The Who – Live At Leeds (1970)

FrontCover1.JPGLive at Leeds is the first live album by the English rock band The Who. It was recorded at the University Refectory, University of Leeds on 14 February 1970, and is the only live album that was released while the group were still actively recording and performing with their best known line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon.

The Who were looking for a way to follow up their 1969 album Tommy, and had recorded several shows on tours supporting that album, but didn’t like the sound. Consequently, they booked the show at Leeds University, along with one at the University of Hull the following day, specifically to record a live album. Six songs were taken from the Leeds show, and the cover was pressed to look like a bootleg recording. The sound was significantly different from Tommy and featured hard rock arrangements that were typical of the band’s live shows.

The album was released in May 1970 by Decca and MCA in the United States by Track and Polydor in the United Kingdom. It has been reissued on several occasions and in several different formats. Since its release, Live at Leeds has been cited by several music critics as the best live rock recording of all time.

By the end of the 1960s, particularly after releasing Tommy in May 1969, The Who had become cited by many as one of the best live rock acts in the world. According to biographer Chris Charlesworth, “a sixth sense seemed to take over”, leading them to “a kind of rock nirvana that most bands can only dream about”.[6] The band were rehearsing and touring regularly, and Townshend had settled on using the Gibson SG Special as his main touring instrument; it allowed him to play faster than did other guitars. He began using Hiwatt amplifiers that allowed him to get a variety of tones simply by adjusting the guitar’s volume level.

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The group were concerned that Tommy had been promoted as “high art” by manager Kit Lambert and thought their stage show stood in equal importance to that album’s rock-opera format. The group returned to England at the end of 1969 with a desire to release a live album from concerts recorded earlier in the US. However, Townshend balked at the prospect of listening to all the accumulated recordings to decide which would make the best album, and, according to Charlesworth, instructed sound engineer Bob Pridden to burn the tapes.

Two shows were consequently scheduled, one at the University of Leeds and the other in Hull, for the express purpose of recording and releasing a live album. The Leeds concert was booked and arranged by Simon Brogan, who later became an assistant manager on tour with Jethro Tull. The shows were performed on 14 February 1970 at Leeds and on 15 February at Hull, but technical problems with the recordings from the Hull gig — the bass guitar had not been recorded on some of the songs — made it all the more necessary for the show from the 14th to be released as the album. Townshend subsequently mixed the live tapes, intending to release a double album, but ultimately chose to release just a single LP with six tracks. The full show opened with Entwistle’s “Heaven And Hell” and included most of Tommy, but these were left off the album in place of earlier hits and more obscure material.

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The album opens with “Young Man Blues”, an R&B tune that was a standard part of the Who’s stage repertoire at the time. It was extended to include an instrumental jam with stop-start sections. “Substitute”, a 1966 single for the band, was played similarly to the studio version. “Summertime Blues” was rearranged to include power chords, a key change, and Entwistle singing the authority figure lines (e.g.: “Like to help you son, but you’re too young to vote”) in a deep-bass voice. “Shakin’ All Over” was arranged similar to the original, but the chorus line was slowed down for effect, and there was a jam session in the middle.

Side two began with a 15-minute rendition of “My Generation”, which was greatly extended to include a medley of other songs and various improvisations. These included a brief extract of “See Me, Feel Me” and the ending of “Sparks” from Tommy, and part of “Naked Eye” that was recorded for the follow-up album Lifehouse (that was ultimately abandoned in favour of Who’s Next). The album closed with “Magic Bus”, which included Daltrey playing harmonica and an extended ending to the song.

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The cover was designed by Beadrall Sutcliffe and resembled that of a bootleg LP of the era, parodying the Rolling Stones’ Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be. It contains plain brown cardboard with “The Who Live At Leeds” printed on it in plain blue or red block letters as if stamped on with ink (on the original first English pressing of 300, this stamp is black). The original cover opened out, gatefold-style, and had a pocket on either side of the interior, with the record in a paper sleeve on one side and 12 facsimiles of various memorabilia on the other, including a photo of the band from the My Generation photoshoot in March 1965, handwritten lyrics to the “Listening to You” chorus from Tommy, the typewritten lyrics to “My Generation”, with hand written notes, a receipt for smoke bombs, a rejection letter from EMI, and the early black “Maximum R&B” poster showing Pete Townshend wind-milling his Rickenbacker. The first 500 copies included a copy of the contract for The Who to play at the Woodstock Festival.
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The label was handwritten and included instructions to the engineers not to attempt to remove any crackling noise. This is probably a reference to the clicking and popping on the pre-remastered version (such as in “Shakin’ All Over”) which was from Entwistle’s bass cable. Modern digital remastering techniques allowed this to be removed, and also allowed some of the worst-affected tracks from the gig to be used; on CD releases, the label reads, “Crackling noises have been corrected!”

Live at Leeds has been cited as the best live rock recording of all time by The Daily Telegraph,[30] The Independent,[31] the BBC, Q magazine, and Rolling Stone. In 2003, it was ranked number 170 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. A commemorative blue plaque has been placed at the campus venue at which it was recorded, the University Refectory. On 17 June 2006, over 36 years after the original concert, The Who returned to perform at the Refectory, at a gig organised by Andy Kershaw. Kershaw stated the gig was “among the most magnificent I have ever seen”. A Rolling Stone readers’ poll in 2012 ranked it the best live album of all time. (by wikipedia)

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Rushed out in 1970 as a way to bide time as the Who toiled away on their follow-up to Tommy, Live at Leeds wasn’t intended to be the definitive Who live album, and many collectors maintain that the band had better shows available on bootlegs. But those shows weren’t easily available whereas Live at Leeds was, and even if this show may not have been the absolute best, it’s so damn close to it that it would be impossible for anybody but aficionados to argue. Here, the Who sound vicious — as heavy as Led Zeppelin but twice as volatile — as they careen through early classics with the confidence of a band that had finally achieved acclaim but had yet to become preoccupied with making art. In that regard, this recording — in its many different forms — may have been perfectly timed in terms of capturing the band at a pivotal moment in its history.

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There is certainly no better record of how this band was a volcano of violence on-stage, teetering on the edge of chaos but never blowing apart. This was most true on the original LP, which was a trim six tracks, three of them covers (“Young Man Blues,” “Summertime Blues,” “Shakin’ All Over”) and three originals from the mid-’60s, two of those (“Substitute,” “My Generation”) vintage parts of their repertory and only “Magic Bus” representing anything resembling a recent original, with none bearing a trace of their mod roots. This was pure, distilled power, all the better for its brevity; throughout the ’70s the album was seen as one of the gold standards in live rock & roll, and certainly it had a fury that no proper Who studio album achieved. It was also notable as one of the earliest legitimate albums to implicitly acknowledge — and go head to head with — the existence of bootleg LPs. Indeed, its very existence owed something to the efforts of Pete Townshend and company to stymie the bootleggers.

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The Who had made extensive recordings of performances along their 1969 tour, with the intention of preparing a live album from that material, but they recognized when it was over that none of them had the time or patience to go through the many dozens of hours of live performances in order to sort out what to use for the proposed album. According to one account, the band destroyed those tapes in a massive bonfire, so that none of the material would ever surface without permission. They then decided to go to the other extreme in preparing a live album, scheduling this concert at Leeds University and arranging the taping, determined to do enough that was worthwhile at the one show. As it turned out, even here they generated an embarrassment of riches — the band did all of Tommy, as audiences of the time would have expected (and, indeed, demanded), but as the opera was already starting to feel like an albatross hanging around the collective neck of the band (and especially Townshend), they opted to leave out any part of their most famous work apart from a few instrumental strains in one of the jams. Instead, the original LP was limited to the six tracks named, and that was more than fine as far as anyone cared.

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And fans who bought the LP got a package of extra treats for their money. The album’s plain brown sleeve was, itself, a nod and nudge to the bootleggers, resembling the packaging of such early underground LP classics as the Bob Dylan Great White Wonder set and the Rolling Stones concert bootleg Liver Than You’ll Ever Be, from the latter group’s 1969 tour — and it was a sign of just how far the Who had come in just two years that they could possibly (and correctly) equate interest in their work as being on a par with Dylan and the Stones. But Live at Leeds’ jacket was a fold-out sleeve with a pocket that contained a package of memorabilia associated with the band, including a really cool poster, copies of early contracts, etc. It was, along with Tommy, the first truly good job of packaging for this band ever to come from Decca Records; the label even chose to forgo the presence of its rainbow logo, carrying the bootleg pose to the plain label and handwritten song titles, and the note about not correcting the clicks and pops. At the time, you just bought this as a fan, but looking back 30 or 40 years on, those now seem to be quietly heady days for the band (and for fans who had supported them for years), finally seeing the music world and millions of listeners catch up. (by Bruce Eder)

In other words: a hell of a record, a monster … one of the finest live albums in the history of Rock !!! And I include all these crazy memorabilias.

And songs like “I Can’t Explain” were made to be played loud !!!

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals, harmonica)
John Entwistle (bass, vocals)
Keith Moon (drums, background vocals)
Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist (CD reissue, 1995):
01. Heaven And Hell (Entwistle) 4.50
02. I Can’t Explain (Townshend) 2.59
03. Fortune Teller (Neville) 2.35
04. Tattoo  (Townshend) 3:42
05. Young Man Blues (Allison) 5.52
06. Substitute (Townshend) 2.07
07. Happy Jack (Townshend) 2.13
08. I’m A Boy (Townshend) 4.42
09. A Quick One, While He’s Away (Townshend) 8.41
10. Amazing Journey/Sparks (Townshend) 7.55
11. Summertime Blues (Cochran/Capehart) 3.22
12. Shakin’ All Over (Kidd) 4.34
13. My Generation (incl. parts of Tommy) (Townshend) 15.46
14. Magic Bus (Townshend) 7.46

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Blue plaque at the University of Leeds commemorating the album

Various Artists – Who Are You – An All-Star Tribute To The Who (2012)

FrontCover1.jpgStars of Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Punk Rock, and Country gather together to pay tribute to one of the most successful and influential bands of all-time, The Who!

I have been a great fan of The Who for about 50 years so I was a bit hesitant to buy this tribute album as some of these type of records can be very ordinary, but this is a great one. Most songs are pretty faithful to the original songs while obviously stamping the guest artists own sound and style on them, with a 2 or 3 of horrendous exceptions (I won’t say which, you be the judge). And I reckon Leslie West’s guitar on The Seeker is worth the price alone. An enjoyable listen. One issue though – Don’t know what happened on, if I recall correctly, Eminence Front, the music just cuts out before the end unfortunately as this is a great song. An error in production no doubt that should never have made the final product. (by Mr. M)

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Who would have thought that Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits) and Peter Banks (Yes, Flash) would render a performance of Magic Bush nearly equal to the original. Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop fans need this album ! (by Brent W. Cook)

Indeed … a real unique tribute album for one of the most important bands in the history of rock … look at the line-up … unbelieveable …

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Personnel:
See booklet

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Tracklist:

Derek Sherinian, John Wetton, K. K. Downing:
01. Eminence Front 5.32

Nektar & Jerry Goodman:
02. Baba O’Riley 5.23

Mark Lindsay & Wayne Kramer:
03. I Can See For Miles 4.07

Huw Lloyd-Langton, Joe Elliott, Rick Wakeman:
04. Love Reign O’er Me 6.17

Dave Davies, Knox & Rat Scabies:
05. My Generation 3.29

The Raveonettes:
06. The Kids Are Alright 2.32

Sweet:
07. Won’t Get Fooled Again 7.41

Carmine Appice & Todd Rundgren:
08. Anyway Anyhow Anywhere 2.38

Iggy Pop:
09. I Can’t Explain 2.07

Pat Travers:
10. Behind Blue Eyes 3.43

Ginger Baker, Peter Banks & Peter Noone:
11. Magic Bus 3.20

Gretchen Wilson, Randy Bachman:
12. Who Are You 5.05

Brad Gillis, Mike Pinera, Terry Reid:
13. Pinball Wizard 3.03

David Cross, John Wesley:
14. Squeeze Box 2.49

38 Special, Ian Paice & Ted Turner:
15. Bargain 5.24

Joe Lynn Turner & Leslie West:
16. The Seeker 2.43

All songs written by Pete Townshend

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The Who – Concert For The People Of Kampuchea (1979)

FrontCover1Concerts for the People of Kampuchea was a series of concerts featuring Queen, The Clash, The Pretenders, The Who, Elvis Costello, Wings, and many more artists which took place at the Hammersmith Odeon in London during December 1979 to raise money for the victims of war-torn Cambodia. The event was organized by Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim, and it involved older artists such as McCartney and The Who as well as younger, new wave acts like The Clash and the Pretenders. The last of the concerts was the last concert of Wings. An album and EP were released in 1981, and the best of the concerts were released as a film, Concert for Kampuchea. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a bootleg (soundboard recording) from the complete show by the legendary The Who. A great setlist including some rare perfomances like “The Real Me”, “I´m A Man”, “I Don’t Wanna Be An Old Man” or “Dancing In The Streets”.

But … to be honest, this was not the best performance from Roger Daltrey …

Recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, December 28, 1979

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals, harmonica)
John Entwistle (bass)
Kenny Jones (drums)
Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals)
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John “Rabbitt” Bundrick (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction 0.42
02. Substitute (Townshend)
03. I Can’t Explain (Townshend) 4.01
04. Baba O’Riley (Townshend) 6.27
05. The Punk And The Godfather (Townshend) 5.48
06. My Wife (Entwistle) 9.17
07. Sister Disco (Townshend) 6.05
08. Behind Blue Eyes (Townshend) 6.03
09. Music Must Change (Townshend) 10.12
10. Drowned (Townshend) 12.20
11. Who Are You (Townshend) 8.06
12. 5:15 (Townshend) 8.42
13. Pinball Wizard (Townshend) 4.42
14. See Me Feel Me (Townshend) 6.19
15. Long Live Rock (Townshend) 5.29
16. My Generation (Townshend) 6.15
16. I’m A Man (McDaniel) 5.17
17. Sparks + I Can See For Miles (Townshend) 4.43
19. I Don’t Wanna Be An Old Man (Townshend) 3.36
20. Won’t Get Fooled Again (Townshend) 15.38
21. Summertime Blues (Cochran/Capehart) 3.14
22. Dancing In The Streets (Gaye/William/Stevenson/Hunter)4.17
23. Dance It Away (Townshend) 6.08
24. The Real Me (Townshend) 5.34

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The Who – My Generation (Deluxe Edition) (1969/2005)

FrontCover1.JPGTommy is the fourth studio album by the English rock band The Who, a double album first released in May 1969. The album was mostly composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a “deaf, dumb and blind” boy, including his experiences with life and his relationship with his family.

Townshend came up with the concept of Tommy after being introduced to the work of Meher Baba, and attempted to translate Baba’s teachings into music. Recording on the album began in September 1968, but took six months to complete as material needed to be arranged and re-recorded in the studio. Tommy was acclaimed upon its release by critics, who hailed it as the Who’s breakthrough. Its critical standing diminished slightly in later years; nonetheless, several writers view it as an important and influential album in the history of rock music. The Who promoted the album’s release with an extensive tour, including a live version of Tommy, which lasted throughout 1969 and 1970. Key gigs from the tour included appearances at Woodstock, the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, the University of Leeds, the Metropolitan Opera House and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. The live performances of Tommy drew critical praise and rejuvenated the band’s career.

Subsequently, the rock opera developed into other media, including a Seattle Opera production in 1971, an orchestral version by Lou Reizner in 1972, a film in 1975, and a Broadway musical in 1992. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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Tommy has never had a definitive plot, but the following synopsis was published following the original album’s release.

British Army Captain Walker goes missing during an expedition and is believed dead (“Overture”). His widow, Mrs. Walker, gives birth to their son, Tommy (“It’s a Boy”). Years later, Captain Walker returns home and discovers that his wife has found a new lover. The Captain murders this man in an altercation as Tommy watches. Tommy’s mother convinces him that he did not see or hear the incident and must never tell anyone about it; as a result, he becomes deaf, dumb, and blind to the outside world (“1921”). Tommy now relies on his sense of touch and imagination, developing a fascinating inner psyche (“Amazing Journey/Sparks”).

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A quack claims his wife can cure Tommy (“The Hawker”), while Tommy’s parents are increasingly frustrated that he will never find religion in the midst of his isolation (“Christmas”). They begin to neglect him, leaving him to be tortured by his sadistic “Cousin Kevin” and molested by his uncle Ernie (“Fiddle About”). The Hawker’s drug addicted wife, “The Acid Queen”, gives Tommy a dose of LSD, causing a hallucinogenic experience that is expressed musically (“Underture”).

As Tommy grows older, he discovers that he can feel vibrations sufficiently well to become an expert pinball player (“Pinball Wizard”). His parents take him to a respected doctor (“There’s a Doctor”), who determines that the boy’s disabilities are psychosomatic rather than physical. Tommy is told by the Doctor to “Go to the Mirror!”, and his parents notice he can stare at his reflection. After seeing Tommy spend extended periods staring at a mirror in the house, his mother smashes it out of frustration (“Smash the Mirror”). This removes Tommy’s mental block, and he recovers his senses, realising he can become a powerful leader (“Sensation”). He starts a religious movement (“I’m Free”), which generates fervor among its adherents (“Sally Simpson”) and expands into a holiday camp (“Welcome” / “Tommy’s Holiday Camp”). However, Tommy’s followers ultimately reject his teachings and leave the camp (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”). Tommy retreats inward again (“See Me, Feel Me”) with his “continuing statement of wonder at that which encompasses him”.

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Townshend had been looking at ways of progressing beyond the standard three minute pop single format since 1966. Co-manager Kit Lambert shared Townshend’s views and encouraged him to develop musical ideas coming up with the term “rock opera”. The first use of the term was applied to a suite called “Quads”, set in a future where parents could choose the sex of their children. A couple want four girls but instead receive three girls and a boy, raising him as a girl anyway. The opera was abandoned after writing a single song, the hit single, “I’m a Boy”. When the Who’s second album, A Quick One ran short of material during recording, Lambert suggested that Townshend should write a “mini-opera” to fill the gap. Townshend initially objected, but eventually agreed to do so, coming up with “A Quick One, While He’s Away”, which joined short pieces of music together into a continuous narrative.[6] During 1967, Townshend learned how to play the piano and began writing songs on it, taking his work more seriously.[7] That year’s The Who Sell Out included a mini-opera in the last track, “Rael”, which like “A Quick One…” was a suite of musical segments joined together.[8] A portion of “Rael” is the basis of the Tommy instrumental track “Sparks”.

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By 1968, Townshend was unsure about how the Who should progress musically. The group were no longer teenagers, but he wanted their music to remain relevant. His friend, International Times art director Mike McInnerney, told him about the Indian spiritual mentor Meher Baba, and Townshend became fascinated with Baba’s values of compassion, love and introspection. The Who’s commercial success was on the wane after the single “Dogs” failed to make the top 20, and there was a genuine risk of the band breaking up. Live performances remained strong, and the group spent most of the spring and summer touring the US and Canada but their stage act relied on Townshend smashing his guitar or Moon demolishing his drums, which kept the group in debt. Townshend and Lambert realised they needed a larger vehicle for their music than hit singles, and a new stage show, and Townshend hoped to incorporate his love of Baba into this concept. He decided that the Who should record a series of songs that stood well in isolation, but formed a cohesive whole on the album. He also wanted the material performed in concert, to counteract the trend of bands like the Beatles and the Beach Boys, whose studio output was not designed for live performance.

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In August 1968, in an interview to Rolling Stone, Townsend talked about a new rock opera, which had the working title of Deaf, Dumb and Blind Boy, and described the entire plot in great detail, which ran to 11 pages. Who biographer Dave Marsh subsequently said the interview described the narrative better than the finished album. Townshend later regretted publishing so much detail, as he felt it forced him to write the album according to that blueprint. The rest of the Who, however, were enthusiastic about the idea, and let him have artistic control over the Project.

The Who started recording the album at IBC Studios on 19 September 1968. There was no firm title at this point, which was variously referred to as Deaf, Dumb and Blind Boy, Amazing Journey, Journey into Space, The Brain Opera and Omnibus. Townshend eventually settled on Tommy because it was a common British name, and a nickname for soldiers in World War I. Lambert took charge of the production, with Damon Lyon-Shaw as engineer. Sessions were block booked from 2pm – 10pm, but recording often spilled over into the early morning.

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The album was recorded onto eight track tape, which allowed various instruments to be overdubbed. Townshend used several guitars in the studio, but made particular use of the Gibson J-200 acoustic and the Gibson SG.[24] As well as their usual instruments, Townshend played piano and organ and bassist John Entwistle doubled on french horn. Keith Moon used a new double bass drum kit owned by roadie Tony Haslam, after Premier had refused to loan him any more equipment due to continual abuse.[22] Though Townshend wrote the majority of the material, the arrangements came from the entire band. Singer Roger Daltrey later said that Townshend often came in with a half-finished demo recording, adding “we probably did as much talking as we did recording, sorting out arrangements and things.” Townshend asked Entwistle to write two songs (“Cousin Kevin” and “Fiddle About”) that covered the darker themes of bullying and abuse. “Tommy’s Holiday Camp” was Moon’s suggestion of what religious movement Tommy could lead. Moon got the songwriting credit for suggesting the idea, though the music was composed and played by Townshend. A significant amount of material had a lighter style than earlier recordings, with greater prominence put on the vocals. Moon later said, “It was, at the time, very un-Wholike. A lot of the songs were soft. We never played like that.”

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Some of the material had already been written for other projects. “Sensation” was written about a girl Townshend had met on the Who’s tour of Australia in early 1968, “Welcome” and “I’m Free” were about peace found through Meher Baba and “Sally Simpson” was based on a gig with the Doors which was marred by violence.[28] Other songs had been previously recorded by the Who and were recycled; “It’s A Boy” was derived from “Glow Girl”, an out-take from The Who Sell Out, while “Sparks” and “Underture” re-used and expanded one of the instrumental themes in “Rael”. “Amazing Journey” was, according to Townshend, “the absolute beginning” of the opera and summarised the entire plot. “The Hawker” was a cover of Mose Allison’s “Eyesight to the Blind” (written by Sonny Boy Williamson). A cover of Mercy Dee Walton’s “One Room Country Shack” was also recorded but was scrapped from the final track listing as Townshend could not figure out a way to incorporate it in the plot.

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Recording at IBC was slow, due to a lack of a full plot and a full selection of songs. The group hoped that the album would be ready by Christmas, but sessions dragged on. Melody Maker’s Chris Welch visited IBC studios in November and while he was impressed with the working environment and the material,  the project still did not have a title and there was no coherent plotline. The Who’s US record company got so impatient waiting for new product that they released the compilation album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour which received a scathing review from Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone over its poor selection of material and misleading name (as the album contained studio recordings and was not live).

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The Who took a break from recording at the end of 1968 to tour, including a well received appearance at The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus on 10 December.[33] They resumed sessions at IBC in January 1969, block booking Monday to Thursday, but had to do gigs every weekend to stop going further into debt. A major tour was booked for the end of April, and the group’s management insisted that the album would have to be finished by then, as it had been well over a year since The Who Sell Out. Lambert wrote a script, Tommy (1914–1984) which he professionally printed, and gave copies to the band, which helped them focus the storyline, and also decide to make the album a double. The group were still coming up with new material; Lambert insisted that the piece should have a proper overtur,  while Townshend wrote “Pinball Wizard” so that Nik Cohn, a pinball fan, would give the album a favourable review in the New York Times. Lambert wanted an orchestra to appear on the album, but Townshend was strongly against the idea, and time and budget constraints meant it could not happen anyway.

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By March 1969, some songs had been recorded several times, yet Townshend still thought there were missing pieces. Entwistle had become fed up with recording, later saying “we had to keep going back and rejuvenating the numbers … it just started to drive us mad.” The final recording session took place on 7 March, the same day that “Pinball Wizard” was released as a single. The group started tour rehearsals and promotional activities for the single and Lambert went on holiday in Cairo. The mixing was left to Lyon-Shaw and assistant engineer Ted Sharp, who did not think IBC was well suited for the Task. The album overshot its April deadline, as stereo mastering continued into the end of the month. (by wikipedia)

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The full-blown rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy that launched the band to international superstardom, written almost entirely by Pete Townshend. Hailed as a breakthrough upon its release, its critical standing has diminished somewhat in the ensuing decades because of the occasional pretensions of the concept and because of the insubstantial nature of some of the songs that functioned as little more than devices to advance the rather sketchy plot. Nonetheless, the double album has many excellent songs, including “I’m Free,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Sensation,” “Christmas,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” and the dramatic ten-minute instrumental “Underture.” Though the album was slightly flawed, Townshend’s ability to construct a lengthy conceptual narrative brought new possibilities to rock music. Despite the complexity of the project, he and the Who never lost sight of solid pop melodies, harmonies, and forceful instrumentation, imbuing the material with a suitably powerful grace. (by Richie Unterberger)

This is a great example of a most imperfect 5 star album. Find all the flaws you can and it remains one of the most impressive rock albums ever made. (Howard Sauertieg)

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals, harmonica)
John Entwistle (bass, french horn, vocals)
Keith Moon (drums, Percussion)

Pete Townshend (vocals, guitar, Keyboards, banjo)

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Tracklist:
01. Overture (Townshend) 3.50
02. It’s a Boy (Townshend) 2.07
03. 1921 (Townshend) 3.14
04. Amazing Journey (Townshend) 3.025
05. Sparks (Townshend) 3.45
06. The Hawker (Williamson) 2.15
07. Christmas (Townshend) 5.30
08. Cousin Kevin (Entwistle) 4.03
09. The Acid Queen (Townshend) 3.34
10. Underture (Townshend) 10.04
11. Do You Think It’s Alright? (Townshend) 0.25
12. Fiddle About (Entwistle) 1.31
13. Pinball Wizard (Townshend) 3.01
14. There’s A Doctor (Townshend) 0.24
15, Go To The Mirror! (Townshend) 3.38
16. Tommy Can You Hear Me? (Townshend) 1.36
17. Smash the Mirror (Townshend) 1.35
18. Sensation (Townshend) 2.29
19. Miracle Cure (Townshend) 0.13
20. Sally Simpson (Townshend) 4.11
21. I’m Free (Townshend) 2.39
22. Welcome (Townshend) 4.33
23. Tommy’s Holiday Camp (Moon) 0.57
24. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Townshend) 3.28
25. See Me, Feel Me (Townshend) 3.42

(Though later released as a single, “See Me, Feel Me” was not a track in its own right on the original album, and is included as the latter half of “We’re not Gonna Take It”.)

+ the bonus disc (The first twelve tracks are out-takes and demos and the last five are stereo-only demos.)
01. I Was (Townshend) 0.17
02. Christmas (Outtake 3) (Townshend) 4.43
03. Cousin Kevin Model Child (Townshend) 1.25
04. Young Man Blues (Version one) (Allison) 2.51
05. Tommy Can You Hear Me? (Alternate version) (Townshend)  1.59
06. Trying To Get Through (Townshend) 2.51
07. Sally Simpson (Outtake) 4.09
08. Miss Simpson (Townshend) 4.18
09. Welcome (Take two) (Townshend) 3.44
10, Tommy’s Holiday Camp (Band’s version) (Townshend) 1.07
11. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Alternate version) (Townshend) 6.08
12, Dogs (Part Two) (Moon) 2.26
13. It’s a Boy (Townshend) 0.43
14. Amazing Journey (Townshend) 3.41
15. Christmas (Townshend) 1.55
16. Do You Think It’s Alright (Townshend) 0.28
17. Pinball Wizard (Townshend) 3.46

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The Who – Live At Woodstock (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgLadies and gentlemen … The Who … live at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969;

The Who were scheduled as the second to last act (before Jefferson Airplane) to play on Saturday, August 16th. When they actually started playing it was already Sunday morning around 5:00. They played their exceptional Tommy album, a Rock Opera dealing with the struggle of a deaf, dumb and blind boy who later finds a cure and gains stardom with his messianic movement. The finale of this performance took place during sunrise which occured at 6:05 AM

The Who were touring in support of their Rock Opera album Tommy which was released the same year. The Woodstock performance is not as long as others during this period but powerful and insane given the time The Who were performing. Songs not played from the album are: “Overture”, “Cousin Kevin”, “Underture”, “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”, “Miracle Cure”, “Sensation”, “Sally Simpson”, “Welcome”.

The setlist is a pretty standard example of their 1969 tour program, just a little shortened at times. For instance they didn’t play “A Quick One While He’s Away”, “Magic Bus” or a longer medley around “My Generation” which sometimes reached a length of 15 minutes. Nevertheless the presentation of the chosen songs was impressive and the magic and spirit of the music grew as Tommy reached its grande final with “See Me, Feel Me”. The dawn was coming up and the first daylight hit the stage. The Who closed with “My Generation”, an old hit dating back to the year 1965, and “Naked Eye”. There were only a few sleepless people in the audience left who finally witnessed the ritual guitar smashing of Pete Townshend pointing out that the gig has really come to an end.

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The Abbie Hoffman Incident  was an incident that happened during The Who’s set right after the song “Pinball Wizard”. Abbie Hoffman was able to get on stage and grab a microphone while Pete Townshend tuned his guitar. He said: “I think this is a pile of shit! While John Sinclair rots in prison…”. Hoffman was protesting against the imprisonment of John Sinclair (leader of the White Panther Party and manager of the left-wing hard-rock band MC5) who had been convicted and sentenced to nine years of prison because of marijuana possession. Townshend, angry that someone took the stage, yelled: “Fuck off! Fuck off my fucking stage!”, hit him with his guitar and sending him off stage again. Townshend then added: “I can dig it!”; And after the song “Do You Think It’s Alright?”: “The next fuckin’ person that walks across this stage is gonna get fuckin’ killed! [crowd cheers] You can laugh, I mean it!. A 16 second sound bite of the incident can be heard on The Who compilation set entitled Thirty Years of Maximum R&B (Disc 2, Track 20, “Abbie Hoffman Incident”).

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At the end of their set, Pete Townshend tossed his banged-up Gibson SG guitar into the crowd, but according to The Kids Are Alright DVD liner notes the guitar was promptly retrieved by one of the band’s roadies. Close inspection of film from both the Woodstock movie and the bonus DVD from the 40th anniversary issue confirms this (by woodstock.wikia.com)

What a night, what a concert …. Ladies and gentlemenThe Who … live at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969  … hot & nasty, loud & proud !

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals)
John Entwistle (bass, vocals)
Keith Moon (drums)
Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Heaven And Hell (Entwistle) 3.48
02. I Can’t Explain (Townshend) 2.26
03. It’s A Boy (Townshend) 0.37
04. 1921 (Townshend) 2.31
05. Amazing Journey (Townshend) 3.18
06. Sparks (Townshend) 5.27
07. Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker) (Williamson) 2.05
08. Christmas (Townshend) 3.15
09. Acid Queen (Townshend) 3.32
10. Pinball Wizard (Townshend) 2.44
11. The Abbie Hoffman Incident 0.41
12. Do You Think It’s Alright? (Townshend) 0.46
13. Fiddle About (Entwistle) 1.14
14. There’s A Doctor (Townshend) 0.22
15. Go To The Mirror (Townshend) 3.20
16. Smash The Mirror (Townshend) 1.05
17. I´m Free (Townshend) 2.23
18. Tommy’s Holiday Camp (Townshend) 0.59
19. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Townshend) 3.32
20. See Me, Feel Me (Townshend) 5.12
21. Summertime Blues (Cochran/Capehart) 3.47
22. Shakin’ All Over (Kidd/Robinson) 4.41
23. My Generation/Naked Eye (Townshend) 7.21

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The Who – Join Together (1990)

frontcover1Join Together is a box set of live material released from The Who’s 1989 25th Anniversary Tour. Several of the tracks were recorded at Radio City Music Hall, New York, and at Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, with the rest from various other concerts during the tour. The live rendition of Tommy was compiled from two charity shows on 27 June at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall(*) and on 24 August at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. (by wikipedia)
The Who’s 1989 Reunion Tour has long been met with criticism by fans; dubbed the Vegas tour or ‘The Who on Ice,’ the show drew ire for the inclusion of backing vocals, electronic keyboards, and horns to fill out the sound, which many felt betrayed the power of a band who punctuated its power with just three instruments and the most explosive voice in rock in its heyday. That said, there’s a lot like to about this tour: the set lists were impressive, often totaling up to 2 1/2 to 3 three hours and featuring nearly 40 songs, including many that had never been played live before. Roger was in great voice for most of the tour, and John was as good as ever. The one caveat, and it’s admittedly a big one, is that Pete played mostly acoustic guitar on the tour, and Steve Bolton was not able to accurately mimic his signature style, giving the songs a very hollow feel. (It’s very easy to tell when Pete switches over to electric on these tracks).

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The live album “Join Together” is a nice overview of some of the higher points of this tour. The performance of “Tommy” is very good, and the second disc has a great mix of hits and deep cuts. Among them are a bouncy “Join Together” and an awesome take on Entwistle’s gritty “Trick of the Light,” an excellent underrated gem from the “Who Are You” album. Pete’s solo cuts “A Little is Enough” and “Rough Boys” sound home surrounded by such big league classics. The horns are out of place on some tracks (like the power fills on “Baba O’Riley”) and some songs just sound flat out neutered with the big band sound (“I Can See for Miles” has none of the viciousness of the original here). That said, the band delivers for the most part, and it’s an entertaining listen despite deviating a bit from the classic Who sound. (Anthony Nasti )

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals, tambourine, harmonica, guitar)
John Entwistle (bass, vocals)
Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals)
+
Steve ‘Boltz’ Bolton (guitar)
John Bundrick (keyboards)
Simon Clarke (brass)
Simon Gardner (brass)
Jody Linscott (percussion)
Roddy Lorimer (brass)
Simon Phillips (drums)
Tim Saunders (brass)
Neil Sidwell (brass)
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background vocals:
Chyna – Billy Nicholls – Cleveland Watkiss

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Tracklist:

CD 1: Tommy:
01. Overture/It’s A Boy (Townshend) 5.26
02. 1921 (Townshend) 2.52
03. Amazing Journey (Townshend) 3.07
04. Sparks (Townshend) 4.36
05. Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker) (Williamson) 2.18
06. Christmas (Townshend) 4.25
07. Cousin Kevin (Entwistle) 3.56
08. The Acid Queen (Townshend) 3.44
09. Pinball Wizard (Townshend) 4.21
10. Do You Think It’s Alright? (Townshend) 0.23
11. Fiddle About (Entwistle) 1.39
12. There’s A Doctor  (Townshend) 0.21
13. Go To The Mirror! (Townshend) 3.22
14. Smash The Mirror (Townshend) 1.09
15. Tommy, Can You Hear Me? (Townshend) 0.58
16. I’m Free (Townshend) 2.09
17. Miracle Cure (Townshend) 0.25
18. Sally Simpson (Townshend) 4.18
19. Sensation (Townshend) 2.22
20. Tommy’s Holiday Camp (Moon) 0.58
21. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Townshend 8.44

CD 2:
01. Eminence Front (Townshend) 5.53
02. Face The Face (Townshend) 6.15
03. Dig (Townshend) 3.46
04. I Can See For Miles (Townshend) 3.43
05. Little Is Enough (Townshend) 5.06
08. 5:15 (Townshend) 5.48
09. Love Reign O’er Me (Townshend) 6.49
10. Trick Of The Light (Entwistle) 4.49
11. Rough Boys (Townshend) 4.44
12. Join Together (Townshend) 5.15
13. You Better You Bet (Townshend) 5.40
14. Behind Blue Eyes (Townshend) 3.38
15. Won’t Get Fooled Again (Townshend) 9.30

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The Who – Tommy (1969)

FrontCover1Tommy is the fourth studio album by the English rock band The Who, a double album first released in May 1969. The album was mostly composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family.

Townshend came up with the concept of Tommy after being introduced to the work of Meher Baba, and attempted to translate Baba’s teachings into music. Recording on the album began in September 1968, but took six months to complete as material needed to be arranged and re-recorded in the studio. Tommy was acclaimed upon its release by critics, who hailed it as the Who’s breakthrough. Its critical standing diminished slightly in later years; nonetheless, several writers view it as an important and influential album in the history of rock music. The Who promoted the album’s release with an extensive tour, including a live version of Tommy, which lasted throughout 1969 and 1970. Key gigs from the tour included appearances at Woodstock, the Metropolitan Opera House and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. The live performances of Tommy drew critical praise and rejuvenated the band’s career.

Subsequently, the rock opera developed into other media, including a Seattle Opera production in 1971, an orchestral version by Lou Reizner in 1972, a film in 1975, and a Broadway musical in 1992. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It has been reissued several times on CD, including a remix by Jon Astley in 1996, a deluxe Super Audio CD in 2003, and a super deluxe box set in 2013, including previously unreleased demos and live material.

Tommy has never had a definitive plot, but the following synopsis was published following the original album’s release.

InTheStudio1969In the studio, 1969

British Army Captain Walker goes missing during an expedition and is believed dead (“Overture”). His widow, Mrs. Walker, gives birth to their son, Tommy (“It’s a Boy”). Years later, Captain Walker returns home and discovers that his wife has found a new lover. The Captain murders this man in an altercation. Tommy’s mother brainwashes him into believing he didn’t see or hear anything, shutting down his senses and making him deaf, dumb and blind to the outside world (“1921”). Tommy now relies on his sense of touch and imagination, developing a fascinating inner psyche (“Amazing Journey/Sparks”).

A quack claims his wife can cure Tommy (“The Hawker”), while Tommy’s parents are increasingly frustrated that he will never find religion in the midst of his isolation (“Christmas”). Tommy’s parents begin to neglect him; he is tortured by his sadistic “Cousin Kevin”, and molested by his uncle Ernie (“Do You Think It’s Alright?”, “Fiddle About”), and given LSD by the Hawker’s wife, “The Acid Queen”. Tommy’s hallucinogenic experience is expressed musically (“Underture”).

PeteTownshendAs Tommy grows older, he discovers he can feel vibrations sufficiently well to become an expert pinball player (“Pinball Wizard”). His parents take him to a respected doctor (“There’s a Doctor”), who determines that the boy’s disabilities are psychosomatic rather than physical. Tommy is told by the Doctor to “Go to the Mirror!”, and his parents notice he can stare at his reflection. After spending extensive time staring at a mirror in the house, his mother smashes it out of frustration (“Smash The Mirror”). This removes Tommy’s mental block, and he recovers his senses, realising he can become a powerful leader (“Sensation”). He starts a religious movement (“I’m Free”), which expands into a holiday camp (“Welcome” / “Tommy’s Holiday Camp”). The followers, however, ultimately reject Tommy’s teachings and leave the camp (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”). Tommy retreats inward again (“See Me, Feel Me”) with his “continuing statement of wonder at that which encompasses him”. (by wikipedia)

Inlet01AThe full-blown rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy that launched the band to international superstardom, written almost entirely by Pete Townshend. Hailed as a breakthrough upon its release, its critical standing has diminished somewhat in the ensuing decades because of the occasional pretensions of the concept and because of the insubstantial nature of some of the songs that functioned as little more than devices to advance the rather sketchy plot. Nonetheless, the double album has many excellent songs, including “I’m Free,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Sensation,” “Christmas,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” and the dramatic ten-minute instrumental “Underture.” Though the album was slightly flawed, Townshend’s ability to construct a lengthy conceptual narrative brought new possibilities to rock music. Despite the complexity of the project, he and the Who never lost sight of solid pop melodies, harmonies, and forceful instrumentation, imbuing the material with a suitably powerful grace. (by Richie Unterberger)

The record illustrations for this entry are taken from the original Tommy album from my older brother´s collection. So, I dedicate this entry not only to mastermind Pete Townshend, but to my older brother, who died 2 years ago, too.

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals, harmonica)
John Entwistle (bass, french horn, vocals)
Keith Moon (drums)
Pete Townshend (guitar, keyboards, vocals)

Inlet02ATracklist:
01. Overture (Townshend) 3.50
02. It’s A Boy (Townshend) 2.07
03. 1921 (Townshend) 3.14
04. Amazing Journey (Townshend) 3.25
05. Sparks (Townshend) 3.45
06. Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker) (Williamson) 2.15
07. Christmas (Townshend) 5.30
08. Cousin Kevin (Townshend) 4.03
09. The Acid Queen (Townshend) 3.31
10. Underture (Townshend) 9.55
11. Do You Think It’s Alright? (Townshend) 0.24
12. Fiddle About (Entwistle) 1.26
13. Pinball Wizard (Townshend) 3.50
14. There’s A Doctor (Townshend) 0.25
15. Go To The Mirror! (Townshend) 3.50
16. Tommy Can You Hear Me? (Townshend) 1.35
17. Smash The Mirror (Townshend) 1.20
18. Sensation (Townshend) 2.32
19. Miracle Cure (Townshend) 0.10
20. Sally Simpson (Townshend) 4.10
21. I’m Free (Townshend) 2.40
22. Welcome (Townshend) 4.30
23. Tommy’s Holiday Camp (Moon) 0.57
24. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Townshend) 6.45

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