cover. It's not experimental in any way, and sounds like a weaker - and much more hideously mixed - version of the debut. Is it a compilation? An American throw-together? Or was it just something to keep fans happy while Pete worked on Tommy? Does anyone know? Whatever it is, it's another fun listen, and the singles "Magic Bus" and "Pictures Of Lily" (which is about "cranking Thin Lizzy", if you get my drift, heh, heh, heh....) are topnotch, mainly cuzza Keith's cool drumming. Ever heard "Magic Bus?" Acoustic guitar and skiffly drums? Real infectious. And not much like "Magical Mystery Tour" at all, believe it or me.

Reader Comments

leonard@lyco.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
Yep. An American throw-together meant to keep them in the public eye while Tommy was being born. Rolling Stone (Greil Marcus, I think) did an imaginative review of it by reconstructing the album it could have been (which pretty much ended up existing, as Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy). The Who hated it & it got them started on plans for their own record label.

LSDiety@aol.com
This album is a compilation of old album tracks, songs from the UK ep ready, steady, Who!, singles and b-sides. "Disguises" and "Call Me Lightning" are classic songs that aren't available on any other US Who release.

Jeffmoncheri@aol.com
Some absolutely classic Who (Disguises, I Can't Reach You, Pictures of Lily) up against some utter crap (Bucket T., Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide and yes, Magic Bus itself, the worst song the Grateful Dead never wrote). You can find most of the good stuff on other, better compilations and albums (although for some reason this seems to be one of the few ways to get ahold of Pictures of Lily, mind you I'm still trying to get a grasp on The Who's somewhat confusing recorded chronology). But why does the sound quality suck so bad?

TVEye70@aol.com
I wish my castoffs were this good...

Okay, fine, Magic Bus is nothing but a big ripoff. 11 songs, some covers, some cheese, and it's less than half an hour. But still! Listen to those songs! "Disguises" is a trippy pop song, and it may repeat "I Can't Reach You" from Sell Out but you should want to hear it again anyway. Even "Bucket T." provides some amusement. For a cheap record company cash-in job, it's pretty good! 7/10

irontyrant@earthlink.net (Michael Grefski)
According to reliable source and rock critic Dave Marsh (who it is rumored has shaken hands with both Jann Wenner and Bill Graham on ocassion....woooooo!) this album was released because the record company needed some product out while Pete was taking forever to inflict TOMMY on us. OH...did I just say that? TOMMY is a rock masterpiece and a damn fine night of theatre as well.

Add your thoughts?

Tommy - MCA 1969.
Rating = 9

Pete Townshend sat down with his little friend Mr. Guitar and wrote six or seven wonderful guitar lines, then came up with some goofy story about a little kid who watches his father murder a guy, then becomes a blind, deaf, and mute pinball wizard. Yeah, it's kind of a stupid concept, but the music is simply wonderful. And thus, the Who's first "rock opera". But, unlike the later Who stuff, the emphasis here is on "rock." Or at least guitar-driven, classically-influenced pop. But guitar is key. I'm a huge fan of the sound of a six-string (that being musician lingo for "guitar"; man, I'm the shit), and Pete must realize this, 'cause he sure keeps the piano and organ embellishments to a minimum here.

Tommy is simply just a collection of great melodies and beautiful vocals - not a bit overblown (their most understated album ever, actually), but just gorge(ous). A couple of bits get dull, but they're short bits. If you're a guitar fan, buy the tar out of it. The hits were "Pinball Wizard" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which features that "See Me, Feel Me" thing you've probably heard), but, yes sir, they're all dozers. It's exciting to hear Pete keep returning to the same riffs over and over and over and, like a clever guy, approach them with different moods and styles in accordance with the happenings of the story at that particular moment. And parts of it rock! Heck, you've heard the hits! In my very opinion, this is easily the best album they ever made.

Reader Comments

leonard@lyco.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
It's good to see someone get enthused about Tommy, but I don't think it's just a "couple of (short) bits" that get dull. When you hear variations on "Sparks" that aren't too varied over and over and over...well, it bugs me. And I've always found the "story" weak. To me, Tommy as a "rock opera" was vague, just a blueprint for Quadrophenia. But, again, the songs and arrangements and guitar and drums and bass are killer.

dfayes@ic.net (Dena)
I have to be honest, that I only got into the WHO originally b/c my dad was singing something from Tommy which he remembered from his teen years, so he then decided to go out and buy the cd, but they were out of every version except the broadway cast, so my first real intro to the Who, and really music, was the Tommy broadway cast. Once I was hooked I went out and bought the WHO's 1969 version. What can I say, Pete Townshend is brilliant. It's not even as if there are just a few good songs, they're all great. At present I'm more intrigued by Quadrophenia, and I noticed someone post that this was like a gateway towards it which, to me is true and ever present when listening to them back to back. In a way the stories are similar, a guy with a problem I guess, Tommy-the one who blocks the world out after witnessing the murder of Cptn. Walker, and only seeing life through his mirror-I love that by the way, b/c I think Mr. Townshend was trying to get us to realize that we judge a lot of things by a mirror complex, like before you go out you check yourself out in the mirror, and if you don't like what you see, you try to change it, but it's not what's on the outside that counts, rather, who you are and what you do-Tommy became a superstar, but I'm sitting here writing about him....On the other hand, our protagonist in Quadrophenia has a problem of multiple personalities, he finds his lover taken by a brother (I believe, or best friend), similar to Mrs. Walker in Tommy,...I could go on forever, but I think that will do for now!

nesrallah@sympatico.ca (Phil Nesrallah)
Truthfully I am a big Who fan and it was Tommy that first started it but I have to say that after buying more and more versions of Thomas I find little or no time for the original cd. Not to say that I don't like it but I think that some of the other versions (live!) are better, but i have to say that I respect the original and am greatful that it turned me into a WHO fan.

bkohlmeier@nelson.com (Bob Kohlmeier)
In your second paragraph on TOMMY you write: "The hits were "Pinball Wizard" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which features that "See Me, Feel Me" thing you've probably heard), but, yes sir, they're all dozers."

Dozers? I think you Freudian-slipped when you meant to say doozies (or something). But let it stand -- I'll say they're dozers! Even if Townshend had boiled it down to one LP, this work would have sounded inflated, and I'm an old guy who was a Who fan when TOMMY first came out. For me and most of my buddies back then, TOMMY was embarrassing, pretentious, and boring -- a HUGE letdown after the promise shown in QUICK ONE and SELL OUT.

forlenza@nassau.cv.net
This album is great. It has its lulls, but on the whole, I would rate it a ten out of ten. To really experience it, though, you must see the play on Broadway, and thankfully I have seen it.

Jmoran169@aol.com
The story behind Tommy may not be so interesting in the literal sense, but when you look for the meaning behind it it's much more interesting. By making tommy blind, deaf, and dumb pete simply magnifies the way most of us look at life. We live in our own imaginary world (the mirror) and can only truly experience life once freed from it.

Alias42264@aol.com
tommy may be a gateway to quadrophenia (which was a much better album), but it was still great in itself. i just want to say that you may have missed a lot of the concept pete was trying to get across. he wanted to make this a meaningful album without being too religious or forthrightly (is that a word) narrative. he was trying to point to our limitations as humans by representing them with something we could all grasp. he was trying to say that just as tommy was limited physically, we are limited in our grasp of reality.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
It has often been said that Tommy was much greater on stage than on record. And although I generally agree with this statement, I must say that there are also certain things to it which were completely lost on stage but retained on record. I do not refer to instrumental overdubs, of course: when The Who performed "Tommy" on their 1989 tour, they had tons of side musicians to embellish the sound, but this did not help to capture the specific features of the record.

What is lost is the MYSTICAL atmosphere of the record combined with its GENTLE sound. "See Me Feel Me" became a thunderstorm on stage; here it is a soft and gentle prayer. "Amazing Journey/Sparks" became an absolutely different song on stage, sometimes hard even to recognize. Thus, if you want to witness the pulsating energy, the loud sound and the force of The Who, you should seek out live versions of "Tommy" (this should be easy now that Live at the Isle of Wight is out; even such later bastardisations as the 1989 version on Join Together are suitable); if you want to hear The Who at their SOFT and MYSTICAL BEST, check out the studio version!

The only thing I hate about it is the lengthy "Underture". The main theme of it is, of course, fantastic; but Townshend really abuses it with his 10-minute instrumental! Obviously written with the simple aim to fill the empty space on the album.

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
This album has always been overrated. I first bought it in 1974 and couldn't see what the fuss was about - I bought it again last year and still can't see. It was a concept that didn't work - the story is rather silly, and the songs are hardly classics. It would have made a good single album, the first half plus "Pinball Wizard". You'd have "1921", the great "Amazing Journey", "Sparks", "Christmas", and "Underture", and you wouldn't have all those weedy songs later on.

I saw The Who in concert, and they finished with a 10-15 minute version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" - I don't even think it's a good 5-minute song! I can understand the Who fan who said he was embarrassed when it first came out! Only 7 out of 10.

Everettxxx@aol.com
Tommy may be the most overblown, overrated rock album ever, and you are talking to a guy that loves The Who to death. Yeah, "Pinball Wizard" is their best song but why not get it on a greatest hits compilation. None of this other garbage really sounds good to my ears..kinda dated actually. If you want to hear a better Who album, purchase Who's Next, which certainly represents Pete Townshend's songwriting pinnacle. If you want to hear a good concept album I suggest investing in The Kinks' The Village Green Preservation Soceity or Arthur. Skip this shit...

dstreb@mail.sssnet.com (Daniel Streb)
A good album, no bad songs at all (except for that really stupid acid trip Underture thingy). By the way Tommy's father murders Ivor the engine driver and Tommy sees it. Tommy's parents tell him not to say anything to anyone about it so he becomes deaf dumb and blind while being sexually molested by his uncle, playing pinball at the local shop and going on many acid trips. The album ends with Tommy waking from his state and helping others like him to wake from their state at Tommy's Holiday Camp. The others refuse and to retaliate Tommy goes back into his deaf dumb and blind state and that's how the album ends.

??????????????????????

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT???!?!?!???!?!!

good songs though. I agree with the nine.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
While I love Quadrophenia, Who's Next, and Who Sell Out, I have to agree with you that this is their best studio album. It's just so ... quirky, and yet so beautiful. You're right about it being their most understated album, which is part of the charm (anyone who says it's bombastic hasn't actually listened to it, imo) Definitely a 9.

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
Great album though I'm sick of hearing "Pinball Wizard" and "See Me, Feel Me". The story is muddled, but I give points for what they were trying to do, which was expand the parameters of rock. The album basically holds up after all these years. The only complaint I have is the production of the record. The guitar, bass and drums are clear but they sound thin and it doesn't really give an indication of how powerful they were in concert.

jtcable@tir.net (Josh Cable)
The Final Cut was being sold for $28, so I decided that since I could not afford it, I'd get something else. And since I obviously couldn't afford Quad, I got Tommy.

And first listen, until I got to the meat of the vocal parts, I thought I accedentally bought an expensivly packaged movie soundtrack (read: shit). Glad I was when I heard the whole album. Very very nice. This entire album is a wonderful listen. Very powerful in some parts, always enjoyable. And nice songs.

And already, I'm sick of the hype. "Rock opera?" This ain't rock. Hell, this isn't really even the Who. It was a musical venture by Townsend, which really did become an albatross around their neck. Especially since some of these songs are so damn generically formed.

Album is still awesome, but it confuses me. I totally understand why people might not like Tommy. I mean, as opposed to the rest of the Who's stuff, which is awe inspiring or some such.

I dunno... I guess it's just that this album is so womanly. And yet they killed that whole teenybopper crowd with this. What a strange album. I'd give it a 9 for being good. Not a 10. GRANTED, I only have this and Kids Are Alright. Blah. It's not like I have a billion dollars to drop on shit.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Ok, I suppose I was a bit wrong. Compared to Sell Out/Quick One this certainly counts as a real Who album. It's their first album to have good songs all the way through. No wonder those earlier albums sucked. Not only was Pete trying to save all his good tunes for this, but he was also progressing as a songwriter by leaps and bounds. Which is why Pinball Wizard is so good.

It doesn't matter if this is a rock opera or whatever, it makes for a better album than Sell Out or Quick One... COMBINED.

richbunnell@home.com
I don't care if it's a rock opera or if its idea is antithetical to the spirit of rock (give me a break), it's still a ten. I give it a ten for the traditional reason: for its entire long, long running time, it doesn't give me a single reason to hate it. I even like that really long "Underture" thing - it isn't an ELP jamfest or anything, it's just ten minutes of pleasant riffery. By the way, the only reason that the story is so bizarre is because Townshend had to invent that "pinball" subplot to make the album appeal to an infuential pinball-loving music critic. Pete even knocked off "Wizard" in one night, according to the liner notes of the new one-CD remastered edition. By the way, buy that, it's much better than the ripoff two-CD one that my parents bought like ten years ago.

mjaksen@excite.com (Michael Jaksen)
I was a big WHO fan in high school back in the late 70's, mostly the Who's Next/Quadrophrenia stuff. I'd heard Tommy songs mostly from live recordings and the version from the goofy movie. When I finally bought the Tommy record, I was shocked at how "thin" it all sounded. Either the worst production I have ever heard, or else pre-70's WHO just lacked balls. Limp singing, limp playing, lots of orchestral filler.

Now there's lots to love about the Tommy (escpecially the Tina Turner "Acid Queen"), but I can't say that I like the record very much.

Muggwort@aol.com
Tommy is a stupid concept album with crap music. I mean look at the concept a blind kid learns how to play pinball whoopee do. And the music is extremely generic.

3/10

Jcjh20@aol.com
A splendid conceptual album with some truely magnificant songs. This is definatly Pete and The Who at its peak, to me. Doesn't really matter whether it's rock "opera" or even rock, the fact is that the songs are really great. And as a bonus, the story behind it happens to interest me for some reason (i probably wont rent that movie though). It's clear that some people above dont get it at all, and/or are sick of the hype surrounding this brilliant album, which is understandable i suppose. 10/10.

JohnnyB8@aol.com
That muggwort dude can suck my ass. Tommy is by far one of the greatest albums of all time, and i definately rate it like 3rd or 4th of the 60's. I really dont like Welcome, and yes See Me, Feel Me gets exceptionally boring, especially when its not played with We're Not Gonna Take It, but, as a whole, the album is just beautiful. Of course the story was very odd and off center, but once again pete meant for it to be that way. Story has it, Pete wanted a great review in an English newspaper from a music critic who was in love with pinball. But disregard the story, the melodies are awesome, and once again Entwistle wont sit still, and came up with Cousin Kevin, which is a very harmonious, beautiful song (excuse the lyrics though haha) and the Fiddle About, which is simple and, well, unnessacary, but it's that dark stuff that only Entwistle could produce and it's needed on a Who album. Christmas is a great song and the Overture, in my opinion, could be considered one of the, if not THE, best rock instrumentals of all time. Pinball Wizard becomes a show regular and proves that even outside of the context of the story, it could stand on its own. Every song on this album is just outstanding, and i'll go out on a limb and say that i prefer this over Quadrophenia, irregardless of how "dumb" the story is.

That Pete..........he works in mysterious ways.......................

dannybond@msn.com (Daniel Bond)
Tommy is simply a great rock album. I rarely listen to it anymore, but it made me a Who fan & Townshend fan for life. I suppose the first time I became a Who fan was listening to the Woodstock soundtrack (over & over) on my friend's 8-track player in junior high school. Later, got myself a stereo (also 8-track) and my first two purchases were "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy" and "Worst of the Mothers". OK, whatever..

Even if you don't care about the historical stuff the pre-synth, guitar-based Who music effin' rules! The music is mellow but powerful. From the opening instrumental (wonderful horns) to the acoustic guitar segue explaining the opening scene, you know this is something special. Yes, the story is hard to follow--isn't life? I read somewhere that Tommy was an exploration of existentialism but I didn't know (maybe still don't know) what that was (or is).

My pre-teen mind was certainly intrigued by the ideas in the story; I was amazed and confused that the part of Tommy's mother could be sung by a male voice...how quickly we acquire rigid modes of thought! I appreciated that the words were printed in a booklet. (My brother had the LP, 8-track buyers were shafted that way.) It helped me greatly to read the words.

Later in life I found myself pondering the verses and enjoying nuggets like lines from "Christmas" .. How can men who've never seen light be enlightened? Only if he's cured will his spirit's future level ever heighten .. It actually rhymes, parses, and makes sense. Tommy's father is worried about innocent TOMMY's soul; a bit odd considering Cap'n Walker is HIMSELF a murderer. Ah, irony! To realize that Townshend was in his early twenties impresses.

Praise aside, the album is too long. But a single album would have been too short to adequately cover the good material. I suppose a reduced length on all four sides would have been considered wasteful and a consumer rip-off. (Ever buy a Frank Zappa album; ?? Whuh.. $15 for 23 minutes of music??) Worse, the concept tends to fall apart towards the end, same as Quadrophenia. Nitpicks, really. Very few rock albums can compare to a strong Who album like this. Even a suckey Who album like Face Dances is better than 90% of Rolling Stones albums (sorry, had to say that). If you want just one Who album, get "Meaty...".

As far as snooty rock analysis goes, the Who (and don't forget people in the background applying their judgement and expertise) broke major ground with Tommy; a unified concept: packaging, artwork, printed lyrics, the lyric content, and the music.

Vocal tape effects on "Christmas" and subtle guitar feedback on "Sparks" demonstrated that boundaries of music or recorded sound could be pushed leagues farther than already known. The Who inspired many bands and created a template for much of what was to follow (I stole this quote from David Bowie). Plus, the Who actually toured!

I agree with that written here about the limitations of the music or recording technology. I haven't heard every version of Tommy (I've heard at least three or four) but it doesn't matter. Get whichever one appeals to you--they're all probably great in their own way. This one, nine stars out of ten. Other Who picks: "Meaty.." or "Who by Numbers", Entwistle's "Whistle Rymes", or Townshend's "White City"

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
Tommy is one of the best Who albums, although it's a little overrated. Although there are many good songs, it's a chore to sit through the whole album, especially if you have to change the sides of the vinyl. My personal favourite songs are 'Christmas' and 'We're Not Gonna Take It'. I think that 'Underture' should have been cut out, there is no reason to exist. But I like the ballad 'Welcome' which most people forgot about. I think that Tommy deserves an eight, but maybe is much better on stage.

Oh, I forgot. In the start of 'We're Not Gonna Take It' I hear some strange pops. Is my cd copy defective or the pops are in all cd copies? If you know, please email me.

psychotic_deity@hotmail.com
By the end, if I'm not mistaken, Tommy is the manager of a summer camp to enlighten kids right?

ok, so why the hell would he employ his Uncle who "fiddled about" with him when he was blind and deaf? It just never seemed to make sense. Maybe I'm missing something.

I would always listen and think.. "no.. no. That guy's supposed to die. With that bastard cousin of his!"

Mcshane123321@aol.com
Yup, I'm with Herr Prindle on this one, in that I consider this to be their best studio -- it's also better than either of the live albums (especially the snoozefest that is Isle of Wight; if anything I feel Mark's OVERrated that one), as much as I really like Live at Leeds. Right now I'm actually listening to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' 'Tender Prey', but it's OK as I gave ol' Tommy a spin (click? it was on my iPod) yesterday, and it's never usually difficult for me to remember music, especially music as excellent as is here. Talking about musical excellence, "The Mercy Seat" is an absolutely epic song, isn't it? It begins with a rather fractured sound of seemingly random bursts of music from the instruments until, after a while, the song forms into its own. It's Nick driving/being driven (?) through his very conscience in his final hours. Possibly the best he's ever done.

By this point I fear that Mark may have spotted my oh-so-cunning attempts at influencing him to STOP reviewing the Descendents -- or whoever it is he's reviewing currently -- and review the man who's quite arguably the greatest singer/song-writer of the past 25 years or so. What's that? Mark's already reviewed Peter Gabriel AND Brian Eno's solo careers?!?! Maybe I should check out his web site... But you see the thing is I have absolutely no idea what the address is, and he's clearly made it uber complicated, as whatever guess at the address I make -- such as his date of birth divided by Henry the dog's date of birth, with the result written out in long-hand -- I can never find it. I can't even use this "Google" search engine to find it as I can't even find THAT. I just hope to God that I got the right email address...

I'm well aware that the reader of this comment is probably imagining me to be a frothing lunatic in real life, and they'd be RIGHT!!! But you have to know: this is what you get when you read my comments on MarkPrindle.com. Don't you think that would have been so much better than the whole "when you meeeess with us" hook line in "Karma Police"? If you can convince Thom Yorke n' the band to dig up the tapes and change that lyric, I'd be hard-pressed not to give OK Computer a 10. Hell, remastering their old albums would sure as shit be more productive than they were on, um, In Lamebows, arguably the worst thing they've ever done, definitely the second. The Bends is much better than that album. I'm with Mr. Adam Cooley on this one: it's a boring little musical fart by a band who's quite clearly run out of creative gas. Pass.

Now that I'm quite finished with my overly long tangential rant; Tommy by the Who. Well, it's certainly better than Quadrophenia, which prog-dorks like John 'I'm a Mormon and thus have no musical credibility' McFerrin and George 'I'm an arrogant, opinionated piece of shit with that samey, generic opinion that '60s music is by default better than any other BECAUSE I SAY SO' Starostin wank over so much because it's bloated as hell, thus meaning it's an artistic masterpiece. If either McFerrin or Starostin actually read this comment: you need to find better ways of spending and/or wasting your time. I don't actually have anything against Mormons; I hate most religions and religious traditions equally. As for the Starostin insult: it's completely true.

It's also better than Who's Next. It's also better than just about anything else the Who ever released, excluding Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy, including both live albums. It's a set of gorgeous guitar riffs and melodies, with a semi-decent plot holding it all together. The fact that Pete managed to churn out "Pinball Wizard" in a matter of days (less? I don't know) shows just how much his creativity was flowing around this point. "Overture," "Sparks," "Pinball Wizard," "Sally Simpson," "I'm Free" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" are the highlights pour moi, but there's too much great material to count. There aren't nearly as many ugly bits as critics like Adrian Denning say there, I don't think; but those that are there -- which aren't bad so much as unnecessary or relatively weak -- are short and don't upset the album's fantastic flow.

Again: this is the Who's best studio album by a long shot. Which seems strange, considering it is the most understated album by a band known for pomp and grandeur for pretty much its entire career. I give this a perfect 10, and then reflect that onto MBB&B using internet mirrors. It's currently in a war with Arthur, Abbey Road, Five Leaves Left, Trout Mask Replica, Hot Rats, Let it Bleed, In the Court of the Crimson King, and Led Zeppelin (just the first) as the best of the year, but I don't think it's got enough to beat out ol' Cap'n.

Add your thoughts?

The Tommy Demos - Yellow Dog 1993.
Rating = 9

If you're as big a Tommy fan as I am, you need to pick up this collection of demos by Pete and John. No Roger on here at all, as far as I can tell! Hear Pete quiver and waver his way through the classics that Roger sang effortlessly on the final product (Pete's vocals on "Pinball Wizard" are particularly rank - hee!). These songs rule and you'll never be able to convince me otherwise so don't bother trying. This CD doesn't include "Eyesight To The Blind," and the version of "Tommy's Holiday Camp" sounds suspiciously EXACTLY like the version on the album, but aside from that, you'll find some really, really nice stuff on here. Lower-key vocals on "Cousin Kevin." A bunch of pointless tape looping at the end of "Sparks." A 5-second ditty called "Success." ETC. Find it and buy it, douche!

Reader Comments

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
I love Tommy, and I equally love this CD. How does Yellow Dog do it? They released tons of terrific Beatles bootlegs with studio-quality and this is a terrific example of how regular record company will never be able to compete with the bootlegs. The sound is perfect and it sounds studio-quality, even with really nice drums and all, as if Pete Townshend himself approached Yellow Dog with the master demo tapes and said "'ere ya go, wankers. Now were's me pay?"

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
Haven't heard this, but to confirm - yes, "Tommy's Holiday Camp" is the same version that's on "Tommy". Pete used the demo on the original Tommy album.

Add your thoughts?

* Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy - MCA 1971. *
Rating = 10

.......this greatest hits compilation! The early Who (or "The High Numbers," for the cool ones among you) were a heavenly singles band! This stuff rocks like a TV dinner, but with unique melodies and harmonies that could only come from a mind as gifted as that of Mr. Peter Townshend (or John Lennon or Mick Jagger). I won't bother listing individual song titles 'cause they're all better than Foreigner, but I would like to point out that the three songs on here that you've never heard ("The Seeker," "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," and "A Legal Matter") are just as really good as the hits ("I Can See For Miles," "My Generation," aww man, the list is endless).

I know how you feel about The Who. You hate "Squeeze Box" and "Goin' Mobile," and the only reason you're reading these reviews is because you enjoy my darling writing style so very much, but I'm a-telling you now and I'm a-telling you this: you'd better just dump that cracky attitude in the sandbox 'cause if you don't have this album, your record collection is not complete.

There are three good reasons why The Who are legendary: (1) Tommy, (2) Who's Next, and (C) the singles collected on this record. Tommy can be a bit slow, and Who's Next is too bombastic, so shove your mother into this baby. Fourteen songs, everyone a gem. Everyone named "Jim." Think creative melodies played in a non-traditional but recognizable rock 'n' roll style, with some artistic aspirations shining through every now and again (especially in the sad but funny micro-opera "I'm A Boy"). This is what The Whom did best. The Whom were a good rock band. But, understandably (though perhaps regrettably), the guitarist for The Whom, Mr. Peter Townshend, wanted to grow as an artist. You know how it is. Dinosaurs wanna live. Just ask the famous paleontologist Jeff Goldblum. He'll tell you. Life will find a way. Especially if you use the DNA from some frog that can change its sex. I mean, come on, what kind of dumbass would use DNA from some frog that can change its sex? And who would hire that sleazy fat guy? I've said it before and I'll say it again: NEVER hire a fat guy!!!!!!!!

Reader Comments

leonard@lyco.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
Well, I'm a fat guy, and I'd hire me. But otherwise, Mark's right. A great greatest non-hits album.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Maybe you guys have one thing right. This is the greatest Who record cuz it has all my favorite songs. "I Can't Explain" rules!!!!!!!

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Without a doubt the best Who album to own as it neatly summarizes all their early music. What other songs are missing from this era?

matt81@nassau.cv.net
Only YOU don't like "Goin' Mobile". Every other wage-earning beer-drinking overweight slob in the world likes it. And you'd better watch out for them, because they know where you live,and once they find out you've been hurling nasty comments at a song they like....it could get nasty. Besides that, good review of a great album...but now they have this one called My Generation - The Very Best of The Who, and it has all this stuff and more! 20 tracks in all...it's the definitive Who collection now. It basically has all the Meaty stuff plus 6 more tracks. One more thing...you ARE right about "Squeeze Box".

dstreb@mail.sssnet.com (Daniel Streb)
Why the hell would you give this a 10 when you can get My Generation: The Very Best of The Who for the same price and it's double the amount of songs????

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I still say that Live at Leeds gets the 10, but My Generation: The Very Best of the Who is as good a compilation as you're gonna get, even better than Meaty. Individual titles? Ok

I Can't Explain, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, My Generation, Substitute, I'm a Boy, Boris the Spider, Happy Jack, Pictures of Lily, I Can See For Miles, Magic Bus, Pinball Wizard, The Seeker, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again, Let's See Action, 5:15, Join Together, Squeeze Box, Who Are You, You Better You Bet.

That's a pretty impressive set right there

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Greatest Hits albums are for housewives and little girls. ENJOY YOUR TEN.

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
I have a soft spot for 65-67 era Who singles like "Pictures of Lily" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", and this is a perfect concentration of that kind of material. Produced by Shel Talmy, some amazing British Invasion experimental proto-punk pop written by Pete (with encouragement from manager Kit) at the height of The Who's powers. Those orange guitar tones, that quirky subject matter, and Keith Moon goin' crazy-nutzy-cuckoo all over the place.....it just makes me want to put on a military jacket with a pop art T-shirt and start a tribute band. Too bad nobody near me feels the same way... wankers....

drazy@gatecity.com
Props to Josh for the Bruce McCulloch reference. I'd agree that most greatest hits comps are best suited for housewives and little girls, but I gotta stand with Mark and say that this one is essential and a perfect ten. Fuck the "My Generation" best-of and admit that it's merely a MCA money making scam. I will never forgive that company for the raping they gave us during the cd boom: cheap-ass packaging with "recommended artists" that completely filled the inner sleeve. Topping it off, they've let this jem fall out of print in America, but thanks to Canada (home of Mr. McCulloch) you can still get a copy of this under $10 (w/o shipping). I call that a bargain, pun intended.

bri.hyndman@sympatico.ca (Brian Hyndman)
'Twould be a ten indeed, were it not for the inclusion of 'The Seeker' and 'Boris the Spider,' two worthless, go-nowhere pieces of drek. Also, 'Pinball Wizard', while a perfectly decent, respectable song in its own right, seems out of place on this compilation. In a perfect world, the afrorementioned songs would be replaced with some of the well-crafted pop/psychedelic masterpieces from 'Sell Out' or 'Magic Bus' -- 'I Can't Reach You', 'Maryan' (of shakey hands fame), 'Rael' or 'Disguises' would all fit the bill quite nicely. Then you would have an album worthy of the coveted ten dots. As it stands, a high 8.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Well, this, like Blonde On Blonde is not actually a porno movie. We need to clear this up. For now, Mark, I agree with you totally abou the Who. They were a great band though. Both overrated and extremely underrated.

Add your thoughts?

Live At Leeds - Decca 1970.
Rating = 8

This album is what my good friend Erich Lauff might call "a jam." It's also an absolute essential for any Who fan. Pete's guitar is turned to "rock," and the band can't help but follow.

Three covers ("Summertime Blues," "Young Man Blues," and "Shakin' All Over") rock mercilessly and effortlessly at the skilled hands of these able marksmen. Roger hasn't quite developed the powerful scream he will soon demonstrate on Who's Next, but he's got a charming amateurish yelp nonetheless. And Pete, he just plays his guitar like a firecracker! Riffs here, riffs there - in and out and around, especially in the fourteen-minute "My Generation" medley, in which he conducts the band through several different grooves, some from Tommy, some from practice, some from nowhere! It's like listening to a great band rehearse - playing whatever they want however they want, and knowing it'll sound good even if a lot of it is just solo wanking. Real cool. Sounds a lot like early Led Zeppelin, which is appropriate since Keith Moon gave them their name.

Reader Comments

strider@redrose.net (David Straub)
I am a relatively recent Who convert and I only know the newish reissue of this record, but I gotta say that anyone who has the old one had better get up and get the new one... it's like twice as long, about 70 minutes. Cool CD package booklet, too.

Right on about "rocking mercilessly". This stuff kicks ass! BTW, I'd have to say that Townshend is not the standout musician in this band-- Pete, Keith, and John are interchangeably great. (Pete was the better of the two writers, though, although John's "Heaven and Hell" on this disc is pretty damn awesome.) I am stingy with my superlatives, but this is definitely the best live record I have ever heard.

mattias@diariodopovo.com.br (Alexandre Linhares Matias)
This record is all about what means being The Who. Forget the "generation anthems", the "operistical impetus", the "classical shit", the "proto-punk", the "how-to-get-out-of-the-closet-without-being-labeled-a-mere-fag-like-those-Pet-Shop-Boy attitude". The Who - first of all - is a live band. Even today, they put many bands in the pocket in the live category. If you, like me, had the vinyl edition and then bought the CD - just to find out that the Polydor bastards spent more than 20 years to release the full concert, you know that's worth your money. And you thought it was just half an hour. Like Led Zep, Who were awesome musicians that really worked as a team. But unlike Zep, it's difficult to pick your favorite band member. This is the definitive Who record. Buy it or you're nothing.

ashley@freenet.msp.mn.us (Thomas Ashley)
This album deserves 10/10. Especially the remixed remastered version. I have never encountered a more thrilling moment than when Pete launches into his head spinning, gut launching solo on "Heaven And Hell." These songs don't relent one microsecond. If you don't have this, get off your arse and slap down 15 buckskins for it. 'Nuff said.

liberty@ptialaska.net (Marc Kovac)
I found the version of "Heaven and Hell" on the Isle of Wight release to be even more exciting and intense than its Leeds predecessor. Any head spinning was increased by at least 15 cycles.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Whooooooooaaaahhh. This is a great album., A 17 minute version of "My Generation" and a great re-make of the classic "Young Man's Blues". If you get the original Decca release you get cool posters and pictures and stuff.

bgoulet@snet.net
Without a doubt this is THE finest live recording EVER. No, I'm not talkin' fidelity-wise (it sound as though it was recorded in a cave through a pillow) but the sheer power of a live Who show is evident. If you grunge kiddies want to see where it's REALLY at, run, don't walk to your nearest music store and grab this disc.

jeffsl@pacbell.net
It's the greatest live album ever, no doubt. There's a boot out there of the whole night (which includes all of Tommy and some very funny introductions) that's worth tracking down called Live At Leeds Complete.

alfanut@webtv.net
Live at Leeds is perhaps The Who's best work. Aside from the new Isle of Wight, Live at Leeds is the best of grinding Hi Watt stack Pete Townshend style! Nothing matches the way Pete and the band played on this recording. The sound of Towshend and company is in control, almost out of control. I play guitar and this album is a great inspiration to keep me going.

fredrik.lunden@vrg.se
Talking about the Leeds - it got its aclaim while having just 5 tracks, rather than the pretty awesome 14 tracks featured on the remaster i bought about a year ago after I had seen a concert where the existing Who performed Quadrophenia. I'm lucky to have bought it, cus' there is no other live rock album with such hard-rocking, massive crunching, riffing, howling, crooning anywhere. I kind of get the Who on studio albums, but the so much talked about "maxiumum RnB" is really abundant here - listen to the best of starters; "Heaven and Hell" - there really is no "substitute" to the energy found here. Listen to the "My Generation" Suite, after the rather conventional single there is a too short Woodstock-like "See me, feel me" that could've been extended with heavy guitar solos, nevermind what follows is nothing short of Zep-surpassing (yes) guitar riffing, and great howling ala Roger Daltrey.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
My personal favourites on Leeds are the cover versions (that is, except "Fortune Teller": they shouldn't start it so slow! I like the Stones' version much better). Plain ROCK AND ROLL with a LOT of emotion and aggression, and yet, on the other hand, played with a lot of skill and professionalism.

The only problem with Leeds is that, try as they could, they still cannot call it the Who at their VERY BEST LIVE. One can feel a slight shadow of weariness and disappointment throughout most of the songs. This becomes easily understandable if you compare them with some of the earlier versions available, e.g.:

1) "Summertime Blues" is near-perfect, but I recently saw the Woodstock version in the movie and... well, I've watched the scene for at least a HUNDRED times more and can't get enough of it. The solo there is much better, too.

2) "A Quick One" is good, but hey! check out The Kids Are Alright (where they do it at the Stones' circus show in Dec. 1968), and you'll see the difference!

3) "Sparks" is perfectly fine, but, once again, the Woodstock version is at least a dozen times more inspired.

4) "Young Man Blues" is quite tight and superb, but Pete's guitar in the Leeds version is INCOMPARABLE to the sound he gets at the London Coliseum in Dec. 1969 (Kids once again)!

I can tell you what happened - the silly managers were late with their idea of a live album. It should have come out in 1969, not in 1970! If it were so - this would be THE live rock recording par excellence! As it is, the chance was missed.

Mind you, I am in no way criticizing the record for anything serious. Even as it is, it is still one of the two best concert albums in the world (together with Ya-Ya's!) Buy it NOW! I've listened to it at least THREE HUNDRED times and boredom isn't even on the threshold!

brick3@ix.netcom.com (Ian Thomas Brill)
This is actually the album that changed Mike Watt of Minutemen and fIREHOUSE fame's life. It was the first record (his was actually an eight-track) where he could hear the bass. None of the band's Mike is known for sound like the Who, so he got this album when he was young.

dstreb@mail.sssnet.com (Daniel Streb)
So why the hell did you only give Live at Leeds an 8??

terry@launchnet.com (Terry Haggin)
The greatest live album ever recorded, especially the new version. If you have a stereo that plays loud, this is the album to put up to ten and peel that paint off of the walls. Shakin' all over, Summertime Blues, My generation, Substitute, Young man blues... And the greatest drummer of all time that wheeling, dealing, rubber roomed dwarf, Moonie the Loonie.

Oh God, this is a hearing aid makers delight, a tinnuitus treasure. No wonder Pete hears that whistling in his ears 24 hours a day now, it was because of this rocking gem. If I knew this one was happening, I would have hoofed it over to Leeds U. and put a early down payment on the word, "Huh"?

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
A good concert. I wish it contained "I can see for miles," but other than that I can't really complain too much. I agree with the 8/10.

(about a month later)

After a few more listens, and finding an import copy of Tommy at Leeds, giving me the full concert, I'm changing my rating to 10/10. I think Tommy is the very definition of "the shit" (meant in the good way), and Who's Next is really good, and Quadrophenia is easily a 9, but man oh man, this album kicks my ass from here to next Tuesday. The way Townshend mixes up riffs, solos, and JAMS is absolutely incredible. Entwhistle is equally impressive, and Keith is at his hyperactive best. Wow

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
One of the greatest live albums ever recorded. I have the new extended CD and it's much better than the old one. Out of all the Who albums I have, this one I listen to the most because they are in their element. IMHO, live is where they excelled and it's where they got their reputation as one of the greatest bands ever. This one shines from the first cut to the last and it shows their diversity and stamina. You get short pop songs ("Tattoo", "I'm A Boy" "Happy Jack") and long jams ("My Generation, "Magic Bus") along with everything in between ("Heavn and Hell", "A Quick One" etc.). All this great sound was created with only three instruments. When eople wonder what all the fuss is about, this is the album they should listen to.

Wiskeycorgi@cs.com
This is definitely the greatest live album of all time, hands down. End of discussion.

Jazztoad@aol.com
I have a live at Leeds album that appears to be one of the first. Maybe owned by the manager of the "Who" ,Kit Lambert. It has all of the places the who first were book at including Woodstock and how much they were paid! Who would not allow them to play at ther facilities, bookings, a typed song My generation with penciled notes this is a real find. I am interest in finding out if Kit Lambert the agent is still around or if this information would be useful to the surviving "Who" counterparts? this is not a Joke!

Amgreenberg@aol.com
Mark, get the remastered version with the extra tracks just for "Heaven and Hell". It mercilessly kicks ass and takes no prisoners.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Did you all buy a different Live at Leeds than I did? All I hear is a weak version of Tommy, some old songs that they should have stopped playing by then, a really shitty version of Quick One, and a whole lot of buzzing and other fuckups. Trust me on this, this was recorded nowhere near the band or their amps. It sounds like someone stuck a tapedeck in the air and recorded for 2 hours.

Worst of all, this is pre-Next Who, and a real studio album with no filler had yet to be released. If You Want Blood is far better. This sucks ass. The only listenable track that doesn't induce mass vomiting + headaches is Shakin All Over. Where was My Generation Blues? It's not on here. And for the entirity of Tommy, something I've not heard since the See Me Feel Me version from Kids Are Ok: Daltry is winded. SAD SAD FUCKING SAD. Fuck this bullshit.

By the way, did you get a version that had giant gaps in the songs? Mine does. It's fucking stupid. Fucking Leeds is a huge dissapointment.

Pete's noodling is pretty cool, but that's IT. Also, you can't hear what they're saying unless you turn the piece of shit all the way up, and I'm not doing that crap.

OXWHISTLE@aol.com
I AM A BASS PLAYER AND SEVERE JOHN ENTWHISTLE FAN. I EAT,SLEEP, AND BREATHE HIS STYLE. I AM PRESENTLY BUILDING A BASS, IN HIS HONOR SO TO SPEAK, THAT REPLICATES A GUITAR HE USED TO PLAY IN THE SEVENTIES. I MADE A ''THUNDERBIRD'' BODY AND PUT A 1957 VINTAGE REISSUE ''FENDER'' NECK ON IT. NOW ALL YOU J. E. FANS KNOW WHICH GUITAR I'M TALKING ABOUT. COMPLETE WITH GOLD PLATED HARDWARE AND A POLISHED BRASS PICKGUARD, THIS GUITAR IS NOT ONLY BEAUTIFUL,IT'S ALL THE HIGH END AND SUSTAIN YOU EVER WANTED. SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T EVEN SOUND LIKE A BASS. I'D LIKE TO SHOW IT TO SOME REAL WHO FANS AND MAYBE EVEN PLAY SOME ''WHO LIKE'' STUFF WITH SOME OTHER MUSICIANS THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTED. THIS IS A DREAM COME TRUE AFTER 26 YEARS THINKING ABOUT IT. THE ICING ON THE CAKE WOULD BE TO PLAY IT WITH SOME OF MY ''WHO'' BROTHERS AND OR POSSIBLY SHOW IT TO J.E. HIMSELF.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
To Josh:

Judging from your description, it seems that you did not buy the official reiussed Live at Leeds, but rather a bootleg of the entire concert. Now, wrt the Tommy rendition, I agree - the sound quality is crap, Roger is ill, and Pete messes up in Fiddle About (I have a copy of Tommy at Leeds)

In any case, go out and get the non-bootleg version. The hiss and other annoyances were mastered out, leaving a ridiculously powerful rocking machine.

jtcable@home.com (Josh Cable)
I know I already slammed this album for some major problems that everyone else ignored.

But Shakin' All Over is fucking amazing. Daltry is really letting loose, the riffs are right on, and there are no gay echo effects everywhere. Just a really great performance, for that one song.

The other covers are decent. Except the one on Tommy. That one was simply ok. I would rather listen to the album Tommy than the Tommy on this one.

That's because Daltry sounds SO FUCKING TIRED. Second song in, he almost falls asleep. Then he starts singing out of synch with the fucking music on Tattoo. Do you people have a different Leeds than I do?

This is really fucking lame. Ah, here's Youngman Blues, my favorite song from Kids Are Alright. Ugh, it's just sad. Townsend's riffs are just completely off the mark. Daltry still can't sing. WE ARE ONLY 5 SONGS INTO THIS ALBUM. What a fucking failure.

Still, the covers are excellent. Perhaps those were left over from the Leeds that they actually gave a damn on. How strange.

(after a few minutes)

Oops, I forgot to mention that Youngman Blues is a cover that isn't good.

And yea, this is more than likely a bootleg, and I guess I realize that now. My first clue? The album was released by "Midas Touch." Second, the discs are blue on the bottom, plain white on top. Like a CD-R. Fuck. Goddamn. And I paid $30 for it, too.

Dammit.

Yea, the actual Live at Leeds probably is amazing. What's with The Who not giving a good performance without a TV camera or professional sound crew around? Damn.

I am in pain now.

nhanslowe@msn.com
I'd like to say that Josh Cable has it all wrong. Live at Leeds was the best live rock album ever recorded! Sure, but to really appreciate it you have to love "jam-bands" like the Grateful Dead or Led Zeppelin. I love "jam-bands" and I enjoy listening to the 15 minute version of My Generation. I also think Young Man Blues is a great cover. I own the deluxe edition and think they did excellent and I also like how John Entwistle played his french horn parts on the bass. I think their version of Sparks was great on the album,(but not as good as the Woodstock '69 version) and I think Townshends use of feedback on the record was great. I'd like to end in saying Live at Leeds is a live album that will never be topped ever, by anyone, ever.

pedroandino@msn.com
fuck cable and get the live document of the who!!!! not the 'oo! wtf? anyway the album is realesed 3 times first on vinyl, then on the 1995 remaster then the mega 2001 deluxe edition! I really liked the kids are alright! the who clowning around and messing up! the best was the my generation blues and another my generation then a quick one from rock n roll circus! I never heard of the studio version until I saw the clip and man moon is sweating! and then pete asked if he told the producer how to write a 10 minute epic. I saw it on ifc. man they are ballsy! resivour dogs I liked and pulp fiction and jackie brown! fuck the mainstream! henry's film corner is so funny!!!!!!

Harrison_SW@msn.com
I am a Youngster who obviously doesn’t know any better. I'm sort of confused how one rates Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols above an album like say Live at Leeds. But anyway I suppose musicianship is a negative thing...

Sarcasm is truly a remarkable thing. Your comparisons between The Who and The Rolling Stones is laughable. I know the Stones were just unleashing a flurry of great material after Let It Bleed (1969). By 1970 the Stones were dry on new ideas. Sticky Fingers contained some excellent songs (Brown Sugar, Can't You Hear Me Knocking) but has garbage (You Gotta Move, Dead Flowers) and yet you give it 10 stars. Are you fucking high on Keith Richards' brown sugar? And then Exile on Main Street, a great rock and roll album but really and truly is their anything groundbreaking in it a la Tommy, Quadrophenia? Jagger and Richards lacked the ambition and skill that Townshend had when it came to writing albums . However I guess when you have four classic riffs (Satisfaction, Jumping Jack Flesh, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar) as opposed to two groundbreaking double albums you are vastly superior at songwriting.

You claim it was a mistake for The Who to continue without Keith Moon- I agree they lasted what 5 years past their welcome- but seriously are you kidding me with the Rolling Stones comparison. What has it been? A 35 year decline since Exile on Main Street? At least The Who could still put on a great concert in the late 70's early 80's without Moon. Daltrey and Townshend have only toured consistently in the last few years while the Stones have been dying before our eyes since Some Girls in what 1978. Have you bothered to take notice of the concert film Let's Spend the Night Together ? The Stones frankly- sucked. Richards looked dead on the stage and this was 1980. The Stones became a sad excuse for that "raw bluesy uncalculated sound" because Richards was as sober as...umm well only Jerry Garcia comes to mind.

To bad you missed that incredible Stones Super Bowl Halftime show. Brian Jones rolled over in his grave

notomich@gmail.com
I'm not really a big Who fan. The '60's version of the band was mostly astonishingly great, but as soon as the '70's hit they started taking their own pretensions REALLY seriously and...well...I just don't think the '70's Who material aged well at all.

But this album. Oh, this album.

This album is IT. Pete's crashing, practically oceanic guitar tone crushes all comers. They sound good enough here to pretty much beat out anyone else you'd care to name. Even Daltrey sounds fantastic - incredibly powerful, wide-ranging and passionate, but not without a sense of humor. And of course the rhythm section are godly.

This album alone justifies this band's existence. Tommy, The Who Sell Out, the '66 singles, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy and My Generation all have many, many virtues, and even Who's Next has a few classics. But this album is the best. God himself could not make a better live album.

The expanded version gets my 10.

Add your thoughts?

Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 - EDF 1996.
Rating = 7

It's a good heckin' thing that Peter Townshend was such a great songwriter in the '60s, because this is the sloppiest concert I can even imagine the band giving. Roger in particular is having an off night, singing nearly every single Tommy song WAY off key (and Pete isn't a whole lot better - worst of all is when the band tries to harmonize - BLARGH!). But, as fate would have it, even the shittiest of drunken performances couldn't ruin a set list this musical. Not even poor vocals can kill my beloved Tommy and elsewise there are some wicked non-LP tunes like "Heaven And Hell," "I Don't Even Know Myself" and further versions of them cover tunes that you heard previously on Live At Leeds.

So there was no problem at all with the set list. But any band that can effectively turn "I Can't Explain" and "Magic Bus" into ugly half-paced exercises in egotism should be ashamed of he and his friends. How many old people have you heard claim that the Who during this period were "the greatest live band ever"? Well, I'm going to assume that either none of these people ever saw the Thinking Fellers on an "on" night (not to mention about 58 trillion other great bands that these Who fanatics have never seen or heard because those bands aren't played constantly on their local classic rock stations), or this was one of the worst Who shows ever. Because the performance is, at best, slightly above average. There are no interesting solos or incredible revelations - it's just a bunch of live versions that are weaker than (a) the studio versions and (b) the electrifying Live At Leeds versions. To put out a blunt, lee (hahaa!), a Who cover band who performed a set this messily would be booed off the stage. Probably by Pete Townshend himself.

Reader Comments

gstarst@rinet.ru (George Starostin)
9/10

Ah, the devil pounding on me gates... Actually, if you thought Live At Leeds was all you needed, take a look at this. Played and recorded just half a year after the Leeds chestnut, shelved for more 'n 25 years, probably bootlegged since God knows when (I wouldn't know - I'm an honest guy! OK, OK, I just don't know where to get bootlegs), and finally within everyone's reach. Hooray! Now if you're not a serious fan who'd like to possess every note Townshend ever put out, you might justly ask: 'Wait a moment! Now why the hell should I need two live records from the same year, especially with this new Live At Leeds re-release and all?' And here's what I would answer.

First of all, this is a double CD with an average length over 100 minutes. It features the complete performance, including a full live rendition of Tommy (barring 'Cousin Kevin' and 'Sally Simpson', but I suspect they were simply not played that night), plus live versions of the first buds of Lifehouse - 'Water' and 'I Don't Know Myself'. The rest is pretty much the same stuff as on Leeds, but this time they don't edit the 'Spoonful' bit out of the 'Shakin' All Over' piece, plus you have yourself a version of 'Twist And Shout' and an early live take on the first verse of 'Naked Eye'! Ain't it cool?

Second and even more important. Leeds was The 'Oo playing live in front of a small university audience. Townshend was playing the prince, inserting clever remarks about 'fornication' and trying to demonstrate his technical abilities as well as sparing the delicate ears of the students. Live At The Isle Of Wight is the band playing live in front of a 500,000 audience of completely stoned motherfuckers who really didn't care too much about who was on the stage as long as they had enough pot. And a good thing it is, for Townshend lets rip! There's at least a trillion times more guitar noise, weight and energy on here than on Leeds! Play the opening 'Heaven And Hell' at full volume and you'll see the birdies dropping down dead within miles around.

Seriously, now. Some of the tracks are a bit sloppy, because Pete was more concerned about bashing and thrashing than about picking the right notes. But you'll soon get used to that. On the other side, the terrific guitar noises he produces by practically annihilating the instrument on 'Young Man Blues' can't be topped! This is the ultimate point! His solo on 'Heaven And Hell' may be somewhat weaker than the one on Leeds - technically; but I guess it was enough to kick all the shit out of the soggy audience. Tommy is transformed into about fifty minutes of monstrous riffing, 'specially on 'Sparks' and 'See Me Feel Me'. And yes he does make occasional mistakes - like missing that terrific power chord that closes 'Summertime Blues', but shouldn't you be thankful to the engineers they did no overdubs? (They did a couple of minor edits, though, but I hope these are insignificant).

Not just Pete - everybody's in top form, especially Roger. His vocals are so much stronger than on Leeds that I can't help wondering - whether he was in a bad shape that February night or he just underwent some training? Listen to him singing on 'Water', 'I'm Free', 'Shakin' All Over' and particularly 'Spoonful' and you'll get my drift. And the rhythm section - well, goes without saying.

Yet another fascinating thing is the banter on stage. Hey, it's really cool to hear Pete railing at the audience with things like 'SMILE, YOU BUGGERS! Pretend it's Christmas' or emphasizing the legal aspects of the event by announcing they only play 'Young Man Blues' to 'you people who paid to get in' or just telling Keith to quiet the audience for 'Tommy', so that Keith taps his drumsticks and mumbles something like: 'rock opera... rock opera... ve-e-ry serious!' After they launch into 'Tommy', though, the banter is over, there are almost no breaks between songs; and when the 'rock opera' is over they rip out an interminating medley of 'Summertime Blues/Shakin' All Over/Spoonful/Twist And Shout/Substitute/My Generation/Naked Eye/Magic Bus', and who knows what they could have played after... it's just that Pete's guitar finally gave way. At least that's what the liner notes say. Finale. What's left to say is that the riffing during the last fifteen minutes or so almost blows the Leeds 'My Generation' away. Some of the noise is plain torture - the sweetest torture in the world, actually...

In all, this is a terrific listening experience. I used to think 1969 was the last 'ideal' live year for The Who. I'm glad that I was wrong. Get this at all costs if you're not afraid of a bunch of weird noisemakers destroying your favourite Beatles song... As for me, I probably wouldn't trade my Leeds album for this one, but if I'm stranded on an island with just one album to choose, well, I guess you know my bet.

MSROELOFS@prodigy.net (Mike in Hawaii)
I'm a huge Who fan and I wanted this record to be everything George says it is. I'm personally just not quite as thrilled with it. Perhaps my expectations were running a bit too high - I truly did expect performances on caliber with those on Leeds (or the widely available Fillmore bootleg from 1968), but the whole thing is weaker, in every aspect than that landmark. When I listen to Live at Leeds, I'm always blown away but how much genuine tight-ass four-wheel-drive CRUNCH the Who could muster in their prime. That's what's missing on Isle of Wight; ultimately the sloppiness in the performances on Wight spoils the experience for me somewhat. Still, many nuggets shine through like "Water" and the "Naked Eye" teaser that George mentioned. Also, certain tracks from Tommy, especially "Overture/Captain Walker" as they're done here send real shivers up my back - they're great. Additionally, its well worth the money for Who fans just to hear a decent recording of Tommy played live in its (near) entirety by the original Who. Still, Personally, I'd have to rate this one lower than Live At Leeds by two "records".

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Hmmm... well, the version of Tommy on here is better than the version at Leeds, that's for damn sure. And Water and I Don't Even Know Myself are great tracks. But the sloppiness is very noticable. Plus, there's not nearly as much OOOMPH in Heaven and Hell on here as on Leeds. Still, it suits me just fine. I agree with the 9.

msroelofs@worldnet.att.net (Michael Roelofs)
I think I need to soften my views of this record. I've been listening to it alot lately; I think I was too harsh on it in my earlier post (several months old).

I'm not sure what's changed my mind - that awsome guitar sound perhaps? I dunno, but I'ts really grown on me. Still not in Leeds territory; still possibly too sloppy for many, but I really really do enjoiy the heck out of it now. Maybe I was in a pissy mood when I first bought this one. Maybe It's my new speakers - really enhance the guitar and vocals nicely (linaeum ribon tweeters).

I do trully believe ALL Who fans must pick this one up.

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
I pretty much agree with the review, and though I don't like it as much Live at Leeds I'm still glad I have it. To me, Leeds was a more intimate setting, which I prefer rather than a big outdoor setting. The other thing is that they do play "Tommy" pretty much in it's entirety and that's the part I mostly skip over. The rest of the songs, though, are fantastic. If you like "Tommy" and can't get enough of it then you'll probably love this one a lttle better, but for me Leeds is still the one.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
As an addendum, I'd like to relate something I've discovered in the past week, which may or may not apply to others.

I have, in my opinion, great speakers, but while they bring out the power in Leeds, Wight doesn't really sound _that_ terrific through them. But through _headphones_, Wight sounds absolutely incredible, even more so than Leeds. Just a thought.

Wiskeycorgi@cs.com
This is a must for Who fans, but Leeds rocks harder.

TVEye70@aol.com
This is a disappointing album. The energy level is not nearly as high as on Live at Leeds, and Tommy seems very rushed. I don't quite understand what's so great about this performance - in my opinion, this version of "Water" is incredibly boring (9 minutes! No!). There's enough good stuff on here, but I'll follow popular opinion and rate it below Leeds. At least it beats Join Together! 6/10

smiddy@wight365.net
I dont understand people slating this album. It was recorded at 2 in the morning and the performance went on until 6 am. The group had to get up there and beat shit out of their equipment to wake things up. You may hear the odd bumm note or dodgy vocal but this makes the album, it is LIVE and thats how it is.

eeds does not help either album, they were recorded in different manners. Live at leeds was recorded with an album release in mind, hence the better quality equipment used, and the Isle of Wight recording was taken straight from the P.A and left to rot in a wherehouse for years,the enhanced and released on cd.

The Isle of Wight album, in my opinion shows The Who for what they do best, and that is getting up there and giving it their all , Live at Leeds is very good and will be rembered as thier best live album, but I think not their best performance, The Isle of Wight goes some way into letting you hear how good The Who were, and still are, on stage giving it all they have got , in front of huge crowds.

Add your thoughts?

Who's Next - MCA 1971.
Rating = 8

Even though you could safely still call this an "early Who album" (Pete was only 25 when they recorded it), they sound decades older and more professional than they had on any of their other records. This is partly because Roger's voice has finally caught up with his ego, rendering him one of the most powerful dinky sexist vocalists in the game. It's also partly because the production is fuller and there are more pianos and keyboards and whatnot. But mainly, unfortunately, it's because all the songs are chock full of the kind of overblown midtempo wank rock that we generally only expect to hear from old bags like Eric Clapton who want to prove that they can still "rock" even though they've completely lost touch with what rock and roll really is.

These songs are rock and roll songs, but they're not fast simple catchy tunes like "Can't Explain" and "I Can See For Miles;" they're full of so many guitars and pianos and things, and drag on for so many minutes just so Pete can solo on top of a bunch of different simple sequences of slowly-played distorted chords, that the end product sounds more like Bob Seger (or what we have since learned to recognize as Bob Seger) than The Who as we've grown to love them.

And I admit that that's an awfully big complaint to give to a record that I still insist deserves an 8, but you gotta understand sumthin, you gotta. All nine of these songs (with the possible exception of "Goin' Mobile") have individual beautiful melodies. Seriously. Pete's melody-writing was still top-notch at this point; it's just that in the middle of most every song, the original melody disappears and is replaced either by a weaker melody ("Song Is Over," "Getting In Tune") or an endless jam, but not a cool live jam like on Live At Leeds, rather a well-produced boring jam. I used to suspect that it was Keith's overly-roll-oriented drumming that started to bog down the music at this point in the band's career, but I've recently come to realize that, even if he were playing a normal 4/4 beat, this stuff would still slag along like a fish outta mustard 'cause it's just a bunch of midtempo songs with only a few chords being played. Keith, in fact, makes the stuff much more interesting (see the fantastiwasti "Bargain," which you probably know as "The Best I Ever Had," for proof).

Hey! Speaking of classics (perhaps you weren't, but I'm certain that at some point in the recent past I was), "Behind Blue Eyes," as you probably know, is one of the most sorrowful and beautiful songs in arena rock history, and both the keyboard-laden "Baba O'Riley" (which you probably know as "Teenage Wasteland") and the absolututely grandiose and hopeless revolution anthem "Won't Get Fooled Again" have deservedly been flooding FM airwaves for a good 25 years. It's a very good album, but not quite 9-worthy. And by this point, I guess I've opened my soul enough for you to deduce why that might be the case.

But ooooh, is that a good "yeah!" that Roger emits near the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again," which might actually be the best song they ever did.

Besides "Did You Steal My Money," of course.

Reader Comments

break7@moran.com (Tim Eimiller)
Pink Floyd's Meddle is comparable to Live At Leeds and Who's Next? Animals is superior? Yes's Relayer is comparable? Yes and the Yes Album are superior? Aerosmith's Draw The Line is superior? Black Sabbath's Live Evil is comparable? And I'm not going to even bother with the Black Sabbath records you think are better. And then there's all those Doors albums that you think are equal to or better than two of The Who's finest efforts. I could go on, but I won't. Suffice it to say that your ratings system is wacky. Are you ranking these albums by how they compare with the same band's other albums? Or with the albums of every band?

You rank Presence and In Through the Out Door as equal to Live At Leeds and Who's Next? What is the matter with you? By the way, you're right about Led Zep III; it IS their best record. You are also right about Ya Ya's. It's overrated. But MAN, are you out of wack when it comes to The Who. Beef those Who rankings up, they NEED it.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
In response to a since-deleted reader comment:
Of COURSE Townshend is a pretentious self-absorbed animal! Sheesh, that's what we LIKE about him. He's fascinating. A whole lot more interesting as a person than any other run-of-the-mill guitar hero. Townshend was NEVER your ordinary guitar hero. The guy riffed on IDEAS. Jimmy Page? Please. All he had going for him was insipidly repetitive and derivative riffs and an impressive knack for crafting great solos. Presence is ponderous, dull and plodding. Who's Next is brilliant, euphoric.

liberty@ptialaska.net (Marc Kovac)
About this time Daltrey started looking like a dried crabapple with a lion's mane. "Get your tambourine ass off the stage ponyboy! Nobody likes you!" I would have shouted If I were alive in 1971.

aswope@fuse.net (Andrew Swope)
It should have got a 10/10. All Who albums should.

ML0423@aol.com
This is about as good as life/music gets, if this ain't a 10, nothin' is!

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Killer!!!! Why don't you guys get that Who rocks?

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Another fine collection from this hip band. "Bargain" and "Baba O Reilly" are my two faves here. By the way, why is "Baba O' Reilly" the name of the song? Any answers are welcome.

jeffsl@pacbell.net
"Baba O' Riley" is named after two of Townshend's idols; Meher Baba, the spiritual atavar he has followed since the 60s (he's credited on Tommy, too) and experimental composer Terry Riley. And by the way-- did you REALLY give Draw The Line and The Yes Album higher ratings than Who's Next? Can't go there with you, man. But I'm enjoying the reviews for sure.

raven402@ix.netcom.com (Sorcerer)
Doggarnit...anyone who doesn't give Who's Next a 10 deserves to die a slow and painfully horrible medieval-torture-like death. THAT DOES IT! I'm not reading any more of your damned reviews, Prindle Boy! Say good-bye to your bookmark in my internet browser! REALLY! I MEAN IT! Now c'mon...change that score by, say, +2...PLEASE!

thutley@zoo.e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
This whole shin-dig was supposed to be yet another Pete Townsend brainchild called Lifehouse, but turned out to be more like a brainFART. This drug-induced poop-fest registered a big zero on the public interest scale, and Townsend's failed attempt at... uh... whatever it was he was trying to do left the band with a bunch of raw material and no landfill to dump it in. But instead of scrapping the whole idea like most sissy English boys would, Townsend gazed at his heeping pile of musical prison slop, pushed it around with a stick a little, added some salt for taste, and slapped on a title called -- and this is a clever one -- Who's Next. And all the music writers and all the rock fans stepped up with their Grandma's best China plate and dished up a big ol' serving of WHO! And boy was it GOOD!!!

This thing is chalk full of classic rock cannon fodder! Five FM radio staples grace this recording, and if you don't count "Bargain" and "My Wife" as such then you don't live in my neck of the woods... and I'm glad! You probably live in Hades where every day is Gordon Lightfoot day. This stuff is as rockin' as 1971 gets!! So why-for doesn't this hip-happening record deserve a 10? Well, I've got your why-for right here, buddy, and it's not some lame excuse like 'the Who just don't sound like they used to' crap. That's just generic reviewer doodie...

You see, Pete wanted Lifehouse to be a double album, but when he woke up from THAT dream, he decided to cut out some of the material and go short length. Idiot! What was that dumb Brit thinking! He removed the tombstones, but he left the bodies! He left the bodies!! (Poltergeist reference. Check it out) Just listen to the songs that DIDN'T make this record! What songs, you say to your hand or invisible friend? How about "Water", or "I Don't Even Know Myself", or "Too Much of Anything"! Ever heard of a little ditty called "Naked Eye"? "Pure and Easy" ring a bell? Any one of them makes "Baba O'Riley" look like your best friend's ugly kid sister! Did you know they were playing a killer rendition of this Marvin Gaye tune called "Baby Don't You Do It" at the time? I bet you didn't know that! Man, this stuff was illin'! (Word to ya' Motha's uncle). These songs were magically delicious, and good for you, too! And THAT'S why this album doesn't deserve a 10! Because of songs that SHOULD be on Who's Next, too! It's like believing you were raised on meat n' potatoes, and finding out after all these years that it was Soylent Green!! Don't you see people, Townsend kept all the Lucky Charms and gave us Oatmeal! OATMEAL!! Nice try, Pete, but I'm on to your little reindeer games. You should have stuck with the double album, but you didn't! You jerk! Thanks alot, Townsend! Thanks a lot...

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
"Join Together," "The Relay," "Let's See Action," "Put the Money Down," "Time is Passing" and "Mary" were part of Lifehouse, too. But the songs that DID make the cut still deserve at least a nine. Only one "10" allowed per band at this site, folks. But giving this platter an eight is still insanity.

Oh yeah, swap "My Wife" with "Going Mobile" for airplay in my neck o' the woods. Still amounts to five inescapable cuts, of course. And the remaining four get played occasionally, as well. This album is the Rosetta Stone of classic rock radio, beating out such stalwarts as Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin IV.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
I've never really understood why Who's Next is generally being regarded as The Who's masterpiece. Because both its predecessor, Tommy, and its followup, Quadrophenia, are MUCH better. The simple fact is that when The Who make "regular" albums (My Generation, Who's Next, Who are You), the albums are great, but when they make concept albums (Sell Out, Tommy, Quadrophenia), the albums are enormous!

matt81@nassau.cv.net
I'm more than a little bit annoyed after reading your reviews of The Who. The first comment I must make is that Who's Next is widely considered one of the best, if not THE best, rock albums ever. Now, I know, everyone is entitled to their own opinions (however wrong they may be) but this is going to far. And, of course, an 8 isn't that low on the old Prindle-o-Meter, but if there ever, on the history of this planet, was a rock album that could be considered perfect, and worthy of higher than a 10, it would be Who's Next. Even if you tossed aside four of the greatest songs of all time - namely "Baba O'Riley", "Bargain", "Behind Blue Eyes", and the classic of classics, "Won't Get Fooled Again" - you would still have 5 damn good songs. In your review, you actually imply that you probably should have rated the album even lower! I strongly urge you to rethink your review of this album. Hey, listening to it a few times again to refresh your memory wouldn't hurt!

Secondly, your comment at the top, something to the effect of "Mixing rock and opera wasn't the greatest idea" reveals your obvious bias towards the two other masterpieces by The Who, Tommy and Quadrophenia. Now, for the most part, I agree with your Tommy review, but your Quadrophenia review is completely off-base. A chore to sit through? If so, then this is one chore I happen to like a great deal. The thing that bugs me about this is that people who would potentially buy these albums based on your reviews (hey, I bought Slayer's Reign In Blood based on your review) are instead going to think that they are just ok, and not really worth their hard-earned cash. When, in fact, they are! They are worth a lot more hard-earned cash than they actually cost, as a matter of fact!

You have the best reviews site on the internet, but it's things like this that make me want to punch my fist through my monitor. Especially that Who's Next review. Grrr...

spice@TheRamp.Net
simply, one of the greatest albums ever made.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Weeeell... I really don't know. OK, on one hand, this is a great album, one of their best, no doubt about that, but still... I do enjoy both Tommy and Quadrophenia much better. I would agree with Mark in giving it an 8 (although I would also agree with Tim that all these other albums you give an 8 are horrible bullshit compared with Who's Next).

I think the album is too pompous, too overblown EVEN for the Who's own standards. Songs like "Song Is Over" are pretty but there's a great deal of ambition in them, and it's some kind of "world-wide", despotic ambition - like, you know, "Master of The Universe Speaking" (while "See Me Feel Me", on the other hand, is a humble prayer - that's what makes it so wonderful in the end!).

There are also some musical problems here: most of the songs are TOO big (Pete could easily squeeze them tighter and add a few more from Lifehouse), and sometimes he relies too heavily on synthesizers ("Bargain"). My personal favourite here (besides the obvious classics) is "Going Mobile"! Why? I don't know, but maybe because it's just a plain rock'n'roll song with no subtle message!

aswope@fuse.net (Bogus Andy)
Goddamn it the Who is the greatest band ever! They never released anything truely bad thats the thing, they never released something like the Rolling Stones' Flowers or The Beatles' Yellow Submarine soundtrack or any Bob Dylan album out of the 70's or any Led Zepplin album, all of their albums at least have 8 good songs (I like all their songs but...) while I feel a band like Led Zepplin has a hard time to get 2 good songs on an album. The who is one the most underrated band and the reason of this is because they never released anything truley bad while critic sweet-hearts such as Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones (hell even the Beatles) did. Also I think they are because they weren't ever hugely popular like the Stones, Beatles, Led Zep, or Hendrix (who wasn't that good solo wise). The Kinks also suffer this both bands are pretty english while the Beatles and Stones have a more american sound to them, listen to some of the Who and Kinks albums and you can tell they are from England (hell on the Kinks' Village Green album there is a song with the line "Walter was me mate" americans don't talk like that) so maybe american rock critics don't like as much because they just can't relate with things like paying in pounds (some younger listeners might think "What the fuck is a pound" hell most adults would think that as well for most people are stupid) or the Rise and Fall of the British Empire.

stanner@mindspring.com (Scott)
You know what Prindle? You're dead right on this one. In retrospect, all these songs sound too long and overblown. But that's a hard diss comparing 'em to Clapton's weak ass!

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
Flawed, but with some great songs. Another concept that didn't work and was abandoned, but at least Townshend saved most of the good stuff for a single album. He could have put "Pure And Easy" and "Naked Eye" on, instead of "My Wife", and "Love Ain't For Keeping". Then it would have been a classic - I'd give it '8', as you did, Mark. It was a good idea to put the 2 best songs on at the beginning and the end!

terry@launchnet.com (Terry Haggin)
This album was THE album of 1971. And I love, "The Song is Over" so all you that dis it get the 'one eye.' And 'Bargain' is one of the great band songs ever. Just put on the head phones and listen to 4 completely different riffs melt together into what is probably their classic song. And what was left off this disc would rate a 9, Join Together, naked eye, The relay, Pure and Easy, on and on... Pete at his peak, not that bean eatin, deodorant wiping fool on the OOOO sell out cover. Wake UPPPPP and smell the ganja. This burns black wax from the Baba beginning to the OOO's the old boss ending. Come on, an ate for this masterwork, go piss on a monolith in the middle of a slag heap. The only one that could be better is......

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Well, I must say that I myself am not particularly fond of midtempo wank rock, which this album has in spades. However, the songs themselves are so unbelievably spectacular ... in my opinion, while the wanking drops Who's Next from ability to claim "perfect rock album", it shouldn't drop it below nine. Even with Goin' Mobile (you're not alone, Mark). However, I can understand the 8, even if I don't agree with it

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
I have to give this one a nine (I lke the idea that you can only give one 10 per site). It is THE classic Who album and though I agree with the reviewer that it can be long-winded and overblown the melodies and the arrangments more than make up for it. I have read about the aborted Lifehouse project and I think if they added all the songs that were left out, it would have made one of the greatest double albums ever but as it is it's still one of the greatest albums, and IMHO, their best studio album. This was the first studio album after Tommy, and they finally got the production right. You get a sense of the power of the Who on this one and the songwriting (espicially "Bargain") is excellent. Townshend's use of the keyboards on here is well-done and doesn't obscure the songs as they do later on Quadrophenia and Who Are You. It's an album that holds up better than any of their other studio albums.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
This album is so much better than your soul. Sell Out and Quick One are so fucking inferior to this, it's crazy.

Yup, I was the opposite of dissapointed with this album. It restored my faith in the band, thank God. Every single damn song on here (I have the expanded version, with Water and such) is great, and that's good.

The only sorta-ok songs might be Pure and Easy, and My Wife, and maybe Too Much of Anything, but they really aren't bad songs. I guess the angry part of Behind Blue Eyes, about wanting a blanket... that's just kinda odd. He's angrily asking to wear my coat... alright. Still, awesome song.

The fact that the previously unreleased songs are awesome as hell, that's good. That's great! Yet this only got one point more than Sell Out and Quick One. I should be running this damn site.

Quad is probably the best album ever. I mean, I dunno. But thanks to this album, I'll actually be buying Quad now.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
I changed my mind about Too Much of Anything. That's a really really nice song. EVRERYTHIGN on The Who Is Next is really awesome.

richbunnell@home.com
People, an "eight" means it's a good album. Just because The Yes Album (which is just as good as this one in my opinion) gets a higher rating is no reason to cry and scream like a bunch of little girls. I still think that it's worthy of a nine myself - not as good as the previous album due to the presence of one song I'm not too fond of ("Getting In Tune") but the sound is fuller, more appealing, and "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" are absolute classics with a capital Q. And why do so many people hate "The Song Is Over"? Bloated, certainly, but still a great song.

By the way, why is it that Roger suddenly sounds so different on this album than he did on the previous ones? Did he take singing lessons, or did he just discover the "huge, bombastic" setting on his larynx?

mmcneil@balescompany.com (Mike McNeil)
If you want to hear the purest essence, the truest definition, the ultimate prototype of Rock & Roll; simply crank up "Won't Get Fooled Again"!! Nothing else need be said.

Jeffmoncheri@aol.com
Well, I AM a fan of "midtempo wank rock" if you wanna call it that, and if that's the case then Who's Next should be the standard by which all midtempo wank rock is measured. I could try to get bored with songs like Baba O' Riley, Bargain or Won't Get Fooled Again and never, ever succeed. Only thing that kills it for me is the last part of The Song Is Over, with the whole "Pure and Easy" section that worked to much better effect on, well, Pure and Easy, which, by the by, should have been on the album in lieu of the other slow song whose title eludes me right now.

Amgreenberg@aol.com
The masterpiece, but...the new remastered version with seven extra songs kicks the original's ass. Anyone who has the original should pick up the remaster as well. Not only do you get acknowledged classics like "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Baba O'Riley", "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Bargain", but you get others like "Naked Eye", "I Don't Even Know Myself", "Water", a different version of "Behind Blue Eyes" and the absolutely fantastic "Pure and Easy." How "Pure and Easy" didn't make the original album is beyond comprehension, but man does that song kick! This is a must own perfect 10 and easily ranks within the top 10 albums ever released.

Caleb462@cs.com (Caleb Smith)
Oh yeah, great stuff. "Baba O'Riley" is just amazing, one of the most powerful songs ever. "Bargain", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "My Wife", "Behind Blue Eyes"... all great too. I also don't understand the problem with "The Song Is Over", I love it. 9/10.. would be 10/10, but "Getting In Tune" is kind of goofy.

Nick.Walford@nettec.net
impossible as it may seem, this album sucks, blows AND bites all at the same time! I downloaded the whole thing off napster because someone said it was better than Zep IV - and deleted all of it except 'baba o'riley' and 'won't get fooled again' straight away. how could anyone possibly compare this to one of the greatest rock albums of all time? I would pick any pink floyd album, any zep album, any bon scott-era ac/dc album, or any aerosmith album (up to 'night in the ruts') over this. 'behind blue eyes' sucked so bad I almost laughed. almost.

don't get me wrong, I love the who, and I'm quite happy to admit they produced some of the greatest rock moments in history ('the seeker', 'my generation', 'pinball wizard' and 'magic bus' to name but a few), but this was a BIG disappointment. a big pile of dirty old pants is what it is. I give it a 2 (one each for 'baba o'riley' and 'won't get fooled again').

KRISJANICE@aol.com
The greatest rock album period.In a hundred years from now,when they are studying the period of rock music,Who`s Next should be the first album thet listen to

Jcjh20@aol.com
Gotta give this one a 9. Absolute classic album. I love "Baba O Riley", "Behind Blue Eyes" (sucked so bad you almost laughed, Nick.Walford@nettec.net? You need some therapy then, this is one of the most beautiful songs of all time), "Wont Get Fooled Again", "Bargin" all total classics. I really like "Going Mobile" and "The Song is Over" despite a lot of people here. Only song im not too fond of is John's "My Wife". And Even though i wont count them, the bonus tracks are absolutely ace! "Pure And Easy", "Naked Eye", "I Dont Even Know Myself"...great songs!

smacl@mediaone.net
KRISJANICE's review is strongly seconded here. Who's Next is the greatest rock abum ever released. Period. Mid tempo wankin is, perhaps, an acquired taste BUT Who's Next is like Nigel Tufnel's amp...it goes to "11".

LedZepplingood@aol.com
i like who's next...its good...i saw them play the album live about a year ago when they were old, and it was the best concert i have ever been to. Asshole

Markahaugen@aol.com
Maybe it's my age and when I grew up, although I always liked music that was a bit before my time. But I listen to a lot of music going back to the 50s and in the case of classical the 1600s. Of all the music, and I have thought about this for decades (I'm 41), I still find Who's Next to be the best "Rock and Roll" record of all time - bar none. I bought my first copy in 1976, I have worn out 2 LPs completely, I picked up a mint LP at a record mart last October, and I can honestly say (and my tastes have changed a lot since I was 16), that I enjoy this album (and vinyl is the only REAL way to enjoy old rock because that is what they engineered to for back then) as much today as I did in the 70s. I can not say that for many other LPs.

They are all great songs, but side two just builds, ending with Wont Get Fooled Again (8:31) the best on the album. And back then you were "allowed" to make a song longer than 4 minutes. Few ever could rock it out like Townshed, only Plant approached Daltrey in vocals, and Moon was the best drummer ever, period (note, no drum machine here).

Lets see how many people like (let along remember) 80s and 90s music when it's 30 years old! If people are listening to music that is older than they are, there is something to it - it has passed (the hardest test of all) the test of time.

katsman7@hotmail.com (Madd Hunter)
Who's Next is Who's non-concept masterpiece. "Bargain" is a cool rockin' tune with an amazing synth, "Song Is Over" is what I call a PERFECT song, "Getting In Tune" is as beautiful as your white puppy is, "Behind Blue Eyes" is a classic and "Won't Get Fooled Again" breaks walls!

1) The drums are way too loud in the mix (not always a drawback, but it makes the album imperfect)
2) I don't like "Love Ain't For Keeping" very much (the lyrics on this one annoy me)
3) I wish "Baba O' Riley" was longer.

jtcable@comcast.net (Josh Cable)
Too bad about the Ox. I started up this album (Who's Next) after not hearing it for many months, and I don't see how people couldn't like this album, and at least give it an 8. But I don't need to tell anyone that.

ajkenyon81@yahoo.com (Amanda Kenyon)
God, I love this album. And I'm really not much of a Who fan. There were a few radio hits I really liked (Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again) and that was it. And lo and behold, they're all on the same album! And this album has other good songs too! What a joyous day it was when I discovered this. I'm not terribly fond of "Goin' Mobile" (in fact, I knew this song from the radio and was astounded to discover that it was by the Who) but the rest of it is fabulous from beginning to end, especially that excellent violin. And I like the album title too. Woo!

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
Wow, what an album! Possibly Who's best. It's full of classics (three songs are overplayed on the classic rock radio). I believe 'Song Is Over' is one of the best Who tunes ever, why some people hate that song I can't understand. I have nothing to say about the three classic songs here, they're fuckin' awesome. The only songs that do nothing for me are 'Love Ain't For Keeping' and 'Going Mobile', but they're not bad at all. I give this album a 9/10.

Oh, did I mention 'Getting In Tune'? It's unbelievable how from a quiet piano ballad builds into a ballsy groovy rock'n'roll song! Yeah!

pedroandino@msn.com
i got the gold cd version which by the way it has to be cranked LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF I HEAR ONE MORE ASSWIPE SAYIN' THAT HE/ LIKED POP RAP DIE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REMEMBER IT HAS TO BE CRANKED LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO WONDER PETE IS ANGRY AN ANGRY PUNK! THEN A SOFT SINGER ON THE OTHER ROGER IS AN A PULS SINGER HE WILL GO MACH 1 ON YO' ASS WITH HIS SCREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEHA GOING MOBILE IS AN ADDICTIVELY CATCHY SONG W/ACOUSTIC GUITAR THEN SOME SYNTHS BUT I BELIVE IT WAS BOTH A SYNTH AND A GUITAR PLAYING! ANYHOW I WILL SEE MY GIRLFRIEND AT THE 930 CLUB PEACE

mbleicher1@yahoo.com (Michael Bleicher)
I agree with the others who say the rating is a bit too low...this one does deserve a nine; the best single album they ever did. Note the creative use of new technology (on "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't get fooled again") whereas on Quadrophenia all the synths would bog it down into a fucking mess, here they sound cool. A couple points off for two boring midtempo wank rock tracks in the middle ("Song is Over" is pretty but about 2 and a half minutes too long; "Getting in Tune" should've been replaced by, I don't know, "The Seeker" or something. It's boring), but everything else is high-quality. Everyone in the group is at their best, too, riding the Live at Leeds wave in terms of playing hard, loud, and off each other (as opposed to how they sound now..that level of instinctiveness is gone, as far as I can tell...take a listen to one of the "new" Who tracks...let's just hope the don't release a "Who's Left" album next year, like Townshend mentioned).

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Yeah, I find this album a bit perplexing...... should I give it a 10 becuase, I mean, it's a great listen. OR should I lower its score becuase....... well...... I don't know..... it's showmanship? I'm still deciding. I TOTALLY recommend this album though, more than any other Who album. This album does show that Pete Townsend was incredibly talented.

sacicc@yahoo.com
Mark, if any one album made by The Who deserves a 10, "Who's Next" is, in my opinion, easily the slam-dunk choice. You start to hint as to why when you mentioned the high level of production and professionalism in spite of this being a fairly early Who album. But more to the point, there isn't one single song on this album that virtually every rock fan doesn't instantly recognize. You mentioned the slew of songs that have swarmed the air waves for over thirty years. At one time or another, ALL of them have received some air play.

You are right that this was far from being a straight-ahead rock album, with strings, pianos and ballads tending to make it seem more like a Clapton/Seger production. But consider this: Can you name one Clapton/Seger ballad I know of comes close to being as good as "Behind Blue Eyes?" Or more to the point, did either of these two in the last 25 years kick out a jammer as good as "Won't Get Fooled Again?"

Mcshane123321@aol.com
I'm with you on this one: it's very good, but also very, very overrated. It gets called their best album because it was (and in certain areas of the US still is, I'm sure) their biggest seller and pulled in a load more fans for the group, even if (the hugely superior - I'm with you on that as well) Tommy was a hit as well. I think the Clapton comparison was a tad harsh, however; that self-indulgent ass hole shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as Pete Townshend, and I'm not even a Who worshipper. WOW!

I've been a fan of The Who for a while now, but routing through the reader comments of Who's Next alone is often enough to fill me with anti-hype. You can just tell that all the guys that give this one a ten (or even a ten) are the exact same guys complaining about the "quality" of modern music (which is because they aren't willing to turn away from the awful mainstream, although that's besides the point). It just proves how powerful the radio and mainstream can be over people's opinions that anyone would call this "perfect," "the Who's greatest," "the greatest hard rock/rock album ever." I mean, I really like it and all, but it isfar too pretentious for its own good - "The Song Is Over," anyone? Nice tune, I'll admit, but it's pure self-indulgence.

Two of the tracks - yes, two - are so good that they're positively trancendent, those of course being "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again," cleverly book-ending the album to make its contents seem better than it is. "Behind Blue Eyes" is amongst the most beautiful hard rockers out there, and it's an other excellent cut here.

The rest ranges from great to spectacularly average. I've always loved "Bargain," particularly when Roger belts out "THE BEST I EVER HAAAAAD!"; same for "Love Ain't For Keeping." Despite its obvious pretentions, I actually really like "The Song Is Over" - it is a very pretty song, right?

The rest is completely average, IMO. "My Wife" goes ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE for over a 1 and 1/2 minutes until the horns kick in, which don't even do much themselves; you can tell John wrote it, what with it arguably being the worst song here. His singing (it's John on vocals, right?) is awful and muffled as well; he should have given vocals to Roger, as he could have at least given the tune a bit of bombast.

The lyrics to "Goin Mobile" are so utterly trite it's amazing. A song about a hippie living in a caravan? What the fuck was Pete thinking? The tune's fine, I think, right up until that fucking "wah-wah" synth kicks in. Synthesised noodling - revolutionary! Sorry, wrong word: "awful" would fit much better. "Getting In Tune" is utterly boring too. So is all this writing, which explains why I'm cutting to a conclusion now.

So, overall, I'll stick with the eight out of ten for Who's Sexed (Up Roger's Voice?). I like it a lot, but can recognise that a few stinkers ruin a batch of nice-to-excellent songs. Tommy is an much, much better record overall. And what's worse is that I've let my comment get far, far too long. Is this the best album of '71? Is it hell.

stipendsteve@yahoo.com
Don’t you mean “Pianos and keyboards and WHOnot?” Heh heh heh oh God, shoot me now.

Add your thoughts?

Who's Missing - MCA 1985.
Rating = 7

PLEASE NOTE: I HATE THIS "REVIEW." I WROTE IT AT AGE 23, WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS MAKING A CLEVER ARGUMENT (THAT I'D SIMPLY STOLEN FROM A FRIEND ANYWAY). I WOULD LOVE TO DELETE IT, BUT APPARENTLY A LOT OF PEOPLE STILL GET A KICK OUT OF IT. I DON'T! SO CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED:

Yes, I realize that The Who put out a few records between 1971 and 1985, you fucking cocksucking pile of dick, but all this stuff was recorded from '65 to '72, so you can shove my finger up your ass, you pussy shit. Lots of fucking B-sides, covers, alternate takes, previously unreleased piss - you know, that kinda shit. Side one is pre-Tommy poopjuice, and side two is post-Live At Leeds squirt. Thus, as you might expect (regardless of the fact that you're a brainless worthless prickless fucking idiot), side one's got a wad-load of R 'n' B-esque pop rock cuntgargle that jerks and jingles with the glee of a little girl playing with a stapler, and side two has a bunch of midtempo overblown fuckin' snooty that seem to go on for three or four terd cycles. Lesseee....it's fuckin' good!

I still think Roger sounds like a stupid fuckin' retard trying to imitate a black soul singer, but "Leaving Here" is a good song to lick ass to anyway. And Keith sings falsetto lead on a funny, pointless crop o' tinkle that was originally dripped by The Beach Boys, and hey! That fuckin' original version of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands" that I love so much! What a great song about a broad who gives good hand jobs! So good you can almost fuckin' feel it, if you aint rubbin' the Rockefeller already. Then Entwhistle's two songs on side two are half fuckin' good and half fuckin' asspipe, Roger's "Here For Me" is short, sweet, and wonderful - like a pussy covered in shit. Then Pete's five-minute snoozefest sucks the fucking shit out of a fucking hairpie, but the live version of "Bargain" kicks the fucking shit out of a fucking pink triangle of love! Roger actually fucking shit pussies the effort to hit all those fucking shit pussy high notes! Fucking shit pussy! And listen to Keith go! He sure was hyper! Fucking shit pussy!

They're just words. Get over it. Would it be less offensive if I had said "Friggin' Crap Sexual Organ?" Or "Fickin' Shot Passy?" Words. Just words. Stop being a child... if, in fact, you were being a child. If not, good for you! Words themselves are incapable of being offensive. What is offensive is certain people's inability to realize that there is a distinct difference between language and reality. If mere spoken words offend you, there's something terribly wrong with your mind. If the phrase "fucking shit pussy" conjures up an image in your mind that you happen to find obscene, that's your problem - not mine. Who am I talking to? Never mind. Let's assume we're all adults here and move on to the next album. But thanks for reading my short social commentary!

Reader Comments

odie@cts.com (Edward J. O'Shea)
OH YOU HAVE SUCH A WAY...

Bbhmdr@vmmc.org
So how do you really feel?

francoi@uakron.edu
You are such a butt. I think your the one acting like A CHILD !!!! Why don't you take your ignorant, ugly self back to preschool and learn some new words. YOU FILTHY BASTARD!!!!!!!

Troublenomore@entercomp.com
Huh-huh-huh.........settle down Beavis!

ronbevault@prodigy.net (Keith Jones)
Wow. None of the previous comments have anything to do with the music. This album is O-K, but I've never really thought higly of outtake albums. Leaving Here, the original Mary Ann with the Shaky Hand, I Don't Even Know Myself, and John Entwistle's When I was a Boy are the better songs, the rest is somewhat listenable.

rlallen@alltel.net (Rebecca Miller)
I don't get it. This whole section on Who's Missing is ridiculous. A joke. What the fuck is wrong with this site? Everything is totally off and it confuses me. I found it by searching for Jethro Tull, and the reviews by Mark on there are practically worthless. I don't understand how a guy can apparently hate music, yet review entire catalogs by bands.

rrmuegge@interl.net (Russell Muegge)
That review was hilarious! Why are some people so easily offended?

Jcjh20@aol.com
hehe, Marks a smart guy. He basically just proved his point by people getting offended either on this particular review or on the site in general. Just because someone hates Jethro Tull means they hate music? Whats wrong with you people? How come people arent allowed to dislike something!?

As for the album, i never heard it.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Ha ha, that's the kind of thing that'll getcha enemies. I get it though, listening to Who albums 24 hours a day can make you go mad...... well, actually, anybody's albums for that matter.

pedroandino@msn.com
EAT COCK Y'A GOD LOVING PUSSY FAGGOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! buncha vaginas get some testicles!!!!!!!!!! barry manilow is not on your fucking site so shut the fuck up ya celine dion cocksuckser and speaking of wich................................. I FUCKING HATE CELINE DION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! COCKSUKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ANNOOWWOWOWWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWWOWOWOWOOWOWOWOWOOWO AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! whew got that off my chest!

davidth@srt.com
you fuckin use the f word a fuckin lot fuck.

god damn.

Alainna Earl
Why is vulgarity ( i.e. cursing or if you're in the hood; cussin' ) always supposed to be childish? Children don't curse!

Add your thoughts?

Two's Missing - MCA 1987.
Rating = 5

By 1987, the Who vaults had been cleared. This stuff is pretty much bottom-of-the-barrel-of-monkeys, which is to say that even though it's lousy, it's still fun! Conversely, even though it's fun, it's still lousy. The main problem is that five of the fourteen songs are atrocious mid-'60s cover tunes. Some of the originals are actually very good, especially the bizarre psychedelic-ish "Dogs" and the wonderful (though dumb) Who's Next-era "Water." And the live version of Entwhistle's "My Wife" proves, finally, that it's actually a very good song; it's just difficult to notice between all those other classics on Who's Next. Here, it sticks out like a sore throat.
Reader Comments

liberty@ptialaska.net (Marc Kovac)
Actually, the two Stones songs are not covers, for they were first recorded by the Who while the Stones were in jail on drug charges. A sort of a "You can't keep our 'blokes' down yo, we'll release their new material while they are in prison since they can't, kid," thing. Talk about atrocities, how about "Waspman"? Bust a cap!

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
That's not true. They are definitely covers. I mean, c'mon, "The Last Time" was released in February of 1965. Just one month after the release of The Who's first single, "I Can't Explain." Of course, I already knew you were a blowhard from your other idiotic comments on here. If you'd said what you wanted to say at some 1971 concert you would have been beaten up by 20,000 fans. Roger Daltrey's voice was suited to full-throated rock power in a way that Townshend could never approach. And Townshend would never have been the wildman he was on stage if he had had to handle lead vocals as well as the guitar playing. Also, The Who would have never made it in the early days were it not for Roger, plain and simple.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Check out the live version of "Water" on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video! Man, I feel like I'm chained to my VCR every time it starts! This frantic nine-minute version summarizes everything (except John's bass, which is not very well heard): Moon thrashing on his drums, Daltrey roaring out the verses with an incredible force, and Pete... Pete is purely fantastic! His rhythm work astonishes (tons of guitar lines, always hooking but never repeating), but when it comes to his solos... Hey, screw Hedrix! Screw Clapton! Screw Page! Screw everybody for a few minutes and just let yourself be carried away by that thunderstorm! I haven't heard the studio version yet, and I am prepared to a few nasty surprises: I am sure they wouldn't have done it THUS well in the studio. But I hope the Isle Of Wight version comes close to this one. One of the best tracks they've done live, no doubt: ranks along with "Young Man Blues" and "Summertime Blues", my other favourites.

ronbevault@prodigy.net (Keith Jones)
The Who recorded and released the two stones covers to show thier support(or rather, protest) the drug arrests of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Add your thoughts?

Quadrophenia - MCA 1973.
Rating = 6

Jeez, this is a chore to sit through. Like Tommy, this is a double-length "rock opera," but, unfortunately, the emphasis here is on "opera" - or at least "show tunes." These overblown chord sequences and exaggerated vocal stylings belong in West Side Story or Annie - not on my turntable! Certainly several of its riffs are catchier than Biff Pocoroba ("The Punk Meets The Godfather," "I'm One," "I've Had Enough"), but only a couple are actually emotionally resonant; the rest are too (and I hate to overuse this word, but how else can I put it?) OVERBLOWN! Horn arrangements, cheesy '70s keyboards, pianos, sound effects, and hokey melodies do not kickbutt rock and roll create. The hits are fantastic though - "The Real Me" and "Love Reign O'er Me" are about ten times better than every other song on here.

Oh, the point? It's about the mods who dug The Who back in the day. Doesn't make much sense. They made a movie out of it though, starring The Police's Stink.

Reader Comments

leonard@lyco.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
I must enthusiastically disagree. Quadrophenia is the best Who album. Period. The story doesn't make much sense??? First of all, does Tommy? Second of all, it makes a LOT of sense--it's about a kid who comes to realize that everything but love is bullshit. I'm an ex-kid who has come to realize that everything but love is bullshit. Simple. Overblown? Doesn't sound that way to me--the arrangements are full-bodied and great. I think Moon may be at his best on the drums (and that's saying quite a lot!), and Entwistle is DEFINITELY at his best on bass (ditto)! Not as much guitar? More synths? True, but the arrangements work for me. And, unlike Tommy where there was lots of repetition, here there are clear and purposeful VARIATIONS. The ONLY thing I don't like is having each band member represent a "side" of Jim's personality--naaahhh. Oh, yeah, and the CD doesn't do justice to the photographs. Udderwise, a wonderful, spiritual album, the pinnacle of all of Pete T's artistic strivings. My feeling is that it's the 2nd best record in r'n'r history, after THE BEATLES (the "white album"). You?

yancyd@pacificnet.net (Yancy Duncan)
If you don't think this is the BEST The Who ever did - you blow! A wonderful piece of writing matched by musicality. If it wasn't for Close To The Edge, Quadrophenia is the best of the 70's.

landonsd@top.net (Landon Dingman)
One of the finest albums of all time, Townshend explores the angst and disillusionment of the average, blue-collar teenager coming of age and opening his eyes to the bleak light of his reality. Disconnected, outcast, somehow yearning for the simpler times of his youth, when things always seemed OK. It's not about the specific struggle between the Mods and the Rockers, but the struggle of adolescence. Brought to life with the gritty passion and fire of the Who, I thought the album triumphed where Tommy could not, with a stark realism that screamed from the core of "the Angry Young Man".

break7@moran.com (Tim Eimiller)
Ok, Mark. I've been wading through your reviews and I have come to the unmistakable conclusion that you are too hard on The Who. You hold them to a much higher standard than the other bands. Just look at how generous you are with your reviews of albums by AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, the Doors, Yes, Creedence Clearwater Revival and others. None of these bands hold a candle to The Who, but you wouldn't come to that conclusion from your rankings. I think you have to drastically reevaluate The Who's albums, add a star or three to each one. Quadrophenia is a masterpiece, Live At Leeds is the only 10 out of 10 live rock record ever made (But I agree that if each band can only have one 10, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy is The Who's), Who's Next is miles better than all those records in other band's reviews that got 8 and 9 stars, and the reissue of The Who Sell Out is now my pick for the greatest rock record ever made. Look at your Who reviews and tell me that you were holding them up to the same standard as the other bands you have reviewed. I don't think so.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
In response to a since-deleted comment: In regard to a description of the Quadrophenia crowd, I think what you were witnessing was a lot of individuals whose minds had just been blown away by the best live performers in rock history. Stunned and drained by the ultimate concert experience. That's mind blown, pal. I was there. Also, if you've outgrown Quadrophenia, there can only be one diagnosis. You got OLD.

liberty@ptialaska.net (Marc Kovac)
Quadrophenia is boring, and the White Album wasn't that great either. Both should have been atomically minimized to one record. The booklet for the CD remaster of Quad is like a trillion pages thick, making it impossible to fit in those new double cases that are as thin as a single disc case.

salvo@cetlink.net (Greg Ellis)
not my fave who album, but much less pretensious than tommy. i would say meaty, beaty and live at leeds would be my two faves, with sell out (the new expanded version) not too far behind. you are a bit hard on the who. actually i know it's easy to blast them in 1997. townshend never struck me as being the "genius" that those fuckhead rolling stone-school rock journalists made him out to be, but even the white-collar yuppie music press' endless ass-kissing can't tarnish the fact that as a group the who were three of the most creative performers in the history of "pop" music, and, er...daltrey wasn't THAT bad either.

bgoulet@snet.net
Saw the boys doin' Quadrophenia (8-2-97) and Daltrey lost his voice about halfway through (seriously) and would not come out for the encore. Only after Pete and John struggled through a weak duo version of "Won't Get Fooled" did Roger come back out, his voice shredded to bits. I've been a Who fan for years (first saw them at the Boston Tea Party in '68 and have seen them close to 100 times since) but I must admit I felt sorry for Rog. He's clearly blown his voice out after many years of his style of singing, and unfortunately maybe it's time to call it a day. They still rocked harder than anyone though.

kalbright@sprynet.com (Kelly Albright)
OK, Mr. Clever. I've tried (oh, Lord, how I've tried!) to read these reviews with an open mind, but--Quadrophenia only rates a 6???!!!! This album features fantastic melodies and a much more cohesive story than Tommy. In fact, I listen to Quad much more often than the latter R 'n'R masterpiece. And I gotta go with what the others said: LIGHTEN UP ON THE WHO!!!!

(The Quadrophenia movie, however, is a piece of shit. No question. At least the Tommy flick was a barrelful of unintentional laffs)

avik@MNSi.Net (Avik Ghosh)
I am probably the world's greatest Who fan. And no matter what anyone says Quad is the best. Sure there is Sell out and Tommy and Who's Next and even compilations like Meaty etc. All amazing albums, but if you had to pick one out of the litter of their albums it has to be Quadrophenia, superbly constructed songs with equal melody, lyrics and musical talent, Entwhistle really lets himself go and the songs truly ROCK. As far as I am concerned, if the Who had to be described in one album: musically and image/attitude wise the album is most definitely Quadrophenia.

Bbhmdr@vmmc.org
Biff Pocoroba? Jeezus, talk about OBSCURE! (last team was the Braves, wasn't it?)

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It's about time someone other than me had the guts to say just how much this album sucks. I only wish someone had told the Who that keyboards, big production and having every song be about the same thing DOES NOT make art. In this case, it makes for a really BAD album.

Alias42264@aol.com
quad is the best who album ever. i guess pete was one of the few adults to remember what it's like to be a teenager.

Wthyo@aol.com
Ask any true who fan and they will tell you it is by far the best Who album ever.

ModOxGS@aol.com (Kendra Levine)
Quadrophenia is the pinacle of Townshend's work. The way the four themes merged in and out of the album, really set him and the rest of the Who, ahead of any other band. Keith Moon does and awesome time drumming, and the Ox!!! John Entwistle's work is phenominal!! "The Real Me", "Quadrophenia", "Drowned", the entire album is great bass playing that should be put on a pedestal!!! Quadrophenia etches Entwistle's spot in Bass history to the point he is a demigod. As a bass player this blew my mind! I still am amazed when I listen to it for the 2000th time!

koconnor@importproducts.com
Perhaps this album is a little over the top, but WHO doesn't like a good story about adolescent angst. Pete is truly a genius! By the by, give Clapton a chance. After all he once was God.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Hey now, I think most of you guys tend to exaggerate. Sure, QUADROPHENIA is not the WHO's greatest album (then again, what album IS the greatest? - that is the question), but, to my opiniooon, it is far better than WHO'S NEXT - at least conceptually. The conception of Who's Next/Lifehouse is, like, "I can put the whole damn world in my pocket and get away with it" (see especially such tracks as "Pure and Easy" or "Song is over") - somewhat pretentious it is (Queen and Pink Floyd were quite used to that kind of shit, and I detest them for it!). Here the philosophy is much more personal and humble. "Love Reign O'er Me". Who could disagree with that?

As for the music, it sure would have enjoyed more success were it not a double LP. Take, for example, "The Punk", "Had Enough", "Real Me" and "Quadrophenia" from the first one, add "5:15", "Bell Boy", "Dr Jimmy" and "Love..." from the second - and there you have it: the ULTIMATE record. As it is, the fillers, beautiful though they may be, really spoil the picture. But then again - it's a fuckin' opera, ain't it? Rock operas SHOULD have their share of stinkers. All operas should. If you don't believe it - maybe you should purchase a record of "DON GIOVANNI"!

MSROELOFS@prodigy.net (Mike in Hawaii)
I'll keep this brief. Quadrophenia probably is too demanding for a bit of casual listening. It's supposed to be; this is not pop. I'm afraid that,sadly, you've missed the point. For true music lovers Quadrophenia ultimately becomes one of the most rewarding rock albums ever. It gets under your skin and stays there permanently - just like the best work of J.S. Bach. Just my two-cents worth.

prblack@netins.net
I disagree with you opinion of this album and your special introductory paragraph. Quadrophenia is Tommy times 2, and easily the best Who album of all. You either get it or you don't, and a lot of us 'get it' (But then I never could get into the Beatles or 50% of what the Stones were pushing). As for your statement that the Who (unlike the Stones and the Beatles) have stuck together and sank and stank: I had the fortune to see the Who in concert in the summer of 1997, at the St. Louis Amphitheater, where they performed Quadrophenia in its entirety. It was without a doubt the most incredible concert I have ever experienced. Roger, Pete, and John were astounding, as was the entire supporting cast. If you ever get the chance to see them perform, check it out. You'll be glad they stuck together (you might even become a Who fan).

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
Here I have to agree with other people. This was a concept album that worked, for me, and the whole band are superb, especially the inimitable Keith Moon, the greatest drummer ever, no contest! There are really no bad songs, and the second half works brilliantly as an almost continuous piece of music. Too many horns and strings? I think Townshend just proved he was a decent composer. 8/10.

Dook829@aol.com
are you out of your fucking mind? Quadrophenia is not only The Who's best work but is also the 2nd or 3rd best album in rock. You talk down to yor readers like they are a bunch of novices. Wise up and listen.

terry@launchnet.com (Terry Haggin)
..... The Awesome Quad....Oh, what a headphone joy this one is. It even has the first headphone credit and the coolest booklet ever. A class production all the way. A 9 out of 10 because the only double album that ever gets a 10 is The Wall.

If you can't get off on 'Punk and the Godfather' or 'Bellboy' then start digging that horizontal dirt bed now, because you're dead buster. Plus all the cool sound effects make this masterpiece a nighty night favorite as I lay me down to sleep.

Leaping along that's what I love to do on my kit bag, soot suit, while I wait for the tea kettle to blow. Quad me kiddo and I'll be satisfied before that disaster Numb-bers comes next.

Auuugh, Number's gives me a gut burn, thank God for the great extras on the remaster version... Why no extras on my Quad? Why Pete? And all the rest are sooooo cool, my big nosed buddy.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Sorry Mark, but on this album, I'm glad that I was willing to listen to everyone else's comments and ignore yours. This album is friggin awesome. A part here and there gets dull, but the overall effect is such that I can ignore them. Maybe my love of this album comes from the fact that I'm 18, but this is about as clear-cut a 9 as there is in my opinion.

If getting old means no longer enjoying this album, "I hope I die before I get old."

jarwood@ui.urban.org (Jay Arwood)
Gotta go wit ya on this one, big guy!

Phewie! I was pretty disappointed after struggling the shrink-wrap off've this pretentious piece of excrement! And believe me, I tried REAL HARD to like it because all the blow-hard, snob, rock "intellectuals" (THERE'S an oxymoron for ya) told me what a MASTERPIECE it was! NOT! OK, "Love, Reign o'er me" is pretty good but so what? Is it good enough to sit through whatever excruciating minutes of overhyped crap to hear? It is not. Nor is it, alone, worth the price of a cd (let alone a double-cd). Townsend'd obviously started believing his "genius" press by this time and he blew it big time. Repetitive, boring, self-absorbed...I think you were being a bit generous myself. I'd rate it 4 albums on a good day.

BTW-how many records can actually be the BEST ROCK ALBUM OF ALL TIME, y'all??

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
I like this better than Tommy. The story is a little more cohesive and the songs themselves are powerful and much mre represetative of the Who in concert, especially "The Real Me". Daltry's singing and Entwisle's bass really come through. Too many keyboards though, and it does tend to be a little overblown. Some songs don't do it for me but most of them stand on their own.

Amgreenberg@aol.com
"The Real Me" is the Who's best song in my opinion. Best rhythm section ever as Entwhistle and Moon were in the fucking zone for that one. Angry, rapid, and violent...and terrific.

johncable@tir.com
You say that the music on this album is overblown and such. Okay. I was thinking that maybe, even though too many (almost half!) of the songs on A Quick One and Sell Out are agonizing pop echo blandness with no plugged-in guitar or drumming, maybe Quadrophenia would just disappoint me also, by being too dramatic and overdone and such.

But then you give Metallica's S&M a 9? A metal band that once wrote, at the very least, songs that were SERIOUS that decided to go in the direction that involves using joke titles for their albums ("S&M" means "Symphony and Metallica" and it also means "sadomasochism" wow how extremely clever and witty, just like the idea of putting some violins making some noise and single repeated notes over and over in the background and suddenly turning old Metallica songs into High Art!--and to drive the joke home, the ampersand resembles a treble clef, ah hahaha, hahaha, haha, ha) and writing slow soft ballads about their moms? Which, BY SHEER COINCIDENCE apparently, started selling more records than Metallica ever did before and opened the band up to a new fan base of alternative rockers. A band that teamed up with the guy who not only broke up Pink Floyd, but has an orchestra with electric guitars he calls a "Rock and Roll Ensemble"? Sounds like a Kiss side project, i.e. not even real music. Michael Kamen is probably a wife beater anyway. Or something. Maybe it was Gilmore who was the wife beater.

Now, I liked Load (as people who know me would remember me for saying "I loved Load, myself"). I thought it was a good album, with good music, different or not, yet it was odd how much they pushed the limits of how different they suddenly had to be, as if it wasn't good enough to just have the music different. Then Reload, ah haha, a clever sort of word play, because they're so different now, and even more creative. If they name their next album "'Lic' It Up" I'm going to declare unholy war on Metallica and anyone who even remotely likes them. I'm going to eat raw plutonium and spew it into the face of any Metallica fan. And any Kiss fan too, since they'd naturally have it coming. In fact, I should just do that right now, with the Kiss fans. Fuck Kiss, "rock and roll ensembles," the "Red Rocker," Styx, Buckethead, Pepsi, and Michael Kamen.

Oops, wrong page. I'm supposed to be talking about The Who.

Actually, I've never even heard Quadrophenia, and I have yet to own it. And even if I do, I won't write a review here of it; I'll leave that to my brother, Josh Cable. So I might as well get all of this out of the way right here in one mail.

Hell, if I'm getting all this out, I may as well add in the comments about the trend of having modern conductors and orchestrations suddenly add some Latin chanting to their work to make it "brilliant" and "artistic" and "beautiful." Along with the other disgusting trend of white bread white ass FUCKING PINK fucking American honkies acting like they're Japanese, and referring to themselves as Japanese names, and even using bastardized Japanese expletives and greetings in conversation. People who won't even talk about porn if it's not Japanese porn. These people need to be MOTHERFUCKING EXTERMINATED.

But this isn't the right place to even mention that kind of stuff. So never mind!

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Finally got it. Preliminary review:

It's good. It's already better than Sell Out and A Fucking Gay Quick One Filled With Bullshit Songs About Happi Happi Love. These songs are all cool, and unlike Tommy, it's not like an opera. The recurring themes in the music are a lot more sparse than Tommy, ala Tommy's See Me Feel Me in every song, or Sparks over and over again. And unlike Who's Next (awesome album), they're not using the Won't Get Fooled Again riff over and over for every fast/loud song.

The story is of course better. Fuck Lifehouse, this is the album that speaks to us all. Movie was trash and unnecessary, but this album is good. And that's good.

However, the Who members don't actually make up the character's personality. Why? Because John's theme isn't even a song, just 4 lines. Keith's theme doesn't make any sense, unless Pete is trying to say that Keith is a lazy and stupid sheep/wage slave that likes to sleep on the beach every now and again, and has a really dopey sounding voice. Roger's theme doesn't even seem to be talking about anyone. What the hell? And then Pete's song is the grandiose epic, Love Rain Over Myself. Of course, he doesn't sing it, because he's too busy being a homosexual ass fag or WHATEVER.

Pete may have written everything, but as evidenced by his VH1 Storytellers apperence, he's nothing without the other three. He said it himself, before Won't Get Fooled, he always believed that the song had more meaning and was more honest or whatever when he sang with, when the other Whosters didn't add their personality to the song. Then he sang it, and it just sucked ass. He's not a bad singer, but Roger has him and the rest of the world beaten flat. And an acoostic guitar always sounds dumb, unless he gets it to sound like it does in Pinball Wizard. Then it's fun. Um.

By the way, this has to be the best album cover ever. Just a kid on a motor scooter, and the band member's faces in the mirrors. But like this album, it's not flashy and has nothing to do with a pinball playing messiah that killed his parents and then killed God. But the kid and the bike are still larger than life. Like a giant meshed machine. Very cool. A lot better than Boston's stupid domed flying city. Boston never had any real good songs. But the Who did.

johncable@tir.com (Neptune Salad)
My brother purchased the album, and I figured it would actually just be an album I'd hear a couple songs off of, and leave it to my brother to relish it or at least give it all the listens. I figured you'd be a tad true and the album wouldn't be that good, and cheesy just like one of the worst albums ever made by a band ever, A Quick One. Bland sounding music with only one or two catchy songs, all in a double album. That was my expectation.

After hearing just about every song on Quadrophenia, though, I have to say this is one of my favorite albums, ever. The best Who songs I've heard off of Kids are Alright or Who's Next (the version of Who's Next that has "Water" even!).

Doctor Jimmy, Helpless Dancer, Love Reign O'er Me, The Real Me, Punk and the Godfather, 5:15, I've Had Enough, Is It in My Head?, even I Am the Sea. I love all of them. And I love the other songs on Quad I didn't mention. The lyrics are spectacular, and the horns and violins are certainly not nearly as bad as a certain shitty worst-ever live album by a certain sellout band I could mention. I really think that the extra instruments on Quadrophenia really help the music a LOT. And the bass and drums are a lot louder and the playing is better on this album than the other albums.

This album is not only better than the early Who albums, it's a hundred times better than Korn, Limp Bizkit, Blink 182, Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, Mudhoneyshovel/Dope/Staind/Lit/Kittie/Creed/whatever else (since they're basically all the same band) and just about anything else on MTV. And especially a hundred times better than Metallica's S&M. In fact, A Quick One and Sell Out are better than S&M. THAT'S JUST HOW FUCKING BAD S&M IS. When are you going to change your review of S&M from a 9 to a negative 9 or something? S&M should get a negative twenty out of ten, in fact. Hurry up, Perndil, update your site, and change that review. In fact, give everything Load and beyond a negative score, and change all the written reviews to just the word "Sellouts."

Okay, I'm calming down now. I'm going to take deep breaths, and get myself something to eat.

FUCK MOTHERFUCKING SHITTY SELLOUT METALLICA!!!!!!!!!!!!

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable, Again)
Someone said lately that Keith Mewn was "overrated." I dunno who, but apparently they did.

First off, they're dumb. Secondly, listen to Dr Jimmy. JUTS FUCKING LSTTNEM YOU MOTHERFRUCKES. The drum fills throughout the fucking song are just pure genius. PURE. FUCKING. GENIUS. It doesn't get any better than that.

And yes, Real Me is perhaps on of the best songs on the planet. A bass player's wet dream.

Horns or no horns, this album is so much better than fucking Sell Out A Quick One that I could PUKE. But I'd rather get stoned, put on headphones, turn off all the lights, and listen to Quad (or maybe Who Happens To Be Next).

DAS92355@aol.com
It is the year 2000, Quadrophenia was released in December 1973. The fact that we are arguing whether this is the best who album 27 years later speaks volumes about the quality of this work. The true test of genius is time, and Quadrophenia has passed with flying colors. If it is so easy to write a cohesive historically correct story, set it to moving, dramatic melodies and rhythms, how come no one else does it?

Tiger's not the man, Pete is !

ClashWho@aol.com (Tim Eimiller)
Hey, Mark, I bet you don't like it because you're listening to that ball of fuzz sound that appears on the vinyl. Listening to the remastered CD edition is like turning the lights on in a dim room and realizing the walls are rainbow murals rather than cinderblock or walking from drab, gray Kansas into wonderful technicolor Oz. It even beat out Tommy and The Wall on VH-1's 100 Greatest Albums Thingy. It's the highest ranking rock opera on the list.

Caleb462@cs.com
Hmm, this is a tough one. I love it, most of it. Yet it's not perfect. Disc 1 does come close though, with only on song, "Is It In My Head?", that I don't like as much as the others. It comes off as filler to me, and though the song's melodies are enjoyable, the chorus seems a little contrived. The rest of Disc 1 is excellent however, and I *love* "The Dirty Jobs"! Disc 2 starts out on a great note, with "5:15", but "Drowned" and "Sea and Sand" are a little boring to me. They're still somewhat enjoyable of course, thanks to the piano of "Drowned" and the nice melodies of "Sea and Sand". The songs that follow are all awesome, but for some reason Side 2 just seems a bit more tedious than Disc 1. Overall though, the album flows much better than any other rock opera I've heard. I'd probably give it a 9 as of now, but I suspect it may eventually be a 10. I've only just bought it.

Schneider_Dave@msn.com (Alfred Schneider)
well, i just don't understand how anyone who was a typical, well-adjusted, drug abusing, suicidal teenager would not rate quadrophenia as the greatest rock and roll record ever, the only thing that comes even close was that live U.F.O. record, strangers in the night or something

TVEye70@aol.com
What the hell...?

This is arguably the best Who album! Musically, they were on the top of their game - there's not too much by way of synthesizers (yet), and everything's forceful and memorable. So what if the story doesn't work? Neither did Tommy. The only time Townshend ever created a remotely cohesive story was on "A Quick One, While He's Away", and even then it wasn't too good. Listen again to "5:15", "Love Reign O'er Me", "The Real Me", "Bell Boy", "I've Had Enough", or even any of the instrumental "themes". It's all great.

Anyway, I don't think the Who ever recorded a 10, so this gets 9/10. I'm assuming everyone just doesn't like the overblown arrangements here, I can understand. But I think it works! Listen again!

JohnnyB8@aol.com
Well, as much as i love Tommy, i have to say that Quadrophenia features many more varied guitar lines and not the same recurring theme, as the "See Me Feel Me" came up many a time in Tommy. What makes this album so diverse from Tommy is that it's really like 4 stories in one. 4 personalities. I Forget who each member represents...it's something like Roger is the "Helpless Dancer", John is the guy who falls wayyyyyyy too hard for women, etc. But my favorite thing about this album is that its probably the best album featuring the bass guitar. Just listen to any song on there, particularly "The Real Me" which is definately one of my favorite Who songs ever. The only other album that comes close to being as bass-driven as this is Who Are You. On this album, i can still dig "5.15", "The Punk Meets The Godfather", and "Love Reign O'er Me". A Main reason for the existence of this album was to replace Tommy bits and piece os stage, which i guess Who's Next failed to to do. Bottom line...............check out the Who live at the Royal Albert Hall for Entwistle's HUGE 5.15 solo. AWESOME! Quadrophenia gets a 8/10.

jeff@furniturelab.com (Jeff Umbarger)
I think the Cable Twins either need a life or their own review site where I can not read or give a shit about their silly rants! Put a sock in it ya fuckin' wind - bags.

gray0187@tc.umn.edu (Jon)
Blah. This is very boring. I would much rather listen to Meddle than Quadrophenia. How often do you people who love it to death actually listen to it? I heard it twice all the way through and that was plenty. Nothing more to get out of it. 6/10, maybe.

slb23@shaw.ca (S.B.)
This is ONE GREAT ALBUM!! About FIVE times better than Tommy, and a better story-line. (well, I must admit, it does get a little confusing sometimes, though). AND the songs ROCK !!! Good ol' electric guitars. John E. is a GREAT BASSIST, and Keith Moon is an excellent drummer. Those fills . . . I mean, WOW! Only THREE things that BUG me about the album:

1) SIDE THREE: these songs are "okay" to "good". It's just a letdown from the rest of the album, which is fantastic.

2) The very very end of "Love Reign O'er Me". It sounds like Keith Moon banging on the cymbals with a few metal rods, and Pete Townsend bashing kitchen cultery together.

3) "I Am the Sea". Okay. So there's a bunch of sea sound effects, and Roger saying the four main lyrical themes of the album. But if they didn't include it, it would've fitted onto ONE CD (at 79 minutes or so). Like Tommy. But that's just a minor quibble.

mbleicher1@yahoo.com (Michael Bleicher)
Not quite-I agree, at times it can feel overblown and overproduced ("The Dirty Jobs", "Helpless Dancer", and "Is In My Head"...hell, basically all of side 2 come to mind), but to me, what wins out over that is the sheer emotion that is obviously present on this album. You can tell when an artist really invested his soul into the album and, without soundling like one of those stupid fans, that seems to be what Pete did (or was trying to do) here. In very few other places have I heard rock music that, while bombastic, can approach something beautiful, powerful, and real. Quadrophenia <is real-this isn't fake anger or angst, like in the pop/punk songs that flood the airwaves today. And, as I said, it's beautiful: the "Is it me" sections always move me, "Sea and sand" is gorgeous in its depression, and "Love, Reign O'er Me" defies words, although that sounds like a clich‚, it's like "A Day in the Life" in that the sensation of experience outmatches the adjectives we enjoy slapping onto things. Finally, you have to admit that every member of the band is in fine form here. John's bass is superb, even if you can't hear it at times because of all the goddamn synths (although Pete did a good job incorporating the new techonology creatively, as opposed to just about everyone who came later that I've heard); Roger finally gives voice and meaning to the songs rather than just singing Townshend's words (I think this might be his best performance); Pete's composition, playing, and arranging skills are (more or less) at their peak (there's some filler, I personally don't think rock operas or concept albums are a hell of a great idea, because the rock album wasn't meant for that. Give me "Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy" over "Tommy" any day), and Keith's drumming is amazing. Rather than let the layers of synths, pianos, and the like rule the show, he tries (and succeeds) in keeping the album on rock and roll ground. Complaints? Sure. Filler drags side 2 down, and the songs go on too long at times, to stretch it out onto a double album like it needed to be. Also, there is a bit too much production, and the synthesized strings (and other instruments) that are layerd onto almost every track (and if there aren't synths, they're guitars) give the record a sound that's a bit to "thick" and produced for me. But all in all, an honest, moving, and compelling effort. A nine.

ddickson@rice.edu
Well, if you don't like the Smashing Pumpkins, you're not gonna like this, Mark, so I can't fairly blame you for giving it a 6. But hey! I thought the same thing about the Who as you did before I listened to this. Namely, an overrated band with an overrated bass player but one helluva drummer and a quirky, unique style. Nothing more.

Then I heard Quadrophenia and was blown away, certain that I had just heard the greatest rock opera ever. And I still think that, since Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness isn't technically a rock opera--it has no plot, characters or motifs. This does, and yet it manages to be one of the tightest rock LPs of all time. And how ROCKIN'!. This album rocks significantly more than any other Who album save Who's Next, due to the vastly improved production. Speaking of which, I can finally hear Entwhistle's bass as distinct from the other instruments, instead of buried under the guitar and drums, and it rules. I just which the dude would play with a pick--can you imagine how bitchin' that would be?

Moreover, I feel if a band's going to do a double-LP concept album with only two hit singles, it'd better fucking be grandiose. Tommy isn't--it's only appreciable in a individual pop song sense, and only in bits and pieces. In other words, you have to program the fuck out of your CD player. Quad is like listening to a movie, or watching a musical. It has a clear beginning, and a clear end, it's pompous and showy like all get out, and you have to listen to the whole thing in its entirety to get the full effect. For old people, as you said. But that's what you get when you listen to a rock opera--a sound-effect laden version of Les Miserables with loud guitars. I dig it. Not everyone does, but hey; pobody's nerfect.

Greatest rock opera ever. Buy it today, people.

nhanslowe@msn.com
Now I'm twelve and I know that Quadrophenia was definitely one of the Who's best records. You can't say that 5:15 or Love Reign O're Me aren't excellent songs. Pete Townshend was at the top of his game whenhe wrote the music to the classic rock-opera. You annoy me with your rock-opera hating little mind. Quadrophenia, the song even rocked. It's a great instrumental. I'll admit, it was filled with keyboards and synthezithers, but if you want to hear overblown keyboard music listen to Yes!

nikus80@hotmail.com
You're making Mark look like a weird fuck who doesn't get this record great music. But, even though, after many listens, I'm starting to "get" this record, I still think it sounds overblown as fuck, and I enjoy quite a bit of overblown music. Exagerated vocals? Oh fuck yeah. I like Roger's roars from time to time, but I think he sounded much better in Tommy, or in Who's Next. Helpless Dancer is the worst offender. The theme is quite good, I like it when it appears instrumentally, but the actual song, I find it unbereable. And dude, how he screams in the song called "I've Had Enough". Damn.

There is good stuff here, though. The melodies are good, the title track sounds great, and the last dittie that everbody loves, Love Reign O'er Me, is awesome. But fuck, it's too contrived for me. Now Tommy, that's an awesome piece of a record.

BTW Mark has nothing against the "rock opera" concept, he loves tommy and the wall.

tomplotkin@sbcglobal.net
This record killed the Who dead; the experience of making it drained every bit of creative spark, fellow-feeling, and intelligence from their collective being. It is also said that Moon's spiral into terminal addiction was caused by his shame at his physical inability to play alongside pre-recorded tracks whilst wearing headphones when Quadrophenia was debuted as a concert item.

There is something profoundly wrong with a record, particularly a Who record, when you have to sit down and carefully read the liner notes, lyric sheet, and all contemporary Townshend interviews, as well as a history of Mod, to get a grasp on what the album is about. Smart people revere this record because Townshend lays bare with clarity and brilliance the nightmares of adolcense and his own shifting perspective from an older age both of his fans then and his life now; that is all true, but its all TEXT -- they forgot to record a decent piece of music to accompany it; Daltrey screams tunelessly, Pete falls pray to synthmania and bad Gilbert and Sullivanisms, Moon flails, and Entwhistle overpowers evrything in his path, boosted by the ugliest mix in the history of recorded music.

And the biggest shame? Townshend dealt with the same subject matter better than anyone in 3-minute masterpieces like "My Generation," "Kids Are Alright," "Anyhow, Anywhere," "I Can't Explain," "Substitute." And he must have known it.

After Quadrophenia, these people never recorded a note worth listening to, because they knew they had failed egregiously and dishonored why it was we loved them.

Add your thoughts?

Odds And Sods - MCA 1974.
Rating = 8

A fantastic compilation of rarities and whogoesthere. The first two songs kinda stink, but after that comes track after track of cleverly-conceived, beautifully-played, and interestingly-arranged ditties that for no clear reason were left off of earlier releases. The only one they ever play on the radio is "Long Live Rock," which sounds much better in the context of the album than it does lodged between The Cars and Boston, but what are you gonna do? If classic rock stations feel they have no reason to play gorgeous songs like "Pure And Easy," "Faith In Something Bigger," and "Naked Eye," then toss 'em! Who needs 'em?

And if you're a clever guy, you'll notice things while you listen to this record! Maybe you'll notice that Pete's anti-smoking jingle "Little Billy" has the same tune as his joke deodorant jingle "Odorono" from Sell Out, or that "Glow Girl" ends with the line "It's a girl, Mrs. Walker, it's a girl," which would later be regendered to become the first line in Tommy, or that Roger's vocal melody in "Pure And Easy" is exactly like the one he would use in "Imagine A Man" on the next studio album, even though the music is different (actually both vocal melodies sound an awful lot like "Come to this house!" as well). Or that whoever wrote "I'm The Face" was just ripping off "Got Love If You Want It." Or that Pete was a darn good songwriter for a while there (and a funny liner notes author, too!).

Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
The name is very fitting. That first number, "Postcard," is a strange number especially as the lead off song. The record is a nice combination of the early and middle Who and features some incredible drumming from Keith Moon.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
This is not one of my favourite albums. The tracks I like are "Long Live Rock", which is a classic and maybe their best rock-and-roll number of all (for a horrible live version which makes one vomit check out Who's Last; for a good live version check out... hell, I don't know what!); "I'm The Face", which was their first recorded song, so they had to come a loooooong way back; "Faith In Something Bigger" - very naive lyrics (for Townshend at least), but wonderful vocal harmonies; and "Naked Eye", although people keep telling me the live versions of this one were a trillion times better. Dunno. When I get the Isle Of Wight, we'll see about that.

But then Entwistle's "Postcard" sucks very much. "Put The Money Down" and "Too Much Of Anything" (two Lifehouse outtakes) do not suck, but are still forgettable. "Little Billy" is groovy, but not as groovy as Pete's other early comic material, like "Happy Jack". "Glow Girl" - interesting historically, that's all. Finally, there's "Pure And Easy". A key song in Lifehouse? Thank GOD it has been left for this album. The only sad thing is that the same should have been done with "Song Is Over". And that's not because this is bad music. This is BEAUTIFUL music! But it's terribly overblown, bombastic, huge, universal even for The Who. I don't feel comfortable about such songs.

Oh, on second thought, I think I shouldn't complain about these things. They are "Odds-and-sods", see? In fact, this album only speaks in favour of Pete. Any other mediocre band of the 60-s or 70-s would be HAPPY to get even a SINGLE song of such quality on their next LP. And Pete discarded this material - in favour of even BETTER songs!

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
I believe Entwistle put this album together. He was the one who came up with the material and he was the one who pieced it together. That may explain why "Postacrd" is on here and why it's also the leadoff track.

pinkles05@hotmail.com (Pete Egan)
I like this one. I don't have the remastered version, but the bonus tracks seem to consist mainly of cover tunes and b-sides, which don't particularly interest me. Of course, these are "odds and sods" so what else would you expect? Out of the original 11 songs, almost all are up to Who standards. Funny enough that you don't like "Postcard" and "Now I'm A Farmer" since the former was the first single released from this album, and Townshend later rated the latter as one of his best tracks. I have no complaints about "Postcard," the sound effects and brass are a nice touch, I even see a bit of humor in it. "Now I'm A Farmer" is alright until the bizarre bridge. In the liner notes, Townshend says "Little Billy" is an absolute masterpiece; well I won't go that far, but it is a lot better than the American Cancer Society said it was. "Glow Girl" is just a classic, mostly in part due to the awesome thrashin' distortion.

As for the Lifehouse outtakes, I'm partial to "Pure And Easy". Couldn't help but notice that the opening line is also the one that ended "Song Is Over" from Who's Next. The best part for me is the extended coda with the repeating "There once was a note, listen". I also dig the first single, "I'm The Face." Its very dated, and they've come a long way, but it shows the neglected harmonica of Daltrey. "Long Live Rock" is the one true anthem, which is the perfect way to end the album, even if the songs aren't in any certain order. An 8 is a good rating, but Who's Next is obviously better, I'd rate that a 9.

Jeffmoncheri@aol.com
Pretty much as perfect as a rock album can be, and it's a compilation of outtakes and b-sides, no less - especially the remastered version with the generous helping of new songs. Man, how could a song like We Close Tonight be locked in the vaults for 25 years? It's getting close to becoming one of my favorite 'Oo songs - I'm even thinking of making a tape that would drop it into Quadrophenia somewhere - I'm just trying to figure out where in the storyline to put it.

There is simply not a dud among these 23 songs - not even the really early stuff or the jokey stuff like Now I'm A Farmer. Personally, it gets my vote over Who's Next simply for that fact. A 10.

TVEye70@aol.com
Odds and Sods isn't much fun to listen to the whole way through. There's plenty of filler on here and it wears, definitely. I know I don't, and kinda wonder if anyone else would, give two shits about crap like "I'm the Face". Ha ha, cute period piece, NOW SHUT UP. That said, there are some killer tracks on here - "Faith In Something Bigger", "Naked Eye", "Glow Girl". But it's hard to really focus on it. Typical outtakes compilation - some good stuff, some garbage, but on the whole worth owning for that good stuff. Final: 6/10

Add your thoughts?

The Who By Numbers - MCA 1975.
Rating = 7

At least Pete isn't kidding himself. He's been re-using the same chord sequences for about four albums now. Still, at least the guitars are back and it doesn't sound like Jesus Christ Superstar. The only problem with a normal album featuring ten short unrelated songs is that everybody does that. If you're gonna make yours stand out, every single song has to be fantastic. Here, only about half of the songs qualify as "really good." That's still a lot better than plenty of bands can manage (e.g. Foreigner, Styx), but nothing to be terribly proud of.

"However Much I Booze" has a splendid hoedown-and-harmonics guitar break, "Blue Red And Grey" is a lovely ukulele-driven song (or whatever that instrument is - moog synth? sarod? autoharp? who gives a crap?), and, as I mentioned in an earlier review, "Imagine A Man" is gorgeous. Also, "In A Hand Or A Face" and "Dreaming From The Waist" have neat choruses, but on the whole, you'll be surprised by how similar all the songs are, and you'll get kinda bored listening to side two.

But the real interest lies in the lyrics. Pete was having a really tough time dealing with his bullshit, and as a result a lot of the tunes read like confessional sad diary entries. Check out some of these thoughts:

"I see myself on T.V., I'm a faker, a paper clown/It's clear to all my friends that I habitually lie; I just bring them down."

"The plot starts to thicken then I sicken and I feel I'm cemented down/I'm so juiced that the whorey lady's sad sad story has me quietly weeping"

"Hey, goodbye all you punks/Stay young and stay high/Just hand me my checkbook/And I'll crawl out to die"

"Suddenly it's the silver screen/And a face so beautiful that I have to cry out/Everybody hears me/But I look like a fool now/With a cry and I shy out"

But of course the hit was "Squeeze Box," a song about Roger's Mom's hooters.

Basically a good album, and certainly easy to listen to, but the music just starts to drag after a little while. That's what happens when one guy writes all your songs. When he runs dry, you're finished 'cause you're all too untalented to make up for what he's lost. Jerks.

Reader Comments
break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
In response to a since-deleted comment: He's an artist all right. Committed to his musical vision. Rock was not product to him like it is for most bands that make it. Rock was LIFE. You don't compromise your musical vision just to cater to your band mates. And The Who understood that.

mefford@questtek.com
I personally think this is a great album, more like a lost Townshend solo record than a Who album. "Slip Kid" kicks ass and "Imagine a Man" is utterly beautiful. Maybe these songs were just too personal for most people, but I feel it might be the Who's lost masterpiece. Short and sweet. The bonus tracks on the reissue are awesome too, especially "Dreaming from the Waist".

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
I may be standing alone on this one, but this is my favorite Who album. Why? Well, first of all, there's not a bad song to be found. Second, more than half of it rules. The first side is perfect, and "Dreaming From the Waist" is also great. And third, it's their most unpretentious and fun record. I think the reason nobody appreciates it is because the hit was "Squeeze Box"--hey, the worst song on the album!

I'm not much more of a Who fan than Mark, so I can't understand why he only gives it a 6. C'mon, Mark; you kick their ass for being so overblown and bombastic, and when they finally calm down you give your weakest response! That doesn't make any sense. The Beatles took the same unpretentious approach with Let it Be and you gave that a 9, even though it doesn't deserve to kiss The Who By Numbers's ass. Three classic songs and a bunch of half-finished filler and it's better than 90% of the Who's output?? But I digress. This one deserves an 8 or 9/10.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
The Who actually take a more mellow approach on this record especially with songs 2,3, and 4 on side 1. Amazingly, these are all very good tracks as well as "Squeeze Box", another non rocker. Where this record is not the first one you think of when this great band comes to mind, it's a winner on style points.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
Unlike everyone else here, it seems, I prefer the second half of this album to the first. The piano on "They Are All In Love" is beautiful and "How Many Friends" is one of the most powerful songs The Who ever recorded, both lyrically and musically. "Blue Red and Grey" is so modest, unpretentious and understated that it can take your breath away. There is not one bad song on the entire record. Not one. I think The Who By Numbers and Neil Young's Tonight's The Night are the two best albums of 1975. Pure music, great songwriting, and dark, troubled lyrics. Pete Townshend and Neil Young were both plainly suffering and depressed and they both bleed all over your speakers with these albums.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
A good album. But not among the Who's best. Just as Tim prefers the second side, I prefer the first one, because it just kinda gets boring near the end. Only "Blue Red and Gray" saves Side Two. The other gems are "Dreaming From The Waist" and, sure enough, "Squeeze Box". "Slip Kid" is OK for an opening, and "Imagine A Man" is a pretty ballad, although somewhat monotonous.

However, the rest of the songs are not very interesting. The problem that struck Pete during the songwriting for this album and which continues till now is that the MELODY is often neglected in favor of the PHILOSOPHICAL MESSAGE. While Tommy and Quadrophenia managed to combine deep sense with great melodies, here it is seen that a lot of songs is just Pete saying: "Howdy, folks, I don't feel good and I want you to know 'bout it!" ("However Much I Booze" - an overlong pessimistic ode, "How Many Friends", etc.)

I would not agree with Tim in naming this "the record of the year". McCartney's Venus and Mars, e.g., is much better. Still - I'm proud to earn The Who by Numbers and every Who fan should earn it!

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
I'd agree with '6' for this one. An album that's easy to like, but impossible to rave over. More a Pete Townshend album than a Who album, as one of the commentators said, and indeed the solo song "Blue, Red And Grey" is the highlight - this would probably have to be my favourite Who song - totally gorgeous!!!

terry@launchnet.com (Terry Haggin)
WHY?

WHY?

I tried to like this album so much but only 'Slip Kid' and "Dreaming' pass the test. 'Squeeze Box' is flipping horrible, a head-hiding disaster. And the rest just drag. This should only be a 5 at best but the extras on the remaster are great, especially "Dreaming Live." And did I say how much I dislike anything by John? Yucch!

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
This is the first Who album I bought, and it may not be their best, but it's my sentimental favorite. I like every song on here. It's much more personal than any other Who album (I agree, it's mainly Townshend's solo album) and that had something to do with Towsnshend's turning 30. He was very depressed by that fact and it shows in the writing. Some of the softer songs here are the most beautiful the Who had ever done. I've always thought "In A Hand or A Face" should have been a classic. The only thing that mars it or me is the production. The Who's studio albums contain great songs but the producton is always uneven. Quadrophenia sounds a lot clearer and more powerful than this one. The instruments here sound a little muted, especially the drums. This is a minor complaint though, I still love this album.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Huh

I see what you mean by it getting kinda boring at the end. It's good, of course, but not great. Who Are You is much better than this. I agree with the 6, maybe a 7.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Not a bad album, but definatly aptly titled, as its their most mediocre album to date. Call me stupid, but i absolutely love "Squeeze Box" for some reason. "However Much I Booze" is also excellent and "Imagine A Man", "Blue Red And Grey", "How Many Friends", and "They Are All In Love" are beautiful songs. "Dreaming From The Waist" is also nice. "Slip Kid" is alright (a bit overlong though), but "Success Story" and "In A Hand Or A Face" are pretty dang mediocre to me. I give this a high 7.

TVEye70@aol.com
An unfairly reviled album. There's a ton of great songs on here. This album, however, is proof enough for me to dislike Daltrey's voice. Yes, yes, I know, powerful and influential, but good for anthems, not little insecure, depressed Pete's quiet ruminations on booze, sex, and suicide. Also, "Squeeze Box" is the worst piece of garbage the Who ever put their name on. Townshend should hang his head in shame. And whoever above said it, you're right, "Imagine a Man" is boring. The rest of it though - displays a bit of diversity, some complex arrangements, and some gorgeously pained lyrics. I can understand why it's not a favorite, but I think it's great. Check out "Slip Kid", "Dreaming from the Waist", the chorus especially on "However Much I Booze", and the acoustic grace of "Blue Red and Grey" - it may not be great for a Who album, but on the whole it's superb, and I go back to it a lot. 8/10

Alainna Earl
I just think 'Squeeze Box' was done better by Tenacious D at the Vh1 Honors. It was just funnier and Roger's voice get's annoying sometimes.

Ben
Wow, it really surprised me how much I agree with you on this. Not that I care much for "Quadrophenia," but this is probably the beginning of the end for The Who. I personally find this to be a great album, even if it is pretty monotonous and the songs just kind of float right past me. My personal favorite here is "Slip Kid," but I also love "Blue Red and Grey," "Dreaming from the Waist," "Squeeze Box" and "However Much I Booze." This just might be the review that I agree with you the most on.

Add your thoughts?

Who Are You - MCA 1978.
Rating = 6

Don't call it a comeback! 'Cause it's not very good. The latest in hot technology synthesizers have replaced guitars as Pete's chief musical interest, so the whole record sounds uncomfortably dated. Still, if you ignore the corny production techniques, you'll find some tender prettiness in "Music Must Change" and "Love Is Coming Down," as well as Entwistle's wonderfully bitter "Had Enough," which kicks all sorts of wussy mid-tempo keyboard-driven ass near the beginning of side one. This record features lots of songs about music, which is surprising considering how sterile and fake the whole thing sounds. The only guitar rocker on the whole darn thing is the title track, which I just love and I hope you do too, but still - why all the synthesizers? Come on, man. And the rest of the songs are pretty uninteresting.

But hey! This is interesting! On the album cover, Keith Moon is sitting in a chair that reads "Not To Be Taken Away." A few months after the record's release, he died of a drug overdose.

Also, how come there's no question mark after the phrase "Who are you" anywhere on the album? Is it a statement? Are they trying to reaffirm their original hope and faith in the solidarity between the band and their fans earlier acknowledged in tracks like "The Kids Are Alright" and "My Generation?"

Nah, they probably just forgot to put a question mark on there.

Reader Comments

break7@moran.com (Tim Eimiller)
Read your review of In Through the Out Door and then your review of Who Are You. You make excuses for Led Zeppelin saying that they are "Old men." But then you condemn The Who because they are "Old men." Be consistent please. You seem biased towards Led Zeppelin. The Who were ten times the rock band Zep ever was. And I'm a fan of both. I have every record by both bands. I'm also only 22, so your idea that only old people think The Who are third best after the Beatles and Stones is bullshit. The Who are the greatest rock band the world has ever seen. Yes, I've heard everything by the Beatles, except for the new anthology stuff, and about half of the Stones stuff (The best half). I think you should rethink your position on The Who, and perhaps not be so damn negative about the band in your introductory paragraph. Also, your review of Who's Missing IS offensive (Not to mention out of place, what were you thinking?). Why is it offensive? Because words MEAN things. There is no such thing as "Just words." Unless it's a word like figjibble. Ok, THAT'S just a word.

tomv@email.plnet.net (Tom Vetre)
I'm sorry, but I have to emphatically disagree with this bad review of Who Are You. The Who has always been a very personal band to me. I learned how to play Who songs on my first guitar, and had a crappy childhood to boot. So I guess I could be called a Quadrophenia kinda guy. I'm 28 now and still love to listen to the Who a lot. This album especially next to Quadrophenia. Pete Townshend writes from his soul. And I can see his soul and mine are alike. From the first chords of "New Song", you get a feeling of what kind of groove this album is coming in on. The Synthesizers add a sound that colors the music without having to hire an orchestra. Though I'm not the greatest fan of the Title song, but it is well worth the listen. My personal favorite is "Love Is Coming Down." That was my teenage years to a T. I find this album of very excellent quality. Pete, if you read this, thanks for being there for me when I was a teenager. I really appreciate it.

salvo@cetlink.net (Greg Ellis)
ok. THIS album DOES suck, but yeah, i would choose the who over zeppelin any day of the fucking week. yeah most of what the who have done in the past 20 years has been pretensious, contrived, and boring, but EVERYTHING zeppelin did, in my opinion...

mefford@questtek.com
When I listen to this album and really think about it, I know it sucks. But in a strange way, it's almost appealing. It was probably the best possible thing that could have come out of the band's situation at the time. Townshend wanted to move the band in a new direction, Daltrey fiercely resisted all change, and Keith Moon was dying, which is pretty evident in his playing. John's songs save the day on this one, "905" being a personal favorite of mine.

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
Once again, I'm not much of a Who fan, but I find myself disagreeing with your mediocre review of Who Are You. God help me, I love this record. The melodies are terrif (especially in "New Song", "Had Enough", and the overlooked "Trick of the Light" and "Guitar and Pen"), the synth and keyboards are addictive, and it's so pretentious it's fun. I admit that the lyrics suck, and if you're in a cynical mood you'll think every song is corny, overblown garbage. It's completely un-hip, but utterly enjoyable. (By the way, the first band I was ever into was Queen--and I like this album. Coincidence?) 7 or 8/10

Alias42264@aol.com
shut up tim. ledzep blows away the who anyday, and mark was right about words just being words. you sure that's not supposed to be moron instead of moran,tim?

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
Typical Led Zeppelin fan. It's amazing how many of the hardcore Zep fans are utterly stupid. I suggest you rent yourself The Kids Are Alright on video or purchase Live At Leeds for irrefutable proof that Led Zeppelin could never hold a candle to The Who. Good day.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Well, here is an album that actually shows Townshend should NOT have retired, as you suggested in By Numbers review.

I didn't quite like it at first. But listening to it more and more I began to understand that it is truly great.

If By Numbers was the Album of the Pessimist, then Who Are You is the Album of the Experimentator. Indeed, it would be much wiser to choose "Music Must Change" as the title track, since this track somehow summarizes all of Townshend's ideas of that period!

No more lamenting here, no more wailing and self-despising. Well, maybe on "New Song" - but "New Song" is not about Pete, it's about music in general!

"Music must change" - and it does. Most of the songs are what they call "absolutely uncharacteristic" of the Who; but they come from the gifted mind of Pete, and Pete was always great at experiments!

And the album is not "sterile and fake". Pete Townshend is never "fake". Never. NEVER! The Stones could be fake. Paul McCartney could be fake. But not Pete. What "fakeness" is there in such great tracks as "Who Are You" or "Sister Disco"?

This album truly deserves a 9. Truly! Just listen to it one more time.

terry@launchnet.com (Terry Haggin)
A very popular album in 1978. I love "Had Enough" so lay off it huh, especially when I am falling asleep in the morning on the way to work. And the sound for "Who are you" is great but the rest of the tunz are marginal at best. For a great album, see Empty Glass or instead Pete's greatest solo album, Cowboys. Which has just come out on CD for the first time ever this month by the way.

Too bad Moon had to choke on his own vomit after this one, it could have be done at a better time musically for him. He basically walks through this whole disc. And Pete is floating in a tub full of Remy Martin throughout so it can't be that great. Basically, The OOO faded after Quad although they come back a couple of individual songs, like Emminence and others...

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Just a little correction: Moon did NOT choke on his vomit. Moon took an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. That was Bonzo who choked on his vomit. Makes a crucial difference for me. Why does everybody like to mix these things up? Hell, I even have a book in which it is written that Moon was so crazy he finally got stoned and drowned in his swimming-pool... eh?

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
First off, to Tim: I can understand why this would get a lower ranking than ITTOD in Mark's book; the latter is an exceedingly unpretentious album, especially compared to much of zep's other work. Whereas Who Are You tries to make a statement about something or other every other sentence.

That being said... Prindle, you dip, this album rules. You call it surprising that the sound would be so sterile in songs about music; I call it absolutely terrific satire. It's almost as if Townshend is saying to the world "You want synths in every nook and cranney, I'll GIVE you synths in every nook and cranney, all the while talking about the death of good music to show you all how stupid you are." I mean yeah, he used them a lot on Quad, but there they were tasteful. Here, yes, they're overblown, but I honestly feel that was _exactly_ what Townshend wanted.

Now, the drumming _is_ inferior here, which costs it a point. Nevertheless, 8 of 10.

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
The beginning of the end. "Who are You" is a classic and I lke "Had Enough" and "Trick of the Light". I used to like "Sister Disco" but now it sounds dated to me. Moon was not in the best of shape at this time, and although his drummig is still great, it's clealy not what it used to be. This came out a year after punk came out in England and Townshend wanted to pass the torch on to somebody else, so he tried to branch out a little musically by adding more keyboards and less guitar, but to me, the music comes out sounding a little thin and directionless. Not a bad album, but not up to their previous standards.

TOMNH65@aol.com
SCREW ALL YOU JERKS THE WHO ARE YOU ALBUM IS DAMN GREAT... AS FOR THE SYNTHERSIZER , SPELLING NOT SURE ON THAT WORD) ANYWAY THE ALBUM IS GENIUS, I LOVE IT.... WAKE UP FOLKS, ALL THE BANDS ARE USING ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTS THESE DAYS, INCLUDING ELECTRIC GUITAR... HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS STILL GREAT ALL THE SONGS ARE GREAT ON THE ALBUM ESPECIALLY THE FAREWELL TO DISCO ODE.... YEH I LOVE ME TOO

THE BEST DARN ALBUM THEY EVER MADE, I DONT CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS, OPINIONS ARE LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT AND WE ALL HAVE THEM....

piljacob@home.com (Jacob Phil)
who are you - best who song ever

tomcarnage@hotmail.com
From what my brother in law told me, "Who Are You" was written after The Who got into a fight w/ the Ramones. Who won? I dunno...betcha it was the Ramones though. Dee Dee alone looks like he could take out everybody (except Keith maybe) in one fell swoop.

I totally agree with Mark's opinion on The Who. Another case of a good, not great, band totally overblown and made to seem like Gods by stereotypical "classic rock" fans. Y'know, the people who can sit through Peter Gabriel songs without cringing?...

..and to top this insult off, I'd have to say the Zep was far more effective in their songwriting (not to mention consistant) than The Who ever was. Besides, in my opinion, "Who Are You" has to be one of the WORST rock songs ever written by ANY band.

I'm going to listen to some Doors...now THEY were a (to quote the vernacular) badass band!

WBinder007@aol.com
That thing about the Ramones ain't true- if it was, why would Pete contribute backing vocals to the Ramones' cover of Substitute on Acid Eaters? Drugs and booze only explain so much in his case. From what I heard, one night Pete kicked the bejeezus out of Paul Cook, the Sex Pistols drummer. He knew Paul was in the Pistols, but didn't know which one he was and mistook him for Sid Vicious. As he was punching Cook he was yelling "Who are you?!" Well, anyways, that's what I heard. But that doesn't really make any sense either, because in Johnny Rotten's autobiography, Rotten, he talks about Townshend wanting to meet him, claiming Townshend said he was his hero. Kinda sounds like bullshit, but whatever.

Eimiller seriously needs to remove whatever large object he had wedged up his ass when he read this page, though. Who's Next does deserve the 8 Prindle gave it, and Live At Leeds is NOT the best live album ever, although it does have the best version of "Magic Bus" on it. Jeez, the only people worse than obsessive Who fans are Led Zeppelin fans.

ClashWho@aol.com (Tim Eimiller)
Geez, that was like eight years ago when this site was still young. Amazing. I haven't changed much, by the way. :)

TVEye70@aol.com
Roger Daltrey ruins yet another Who record....

These are obviously Pete's songs, and Daltrey's chest-beating tough-guy voice just doesn't work for 'em. I actually like the synthesized sound here, it covers up for the fact that Keith Moon's drumming is pretty damn weak and accordingly mixed pretty far back (I think). "Sister Disco" and "Had Enough" are songs that Daltrey's voice works well on, but "Who Are You" plus the rest of the album should have had Pete singing, because Daltrey just sounds ugly. Good enough songs, some okay anthemic choruses ("Music Must Change"), but on the whole not one I listen to a whole lot. 6/10

Add your thoughts?

The Kids Are Alright - MCA 1979.
Rating = 9

The double-album soundtrack to a lovely movie about our favorite young band from London or wherever, this is another great place for you to get a clear understanding of what a kickbutt live band they could be. Almost all of these recordings are in-concert, and almost all of 'em just churn the crud outta that rock 'n' roll butter, whether it's the mod early dissonant surf charm of "My Generation" and "I Can't Explain" or the overblown Who's Next-era bombastic show tune scream rock of "Baba O'Riley" and "Join Together." Pete is the baby on this man, ripping out all kinds of vintage riffingtons in such hoppin' numbers as "My Wife," "Young Man Blues," and the previously unavailable cover of somebody-or-others's "Roadrunner" (not the Modern Lovers song....). It's even got some Tommy songs from Woodstock, of all silly cartoon birds! Lots of fun to be found here, and some surprisingly good recordings for live stuff.
Reader Comments

liberty@ptialaska.net (Marc Kovac)
Why buy the CD for 14 bucks when you can own the film on video cassette for 6 dollars more? I say!

See! Keith Moon blow up his drums with an accidental overdose of flash powder on the Smothers Brothers variety circus show. Resulting in injury!!!

Hear! All sorts of dope live shit.

Watch! As Daltrey morphs from a pretentious young hooligan into a weathered, leather purse during the course of the Who's 5 million year death march.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
It was the video of the Kids that got me interested in the Who stuff in the first place, so I gotta say a few words 'bout it. I'm pretty much disappointed in the CD version: for some dumb reason they had to cut out the near-perfect medley of "Roadrunner/My Generation Blues"! Why?? If they REALLY wanted to fit everything on one CD, why not cut out "Magic Bus" or "Long Live Rock" instead? They are available in a hundred other places, and this one cannot be found anywhere else! As for the good stuff: I particularly enjoy "Baba" and "Fooled Again". I wonder how the hell could they manage such a heavenly performance in... 1978! A dying Keith, a bored and unhappy Pete and a frustrated Roger... and then suddenly THIS GREAT REMINISCENCE of the Good Old Days! Fantastic! Undoubtedly their LAST GREAT performance!

On the other hand, "My Wife" is horrible. As far as I know, it's from their 1977 Kilburn show, when John was drunk and Keith could hardly hold his drumsticks, and it shows. The Who were always known for their brilliant ability to turn cacophony into Heaven; here, it seems they are eagerly trying to do just the opposite. The only reason for including this track that I can think about is a desire to demonstrate that the Who COULD have bad nights, too. ("Hey! We're all human here!") Skip this version and check out the live version on 30 years of R&B video (sure there's no Keith there, just Kenney Jones, but THAT one rocks, while THIS one just drags!!)

But "Young Man Blues" is perfect. The perfectest of all the perfect performances. My favourite live track by the Who! If there is such a thing as rock heaven, THIS is close!

terry@launchnet.com (Terry Haggin)
I saw this movie at one of those college "Midnight Madness" shows at the local theatre. You know those shows, the ones with "Fists of Fury" and the hilarious lip sync/overdubs and the ketchup-fake blood or the horrid "Song remains the Same" or the vapid "Rocky Horror." Not to mention the "Groove Tube." Or "Dirty Harry." One thing Midnight Madnesses proove is that there are no shortages of dreck movies and bored teenagers willing to see them.

The general idea is/was to basically get as drunk as Foster Brooks before you get there and then try not to kick your Lowenbrau down the concrete aisle when you get up to throw up. Come on, don't play innocent with me. You know what I am talking about. If you haven't drank before one of these things and then held it in till your bladder throbs, you are a priss. What is played at the midnight madnesses these days? I'm in bed before 10:00 now unless a good internet site keeps me awake past my bed time. Like this one.

Back to reviewn'... Well, the movie blew me away. The "baba/fooled" ending was incredible and through cheap, $15.00 speakers too. Nothing is tighter than an Iranian theatre owner's wallet. Pete was so drunk for this gig it was incredible he didn't vomit right through the screen, he literally staggers off the stage at several points. Betty Ford thisaway.

The thing that I remember is seeing how much fun these guys had. I think Pete really loved Moonie, they get along throughout like autistic twins. Interesting note inserted here, remember that explosion in the Smother's Brother's show scene? Moonie put in an extra blast for the benefit of little Tommy S. However, Pete was sitting too close and the sound permanently damaged his right eardrum and he was never the same. Actually he was nearly deaf for a month after.

In sum, this maybe one of the best band films ever. I can't think of anyone else that comes to mind, except "Rattle and Hum." But that had U-2 in it which dropped it to a maximum of 5 in my book. OVER RATED band that U-2. I'll give this one an 8 for music and a 10 for film so that adds up to an 18 divided by 2 which is 9. I'll give it a 9.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I was expecting to absolutely love this album when I bought it; unfortunately, and I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that I bought the CD version and not the lp version, but I really don't like it that much. First of all, I love 'I can see..." and 'Magic Bus', but I already have those songs elsewhere. Plus, I'm honestly not that impressed with the versions of Young Man Blues and A Quick One on here. I mean, Young Man is good, but I honestly like the Leeds version better. Also, I know that the performance of A Quick One is better here than on Leeds, but that's part of what ruins it for me. For me, A Quick One is humorous in large part due to its clumsiness, and doing it too _well_ makes it lose some of its charm for me. That being said, Baba and Fooled are terrific, and I like the live versions of My Generation and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere. Heck, I even like My Wife.

Again, I'm sure some of these feelings are from the fact that I have the CD and not the vinyl, but I only give this a 7, maybe an 8 on a good day.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
A couple more thoughts on 'Young Man Blues'. I honestly feel the version on Kids is the Who's greatest officially released live track. It IS better than both the Leeds and the Wight version, for the following reasons. First of all, it's slower: some might think that YMB should be a fast, breakneck speed raving number, but it shouldn't. It's just a little bit slower here, which actually brings more depth and even majesty to the number. The fact that Daltrey doesn't speed up his vocal deliveries in the beginning tremendously builds up the tension and thrill for me. On Leeds it almost seems as if Pete is in a hurry, wishing to skip over the introduction part hastily. Second, have you appreciated that incredible guitar tone? It's partly due to the acoustics of the London Coliseum, but I don't think that's the only reason. Leeds and Wight feature a 'normal' hard guitar tone. Here it's something totally unique, the sound has a 'poisoned' feel to it. I have never heard anything like this, on no live or studio album - by the Who or by anybody else. Totally fascinating. Third: Pete is king here. Just listen to his riffing and soloing: no guitar line ever gets repeated twice. Again, the Leeds and Wight versions are rather monotonous, with the main melody severely simplified. I don't understand how anybody can prefer the Leeds version which is excellent, but 'generic', if such a word is appliable to a Who performance. It's even edited. The Wight version is also good, but it can only be truly appreciated when accompanied by video. The YMB on Kids rules undisputably. By the way, John is totally right when he says that Wight sounds better in headphones. I mostly listened to it in headphones, so that explains my good feelings towards the album. Play 'Heaven And Hell' in your headphones at full volume and you'll understand why Townshend doesn't play electric any more.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Fair enough. I will admit that the guitar tone in the Kids version is unlike anything I've ever heard before, (and poisoned is a good way to describe it), but ... I guess I just need to listen to it a few jillion more times, as it is a relatively recent purchase for me, but for now, it doesn't really get me going that much. Who knows, that might change.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Alright, my thoughts have changed after listening to the track a few times. You're right, it is better than the Leeds and Wight versions.

I can still only give the album an 8, tho, cos I don't see the need for Magic Bus or I Can See For Miles or Long Live Rock on here.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
This was my first damn Who album. A mistake, but it's really not that bad. I personally hate live stuff, and between the album and live version of See Me Feel Me, there's the best song the Whew ever did.

I got this because I figured it was a totally official greatest hits thing. And I knew that I wanted I Can't Explain. But FUCKING ASSFUCK, IT'S A SHITTY LIVE VERSION. Worst of all, it's the worst live version ever. Hellfuck.

By the way, Pete did not give himself tinnitis (hope *you* spelled it right). He got it from Keith's exploding drum kit from the first track, and the opening of the movie (for the first part, the blast was actually obscured by some queer spinning graphic that said "The Who". But later, they show it in slo-mo... not bad). You see, the blast went off next to Pete's damn HEAD. That's what gave him the... [copying and pasting, mind you] tinnitis. It also embedded a chunk of symbol/cimble (I forgot how to spell it) in Moonie's arm or something. So there. Check your facts, Mr. Music-person Review-site-maker. :(

The album itself is cool. A Quick One is awesome. Too bad there's crappy live stuff.

The movie, however, is totally different. To see The Who, in all the different years. Man, it's amazing. Seeing the pure weirdness of what the Who started as. Seeing Daltry acting out the song I Can't Explain (and doing quite well of portraying being confused, maybe even frustrated at his inability to "Not Explain") and seeing their weird HAIR. Watching the band go from having a dressy gimmick mixed with violence to tee-shirt and jeans, seeing some Dutch guy try and explain Tommy to Townsend and have the translated reply being "Ummm...... jah." Hearing from off screen, some American interviewers asking Keith "Hey, we just shot a lot of footage and we were wondering if maybe now you could tell us the truth" with Moon replying with "You want me to do that? I can't do that. You couldn't afford me!" Seeing the awesome pre-MTV videos were Keith doesn't give a fuck about synching the obviously pre-recorded Magic Bus with the visuals. Watching John continue to play perfectly, constantly, as Keith and Pete smash the whole fucking stage. It's the best movie ever.

John Cable
WHY DID STUPID JOSH COMPLAIN ABOUT THE LIVE SONGS? It wasn't until we got several The Hoo albums did we realize that their best stuff is live.

It's been so many years since we wrote them old ass reviews and since "TIR" even existed as a DIALUP!!!!!!!! ISP and all that kinds of goofy ass shit. Now it's all about gmail and using websites. Boy I remember when the worst email was web based email, now it's the only email anyone uses. Sort of.

Anyway yeah notice Jissough says that the version on this of "A Quick One" is superior, well it's a live version!!!!!!!! I actually still remember the disappointment of the muddy watery production in the studio albums of old, A Quick One and Sell Out, I was thinking they'd all be loud rock albums because The Who was supposed to be one of the loudest fawkin bands ever. Turns out that's only when they're live. Anyway, this was our first Who album and is actually a great introduction to the band, AND a great greatest hits collection (for housewives and little girls). Whoever put this together knew to pick their best studio songs, and then some of their best live shit, as like a perfect balance. Oh yeah but most importantly, THE MOVIE ITSELF IS GREAT.

Also why was I so mad about Metallica being sellouts? I mean I still think S&M isn't good but I was an angry young man with my maps and my medals laid out on the floor.

Add your thoughts?

Hooligans - MCA 1981.
Rating = 9

A double-album greatest hits that sounds great from start to coda, but, as usual, I have my complaints. Why is half of Who's Next on here? Wouldn't any Who fan willing to spend the big bucks on a double-album compilation already own that album? Also, why did they pull "5:15" and "Drowned" off of Quadrophenia, but not "Love Reign O'er Me?" Why "Sister Disco?" Why nothing from Odds And Sods? Weird.

Still, it does have my beloved "Had Enough," as well as three songs available on LP here for the very first time: "Let's See Action" and "Relay" from 1971, and the radio classic (with Jew's harp!) "Join Together" from 1972. I got the album for a dollar 'cause it has these three songs on it. They're worth a dollar. And if I didn't already have all the others, they'd be worth a MILLION dollars! Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy is better, but if you've got that already, you might consider this one as a follow-up. At least it doesn't have any of that '80s crap on it.

Reader Comments

pedroandino@msn.com
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! hooligans! I found the lp as a gift for my sister cause back then she will lick roger's hair cause he was so sexy! why he cut it off for dumb new wave cut is beyond me! I never heard of quadropheniac! get it! do not diss me! greensteen shut ya faggot ass up! eat cock 3 minute radio fag! anyway my pick for my favorite who cd's are sellout! 10 tommy! 10! who's next! 10! odds and sodds! 10 tommy 1975 sound track! 10! but who are you kinda sucked! ok maybe for a second try I can hear it.

Add your thoughts?

Greatest Hits - MCA 1983.
Rating = 9

Good lord! How many damn greatest hits compilations do these guys NEED? Whatever. If you're only gonna buy one, this one won't kill you, I guess. But what the hell? Greatest Hits with no "I Can See For Miles"? No "Baba O'Riley"? No "Behind Blue Eyes"? No "Bargain"? Oh well. Como se, como sa. At least it's got "Squeeze Box"!!!!!!
Reader Comments

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Ladies and gentleman out there in webland.... DO NOT BUY THIS COMPILATION. By one of the others, preferably My Generation: The Very Best of the Who. I bought this compilation last summer and was turned off to The Who until early December. I mean, no Can't Explain? No I Can See For Miles? The SINGLE versions of Love Reign O'er Me and Who Are You? This album sucks, period. I know that the songs that are on there are good, but this compilation is out there solely to suck more money from the consumer. I give it a 3.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
If these 'Greatest Hits' are the ones I have, then it can only be of use to completists because it has 'The Relay', a great 1973 single (a 'Lifehouse' outtake). Don't really know how it got there, because it was never a hit, let alone 'greatest', but it's good, with some weird synth noises and suchlike. If you find it for a quarter or something, get it for exactly this one song. Otherwise, yup. This was my first Who album, too, and after listening to it a couple of times I shoved it onto the shelves. I only began to appreciate the band after I'd purchased 'The Kids' video.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
No way! This is the worst Who compilation imaginable! After I first heard it, I though that I hated the Who for years! There just aren't enough of the tunes I really like (the more melodic ones) and too many of the ones that I really don't care for ("Squeeze Box," "Magic Bus"), so that it ends up just sounding awful. What moron is responsible for leaving out "Baba O'Riley," "I Can't Explain," "I Can See For Miles," "Behind Blue Eyes," and all that great crud from Tommy?

Buy the album My Generation - The Best Of The Who instead. It's still lacking several key tracks ("Love Reighn O'er Me," "Behind Blue Eyes") but it made me like the group far more than this one did. A five, though, because it still has some good songs.

Add your thoughts?

Face Dances - MCA 1981.
Rating = 4

Like Who Are You, but lacking both Keith Moon and good songs. It starts promising with the wonderful upbeat pop classic "You Better You Bet," but very quickly turns into generic '80s keyboard pop. The last two songs are pretty catchy, but the six median tracks just take up space. It's still charming to hear Roger oversing everything as if the band's music makes any difference to anybody at this point in their career, but, aside from "You Better You Bet," there's not much to get excited about here. They should have just broken up when Keith died. Pete's genius is long gone. Bye bye, Pete's genius! Bye bye!
Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
"The Quiet One" is a fine John Entwhistle tune that you fail to comment on in your review. "You Better You Bet", "How Can You Do It Alone" and "You" are the only other worthwhile numbers on this record.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
I have recently rediscovered this record. It has just been rereleased in remastered/remixed form. I cannot believe how fantastic it sounds. I now realize how horrible the old mix was. It was bland and utterly flat. Which should have been expected since they went to the Eagles producer for this one. Now it's vibrant and powerful. The guitars are clear and biting, the bass is nimble, the drums are sharp and Roger Daltrey sounds great.

I used to despise "The Quiet One" but now that every instrument is prominent I flat-out love it. Pete's choppy lead is to die for. This is now my favorite latter-day Entwistle composition. Face Dances is the poppiest record of The Who's career. That's not a bad thing when the mix is this good. Pete's guitar parts are tricky yet catchy and the songs lope along at a busy foot-tapping pace. The reissue includes five bonus cuts that blow me away. "It's In You" in particular is an amazing song. I can't believe it wasn't put on the original release. It stutters along with a syncopated riff and warns in the lyrics that if you're counting on The Who for rock and roll, you'd better watch out because they're "Gettin' old." Yeah, they are, but there is a lot of sheer musical talent running through this band's veins. Youthful exuberance is replaced by adult assurance, and that's fine when the music is this good.

I now like every single song on here. Yeah, it's pop, but The Who's brand of pop is more intelligent and powerful than most anything else released at the time. Pete Townshend's cleverness with bridges and refrains is on display throughout the record and the playing is wonderful.

doc3824@delanet.com (Paul Diguglielmo)
OKAY, IT'S NOT WHO'S NEXT. IT'S NOT EVEN WHO BY NUMBERS. BUT FACE DANCES IS ONE OF THE UNDERATED WHO ALBUMS. "YOU BETER YOU BET" IS A WHO CLASSIC, AND "ANOTHER TRICKY DAY" IS, IN MY OPINION, ONE OF THE TOP 5 WHO SONGS OF ALL TIME. DALTREY IS IN GREAT VOICE, AND ENTWISTLE'S BASS PLAYING IS OF COURSE AMAZING. SURE KENNY JONES IS NOT KEITH MOON, BUT, C'MON, DO YOU REALLY NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE? BY THE WAY, THE REMASTERED CD SOUNDS INCREDIBLE. AND THE BONUS TRACKS ARE THE BEST OF ANY OF THE REMASTERED AND REISSUED WHO ALBUMS. THOSE SONGS STAND ON THEIR OWN. I KNOW THAT PETE TOWNSEND DOESN'T THINK MUCH OF THE TWO POST KEITH MOON WHO ALBUMS. BUT FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, FACE DANCES IS ONE OF THE WHO'S BEST. C'MON GUYS, BUY THE REMASTERED CD, AND GIVE IT CHANCE. YOU WON'T BE SORRY.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
"Bye bye, Pete's genius?" Shame on you, Mark! Geniuses do not come and go THAT easy. So what if Pete got old? Charles Dickens got old, too, but he still made damn good novels!

It's a crying shame I haven't had the chance to hear Pete's solo records from that period, namely, Empty Glass and All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. But almost everybody who did hear them and almost every review I've read points to the fact that they're brilliant. It is obvious that at that time he was saving his best material for solo projects and left only "odds-and-sods" for the band. Very strong "odds-and-sods" though, and I can only imagine what his better songs could look like!

As for the album, it's good. I mean - GOOD. Not GREAT or HUGE. But GOOD. I don't like Entwistle's tracks, and that "Daily Records" thing is kinda dumb, but in every other single track there is at least something to be found. The gems are "You Better You Bet", which is a Who classic, and "Don't Let Go The Coat" with an odd-but-groovy-sounding Roger (he tried to sing in the same pitch on the title track in "It's Hard" but failed), and also "Another Tricky Day". The other three tracks are catchy but somewhat less interesting: there's some great singing on "Did You Steal My Money" (and NO, I don't mean the endlessly repeated title, but rather Roger's "Did you screeeeew me?"), and a good refrain on "Cache Cache" ("there ain't no bears in there" - Chris Charlesworth wrote it was inspired by Pete's visit to the Vienna Zoo when he joined the bears in their cage!!!). Anyway, I quite like listening to this album.

cliffnorth@localaccess.com (TAD)
"Daily Records" is bouncy & charming if yr in2 Pete's personal crises. "Another Tricky Day" ends the album OK, it seems strong in this company. "You Better" is of course a classic, nice keyboards. But how about "How Can You Do it Alone"? An amusing beat-off anthem. I specially like the last verse, the 1 that starts "Back at the flat my girl sat in the shower, and wasn't too keen on me sharing/She came out well after an hour, and by that time ... I was past caring...." Now that's poetry. That track & "Dreaming from the Waist" (on By Numbers) appeal 2 me as sexual-obsession tunes with a little bit of HUMOR ... which U'd better have some of, if U ain't gettin nothin else....

ronbevault@prodigy.net (Keith Jones)
Why did Pete Townshend put all his great songs on his solo albums(Empty Glass, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes) and all the crap on the Who albums(Face Dances, It's Hard)? Was Pete subconciously trying to break up the Who with extremely crappy music so he could persue a more successful(and profitable) solo career?

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
My least favorite Who album. I'm not gonna blame Jones on this because I think he's a fine drummer and how can anybody follow in Moon's footsteps? I think Townshend was too obssesed with things he couldn't control (getting old, the punk/new wave movement, etc.) and it affected his songwriting. The only tunes I like here are Entwisiles'. The rest are a pale shadow of the band and they were regressing at this point, rapidly. This is a band that does not age well. They still had the chops, but little of the fire. Listen to this one next to Who's Next and you'll see it's not there anymore.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Eew, this album sucks. It's a good thing I got it for free, only needing to pay shipping and handling. You Better You Bet is catchy, I guess, and The Quiet One is decent, but the rest sucks. I give it a 3

TVEye70@aol.com
Okay, fine, Keith Moon is dead. Right, maybe the Who shouldn't have gotten back together (they definitely should not still be touring!) But shockingly, Face Dances is a damn good album with at least 50% solid stuff. "You Better You Bet" is still a damn great song, love those harmony vocals! "Don't Let Go the Coat" and "Cache Cache" may be synth-pop piffle but they're catchy, well-written pop-rockers. Entwistle's songs are quite good, and "Another Tricky Day" is a fine, well-arranged rocker. This album's not deserving of the drubbing it gets at the hands of...well, everyone but me and George Starostin. 7/10.

bri.hyndman@sympatico.ca
Anything the Who recorded after '78 did little to enhance their posthumous reputation. 'You Better/You Bet' is a passable song. The rest is about as musically uplifting as Phil Collins sodomizing Michael Bolton on Satan's waterbed. Kenny Jones sounds like he's drumming with a pair of oven mits on.

dfi1999@yahoo.com (P.G.)
Hi, this is Pete's Genius speaking.

Pete and I were still working together in the early 80's; but for $ome rea$on he wanted to make 4 albums in like 2 years (Face Dances/It's Hard with the Who, Empty Glass/Chinese Eyes solo). I only had about an album's worth of material so I let Pete write the rest without me. On Face Dances, I wrote "You Better You Bet", "Don't Let Go the Coat", and "Another Tricky Day". On Empty Glass I wrote "Let My Love Open The Door" in its entirety, while Pete and I co-wrote the rest of it. Then on his next solo album I wrote "Face Dances, Pt. 2" and "Slit Skirts", leaving him to dork around for the rest of it. For It's Hard, I wrote "Athena" and "Eminence Front", and contributed a line or a melody here and there to various other tracks. Here's the thing with my relationship with Mr. Townshend. In the early days we'd be able to work together because he had so much youthful exuberance. Fun guy to hang out with. Windmills, guitar-smashing, etc. I gave him some great tunes for Tommy, but he had to go and make an opera out of it so I left him to his own devices for Quadrophenia. Then as he got older he started getting more into drugs and whore-mongering, which is great fun while it lasts! Unfortunately his tolerance started building up and he started a major decline healthwise. In 1982 he had some experimental neuro-electronic treatment to get him off heroin and started all this Sufism crap so I bailed, never to return.

Anyway, my point is, I didn't leave Pete entirely until after 1982; so if you take all of those songs mentioned before that I wrote, you have a perfectly enjoyable album of material, all of which was written in about 3 years - the usual time it seemed to have been taking between Who albums anyway.

Add your thoughts?

It's Hard - MCA 1982.
Rating = 3

Yeah, It's Hard to listen to! I didn't make that witty comment up; ex-Lima drummer Daniel Radiloff did. But he was right on the money. Eight of these twelve songs are just awful, and the other four are only enjoyable because they're reminiscent of the band's glory days; "Eminence Front" borrows the opening-synth-into-guitar-rock style from "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again," "I've Known No War" has a repetitive fuzzy synthesizer note a la "Who Are You," "One Life Is Enough" sounds like a serious contemplative piano ballad like those that one might find on Quadrophenia, and "A Man Is A Man" is basically a Tommy re-write.

And, as I said, the other eight songs are atrocious. And there's no one to blame but good ol' Pete. His songwriting is in the toilet. At least this was the last studio album they tried to make. I shudder to think what the next one would have sounded like.

The Who were never meant to be a band of the '80s. The Beatles had two great songwriters. The Rolling Stones had (have? that's debatable....) two great songwriters. The Who just had Pete.

Pete POOPSALOT, that is!

I don't know. That didn't make any sense. Sorry about that.

Reader Comments

jbloom@newschool.edu (Jon Bloom) Hey! I just saw Ye Olde Rock Band do Quadrophenia in Chicago. I know, I know. But the tickets were free, and it was a skybox. It was not as depressing as one would expect. Pete sang like he still cared about the lyrics, Roger was in amazing shape and looked better than I ever will (although his voice sounded like the chimp who broke the golf clubs in the Little Rascals). And finally, John Entwistle is still a master musician. He makes Flea and Les Claypool sound like they should be in a Dead cover-band. Billy Idol played the bell-boy...'nuff said. I wanted to smack him the whole time; I giggled like a schoolgirl when he dropped his mic, that arrogant bozo. The Who may be old, but they are still the Who and they still put on a good show. But you are right...there's no denying that they have dragged it out too long.

break7@moran.com (Tim Eimiller)
You must have caught Roger on a bad night because when I saw him he was singing better than he ever has in his life. An astonishing vocal performance climaxing with the shattering "Love Reign O'er Me."

It's Hard is the Who's strongest album since By Numbers (which is great all the way through, not a bad song on it). It doesn't have a high recognition song like "Who Are You" or "You Better You Bet," but it is far more consistent than the records those songs came from. "Cook's County" has my favorite Pete Townshend guitar solo, all of John Entwistle's songs are good, "Eminence Front" is the closest thing on this record to a Who classic and it tries for a funky groove a whole lot more effectively than the Rolling Stones lame efforts, the ballad work is exceptional, "Cry If You Want" has the most vicious guitar tone finish The Who ever recorded and its message is perfect for what has become the last song of The Who's career. This album is the best swan song of any rock band since the Beatles' Abbey Road. Much better than Led Zeppelin's tuneless In Though The Out Door, and leagues better than the out-of-touch garbage the Stones have been regurgitating since Goats Head Soup. I think you should give this record another listen, and be as open-minded about it as you were for Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones' latter day efforts. It's Hard stands up far better.

nesrallah@sympatico.ca (Phil Nesrallah)
I also saw a Quad show and was more than impressed with everyone's performance. Being only 17 this was the first WHO concert I had ever seen and was the best concert I have ever seen. I saw them on July 21 1996 and was blown away. I don't like Who's Last but LOVE Join Together disc 1 and enjoy disc two.

volk1@holly.colostate.edu (Billy O'Donnell)
Whoever wrote this shit about the best band rock has ever seen is a fucking idiot. The Who will always be the best even when they are 55 years old.

GETBACK70@aol.com
What's with the negativity with the Who records? All of them are really good. Except a few of the early ones. And you bashed them in your opening paragraph. Saying that they shouldn't have made more albums after Keith died. Those two records are good, you know. How could you can Quadrophenia? That's one of the best. Maybe you should listen to the Who a bit more and you will understand Pete. Thank god you rated the Beatles albums well. I haven't checked Yes yet, but I am about to. Hope you gave them good ratings.

tshille@waonline.com (Tom and Janet Schiller)
Check out a new double cd from around the Live At Leeds era: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival. The best part about it is that it includes almost all of Tommy live. The mix is not as good as Live At Leeds, but it is a marvelous collection. Also note how Entwistle substitutes his bass for the horn parts in Tommy.

leonard@wpoffice.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
I want to warn everyone who may not yet have purchased the box set The Who: 30 Years Of Maximum R 'n' B that it's not worth picking up, especially if you get all or most of the reissued CDs with bonus tracks. I'd been looking forward to buying it for a long time, and I was finally able to get it at a substantial discount. It starts out fine, with some nicely remastered High Numbers recordings, but: a) everything in the post-Shel Talmy era has been remixed, and when the mixes aren't benign, they're awful; b) the bonus tracks worth having are now available on the "new" CDs; c) there are terrible segues between songs and from Moonie comedy "bits" to songs on the last two CDs; d) "Who Are You" suffers from two of the above, PLUS they used the single edit!! Why they couldn't stick the full thing on is very mystifying--they had the room. The booklet is nice, but hardly worth the cost. And they can't seem to decide which concert "Twist and Shout" is from. On the other hand, run, don't walk, to get the reissued Live At Leeds. A great record DOUBLED in length, and all of the new tracks are worth it.

drjimmy@htp.net (Bill Lukas)
Who ever wrote this is obviously a retard who has never really listened to The Who. He/She probably doesn't even like R+B or Rock I think they better stick to classical music!!!!!!!! If you don't like the Who so much, why give them a whole page? U R AN ASSHOLE. U R A DICK. U R A Gayboy. The Who rule!!!!!

WBunchPike@aol.com
I find it incredibly hard to believe that a fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival could be so perfectly wrong when it comes to the only band better then CCR, the Who. Even if one choses to ignore the fact that the guitar, drums, bass, and bravado of this foursome is the original birthplace of Punk, Heavy Metal and all its subsequent bastard children, one cannot, in any case, ignore the obvious brilliance of the Kids themselves. The individual and group accomplishments of Keith and his drumming, John and his (gasp) godlike bass playing, and Pete with his dual mastery of songwriting and guitar playing is simply too important and wonderful to sign off as "overblown" or inconsequential. There has not been a band, before or since, to make such wonderfully loud, powerful noise, and at the same time make it sound so damn good. The original music (anything before Tommy) is the best example of pure, unadulterated singles rock music of its era. Tommy and Who's Next compound that same sense of pure power with a loud, albeit delicate, grace that has gone unmatched by any future artist. Quadrophenia is the most ambitious of all the prior works simply because Pete wanted to do something very simple.... Create a perfect experience. Simple in design, outrageously complex in music and emotion. Quad went beyond Pete Towshend, and at the same time encompassed all his passion and brilliance in a couple simple tunes. By Numbers and the subsequent albums do not fail in comparisin to their former brethren, they enhance them. Eternally personal, eternally complete, always gorgeous and musically unique, the whole of the Who's catalog is a mastery of extremes. The 3-minute single, the two hour concept album, the blazing social anthem, the tender and stunningly poetic nuances. Pete encompassed the greatest of rock, and the greatest of pop, and the greatest of R&B in every note he ever wrote or recorded. I have not even mentioned John's songs here.... but rest, assured, they are the same way. It is true, there is some Who that is better than others, but even the worst Who is better than almost anything that came after it. I love CCR. I love them dearly.... I think Fogerty would agree with me.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
I've tasted a lot of music. I consider myself a student of rock music. No other band that I have encountered has delivered rock music as genuine, as real, or as exhilerating as The Who. They weren't the heaviest band out there, they were just the BEST. It sounds to me like you've forgotten Townshend's words, "Hope I die before I get old." Did you give up and grow old? Wrap Live At Leeds around your head and reclaim your youth. The Who is true LIFELINE Rock 'n' Roll.

The Who's visibilty wasn't a result of the movies. The movies were a result of The Who's visibility and reputation. You're putting the cart before the horse. And The Who weren't just "Highly rated" in the seventies. They remain one of the most revered rock bands in history.

whoru@stlnet.com (Daniel T. McCullen)
Bar none our band will always reign number one!

jofe@IDT.NET (John)
My Dear Mr. Pringle,

It is most obvious to me that you never saw the Who live from 1967-1972. Yhey were simply the best live rock band ever. Ask anyone who saw them. Better yet, get the video The Who - 30 Years of Maximum R & B from Blockbuster, put it on a stereo VCR and play it through a home theater speaker system. Move the tape to 1969 from "Happy Jack", "Heaven & Hell", "I Can't Explain", "Water", "Young Man Blues", to "I Don't Even Know Myself" (all from Mass., 1970) and you will see with your own eyes and ears why I said what I did. They were truly awesome live during this period. Hey don't believe me, just watch the tape. This is the best footage available.

As for Live at Leeds. How can you honestly review only the "old" album? Have you heard the new additional songs on CD? Unbelieveable. Even the "old" album was the standard by which all live rock bands judged their live work. Ask any rock fan. Twenty-seven years later there is still not a live album like it. The new issue makes it even richer if that is possible.

As for The Who Sell Out, you need to play the new re-issued CD uninterrupted. It is simply one of the most creative concept albums of its time, not to mention great music.

By the way I have seen the Who seven times. The first time in April, 1968 at the Fillmore East in NYC and the second time in the 4th row at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 6, 1970. (They played Tommy etc.) After two hours no one wanted to leave. Even my college girlfriend was stunned by the visual and musical power. (She wasn't a rock fan). I was in the 2nd row at Forest Hills, Queens in 1971 when they played Who's Next etc. Saw both shows. Just superb. Patti La Belle was the opening act. The last time I saw them was in 1975 at Madison Square Garden. The venue was too big but they were very good indeed.

You need to re-listen to Who's Next my friend. Almost everyone in rock says it's a "perfect" album. You are being too cerebral and limited about your rock n' roll. Just enjoy it. Anyway, I enjoyed your reviews (except the vulgarity - that was childish), I am glad you took the time and sought comments.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Where I wouldn't rate it as a disaster, this record shows that it is retirement time for the band. I really like "Eminence Front" though.

jamcarder@nwinfo.net (John and Marie Carder)
Anyone who would even think about slamming The Who is not in the right frame of mind. They were and are one of the top British bands to date! I saw them on their original farewell tour and would have been honored to see them again and again. By all means the best concert I ever saw!

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Whatever. Once again, we agree. I got this album after seeing the video Who Rocks America 1982. I HAD liked "Emminence Front" until I heard the original version on this record. "One at a Time" is the only song on here that even ATTEMPTS to sound like The Who.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
If you want a band to release the same album over and over again, stick with AC/DC.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
DON'T stay away from Join Together! Its version of (the entire) Tommy is brilliant. Much better than the original! And Sell Out and Quadrophenia deserve better grades. Like so many others, I've realised that Quadrophenia is The Who's finest hour. They did a fantastic live version of it in Stockholm last spring.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
A few words in defense of the miserable Who's Last. Everyone who reviews this album seems to be so full of hate and biased towards it that they do not even try to listen to it carefully! I suppose they heard it one time, realized that it ain't no Live at Leeds, then quickly shelved it and forgot about it.

But I listened to it more than one time - and it's not bad at all! In fact, it suffers from exactly ONE problem. John's bass is fantastic as usual; Kenney Jones is no Keith, but he still is an extremely professional drummer and solves the "drum problem" as best he can; Pete's guitar is great (as most of the time) - just listen to his solos on "Can't Explain"!

The big problem of this album is the singing. Daltrey's voice is HORRIBLE throughout most of the tracks. On "Baba" it becomes absolutely clear that he is suffering from some kind of problem; on "See Me Feel Me" he sings terribly off-key; and "Love Reign O'er Me" is RUINED by his singing - he sang it A LOT better in 1989 than here! The only thing which is worse on this album is Pete's voice on "Long Live Rock" - he sounds like a self-parody.

The problem is - how could they ever let THIS appear on record? Sure, they could not cancel a concert when Daltrey had laryngitis or something; but to choose exactly THAT concert for the record - what is it? A groove? I wonder what he thinks himself about this!

In all, I would not recommend this album to those simply interested in the Who, but it is an absolute necessity for serious Who fans - that is, if you can somehow switch off the voice on your CD player and just listen to the instruments.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
I've just bought Join Together and the album struck me so strong I have to add just a few words about it, especially since to Mark's opinion it doesn't deserve a separate review.

The wonderful thing about the album is that this time it was a try to squeeze the ABSOLUTE BEST of the situation. You can almost see the guys working over the album and having lots and lots of ideas about making it more interesting (while Who's Last was obviously dumped out without too much thinking).

The packaging is great. No idiotic commentaries on "wonderful, electrifying performances", "the band that is absolutely untouchable", etc.: just the necessary liner notes and some cool photos. Enough song material to justify the two CDs (while MCA could easily reduce Who's Last to one, their greed did not allow them to do it). And a small CD-case so it can easily fit anywhere. Perfect!

The song selection is also fantastic. Nowadays people can grunt that the live version of "Tommy" is lightweight, uninteresting, etc.; but back then there was not a single official live Tommy available anywhere, so this was an obvious choice. As for CD two, it is not "The Who's Greatest Hits Live" anymore (as was Who's Last): the tracks are utterly unpredictable! OK, so it still finishes with "Blue Eyes" and "Fooled", but that's just the obligatory show-end. And there's also "5:15" (never released live previously) and "Love Reign O'er Me" (Roger sounds TERRIFIC on this one: obviously, they were so ashamed of the version on Who's Last that this was thought of as a "repenting" version). But what then? No "Substitute", no "Baba O'Riley", no "Can't Explain"! Instead of it, we have "I Can See For Miles" (regularly performed live only on the '89 tour because of an extra guitar available), "Trick Of The Light" (a wonderful version which almost overshadows the original), the best 80s material ("Eminence Front", "You Better You Bet"), and, sure enough, the title track. There are also some of Pete's solo cuts. Original and very well-done!

As for the playing... well, sure enough, the producers could do nothing here. This is not the Who anymore. Simon Philips is a much better drummer than Kenney Jones, but he's still no Keith. Worst of all, Pete's sound is gone forever - we have a metallic guitar courtesy of Steve Boltz. Pete plays some wonderful acoustic, but it can only be heard well in a handful of tunes. Still, John's bass is amazing (check out his lines on "Sparks": the whole package deserves to be bought just for them only!), and Roger sounds a TRILLION times better than on Who's Last. Do not buy this album before the others. But if you have nothing else left, do not hesitate - get it before it runs out of print! More than two hours of excitement guaranteed!

NikoNyc@aol.com
what a terrible, self-opiniated review, more about wanna-be musical aspirations that the the music and the band -- i went to many who gigs in small clubs, back of pubs etc in the 60's and they were sometimes fucking awful, often great, many times truly amazing and always interesting...if u ever went to a who concert in the 60's u'd know...live at leeds was one of the best shows i've seen ever -- and they could still play better than u and me in 70's, into the 80's...

ronbevault@prodigy.net (Keith Jones)
It's Hard is not nearly as bad as Face Dances. All three of the John Entwistle songs are great, as well as Emminence Front(Have you seen the video?), and Athena is a better song than most give it credit for. John Entwistle's bass playing and a couple Townshend solos are the only thing that keeps this album from being a disaster.

By the way, didn't the Doors release a couple albums without Jim Morrison? Talk about bad career moves.

avsouza@webtv.net (Tony Souza)
Better than Face Dances, but clearly not up to the old standard. On this one though, I think they tried really hard to recapture some of the old glory. "Cry If You Want" is my favorite song on here and a great album closer. The songwriting still isn't quite up to par and I think at this time Townshend was more interested in doing solo albums and he kind of knew it was the end. The funny thing about this album is that even though it's eleven years older than Who's Next, it sounds dated compared to that album.

By the way, that was a great comment about Who''s Last, a wretched live album.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I consider myself a pretty big Who fan, but this crap is inexcusable, especially when Pete had released an album like Empty Glass just two years previous (it's not quite a 10, but I can give it a 7 or 8 no prob; the title track is one of the greatest songs ever written, imo). I couldn't sit through this crap. The first two songs are decent, and Emminence Front is alright, I guess, but the rest SUCKS. I give it a 3, and that's cos I'm in a good mood after listening to Open Your Eyes.

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
Mark: I know it's late, but nobuddy else Cms 2 have noticed it much -- The Who's box set, 30 YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B, is STILL the best best-of multi-CD package I've seen, & I've spent $$$ on several.

It's got a ton of great original tracks (remixed), many good-sounding in-concert tracks, comedy, leftovers & other memorabilia, plus solid liner notes & historical data, & a decent (tho brief) essay from Pete. What's best is, I LEARNED something from it, & I thot I knew these guys' music pretty well. But I didn't know about "Disguises," "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand," "Little Billy," "Dogs," "Relay," "Call Me Lightning," "Slip Kid," "Dreaming from the Waist" ... well, I didn't really know The Oo 2 well at all, is what I learned. & that education is a good use of $60 as far as I'm concerned.

1 minor drawback -- not all the hits R here: "Athena" isn't included, & that's actually ... kind of a bonus. But all the WHO'S NEXT & QUADROPHENIA tracks sound GREAT, & that was my favorite period 4 these guys. "Who Are You," "Music Must Change" & "I Can See For Miles" sound marvelous 2.

This may not stand as the best box set ever, but it's the best I've seen, & the most complete. & although I haven't gotten my hands on King Crimson's FRAME BY FRAME yet, I already know it gets points knocked-off cos some of the longer tracks are edited....

darrelld@globaleyes.net (Joel Dunham)
Yeah, This album sucks, they should have quit after Keith Moon died. But, Eminence Front rules. It's one of the best in the entire catalog of Who. The whole album (shitty as it is) is worth getting just to get a copy of that song, man! Steal from Who's Next? Pete Townshend is all about stealing his own ideas! It's called reusing them and seeing what you come out with!

rk@tmisnet.com (Ralph R. Kubiak)
Yes, everyone seems to agree that the Who's work after 1978 got progressively worse. Sure, the live albums of later years never matched the fire and energy of Live at Leeds. By the time Who Are you came out, you could here how the band members were heading in different directions. The same thing was going on with Pink Floyd and Led Zep around the same time. During their heyday, '69 to '80, these guys recorded the best rock n roll ever put on vinyl. Deaths of band members, creative differences definitely had an effect on how albums such as Who's Face Dances, and Floyd's The final Cut turn out. Quadraphenia, one of the best ever, Even the underrated Who By Numbers still blows me away. Some might feel that I'm some old fart rambling on about the good old days . I get in to the Chili Peppers and Dave Matthews Band quite a bit, but all these clone bands like Creed and Limp Bizkit to me are just a complete waste of time. Some originality would be appreciated. The Who definitely original. Long Live Rock!

esweenor@charter.net (Eric Sweenor)
I'm listening to this album for what must be the tenth time, making my best attempt to defend it. I think the major problem with this album is that too many people are expecting it to be on the level of Tommy, Quadrophenia, or even Who by Numbers. It's not, let's face it. But I think it's still an excellent album. Let me explain....

First of all, Keith Moon is dead. Great drummer, no doubt, a major part of the Who, at least as much as the others, but Kenney Jones is no slouch. In fact, he's an excellent musician. You can't expect him to be Keith Moon, there was only one, there only ever will be one. He's one-of-a-kind.

The songwriting here, admittedly, is deficient for Who standards. John Entwistle is obviously at the end of his songwriting talents here, as evidenced by the go-nowhere bluster of "It's Your Turn" - "Dangerous" reminds me eerily of Genesis! Pete obviously saved his best stuff for the stellar All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, as evidenced by the lazily repetitive "Cooks County"..."people are suffering, I'll say it again" times a thousand.

While I can't hear the bass on this one (at least on the CD reissue), this is a pretty interesting album, musically. It sounds quite dated, but from the group that revolutionized the use of synthesizers in rock, this is a natural extension of that. "Dangerous" and some other songs have some cheesy parts, but check out even "Cooks Country" - the gurgling synth lines combined with the occasional guitar lashings from Pete are actually pretty exciting! Hearing this album from that standpoint displays what an interesting work it is. It's miles ahead of most mainstream rock synth use of the early 1980's, and certainly more imaginative than most of what I've heard.

And there are some excellent songs on here, regardless of what I said above..."Eminence Front" everyone loves, because it's a great song. It's a slow-burning, tension-wracked, beautiful song, excellently produced (listen to those drums!) and sung to near perfection through the haze by Pete. "Cry If You Want" is admittedly blustering, but another fine song. "I've Known No War" is a grand epic, powerfully performed and with some pretty good, if a little forced, lyrics. Some of them are catchy as hell too, as evidenced by "Why Did I Fall for That?"

Listen to it again. If one matched up any song on this album to "5:15", "Amazing Journey", or most of the Who's classics, the classics would slay them. But forget about that for a few minutes and listen to this one again. It and Face Dances deserve re-evaluation as good, if minor, additions to the catalog. I'd give it probably a 6.5/10. Sorry this ran on so long.

mbernfeld01@comcast.net
Check this out

leather_jew@hotmail.com (Henry Winkler)
Seems like yesterday me and J.R. were cruising Laurel Canyon on a Saturday night listening to a tape of this LP in his Stingray. Ludes and blow, jailbait hitchhikers and pre-AIDS Hatian Ladyboys and lights, everywhere lights and stars, man. When Pete sang "It's Hard" it was like he was talking to my dick.

Add your thoughts?

BBC Sessions - BBC 1999.
Rating = 8

23 great tunes and 2 hilarious radio commercials based on Who classics! Not incredibly thrilling to a middle-of-the-road Who fan like me, though, because most of these alternate versions are pretty damned similar to the originals. Plus you have to sit through shit like "dancing in the street," "a quick one" and "long live rock" -- ICKY SONGS TO ME.

Good gift for anybody who doesn't already have Meaty Beaty though, as it contains alternate versions of half the album........... Plus some great lesser-known album tracks like "the good's gone" and "disguises." WHOOW HOWOHW OWOH!

Pete Townshend's The Iron Man album sucking FUCKS, though!

Reader Comments

Jeffmoncheri@aol.com
In regards to Mark's comparisons with the Stones and the Beatles, UNLIKE the Stones and the surviving Beatles, I think Pete Townshend still has another masterpiece in him. At least he's still willing to experiment, even if it's not always successful. Who knows? He's never completely given up on LIfehouse, and these days the concept would actually make sense.

ClashWho@aol.com (Tim Eimiller)
It's pretty cool hearing Pete Townshend try to play that outrageous all-feedback guitar solo in "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" live with only one guitar and no overdubs. And the coolest thing about it is he succeeds.

Actingfreak10@aol.com
the who was the greatest band

petejewell@nls.net
it's kinda funny, all you dumb asses giving Pete a load of shit about what he wrote way back when. Where are your bands or don't you have one that has such a great history? Pete Townsend is a pure genuis-trust me-i'm listening to "lighthouse" the album that never got finished until now- right now and am loving every note. Pete, if you read this, you are the best and if these people don't like it, they can f**k off!

jdj7@charter.net
its "LIFEhouse" not "lighthouse"

Add your thoughts?

Who's Last - MCA 1984
Rating = 8

The hilarious thing is that when this came out everyone was already calling The Who a bunch of washed-up old bags who should just give it up. The "Wish I'd died before I got old" jokes ran rampant and free, and the idea of a 40-year-old windmilling his guitar brought chitters of disdain among both young and child. And this was TWENTY YEARS AGO!!!! Now it's 2005 and the jerks are still reuniting every few years, with Daltrey looking like Orville Redenbacher, Entwistle acting more morbid than ever, and Townshend's head as bald and wrinkly as one of those peckers doing a 4-year-old on his computer. So I hereby declare that Who's Last deserves serious critical reevaluation as the work of four talented young men in their prime. And if it doesn't win an Oscar this year, I think we all know what THAT proves about the American awards ceremony system (ie Chris Rock hosts ceremony; Hilary Swank hosts gametes)

Not that it's a barnstorming delicatessen or anything, you surely must understand. Essentially, Who's Last is to Live At Leeds as Flashpoint is to Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!: a greatest hits set played faithfully by a seasoned group of professional musicians, as opposed to a living document of a relevant, evolving cultural phenomenon. But hooo these songs! One track each from Magic Bus - On Tour, A Quick One, Sings My Generation and Who Are You (guess which song. No no, go ahead. No seriously. I'll give you a few more minutes to think about it), three from Who's Next, two each from Tommy and Quadrophenia, three non-album singles and two cover tunes, one of which you could safely say is "from Live At Leeds," all presented with a great booming heavy distorted bass guitar nd surprisingly fine vocals by Roger Daltrey, lead singer of Great Britain's The Who. And yes, it's hilarious that they completely ignore their two most recent albums, but who could argue with that logic? Sure, there are no surprises (except "Twist And Shout" perhaps), and yeah Kenney Jones' drumming is as boring as a book, but let's say your entire record collection is stolen, then you're walking down the street and you see a copy of Who's Last sticking out of somebody's garbage can. Should you take it? Hell yeah, you should! It's a really nice Who greatest hits compilation with less interesting drumming! And what greater recommendation could an album receive than "it's worth taking from somebody's garbage can if your entire record collection has been stolen"? Has anybody ever said such a thing about, say, a solo Ringo Starr album? Ha! Not on your DREAMS!

However, as tightly performed as the tracks are, as many correct strings are hit on the guitar and as many high notes as Roger somehow manages to hit, even I, the world's biggest Who fan, have major problems with two of these tracks. Only two out of 16, you understand - and that's a fine percentage for any baseball player! These tracks are (a) "See Me, Feel Me," a once-heartbreaking work of staggering beauty that, due to Roger's insistence on just SHOUTING his lyrics as Pete gamely attempts to harmonize, sounds like it was created in darkness by troubled Americans, and (b) "Magic Bus," which paints a stunningly depressing portrait of exactly how shitty a drummer Kenney Jones really is. My God, he just doesn't get this song at ALL! Did the original version really go "lump-a-dump-a-lump-a-dump-dump" like a four-year-old awkwardly banging his blocks against the floor? And don't even ASK me to discuss Roger and Pete's "playful" call-response banter on top. "You'll have to pay me -- in CASH!" Ha! What a hilarious skit you've developed, Mr. Townshend! Why, you're a regular Jimmy Fallon!

But two cruddy moments (three if you count the always-yucky lyrics of "Dr. Jimmy") are certainly made up for by the rest of the spot-on renditions. Remember that old video of "Baba O'Riley" where Pete plays the harmonica at the end because they don't have a violinist onstage? That's on here! That was this tour! Granted, the whole double-album would probably be a lot more exciting if there were visuals involved, but you can't beg EVERY album to have bonus enhanced-CD material, especially ones pressed on vinyl in 1984. Even if they HAD included some live video footage, who would have been able to watch it? I don't even think they MADE disc drives big enough to fit an album into! Later, they came up with laser discs, but I don't think those were made out of vinyl so it's not the same thing. It must have been a really flustrating time to try to get visual material on to a record album. Especially when cassette tapes were getting so popular. I mean, how on Earth would you get bonus live footage onto a cassette tape? It would have to be a GIGANTIC tape! Like a VCR tape! But then you couldn't play that in your stereo or Walkman because it would be so big. You'd have to come up with a way to make the tape expandable, so that at its small size you could listen to it on your stereo, but then you could click a button or move a lever and it would expand to a much larger size so you could watch the bonus video footage in your VCR. But how would that be possible? It's not like VCR tapes are filled with AIR. You'd have to somehow figure out a way to make the tape ITSELF - the actual little spinning TAPE part of the cassette - fold over on itself for audio playback so that it could fold OUT into the larger tape necessary for video footage. And man, I ain't no Edison but that would take a genius. God, I'm completely baffled. I don't think there's a way to do it! No, there MUST be a way. And I won't rest until I've found it.

(*falls asleep*)

(*dreams of an album that holds video information; cums all over self*)

Reader Comments

JDooty2234@msn.com (John C. Wallace)
You're going to cum all over yourself again, but there actually was a record-like device that held video information.

http://www.cedmagic.com/home/cedfaq.html - Have Kleenex handy...

dr_faustus@earthlink.net
Wasn't it Roger playing the harmonica?

gag05@bigpond.com
I personally think the Who are the unluckiest band in rock and roll history bar none. Throughout their entire career they had endless competition and while they pioneered new territory such as Hard Rock someone else always came up and did it better and became famous. I personly cant stand this band, I dont like Poundsmen's melodies, Rogers voice, only a few songs grab my ear 5:15, substitue etc etc.1964??? they had one single and its a rewrite of the fucking Kinks two classics "You Really Got Me" and "All day all of the night"...both of which pionered metal before Pownshend. 1965? the Beatles were experimenting "Rubber Soul" with drugs and expanding their style..the Stones were the rock rebels and "Satisfaction" made sure of that, while Poundsmen still trying to expand on the Kinks of 1964.1966? well the Beatles, Dylan and Stones had matured lyrically and the albums were now artistic statements..Hendrix, BarrettPink Floyd, Cream was playing the clubs of London taking electric guitar, feedback to a new level and wetting Poundsmen's pants while all he did was come up with "A Quick One"..in other words the Who were already old and fallen far behind the competion. 1967?? Summer of Love..Pink Floyd, Hexdrix, Zappa, Beatles, Stones,Love,the frigging Doors,Velvet enough said...The Who doesnt sound right amongst those names considering they realeased the laughably bad "who sell out".1968? they didnt release anything! Led Zeppelin were formed and were already rampaging across to America by December ready to conquer all before them and when Led Zepplin 1 was unleased in January 1969..they wrote the hard rock book while the Who were fucking around at Woodstock. Honestly i couldve gone into more detail but the fact is/was the Who were always behind everyone else, sure Poundsmen was a little innovative early on..but if a guy like Hendrix releases two classic albums in 1967 with classics such as Purple Haze etc..whats that say about Poundsmen writing shit like "mary with shaky hands" ahh who cares. i hope i got my point across with that paragraph long ramble

thelong_road@hotmail.com
and mr entwistle shuffled off this mortal coil in 2002

bbqplatypus_318@hotmail.com
Wow…I’m speechless…you truly are a moron. Exhibit A: You give Who’s Last (which is an irredeemably foul-smelling turd) the same rating as Live at Leeds and Who’s Next, and a HIGHER rating than Quadrophenia and Live at the Isle of Wight. You dismiss everything you don’t understand (read: “requiring an IQ of above 50”) as “pretentious” and “overblown.” God forbid we should have to THINK while listening to rock and roll. Why, maybe then people would realize what an idiot you are and stop coming to your site. I’m sorry, but the fact that you seem to be able to forgive Robert Plant’s pretentiousness (and a songwriting ability that was slightly lacking in Zeppelin in general – for example, “Misty Mountain Hop” is a waste of a great bass line) shows a bias toward Led Zeppelin over the Who. Sure, Zep was good, but their albums are just rock and roll. Quadrophenia is ART. You have no taste at all, man. This is not just my opinion. There have been enough people tearing your reviews to shreds to get this opinion to approach objective fact. I can’t say anything that nobody else has already said about the Who. Just be glad this is a free country – in a dictatorship ruled by me, idiots would be denied freedom of speech.

Alainna Earl
Geez, Tim, why so serious? A well played guitar can say more to a crowd of 500,000 people than a politician's speech anyday. Led Zeppelin beat The Who because The Who didnt stop. When John Bonham died Led Zeppelin quit, didn't release any synth soaked bad 80s music or tarnish their good name. The Who spent the next two decades doing just that, thinking they could go on with Kenney Jones ( ! ). With that said, my favorite album by the Who is probably ..... My Generation.

Add your thoughts?

Live: The Blues To The Bush/1999 - Musicmaker 2000
Rating = 7

You know, people often stop me on the street and say, "Hay Mark, I'm a member of the iPod Generation -- no, not the IZOD Generation, ha ha! I don't wear shirts with little alligators on them, ha ha! But as I was saying, could you name me some grate songs that I may not have heard because I'm a Positive Youth and not a wrinkly old bag like you?"

So here's a brief list of hits that I grew up with and absolutely love until this very day. Seek out any you haven't heard, give 'em a listen and -- in the words of the great David Bowie -- sell me a coat:

"Western Union" - Five Americans
"Big Bird" - Eddie Floyd
"Expressway To Your Heart" - Soul Survivors
"Little Girl" - Syndicate Of Sound
"Rip Van Winkle" - Devotions
"Friday On My Mind" - Easybeats
"I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" - Electric Prunes
"Sausalito Summernite" - Diesel
"Itchycoo Park" - Small Faces
"Dirty Water" - Standells
"Just A Little" - Beau Brummels
"Time Won't Let Me" - Outsiders
"Cheryl's Goin' Home" - Bob Lind
"Let's Live For Today" - Grass Roots
"Remember Then" - Earls
"Loose Lip Sync Ship" - Hogs
"Here Comes My Baby" - Tremeloes
"Grizzly Bear" - Youngbloods
"Wooly Bully" - Sam The Sham And The Pharoahs
"On The Road Again" - Canned Heat
"What Have They Done To The Rain?" - Searchers
"Charlie Brown" - Coasters
"Surfin' Bird" - Trashmen
"If You Wish" - Peter And Gordon
"Mule Skinner Blues" - Fendermen
"They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" - Napoleon XIV
"Little Willy" - Sweet
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" - Gene Pitney
"Green Onions" - Booker T. and the MG's
"Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun)" - Del Shannon
"Go On And Leave" - Uniques
"My Heart Went Boing! Boing! Boing!" - Bobby Wood
"The Little Black Egg" - Nightcrawlers
"Leave Me Be" - Zombies
"Back On The Street Again" - Sunshine Company

I'd better stop there because I'm pretty sure an iPod only holds around 35 songs. If I think of any more later, I'll go "Oh yeah! I should have included that one" and then return to what I was doing.

As I'm sure you've already guessed by now, this live Who double-CD compiled from four shows in late 1999 features five Who's Next songs, four singles you'll find on Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy, two each from Sing "My Generation" and Quadrophenia, and one each from Tommy, Odds & Sods, Face Dances, Who Are You, A Quick One, Magic Bus and Roger Daltrey's top-selling Under A Raging Moon LP. The live band consisted of Daltrey, Townshend and Entwistle, plus Zak "Ringo Jr." Starkey on drums and John Bundrick on organ and piano.

THE BAD:
- Corny '60s organ kinda pusses out early songs like "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute"
- Roger's voice, though mostly strong, definitely hits a snag in "Behind Blue Eyes" and "After The Fire"
- Pete can no longer hit the high vocal harmonies in "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
- "Magic Bus" is performed as a nine-minute blues-rock pile of shit
- "My Generation" deterioriates into Wank Jam Central.

THE GOOD:
- The songs, man!
- Fuckin' "Pinball Wizard"!
- Buttfuckin' "My Wife"!
- Mouthfuckin' "Baba O'Riley"!
- Titfuckin' "Who Are You"!
- Footfuckin' "The Kids Are Alright"!
- Fistfuckin' "I'm A Boy"!
- Earfuckin' "You Better You Bet"!
- Nosefuckin' "Boris The Spider"!
- Eyesocketfuckin' "The Real Me"!

The Who may have been a bunch of creaky old pedophiles in 1999, but there's no denying that curse-worthy back catalog!

Speaking of which, I know the album title sounds like a Jim Belushi porn video, but it actually refers to the venues of these live shows: Chicago's House of Blues and the Empire Theatre located in the Shepherd's Bush district of West London. In other words, they could have called the album Today The House, Tomorrow The Empire, but they wanted to get the word "bush" in there.

Fags.

Add your thoughts?

Live At The Royal Albert Hall - MCA 2003
Rating = 7

This release features two CDs recorded on November 27, 2000 at a benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as a third containing four songs from Entwistle's final Who show prior to death (February 8, 2002). As a home consumer, you get: six Who's Next wonders; four Quadrophenia zingers; three each from Tommy and Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy; two each from Hooligans, Face Dances and Live At Leeds; and one each from Sing "My Generation," Sell Out, Magic Bus, Who Are You, A Quick One, Who's Missing and Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane's Rough Mix. 16 of the 29 songs were also played live on Blues From The Bush.

The big selling point here is the gold plate of special guests, including Eddie Vedder, Bryan Adams, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, the Stereophonics' Kelly Jones and violinist Nigel Kennedy. But the big selling point for me is the guitar tone, which is much crunchier than on Blues To The Bush and sufficient to render even the ten-minute blues-rock "Magic Bus" only a half-pile of shit. Also, where Townshend basically kept his big mouth shut on the last live album, he's a regular Chatty Kathy this time out, giving us such worthy mouthfuls as:

- "This one's in very bad taste" (before "Mary Anne With The Shakey Hands")
- "We play this song every night. Sometimes it's absolutely fantastic. And sometimes it's actually... not fantastic." (before the blues-rock "Magic Bus")
- "Ronnie (Lane) was already ill with MS when we were making the record, and I didn't know. And one day we had an argument and I just punched him and he flew, like that, because he was so weak." (before "Heart To Hang Onto")
- (to an audience member shouting for a goddamned song already) "Fuck off! I fucking paid as well. Probably about 40 or 50 times what you did."

Not to be outdid, Daltrey leads into Entwistle's "My Wife" with the very professional "I'd like to duce - introduce... Whoa, get the mouth working, Roger."

THE BAD:
- Pete hamfistedly flubs the final intro chord to "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
- EIGHT minutes of "Relay"!?
- Pete adds a corny new verse to the end of "The Kids Are Alright" that begins with "When I wrote this song, I was nothing but a kid" and ends with "And I look at my kids, and they're alright. Of course they're alright! What could be wrong with kids?"
- "Drowned"!? Furthermore, a solo acoustic performance of "Drowned"!?
- Eddie Vedder should've used his hairy-chested voice in a much manlier song than "I'm One," where he just sounds like he's oversinging
- "5:15" stinks enough on its own; it certainly doesn't need a bass solo and guitar jam dragging it out for twelve ear-shitting minutes
- I don't know this Stereophonics band, but their singer sounds like a male model doing a Joe Strummer imitation
- With or without Eddie Vedder, "Let's See Action" just blows
- "My Generation" sounds great, but then they dick fuck around for several minutes at the end
- I thought I liked "I Don't Even Know Myself," but this dull 2002 version makes me question the very nature of taste itself

THE GOOD:
- "Bargain"!
- "So Sad About Us" acoustic guitar/harmony vocal duet with Paul Weller!
- "Behind Blue Eyes" sung by Bryan Adams, who does an honest-to-god great job!
- "Won't Get Fooled Again" with Noel Gallagher apparently in there somewhere!
- "See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You" with Bryan Adams and Eddie Vedder helping out for old times' sake!

CONCLUSION: If you like special guests and stage patter, this is the Who live CD for you.

Now to address an important personal issue that has affected all of us in the world today: why I keep going to karaoke so much. Well, at first it was for a chance to perform and get aggression out after the departure of my wife. But now it's a social outlet. I don't go to just any old karaoke all willy-nilly and rooty-tooty; I go to the ones where I know I'll see my karaoke friends and acquaintances. As a person who knows hardly anybody in NYC, it's really comforting to finally know some people in NYC! Also, where else am I going to meet new people? A bar? That's no way to live. No sir, a bar hosting karaoke is the only place to meet women, ladies, little girls and infants.

Reader Comments

Ainitfunkynow@aol.com Roger probably had to go to the bathroom when he flubbed that one.

Add your thoughts?

Endless Wire - Universal Republic 2006
Rating = 6

When Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend changed the name of their duo from The High Numbers to The Who way back in 1964, they had no way of knowing that their partnership would outlast that of Simon & Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers and so many other talented rivals in the popular duo marketplace. But here they are, forty years and countless forgettable rhythm sections later, 'WHO'-ing along like a couple of owls on their strongest collaboration yet!

On a less sarcastic note, there is one simple key to enjoying this CD: accept it for what it is, and not what it claims to be. It claims to be the first CD by legendary British Invasion rockers The Who to be released since the early 1980s. But - and this is obvious, and we all know this, but allow me to say it one more time - Endless Wire is actually just a surprisingly consistent late-period Pete Townshend solo album with guest vocals by former Who vocalist Roger Daltrey. There are no group dynamics here because there is no group. Pete recorded a bunch of songs at home by himself (with scant assistance by a bassist and drummer on a few songs), then Bob Pridden and Billy Nicholls recorded Roger Daltrey singing along with the tapes, and BAMMO! It's a new Beatles album called Love!

Endless Wire is the finest Pete Townshend album in years, melodic miles above the horrific wasteville of PsychodereSHIT, The Iron Man: A SHITical and the new stuff on SHIT 3. His guitarwork is beautiful, with ringing heavenly acoustic guitar tones, gritty distorted scraggling, and some of the fastest and cleanest finger-picking he's ever laid down on record. The chord changes, though instantly recognizable as Townshend creations, offer some wonderful, unexpected variations on his signature cliche's, and many of the vocal melodies are instantly infectious. Several of the compositions actually remind me of The Who By Numbers, with their acoustic focus, sad longing feel, strong original hooks, and use of the word "boozin'". Seriously -- give the CD a chance free of unrealistic expectations and you'll be surprised by how unexpectedly non-shitty it is!

Oh, but it certainly has its issues, it does. The vocals are pumped far, far too loud in the mix, burying the expert playing (and, in the 'rockers,' any possibility of actually 'rocking') under Pete's stuffed-nose-isms and the latest incarnation of Roger's voice, which is lower and less note-perfect than that of his heyday. As gravelly as he got on Who Are You and You Better You Bet, he never sounded like he was actually engaged in battle against his throat; such is not the case here. He does a good job of being his typical bombastic, dramatic self, but it's impossible not to notice how often his voice accidentally wavers out of tune during the high notes. And it's distracting, G.D. it! How can one enjoy a nice melancholy acoustic tune like "Tea & Theatre" when the singer sounds like he has an entire family of frogs living in his throat?

Say! While we're on the topic of ungood vocals, let me call your attention to "In The Ether." If you've heard the song, think for a moment about this: Pete Townshend apparently performed these vocals, listened back to the tape, and thought it sounded good. If you've not heard the song, I'd advise you to do what Pete apparently didn't before pressing 'record': listen to some Tom Waits, watch some Sesame Street, and learn to differentiate between the two.

Also, it being a Pete Townshend album, Endless Wire features quite a few of those patented (and, at this point, trite and powerless) three-chord power riffs that he's been recycling over and over again since Who's Next. Such is life when you decide to put 21 songs on your new 58-minute CD, I suppose. Focus on the quality of the NEW riffs, I say! And try not to throw the CD in the toilet upon hearing "Baba O'Riley Pt. II" at the very beginning. Pete didn't even write or perform that synthesizer piece; it was programmed by some fellow named Lawrence Ball. So blame the Ball sac, not Pete! Granted, Pete was the one who put the piece of shit on the album, but still.

Now that we're on the seventh paragraph, I should mention that the first half of the disc is comprised of nine standalone songs about topics like organized religion and women both good and evil, and the second half is a "Mini-Opera" featuring 10 mostly brief songs that all run right into each other. This mini-opera appears to be possibly about The Who itself, though if this is the case, he left out Keith Moon entirely ("One of us gone/One of us mad/One of us, me/All of us sad"). Do you know what it's about? If so, share with a guy!

Other enjoyable and/or godawful lyrics include:

"Your staff, your stick, your special cap/They'll protect in Hell? What crap!"

"Everything is all right (bong de bong)/We've prayed today (la-da-da-da-dah)/If there really is a God (bong de bong)/We should be laid today!"

"I was caught in a corner/In recoil from a broken romance/Taking breath after one sudden death/I had a firm grip on my pants"

"A little bit more/You always need/A little more man/A little more seed"

"We were bruised and battered/We were bound and taped/We were nude and shattered/We'd been coldly raped"

Good old Pete Townshend and his naked children on the Internet.

Reader Comments

keithjaycol@yahoo.co.uk Oooh ye naughty, Prindle. The point being with the Who is that they are all about spirituality WITH BIG BOOTS ON, unike Ye Olde Stones who were (verily) scared to experiment after Satanic Majesties. Worst thing about this album is that it seems hurried, even though it had a gestation period of 20 years plus (holy mammoths!). But you fail to give them credit for finally bungeeing into the ether after being knock-kneed on the edge for all that time (or just being a holy cash cow churning out the greatest doo-dahs).

Too much acoustics on this, but is that really enough to merit your measly, stingly under-scored appraisal, Marky boy! Add another two and we'll forgive your historically flatulent tendency to underscore the Shepherd Bush Combo - or beware!

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
"Endless Wire" sounds like leftover filler from any of their post-"Who's Next" album. Though I mostly agree with your review, I liked Daltrey's voice. However, the album is completely forgettable. At least, it wasn't embarrassingly bad, which is what I was expected to be honest.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
I haven't heard this, but you hit the nail on the head and said what pretty much everyone should be saying about this album: that it's a Pete Townshend solo album with Roger Daltrey as guest vocalist. The Who without Keith is one thing - not the Who, really - but there simply is NO Who without Keith Moon and John Entwistle. It's ridiculous.

Also, these three sentences are simply genius:

"Say! While we're on the topic of ungood vocals, let me call your attention to "In The Ether." If you've heard the song, think for a moment about this: Pete Townshend apparently performed these vocals, listened back to the tape, and thought it sounded good. If you've not heard the song, I'd advise you to do what Pete apparently didn't before pressing 'record': listen to some Tom Waits, watch some Sesame Street, and learn to differentiate between the two."

Now why can't we see THIS in Rolling Stone? Oh wait, I remembered: they've been about as musically irrelevant as Elvis's sweat since, charitably, the mid-90's. Kissing celebrity ass, writing unreadably bland and moronic pop-culture "humorous commentary" (white-geek drivel) and floating in a pool of rockstar vomit for a decade. If Rolling Stone hired you, CapnMarvel, Starostin, Denning, and Brad Holmes, it would automatically become the best magazine in music today. Sorry this sounds so ridiculously effusive, but I'm listening to Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" and that song tends to make me extraordinarily complimentary.

lazik@cox.net
I love The Who and just saw them on the Endless Wire tour. Highlight of the show, Amazing Journey/Sparks. Anywho, my comment for this disc was on the bonus live CD that came with it. On WGFA, Daltry blows it and starts singing, " I move myself and my family aside....." about 2 measures early, stops then waits for the correct moment and tries it again. C'mon Rog how can you fuck up that song? I bought the CD so I wouldn't be bored for 1/2 the concert while they plodded thru it.

Sorry Pete, the last great song you wrote was Slit Skirts, in 1982.

thermocaster@gmail.com (Galen Clavio)
Mark,

I thought you'd get a good laugh out of this. I was reading the latest mailbag from Camille Paglia on Salon, and buried on page three was this letter from...your buddy, Tim Eimiller. I wonder if Camille would give "Who's Next" an 8, too?

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2007/10/10/britney/index3.html

I adore the Who. What are your thoughts on that extraordinary band?

Tim Eimiller
Orchard Park, N.Y.

Pete Townshend, the Who's virtuoso lead guitarist and composer, is obviously one of the preeminent geniuses of modern popular music. While I always preferred the Rolling Stones, with their sinuous covers of African-American blues, the Who had a galvanizing impact on me in college and graduate school. I loved their raw power -- Townshend's crashing chords, Roger Daltrey's soaring vocals, John Entwistle's deft singing bass, and Keith Moon's crazed, even chaotic drumming.

My favorite Who songs were the defiant manifesto "My Generation" (here it is from the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967), and the darkly magical "I Can See for Miles" (lip-synced on this vintage clip from a "Smothers Brothers Show"). Two years ago, the ingenious Petra Haden did a phenomenal a cappella version of the latter song.

The Who's rock opera "Tommy" (1969) seemed to prefigure a renaissance of rock, where this once despised teenage genre would rise to the level of classical music. Alas, that never happened, and some of us '60s relics are still in the dumps about it. There are many marvelous songs on "Tommy," but my all-time favorite is "I'm Free" (here's the Who performing it at Woodstock in 1969).

From the Who's later repertoire, there's a major standout for me: "Eminence Front" (1982), which I think is a masterpiece. In the original video, I've always loved the contrast between Townshend's punk intensity and Entwistle's cordial, magisterial reserve. Don't miss the look of ecstatic abstraction in drummer Kenney Jones' eyes. Daltrey looks tasty, but why is he clutching that guitar? Here's the grizzled band performing it (somewhat unsteadily) this year.

I could go on and on about the poetic implications about identity (the persona as mask) and power politics in the lyrics of this song: "Eminence front -- it's a put-on!"; "Come on, join the party/ Dressed to kill." It's all coming from Townshend's own passionate spiritual quest for meaning, which has taken him from the violent mean streets through stratospheric fame to his present status as a near-deaf bard and sage.

Add your thoughts?


Buy your The Who CDs here. But for Allah's sake, please click on the album artwork to reveal CHEAPER USED CD PRICES! The new CD prices are ridiculous.

Now you may return to your tents and your dreams of Mark Prindle