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The Who My Generation album cover
2.98 | 220 ratings | 15 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1965

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Out In The Street (2:32)
2. I Don't Mind (2:33)
3. The Good's Gone (4:00)
4. La-La-La Lies (2:18)
5. Much Too Much (2:45)
6. My Generation (3:21)
7. The Kids Are Alright (3:10)
8. Please, Please, Please (2:46)
9. It's Not True (2:34)
10. I'm A Man (3:23)
11. A Legal Matter (2:54)
12. The Ox (3:57)
13. Circles (3:13)

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
14. I Can't Explain (2:04)
15. Bald Headed Woman (2:32)
16. Daddy Rolling Stone (2:55)

Bonus CD from 2002 remaster - Additional Bonus Tracks :
1. Leaving Here (alternate) (2:50)
2. Lubie (Come Back Home) (3:40)
3. Shout And Shimmy (3:20)
4. (Love Is Like A) Heatwave (2:41)
5. Motoring (2:51)
6. Anytime You Want Me (2:38)
7. Anyhow, Anywhere, Anyway (alternate) (2:43)
8. Instant Party Mixture (3:24)
9. I Don't Mind (full length version) (3:43)
10. The Good's Gone (full length version) (4:29)
11. My Generation (instrumental) (3:27)
12. Anytime You Want Me (A Capella version) (2:29)
- Monaural Versions with Guitar Overdubs -
13. A Legal Matter (2:49)
14. My Generation (3:18)

Total time 44:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Daltrey / lead vocals
- Pete Townshend / lead guitar, vocals
- John Entwistle / bass, vocals
- Keith Moon / drums, percussion

- Nicky Hopkins / piano
- Perry Ford / piano (14)
- The Ivy League / backing vocals (14,15)
- Jimmy Page / guitar (15)

Releases information

Artwork: Richard Evans with Colin Jones (photo)

LP Brunswick - LAT.8616 (1965, UK) Mono version
LP Decca - DL7 4664 (1966, US) Stereo, re-entitled "The Who Sings My Generation" and new cover art

CD MCA Records - MCAD-31330 (1988, US)
2xCD MCA Records - 112 926-2 (2002, UK) Remastered by Erick Labson and expanded on 2 discs with 17 bonus tracks

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE WHO My Generation ratings distribution

(220 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (49%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE WHO My Generation reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
3 stars MY GENERATION is one of the seminal British rock albums of the mid-1960s. Although perhaps only seven or eight of its original tracks are top-notch, these virtually defined the classic heavy rock sound.

The Who are so often claimed as godfathers of the punk movement that you may ask yourself what connection this early album could have with progressive rock. The answer lies, very simply, with the wild instrumental abandon of the "My Generation" finale, and of "The Ox". Until "The Ox" came along, exuberant rock instrumentals of THIS calibre were totally unheard of. Chris Squire, John Wetton and many other prog bassists have hailed John Entwistle as one of their heroes. Surely the influence of "The Ox" stretches all the way to King Crimson's "Schizoid Man" and Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise". The more I think about it, the more it seems that much of the dark electric sound of post-1972 King Crimson was inspired by, or even grew out of, this single track by the Who.

Since the album currently under review seems to be the two-disc deluxe edition, it's worth pointing out that this has one major drawback: it does NOT contain one of the Who's most exciting early classics: the original mono version of "Anyway, anyhow, anywhere."

As with THE WHO SELL OUT, the very best material from MY GENERATION can also be found on the THIRTY YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B box set.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars Don't judge this rough debut album too harshly. When The Who recorded the songs for this LP in late 1965 progressive rock did not exist. Even The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were still writing simple love songs and few bands were granted the privilege of putting out an entire album of their own tunes. The Who had charted in the UK with the singles "I Can't Explain" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" so their producer Shel Talmy had gotten the go ahead on the LP from Decca. Pete Townsend, encouraged by the opportunity, wrote more original songs for the record and his tunes replaced many of the covers that were initially tapped to be included from their live stage show. The album wasn't released in the US until April 1966 after it was re-titled as "The Who Sing My Generation" and featured a somewhat grim cover photo of the group frowning in front of Big Ben to associate them with the still-burgeoning British Invasion phenomenon. I have that vinyl disc and it's that version that I will review here.

"Out In The Streets" is, for those innocent times, a stark rocker where Roger Daltrey employs his faux James Brown soul voice and, where there would normally be a guitar lead, Pete just bangs unceremoniously on his axe. It may not seem like much now but back then it was too cool for words. Speaking of the Godfather of Soul, "I Don't Mind" is a JB cover and you get a glimpse of what their nightclub routine must have been like. This is the kind of funky stuff that Roger lived for. On "The Good's Gone" Daltrey abandons that persona, however, and adopts a deeper, more menacing style. This is also where you get your first introduction to the one and only Nicky Hopkins guest-appearing on piano. That talented guy was everywhere in those days. "La La La Lies" is next and it's a catchy pop tune where Keith Moon restricts himself to just using the tom toms on the verse and chorus. Again, that was something no one else was doing then. "Much Too Much" is a pedestrian Townsend song where Roger sings about dumping a girl because she's getting too serious about their relationship. Probably a situation Daltrey was familiar with.

What can I say about "My Generation" that hasn't already been said? I can only relate that, in my case, I was turned on to the tune by a hip drummer friend of mine one day as a nave sophomore in high school and I had a devil of a time finding the 45 at the local record shop. I had to special order it. You see, while the track tore up the charts in England (#2) it never even sniffed the charts in the US. But that song changed my whole outlook on life (along with seeing them open for Herman's Hermits in April '67) and my mom swore that I was never the same sweet boy she raised ever again. (She's right, too.) Anyway, the track is so fantastic that they sound like a completely different band performing it and hard rock music was never the same afterward. It defined an alternative attitude that struck a note deep in the soul of many a restless youth.

Keith Moon's charismatic, unorthodox approach to drumming is all over the excellent "The Kids Are Alright." The subject matter of choosing to leave a relationship rather than drag an innocent girl into the brutal world of rock & roll was unusual, as well. Evidently there's a slashing guitar solo that was snipped from the US version that we never got to enjoy. There was a lot of that kind of selective editing going on back then that wasn't fair to either the artist or the consumer. The most embarrassing cut on the album is their over-the-top version of the James Brown classic "Please, Please, Please" where Roger tries much too hard to emote. It's almost laughable. "It's Not True" follows and despite the snotty lyrics it sounds like they were trying to please the record company with a tune that sounded like what the other British groups were putting out. It makes it even more obvious that The Who was destined for much bigger, better things than being a one-hit wonder.

"The Ox" is pure proto prog in that it evokes a noisy, psychedelic aura that no one else had even dreamed up at the time. Moon had always been a surf music enthusiast so the fact that the group-written instrumental resembles "Wipe Out" is no coincidence but John Entwistle's booming yet top-heavy bass and Keith's relentless assault on the drums makes that dinky novelty tune pale in comparison. Pete has said that this song more than any on the LP duplicates the explosive energy they produced on stage and his use of feedback and distortion was groundbreaking. Only The Yardbirds were coming close to making this kind of joyful noise. "A Legal Matter" is about divorce, a touchy subject even then, and Pete sings it probably because Roger was going through the breakup of his marriage at the time and it hit a little too close to home. Nicky Hopkin's sprightly piano work livens things up a bit. Lastly, for the US version of the album we got "Instant Party" (also known as "Circles") instead of "I'm a Man" and I think we got the better end of the deal because Pete's chaotic guitar solo is years ahead of its era and John's odd French horn makes the cut quite eclectic.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing stellar about this record except the earth-shaker that is "My Generation" itself but it does show a group of tough, punkish kids that are making the most of their big break by fearlessly pushing the envelope of what was commonly accepted in those days. Remember that this was recorded before many innovations in studio techniques were being employed and the growing tension between producer Shel Talmy on one side and Townsend and manager Kit Lambert on the other (that resulted in a nasty split soon after) wasn't necessarily conducive to a happy working environment. All in all, however, it did put The Who on the map and set them up to make much, much better records in the near future. 2.5 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars So, finally the Who are integrated into Rock Archives. Great Achievement !

For those of you who wonder "Who" are these guys, I would just tell you that they are one of the greatest rock band in history. Chronologically a bit later than The Beatles and the Stones.

They are also one of my "classic rock" faves. What can you expect from their first album ??? The original album only hold twelve songs (up to "The Ox").

Well, one of the greatest rock anthems of all times : "My Generation" of course. I just hope that Pete does not die any time soon like he mentioned in the lyrics (the famous phrase "I hope I die because I get old). This will allow me to see them more times live (last one was in June this year during an EXTRAORDINARY concert in Antwerp).

An incredible rock and melodious song which became a punk anthem little later (1976) : "The Kids Are Alright".

Several other single songs : at this time of their career, The Who are mainly a singles band like "Out in the Street". "La-La-La Lies" (somewhat poor I'm afraid), "Much Too Much" a typical Who song of that era (melodious and good rocking), "A Legal Matter" (another very good Who song with a great beat), and "The Ox" (a psychedelic song which might have influenced some Vanilla Fudge stuff, early Purple songs (Mark I of course), early Floyd ones as well ("Piper" period) : great and hypnotic drumming and great bass play as well.

"It's Not True" also ranges to the good, standard old rock number with interesting lyrics : at least Pete didn't want to kill his dad unlike Jim Morrison a little later ("The End") and "The Good's Gone" (which includes some psyche elements as well).

Some poor songs as well : "I Don't Mind", "Please, Please Me" (childish blues ones), "I'm A Man" (again a bluesy one).

If you are looking to an inch of prog music, you won't get it with this one (nor with any Who album). The Who are definitely a very important band in the rock history. They have produced the best concept of all time (IMO), one of the greatest live record as well, and an incredible amount of rock anthems.

IMO, the bands that "The Who" have influenced the most are "The Jam" and "The Clash". Nothing prog there either (although they are great bands of course).

Three stars for this album. This rating is for fans only. If you want to get the essence of their work, just grab a "Best Of". For maniacs, "Tommy", "Live At Leeds", "Who's Next" and "Quadrophenia" are of course essential.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When I was a child and music of The Beatles and Indonesian bands like Koes Plus, Panbers and The Mercy's were around my playground, I knew very little about The Who. Until a period when the "Tommy" rock opera was released, I was finally aware about the band existence. And I agree that this band was one of the others who formed the establishment of rock music through what later called as The British Invasion. As this is the debut album, I did not expect a lot out from it. The music is practically simple and actually nothing quite challenging. But, remember that it was mid 60s and not many bands had its form by that time. So, the fact that The Who released this album was a significant contribution to rock development.

Over the span of decades, people have made thousands of words to rate as one of the best debut albums of all time. Some people, in fact, go even further by declaring it to be the "one". For someone who knew the album decades too late to listen to it for the first time, , it still sounds like one of the most and important reasons to love rock music. But hold on for a second. If you compare it today's complex prog music, you might not think so. And, I leave it up to you be the final judge because at the of the day .. music is emotion.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars My Generation is the debut album from legendary sixties rock band The Who. The Who isnt a band Ive ever listened to besides seing the Tommy movie somtime in my teenage years, so I thought Id give it a go to see if they could excite me.

My Generation is a pretty typical sixties pop/ rock album which is clearly inspired by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones which means that The Who has both the nice pop melodies and beautiful arranged harmony vocals and the more dirty bluesy touch. My Generation isnt a very dirty album though and its not that progressive either. Most of the songs fail to give me much more than a good simple pop melody. There are not many exciting instrumental arrangements on the album. Ill mention a few exceptions: The Good's Gone is a pretty good song in my ears and it even has some psychadelic hints ( only hints). My Generation was the hit from the album and also one of the most memorable songs on the album. What is special about that song is the noisy ending that probably upset a few people back then. But its with The Ox that The Who touches progressive territory. The great instrumental track has lots of distorted guitar and feedback which Im pretty sure wasnt normal at the time. The opening guitar riff from Pete Townshend is really great and Im sure this riff inspired many other bands to try something a little different.

The musicianship is good and even though much of the playing on the album is very basic pop / rock three chord stuff its played with conviction. The bass and the drums are actually pretty dominant which is a great feature in The Whos music. Roger Daltry is an excellent rock singer. Hes got a great voice and of course Pete Townshend needs to be mentioned as well as he does have a special touch when he plays that guitar.

The production is very well done for a sixties production. Very enjoyable.

The cover is pretty typical sixties looking with the band depicted on the cover looking a bit cocky.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by My Generation even though this is not music Ill be listening to again for quite some time. Ill rate My Generation 2 stars but dont get my wrong here because I do think this album is good, but its not very progressive by todays standards and I normally enjoy music a bit more challenging than this.

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

This group took the world (or at least the rock realm) by storm with the title track of their debut album the anthemic and stuttering My Generation and its uncontrolled feedback in the middle solo. Their sound was brutal up-front in your face and radically new. It's always a little puzzling to see such a hard rocking (with plenty of energy in their music and on stage through the bashing of instruments) group claiming to be a Mod. However huge was My Generation, the surrounding singles like Happy Jack, Substitute, Can't Explain and Anyway, Anyhow were less all-out rockers and much closer to the poppier material, hence the Mod label. So when The Who got the go-ahead to record a full album, instead of placing a good deal of their own singles on the album or covers done in concert, they wrote a bunch of tracks in a hurry and the least we can say is that the results have something unfinished.

While the group was mainly songwriter (and sometimes singer) Pete Townshend's main vehicle, it is hard to imagine The Who without one of the four members as all had their indubitable imprint on the band. Drummer Keith Moon was not only the joker/clown of the band, but he was always from far the most exciting and unorthodox and unpredictable drummer playing with his guts more than through flashy chops and he certainly was very influential in the next generation of drummers. Bassist John Entwhistle is one of the three bassists that rewrote the rock-bass playing book in the mid-60's, along with Jack Casady and Jack Bruce. Not only did he also write the odd tune and sing, but he also played some brass instruments. Townshend was no slouch at his guitar with some techniques and unique to him (the windmill), and he could play a mean solo, but he never sought to be a guitar hero, and was also dabbling in keyboards. I am probably not going to make friends here by saying that Daltrey could be regarded as the weaker link, despite having one great voice, he was thankfully more "instrumental" (pun intended) on stage with a fairly strong presence.

Outside My Generation, you get a bunch of pop rock tracks that lack the real catchy hooks that their singles had, and the covers (like J Brown's I Don't Mind) bring nothing new to the original or even massacring it (Please), but it's mostly the tiny details that will signal the group's future greatness: the short brass interventions courtesy of Entwistle, the non- playing of Townshend when expected, Moon's unorthodox playing or not playing, Townsend's chaotic solos etc?.. This group's mostly onto something different. And it ill be clear in the album's only climax (other than the title track): indeed The Ox is a four-minutes instrumental where session man extraordinaire Nicky Hopkins completes the quartet on piano that's laying the foundations of a future psyched-out hard rock: imagine a hard rock version of Wipe Out with a super bass.. Note that this song's title will become Entwistle's nickname.

I suppose this album has received many reissues with plenty of bonus tracks in which hopefully will stand the aforementioned singles and their B-sides, but probably as well the tracks that didn't appear on the album, depending on which side of the Atlantic you stood at. Sooooo, calling The Who's debut album groundbreaking might seem exaggerated to some, but it has its historical significance in rock music, although for progheads, it will certainly not essential, despite this album's early appearance in the time frame of this site.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'My Generation' - The Who (4/10)

In the year 1965, the rock music world was on the brink of a major revolution. Over the course of the next few years, a wave of experimentation, intensity and rejuvenated spirit would take the previously conventional form of rock and turn it on it's side. Although it is essentially an average collection of British pop tunes, The Who's well-known debut album would later go on to be considered the foundation for hard rock in the future. Although tame by today's standards, The Who threw in a gritty sound and crunch that was pretty new and exciting for the time. However, time has not aged this debut well, and the album is a pretty immature bout in relation to their later, stronger works.

The real highlight and reason to check out this debut are in a handful of real standout tracks, including the classic title track 'My Generation,' 'The Kids Are Alright' and the playful 'A Legal Matter.' Much like Led Zeppelin would start off a few years later, The Who are firmly rooted in blues rock here, although the adolescent melodies and catchiness of the British Invasion is here in full force as well. Most of the tracks here are pretty forgettable, although some of the backcatalogue songs here like 'La-La-La-Lies' are pretty endearing pieces of British pop.

Already, Pete Townshend had developed a pretty distinctive, crunchy tone on his guitar, although his skill with the axe seldom shines here. The star of the show here is really Keith Moon, who manages to throw some exciting fills anywhere he can. Pete Entwhistle is rarely heard here in the mix, but he puts an indelible mark here with his famous bass solo on the title track.

'My Generation' isn't an album that I appreciate much beyond it's historical context and a few killer tracks, but as a debut of one of the greatest hard rock bands in history, any fan of the band would do well to check it out.

Review by Warthur
2 stars The Who's debut sees them still in the shadow of other British Invasion bands such as the Beatles, the Kinks, and - more than any other influence - the Rolling Stones. But from a few unusual Townsend guitar departures towards the end, opening song Out in the Street could be a Stones off-cut, as could I Don't Mind (which seems to lift more than a little from the Stones' own Heart of Stone), and The Good's Gone... and, to be honest, most of the album.

The two songs which feel most like the Who on here - My Generation and The Kids Are Alright - are of course excellent, though marred by cheap production standards. But those are readily available on various compilations; as far as the rest of the album goes, it's mostly filler which is pleasant enough if you like mid-60s R&B, but the Stones did it better.

The worst songs on the album are probably the Bo Diddley cover I'm a man and James Brown cover Please, Please, Please, which present renditions that could have been knocked out by any half-decent covers band at the time. It's hard to work out what part of these song is the worst, but particularly embarrassing is Roger Daltery's vocal delivery - maybe the production quality doesn't help, but even so nobody should try to out-soul James Brown, it just isn't possible and you end up looking silly. Best song - aside from My Generation and The Kids Are Alright - is probably The Ox, an instrumental jam which suggests that there might be more to this maximum R&B than just R&B, though even that outstays its welcome (as jams often do).

Review by Necrotica
4 stars The Who's entrance into 60s popular music was a hell of a game changer. With a rock landscape still heavily dominated by poppier and more melodically driven artists such as pre-Revolver-era Beatles as well as more folk-oriented groups like Simon and Garfunkel, it was inevitable that someone would try amping up the volume and increasing the distortion a bit. Well, Britain's answer came indirectly in the form of the Mod subculture. Mod was essentially based around British youths during the 60s and involved motor scooters, soul and "modern jazz" (as they tended to call it, usually referring to bebop) music, and drug-filled nights of club dancing. Anyway, long story short, mods and rockers did not get along during the mid-60s because of differing ideals, which even led to straight-up physical violence between the two! They eventually began to settle their differences, mainly because one certain band was able to combine aspects of both subcultures into their sound as if a musical truce was being called. Of course, that band would be The Who, with their phenomenal and revolutionary debut My Generation. It was a record that combined the rebellion and raucousness of both the mods and rockers, but has also maintained its status as a classic record over the years; you see it on best-of lists by Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q, and so forth. So what made it so good? Well, the answer is simple: it rocked. Hard.

My Generation, along with Jimi Hendrix's work a few years later, would truly become the blueprint heavy metal and punk rock in the years to come. Between guitarist Pete Townshend's aggressive and distorted playing, the way Roger Daltrey mixes gruff blues and hard rock vocals, John Entwistle's already-established presence as one of rock's earliest bass virtuoso players, and Keith Moon's ridiculous amount of energy on the drums, this must have been a sound to behold back then. That's not to say some of the elements typical of that era don't slip through; there are still plenty of poppy and soulful vocal harmonies, as well as three covers of classic R&B tunes. However, it's the raw and unhinged execution that makes it so influential. The production itself is quite bare, focusing more on sheer volume and impact than being lavish or slick; this definitely assisted in propelling the legendary title track and "It's Not True" to their status as youth culture anthems by contributing to their clangorous nature and proto-punk sound. But going back to what I said about John Entwistle earlier, the great thing about My Generation is that its high level of energy is still accompanied by an equally high level of instrumental proficiency and chemistry within the group. If I had to pick a standout musician, however, Pete Townshend would be that person. His work on the album really helped to expand the sonic boundaries of what the electric guitar could do, between more tightly-constructed hard rock numbers and more experimental jams. The latter is represented most strongly by "The Ox," an instrumental piece that has Townshend playing around with intense guitar feedback and very low tunings for the time period. The song's presence on the record might seem a bit unnecessary today, but it was just another innovative piece of work when it came out.

However, all influence and innovation aside, the age-old question remains: how well does the forty-year-old album hold up today? Well, that depends on which aspect of the record you look at. Unfortunately, the biggest flaw of My Generation really is its production; yes, it fits the style and vibe of the experience as a whole, but it's also very thin and more dated-sounding than other contemporary albums of the day such as The Beatles' Revolver or The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Luckily, the songwriting and musicianship are completely timeless. Countless punk bands still cover the title track and "It's Not True" to this day, not just because they're influential to the genre, but because they still evoke the classic themes of rebellion and being young. While the band later regarded this album as a weak and rushed effort, you'd never believe when listening to such well-crafted gems like the melodic vocally-layered pop rock anthem "The Kids Are Alright" or the slightly more somber and mellow "The Good's Gone." Also, while many blues or R&B covers may feel out of place on a record, the three that are featured on My Generation fit quite well as they display that the young band were still on their way to fully developing their sound. Plus, in the case of "I Don't Mind" and "Please, Please, Please," Roger Daltrey's charismatic and aggressive vocals are a perfect fit for James Brown's often bright and energetic material.

My Generation may not suit all tastes, but one can't deny its immeasurable influence on rock music as a whole. The energy, distortion, intensity, rawness, and sonic experimentation present on the album were very rarely heard prior to its release, and its ability to mix different subcultures and bring them together is just stunning. Sure, the record doesn't quite have the songwriting or maturity to match future classics like Tommy and Quadrophenia (the latter also being about the mod scene), but it makes up for that with sheer raw energy and aggression. My Generation is just a ton of fun, and I know I'll continue to play it as long as I feel young and rebellious...

'cause "I'm not tryin' to cause a big sensation, I'm just talking about my generation!"

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Following in the trendy 60s mod and art pop scenes as the Detours, the band that changed its name to THE WHO quickly wooed audiences with its slick crafty menagerie of garage rock mixed with rhythm & blues and found instant success with the single "I Can't Explain" which was admittedly a derivative of The Kinks "You Really Got Me" which shot up the British charts and launched the band into the big leagues right out of the gate. The unexpected success of that single that hit #8 on the charts opened the doors and quickly followed by another top 10 in the form of "Daddy Rolling Stone." Due to these two high charting singles THE WHO was rushed into the studio where they cranked out their debut album MY GENERATION which debuted in December of 1965 and while a bit fashionably late to the British rock invasion, once THE WHO had arrived they wouldn't stop until they hit the big time which happened practically overnight.

Like many albums of the era, MY GENERATION found two slightly different releases for its British audiences and another for the US with two different album covers. While a rushed job for sure with a mixed bag of varied tracks, MY GENERATION is notable for being one of the first British rock albums to showcase a more energetic aggressive approach which by today's standards sounds laughable but around 1965-66 was quite shocking and single-handedly signaled an arms race of heavier and faster guitar riffs that ultimately led to the unthinkable variety of extreme metal and punk that would come a few decades down the road. That means THE WHO are considered both a proto-metal as well as a proto-punk band and although the songs on MY GENERATION are fairly standard blues driven pop rock that was fairly common for the British scene of the mid-60s, the drumming prowess of Keith Moon in particular along with heavier jangle guitars upped the ante in harder rock.

While i wouldn't call MY GENERATION the most essential release by THE WHO, the album is interesting in connecting the dots between classic 50s rock and roll with the hard rock and proto-punk bands that followed. The title track was the only single off of this one which was a huge hit peaking at #2 on the British charts but also one of the best songs THE WHO ever did in its early years. The other notable songs are the opening "Out In The Street" and the instrumental "The Ox" which prognosticated the heavier and more progressive route that the band would take. This feisty number features incessantly heavy drums, a hyperactive piano groove and a punkish guitar and bass attack unlike anything that had been released at the time although it still retained a melodic connection to the R&B driven rock and roll era that THE WHO emerged from.

The album is decent but many rushed albums in the 60s included fluff and this album is no exception. The album features not one but two covers from James Brown: "I Don't Mind" and "Please, Please, Please" as well as "I'm A Man" from Bo Diddley. Decently done but nothing more than adequate covers that really don't hold up well over time. While touted as a masterpiece of the ages, i really don't find MY GENERATION to be that exciting of a listen other than tuning into the zeitgeist of the mod scene of the mid-60s. Other than the title track and "The Ox" there is really nothing memorable about this album however if you have the Deluxe remastered version (the one i have) then you will be treated by extras such as the excellent track "Circles" as well as the singles that were released before MY GENERATION. Overall, this is a decent slice of mid-60s British blues fueled pop rock but hardly the best the era had to offer and certainly not THE WHO's magnum opus but a great place to explore the band's music for sure.

3.5 rounded down

Review by DangHeck
3 stars [Hello from the future! I really don't know how it used to be, but it must be said: We aren't judging Proto-Prog on its merits as being "Progressive Rock", but simply as "Rock Music", per the rating standards. I also must acknowledge here and now that I not only rated this before I was actually reviewing (a grave sin, I know), but that perhaps my mind can, by appearance, change in admittedly a very short period of time; hopefully more a reflection of me honing my ratings and therefore overall personal standards. Generally speaking, perhaps the greater Prog fandom genuinely doesn't care for early The Who. On second thought, "the greater Prog fandom" seems to be right on the money here.]

The Who started off here, I always thought most strongly, in 1965, in the midst of the British Invasion (John Entwistle already sporting the Union with pride). Reps of the Mods with their contemporaries The Small Faces, they and plenty other Brits of the era nerdily inspired by Black American culture (whether Soul-loving Mods or Merseybeat R&B-obsessive Rockers), straddle the line between the cool 'n soulful and the booming 'n searing. [This will be a review for the... apparently 2002 Remaster edition... selected most selectively, just so I can talk about "I Can't Explain" even briefly haha.]

A tell of the time from certain tracks, we get straight-ahead, early Garage Rock in the opener, "Out in the Street" (ballsy for the time, for sure); and "The Good's Gone", featuring some Proto-Punky chillout, to my ears a la Iggy Pop-esque vocals (maybe? Lou Reed?). I definitely enjoy this'n, despite its momentary indifference to the guns-blazing Rock of The Who's most memorable numbers. "Much Too Much" is a bit of a mix of these two modes, even expressing the first moments of their brand of genre-defining Power Pop with bright drums and a simple melody. The Garage-ready "It's Not True" is just fine. Back in this mode from a quick hiatus is "A Legal Matter", a decent track with obviously lesser vocals from our primary songwriter, the otherwise fantastic Pete Townsend. Rolling drums blast into our ears on "The Ox", by far the heaviest song of the whole, featuring, though too, some striding keys.

Yet another sign of the time was the to me now-somewhat-surprising presence of R&B, heard prominently on the second track(?!) of this album, "I Don't Mind". This track has some real heft in the midst of classic, melodic B.A.M. observance. It's fine haha, but it has something. This sound results specifically in a soft dance number in "La-La-La Lies", reminiscent to me immediately of The Beatles' "Tell Me Why", released a year and a half earlier on A Hard Days Night (1964). The Soul continues on "Please, Please, Please". "I'm A Man" is a... poorly aged rendition of a sort of Howlin' Wolf Blues number; decent ideas, but nothing that drives it to anything great. The final track of this Afro-American mode is the wonky "Daddy Rolling Stone", the final bonus track. Pretty cool, pretty funky, with some sort of honky-tonk piano.

Squarely in the middle of the release, the title track, "My Generation", is of course a must-hear, an era-defining moment in music history. It's hooky, punky, and, frankly, daringly cool as hell. We have unique, stuttering vocals from Daltry and the insane, flailing drumming from Keith Moon. Right up next, starting the second side, is one of the strongest on the album, the best example of early Power Pop present here, "The Kids Are Alright". Excellent melody, great and memorable instrumentation. And the bridge!!! Good God Almighty! Another highlight/must-hear is the Garage-Pop of "Circles". Awesome melody, and heavy instrumentation. It's pretty much got it all. What I can say is that I would actually recommend the Freakbeat cover of this by Fleur De Lys all the more. Absolutely fantastic stuff. As mentioned in my intro, I had to take time for the bonus track "I Can't Explain", a single backed with "Bald Headed Woman" (a bombastic White R&B track, which only gets better as it goes). "I Can't Explain" is yet another quintessential Power Pop tune, to be sure.

Overall, a solid debut LP (better to my ears than, say, Please Please Me, for instance). See my [super]boldings for the best of the best. Other slight standout tracks are "The Good's Gone" and "The Ox". A lowered re-rate was certainly in order.

Latest members reviews

3 stars That debut album by the Who was just another Britpop - rock album... kinda. Listening carefully, you can see the signs if their lyrical intelligence and their compositional skills. Paying tribute to their influences was an essential back then (with James Brown's "Please Please Please" and the c ... (read more)

Report this review (#1780993) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Monday, September 11, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The Who's debut came with the birth of what is known today by "classic rock", this is surely disappointing though, very basic song-writing, mixing r'n'b with rock'n'roll, like all the bands from that time, no wonder that the Beatles were so successful with their psychedelic rock, because this "mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#215357) | Posted by JTP88 | Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Jamming is good, grape jam jelly jam, this is my jumbled jeneration. The Who Sings My Generation is a fine rock album, to be sure. Even if the vocals are a bit laughable. (B.B King was a mod based Brit?) Well, the harmonies aren't terribly offensive, and it is only '65 by the by. The opener ... (read more)

Report this review (#212780) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After two successful singles, I Can't Explain and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, The Who wrote their third one, the legendary rock anthem My Generation. Being probably the best known song by the band, it featured the infamous line 'I hope I die before I get old'. The song featured Pete's crazy riffs, ... (read more)

Report this review (#181788) | Posted by In the Flesh? | Friday, September 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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