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The Who - Tommy CD (album) cover

TOMMY

The Who

 

Proto-Prog

3.99 | 369 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I listened to this album for the first time in the early seventies. This was the first album that I heard from The Who. I still consider it as a very good album, but I like more other albums by The Who, which in my opinion are better ("Who`s Next", "Quadrophenia" and "Who Are You"). Still, I consider this album as a pioneering effort and I also think that the very new concept of a "Rock Opera" was "Progressive" in meaning, and the music in this album influenced Prog Rock, because it opened the minds of the Rock musicians to try to create long musical works based in stories.

I have to say that the story of this Rock Opera is not very good and sometimes it is very cruel. I don`t like these cruel parts of the story (Tommy being raped and other things) and I also find the idea of Tommy becoming a "Messiah" at the end of the story a bit naive and pompous. I also saw the film which was done in 1974-75, and I liked the story less than before. But the music and the arrangements are very good and very influential for the Prog Rock music style. I think that the story of "Quadrophenia" is much better in content, more realistic and moving, and more universal in meaning. But musically "Tommy" is still very interesting.

The most interesting part of this album are the songs which were originally included in the Side One of the old L.P. (tracks 1 to 6 of Disc One of the C.D.). The "Overture" is a great starting point, with John Entwistle playing brass instruments and very good playing by Keith Moon, John Entwistle and Pete Townshend. The acoustic guitar instrumental section shows that Townshend is a very good guitarist. The track called "1921" is one of my favourites from this album, with very good vocal arrangements by the band and interesting guitars by Townshend. "Amazing Journey" is a "psychedelic journey" in my opinion, with good bass by Entwistle. "Sparks " is an abridged version of "Underture". "Eyesight to the Blind" is a song composed by a Blues singer called Sonny Boy Williamson, played with banjo by Townshed.

Side Two of the old L.P. has the songs "Christmas", " Cousin Kevin" , "The Acid Queen" and "Underture". Townshend asked Entwistle to write the "cruel" songs of this album, so he composed "Cousin Kevin" and "Fiddle About", both songs being good musically but with the lyrics which reflect these cruel moments of the story. "Christmas" has good vocal harmonies. "Acid Queen", sung by Townshend is one of the best songs of the album. "Underture" is a very interesting instrumental song, on which Keith Moon plays drums and percussion very well.

From the rest of the songs in this album, the best in my opinion are "Pinball Wizard", "Sensation", "Sally Simpson", "I`m Free" and "We are Not Gonna Take It". Being a Rock Opera, some themes of previous songs are repeated in other songs. This was a smart idea by Tonwshend, who I consider as a very influential Rock musician.

As I wrote before, this album is very good and very influential. It also has a very good production, very good arrangements and performances of the songs by the members of the band. The vocal arrangements in particular are very good. This album shows a quality of being produced with a lot of care. The credit is for the band and also for The Who`s then manager/producer, the late Kit Lambert, who encouraged Townshend to compose this Rock Opera.

As a curious thing, I mention that the song "Tommy`s Holiday Camp" is credited as being composed by Keith Moon. The song was really composed by Townshend, but it was credited as composed by Moon because Townshend didn`t know how to continue the story until Moon gave him the idea to compose this song.

Guillermo | 4/5 |

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