Holy shit. This was AMAZING!
I bought this CD in Taranna on this year’s excursion with Mike. Right from first listen I know this was probably one of the best choices I made on that trip.
Now, even though it was released in 1969, I’d never heard it before! Sure, everyone knows Pinball Wizard, and I knew a couple of other tracks to hear them, but this was the first time I’d ever heard the thing in its entirety, during a focussed listening session. Can you imagine? A Tommy noob in 2014? Feel free to shake your head. But now, all I can think is WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?
Surely I don’t need to tell you about this album, as you likely already own it and love it. But for those new to it, you can click here for a synopsis.
The music is brilliant, of course. The Who have a sound that is unlike any other. Take that knowledge and add that this is a very adventurous, creative and huge-concept album and you can begin to imagine the scope and majesty of this record.
Far better music writers and Who fans have already written far superior things about this record than I could ever hope to achieve. The internet’s full of the stuff, just Google it. All I know is, I paid about $5 for this, but it was worth waaaaay more than that. This ambitious masterpiece clicked with me immediately, and I just know it’s only gonna get better the more I play it.
UPDATE: I got this disc for $2, in pristine shape. I consider this a rescue.
Writing this up doesn’t even feel fair. I mean, I am built to love this disc. I’ve heard the Who’s songs for so long (haven’t we all), they’re so ingrained in our culture and in rock music as to be inseparable and indelible.
Still, in playing this disc now, I am reminded of two things, predominantly: 1) the Who wrote really freaking incredible songs, and 2) Robert Pollard totally nicked the vocal delivery (he’s a noted Who fan). Good on ya, Bob!
The track list here is nigh on impeccable:
Substitute / The Seeker / Magic Bus / My Generation / Pinball Wizard / Happy Jack / Won’t Get Fooled Again / My Wife / Squeeze Box / The Relay / 5:15 / Love Reign O’er Me / Who Are You.
You’ll notice I didn’t even have to comment on any of these songs. You knew them all, right? Right.
But there are glaring omissions here. I mean, first and foremost, Baba O’Riley. Seriously, what. I’d slot it in right after Won’t Get Fooled Again, or right at the end.
Second, I was going to say you should just go buy Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy as a companion to this disc, because you’re still missing the following other tracks that it adds to the mix…
I Can’t Explain / The Kids Are Alright / I Can See For Miles / Pictures Of Lily / Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere / A Legal Matter / Boris The Spider / I’m a Boy.
And there’s still no You Better You Bet, amongst several others… Glad they left off Behind Blue Eyes, though. I never did like that song.
But wait! Here ya go, there’s a 2CD set called The Who: The Ultimate Collection that looks like it’d get you pretty well sorted.
Oh. Sorry, I got carried away, there. Back to the disc at hand. Ahem.
All the missing tracks aside, this single disc is still a great primer for newbies and old hands alike. You knew it would be. It plays huge in the car and it’s totally fun, though it is difficult to do the guitar arm swings in such an enclosed space.
Many things in life make me happy, and having the songs of a band I love and admire stuck in my head is one of those very things indeed.
So there I was, bopping around the house all morning, no stereo playing at all, singing along to every Who song I could think of (and there were many), pinwheeling my arm just like Pete Townshend in all the appropriate spots (and there were many). I surely must’ve looked a little silly doing all of this.
Like I care.
What’s somewhat remarkable to me was just how clear these songs were in my head. The songs just sprang into my head, fully formed. Neat!
Later in the day, upon returning from attending my Grandma’s birthday party (Happy Birthday, Grandma!), I immediately started digging through my record collection and was completely unsurprised to find a couple of Greatest Hits Of The Who compilations, among several of their individual albums as well. I am, after all, a fan.
But after some further digging (and playing the actual tracks in the stereo this time, not just in my head), I realized that these collections weren’t quite right for me. What I mean is that they simply didn’t match the song list I’d had in my head all day, not that they were lacking or incomplete in any way.
Well then, what’s a Who fan who’s been grooving to the band’s songs to do, in that situation? Why, he should make his own mix! After all, I do have access to the technology to do so!
So that’s what I did.
It was a totally fun project. You’ll likely notice I left off a whole bunch of songs, trying for only the songs that I’d been hearing earlier in the day. Oh, and I left Behind Blue Eyes off there too, because I quite frankly don’t like that song. I don’t care if it’s the original version, or that Limp Bizkit guy doing it or whatever. That song is The Who’s equivalent of Sloan’s The Other Man or The Clash’s Lost In The Supermarket to me. Love the band, just don’t like that particular song by them. Fair enough. Chacun à son goût, non?
The Who has fans everywhere. Just ask Robert Pollard, Eddie Vedder and countless other performers who, in some small way, have melded the band’s sound into their own art in wonderful ways. Turn on Classic Rock radio at any time of the day and guess what you’ve a good chance of hearing? And let’s not neglect the massive legion of fans out there everywhere… and so on, and so forth.
The whole point of this story is that that I had a blast making this mix, and it’s totally awesome (if I do say so myself). I’m gonna put it in the car tomorrow, ‘cos it’ll make completely great highway music! Hooray!
I strongly recommend you make a similar disc for yourselves. You can thank me later.
01 I Can’t Explain
02 Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
03 My Generation
04 The Kids Are Alright
05 A Legal Matter
07 I Can See For Miles
08 Magic Bus
09 Pinball Wizard
10 The Seeker
11 Baba O’Riley
12 Won’t Get Fooled Again
13 Join Together
14 Long Live Rock
16 Love Reign O’er Me
17 Squeeze Box
18 Who Are You
19 You Better You Bet