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The Who picture
The Who biography
Formed in 1964, Hammersmith, London, UK - Split in 1982 (occasionally re-formed for live appearances)
Resumed regular touring in 1999 and recorded a new albums in 2006 and 2019

One of the greatest of all rock and roll bands and one of the most influential of all time, The Who formed in 1964, when drummer Keith Moon left the Beachcombers and joined The Detours, who included singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, and bassist John Entwistle. The Who arrived on the scene at a crossroads in the English music scene: The Beatles were still king but were beginning to turn from the bubble gum pop of previous albums, the Merseybeat boom was fading and London was becoming the center of English music. A residency at London's famed Marquis club gave them a stage to make their impression: above all, The Who were a live band that had to be seen as well as heard. There first hit, "I Can't Explain", led to regular TV appearances and a tour with The Beatles. It also got them signed to Decca Records, where they recorded their first album, "My Generation". The album was a hit in England, reaching #5 on the charts, while the title track became an anthem of sorts for the times and still perhaps their best known song.

The Who were very original in that their arrangements were far from the normal in rock those days. Pete was more of a rhythm player who had Keith and John playing around him instead of
merely holding a beat, an influence acknowledged by the way Prog rock turned conventional rock idioms on their ear with regards to arrangement and traditional roles of the instruments. Keith's drumming was described as 'lead' drumming and John was having bass solos as early as 1965 in rock music.

Success out of the gate gave the group some measure of creative control on their next album which they lacked on the first. Pete and manager Kit Lambert had been talking about extended themes and ideas in rock and roll for some time. When The Who went into the studio for their second album in 1966 each group member was to contribute songs to help generate more revenue in royalties for the group, the group having a rather high overhead in terms of destroyed guitars and drum kits. When the others were not able to meet their quota of songs for the new album, Pete and Kit stepped in to fill the album out, and came up with what would be one of the trademarks of prog music in the future, the extended song cycle "A Quick One", which would be the title o...
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THE WHO discography

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THE WHO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.97 | 200 ratings
My Generation
2.97 | 185 ratings
A Quick One
3.55 | 266 ratings
The Who Sell Out
3.99 | 608 ratings
4.42 | 638 ratings
Who's Next
4.50 | 638 ratings
3.51 | 217 ratings
By Numbers
3.31 | 229 ratings
Who Are You
2.50 | 131 ratings
Face Dances
2.59 | 123 ratings
It's Hard
2.88 | 97 ratings
Endless Wire
3.61 | 34 ratings

THE WHO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 170 ratings
Live At Leeds
4.04 | 50 ratings
The Kids Are Alright (Original Soundtrack of the Film)
2.67 | 24 ratings
Who´s Last
3.20 | 15 ratings
Join Together
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Who Live (Golden Age serie)
3.32 | 34 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
2.96 | 29 ratings
BBC Sessions
3.95 | 21 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
3.83 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
3.94 | 13 ratings
Live At Hull

THE WHO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.87 | 33 ratings
The Kids are Alright
3.60 | 10 ratings
Who's Better, Who's Best
3.59 | 18 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival
3.94 | 12 ratings
Who's Next - Classic Albums
3.89 | 16 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
2.86 | 7 ratings
Live & Alive
2.71 | 7 ratings
The Vegas Job
3.11 | 16 ratings
Amazing Journey
3.73 | 14 ratings
The Who at Kilburn: 1977
3.48 | 14 ratings
Maximum R&B Live
3.78 | 9 ratings
Live in Texas '75
3.26 | 12 ratings
Quadrophenia: Live in London
3.84 | 6 ratings
Live in Hyde Park
4.00 | 2 ratings
Tommy: Live at the Royal Albert Hall

THE WHO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.25 | 18 ratings
Magic Bus: The Who on Tour
3.35 | 35 ratings
Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy
3.70 | 41 ratings
Odds & Sods
3.33 | 6 ratings
Who's Missing
4.06 | 12 ratings
Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B
3.80 | 26 ratings
My Generation - The Very Best of The Who
2.26 | 4 ratings
The Who (budget compilation)
4.06 | 30 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
3.27 | 15 ratings
Then and Now
1.85 | 10 ratings
Greatest Hits
5.00 | 6 ratings
Live At Leeds 40th Anniversary Super-Deluxe Collectors' Edition
4.83 | 6 ratings
Quadrophenia - The Director's Cut (Super Deluxe Limited Edition)
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Who Hits 50!

THE WHO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.74 | 12 ratings
I'm a Boy
2.79 | 11 ratings
Happy Jack
3.67 | 6 ratings
Summertime Blues
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Seeker / Here for More
5.00 | 1 ratings
Won't Get Fooled Again / Don't Know Myself
3.07 | 8 ratings
Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy
3.67 | 3 ratings
Relay / Waspman
4.10 | 10 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Long Live Rock / I'm the Face / My Wife
2.50 | 2 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ready Steady Who
3.05 | 3 ratings
Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B sampler

THE WHO Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Who Live (Golden Age serie) by WHO, THE album cover Live, 1993
3.00 | 4 ratings

The Who Live (Golden Age serie)
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Prog123

3 stars The world of budget compilations is truly a world that can be very interesting. But it is also a risky world. Many budget compilations are only of modest quality. Others end up being real bootlegs. Other times they allow you to listen to songs in live version with not always good quality. And, in the latter case, it is not uncommon that given the success they have, they end up obtaining a restoration and a 100% official publication. With the arrival of the CD or, better still, CDs for everyone (late 80s / 90s), these budget compilations multiply. Often because the rights on the recordings expired or because certain labels decided to sell off their catalogs. Other times it happened that there was no interest on the part of the labels for certain artists who, however, were in great demand. Thus were born several labels that bought the recordings of those artists or had new versions of famous songs recorded and put them on the market. This budget live compilation is at the limit of legality since there are recordings of Leeds 1970 that are already contained in the official live of The Who and because the others are from 1968 and 1969 and, therefore, at the limit of exercising copyright on the recordings. In any case, if you were lucky enough to find it, I would recommend it. After all, there is no Progressive here, just Hard Rock (they are all 60s songs) but very valid also for a Progressive lover, given that Hard Rock, at the time these songs were written and recorded, was an innovative genre and played the role of the Progressive of the following decades. Some (I think of "Boris The Spider", for example) have a certain appeal to a Progressive lover for the structure of the writing, for example. But, in general, you can hear great Hard Rock and Proto Metal here.

What to say, to conclude? That this budget live compilation is a good example of what The Who was like at the time. But don't look for a (live) compilation for audiophiles or true Progressive lovers here.

 The Who Sell Out by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.55 | 266 ratings

The Who Sell Out
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by dvukelja

4 stars There was a lot going on in the musical world of 1967. The year that brought to the world the first albums from Pink Floyd and the Doors, Sgt. Pepper and Days of Future Past among many others. The Who Sell Out is another great title that came out in the said year, but unfortunately, often overlooked and rarely talked about, despite having some amazing tunes and being one of the first real rock concept albums, with a very original form. One can argue about the "progressiveness" of the songs, but if put in the context of the time of its release, there are some boundaries pushed, and isn't that what prog is all about? But I'm prolonging this, let's start with the album. So the album starts with the only song not actually written by a member of the band, "Armenia City in the Sky". I never really liked this one, it just sounds really different from the rest of the album and it would be kind of unnoticeable if it was removed from it. The second track "Heinz Baked Beans" opens the door for the "commercial" side of the album. But not commercial as in appealing to the masses, I mean literal commercials in song forms (and I don't mean jingles, because there's a lot of that too on the album). The finest of these three (Third is Entwistle-sung "Medac") is Townshend's "Odorono", telling the story of a singer on an audition, failing because she used an inferior deodorant, in a couple of verses with an interesting harmonic foundation based on sequencing seventh chords. "Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand" shows a gentler side of The Who. The song features acoustic guitars, interesting percussion (it almost sounds as Moon is playing the spoons, I wouldn't be surprised) and characteristical harmony. The song itself is pretty funny (it is a string of joke tracks: Beans - Marry Anne - Odorono - Tattoo), telling the listener that despite other girls have respectable qualities, Mary knows how to use her hands. It is the mocking of radio that is the real point of this album and it is done brilliantly through fake commercials and songs like this one. "Our Love Was" is another Townsend-sung simple song which has my favorite five seconds of the album, right there in the middle, the song stops and a Capella harmony kicks in, followed by a modulation. Brilliant. "I Can See For Miles" is the conclusion of the first side and it does and with a bang. If I have to pick one song to represent early Who, this would be the one. In my opinion the best performance by Keith Moon, fantastic vocals by Daltrey, very interesting harmonies in the chorus and that plain energy in the form of a song really wraps it up. Now, as much as I love this album and the first side is one of my favorite "proto-prog" album sides, I must say that the second side, despite having nice, catchy songs, isn't as interesting. I don't have much to say about the songs on it except the grand finale - Rael. "Rael" was Townshend's first idea for a rock opera (after writing the 9-minute "A Quick One While He's Away", arguably the first "epic") which was then scrapped, but parts of it were used for this album. For people that don't find The Who "prog enough", this song can prove otherwise. Despite being little under six minutes, it has several different parts, a story about a hero, vocal harmony, instrumental breaks... If it had been finished (with music in this style), I would have taken "Rael - the album" before "Tommy" any day, but that's for some other time. I conclude this rather longish review by saying that if the rest of the second side had been as good as the first one, this would be a five star album for me. This way, I give it four stars because it is something that every fan of proto-prog should hear.
 My Generation by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
2.97 | 200 ratings

My Generation
The Who Proto-Prog

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

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.61 | 34 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A few years ago, I saw an interview with Roger Daltrey, in which the legendary Who vocalist waxed lyrical about how his old sparring partner, Pete Townsend, had "written the book" on teenage life, angst, and growing up in a harsh world, but hoped that he would one day write the definitive album about growing old.

Well, 2019 saw the release of "Who", a brand new collection of Townsend songs written for his cohort and recorded virtually, with Daltrey allegedly taking some time to "get into it".

Is it the definitive old rocker collection of words? Well, maybe not, but what it is is a fine collection, and, to this long-standing fan, that is likely as much as we are entitled to.

To these ears, Townsend has absolutely rediscovered his ear for fine and catchy rock tunes. The album leaps out at you with the opener, All This Music Must Fade, a somewhat bitter rock track, and Townsend shows that he has lost none of his old penchant for awkwardness when, at the close, he follows up a monologue with "who gives a [%*!#]?". Indeed.

Daltrey sounds absolutely fantastic throughout. Of course, the range is a lot narrower than days of yore, but for a man in his 70's, it ain't half bad.

Ball & Chain opens with delicate piano and guitar, before providing us with a fine modern day blues riff discussing the horrors of Guantanamo Bay. And therein probably lies my deepest satisfaction with this album. I like it that Townsend still has the ability to have a damned good old rant, and that Daltrey is still the only singer and man alive with the capability of translating this into the polished product.

I adore I Don't Wanna Get Wise, a testimony to growing old in rather rude fashion, this rips along at such a pace that you really believe it is being performed by a group half their age.

Zak Starkey and Pink Palladino shine on drums and bass on Detour, a richly produced rock number with more than a nod to the past (Detours was the forerunner of The Who).

Talking of production, there are hints of some of the rich keys which blessed albums such as Who's Next and Quadrophenia all the way through, and nowhere more than on the expansive ballad Beads On One String, and my only minor gripe here is that it would have been nice to have a lot more, because they allow this track to soar in places. Ditto with Street Song, which contains keys which both remind one of Baba O'Reilly in parts, and provide a touch of Middle Eastern textures, and had this been more to the fore, a better track might have followed. As it is, I find it one of the rare throwaway tracks present.

Having said that, nowhere does the entire album sound better than on the wonderful Hero Ground Zero, with orchestral soundscapes backing a very strong Daltrey vocal. This track was written by Townsend as the opener to an as yet unfinished opera, and it is utter proof how just how much Daltrey brought into the recording process. The pair of them might have fought like cat and dog for decades, but they clearly respect each other, and I dare say love each other very much. Music this good doesn't come out of hatred.

Townsend saves for himself the longest track, at just over five minutes, I'll Be Back, a ballad sung and played by him, with Daltrey supporting on harmonica only, and it again features some good orchestration. An interesting track which provides an eclectic contrast to the overall album. The closing chord, by the way, is straight out of Quadrophenia.

The album reasserts itself strongly with the fine single release, Break The News, a song which simply shouts out the pleasure of still being alive, performing together, and rising above the chaos of being the world's greatest rock band. This track was the first I knew about the impending release of a new album when I heard it played on Planet Rock Radio. It was, and remains, a joy to listen to, and worth the admission price alone.

Rockin' In Rage does what it says on the tin, and probably only Daltrey could get away with this at his age. As a latter day protest rock song, it doesn't quite work for me, and I regard this as the other "filler track", being a wee bit too forced.

The album closes with She Rocked My World, a blues infused curio.

That these two are still knocking out music of any, let alone this, quality some 56 years after they started (they have been playing some 6 months longer that I have been alive) is nothing short of miraculous. They have weathered the loss of two of the greatest rock musicians ever to stride this Earth, and, more to the point, they still sound vital and relevant.

Four stars for this. I think fans old and new will enjoy much of what these two old geezers still have to offer. If this is their recording swan song, it is a fine way to go out.

 Tommy: Live at the Royal Albert Hall by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

Tommy: Live at the Royal Albert Hall
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Mortte

4 stars First: this review is made from the audio-version. It was released also as 3LP and 2CD. Little bit odd was, that there was no DVD in vinyl version as there was in 'Live In Hyde Park'. On the other hand 'Quadrophenia: Live In London' didn't come vinyl at all, only as DVD & 2CD. Anyway this review is based from the one I made in Finnish prog sites 2017. Today I listened first listening after that year. Little bit odd was, that they decided to make this two years before Tommy would have been 50 years old. Well, maybe they thought this had to be done before it's too late, Daltrey had had some health problems just before this. Because the horrible acoustic of Royal Albert Hall of rock concert they originally planned this to be acoustic version. But as Roger said in the begin of concert, their four weeks rehearsal's wouldn't benefit the charity where the concert profits were going, so they decided to play Tommy in as they've played it many years.

But adverts still says this was first time when Who played Tommy as it entirety. It's not exactly true, over ten minutes 'Undertune' is just few minutes piece and played only by guitar. Really would liked to hear Starkey's doing some original kind of drumming in that. But what's great here was first time really good live version of 'Welcome' that was the one of the most proggy pieces in Tommy. Really wonderful also was they've added in 'Overture' the horn parts originally played by Entwistle. I am not going to write about every songs from this album just because they're mostly very loyal to original. But have to say Starkey's drumming is little bit sticky at first (just like he's predecessor Moon had in some gigs). But when he warms up, it's again very amazing to hear! Daltrey singns as usual, although he's voice has become little bit thicker, also some songs goes into lower keys as original. Townshend has lost his voice and it's his brother Simon who sings the highest parts of Peter's. As in always the Who plays Tommy in gigs, here are also other their classic pieces in the end of the album. They played all of them already in 'Live In Hyde Park' and versions are as great. I believe they have played 'Baba O`Riley' & 'Won't Get Fooled Again' almost in their all gigs after sixties, but they sounds in this album like they were new songs!

At the moment there won't come in my mind any others in the begin of sixties started bands that still can play their old classics so well as the Who and The Rolling Stones. I just can't give this great live album five stars, because this still don't rise into level of the original masterpiece, maybe partly because that torso version of Undertune, but also they just couldn't full achieve the freshness of Tommy 1969 (who could after 50 years). But I think this is great live album to those, who don't like those more sixties sounds of the original version, also in this live vocals are not as front. Still this is not sounding too clean. Really this was a concert I would have liked to be with!

 A Quick One by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1966
2.97 | 185 ratings

A Quick One
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The Who showed their ambitions and potential on this still early album. While not reaching the sophistication of Beatles at that time, they were ahead of other rocking peers such as Rolling Stones. There isn't the studio trickery of the Beatles, songs are still quite clearly rooted in rock. The inclusion of French horn and tuba was quite inventive followed closely by creative guitar playing (including acoustic guitar) and dynamic drumming. Melodies are quite good, sometimes even reaching the pop-rock territory because of not so raw vocal harmonies.

This is hardly a proto-prog yet but remains a testimony and important album of 66 in the UK. For proggers, the 9-minute suite is worth listening multiple times. Creativity, energy and young spirit on this record are infectious and memorable. My first favourite The Who album. Other highlights "Boris the spider" with semi-growling and progressive melody, "Cobwebs and strange" with its semi-avantgarde structure accelerating drums and brass instruments. "Don't look away" is a pop track with excellent harmonies.

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.61 | 34 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Just Because

4 stars I was not alone when I thought that 'Endless Wire' was their last studio work. And when You come to know that 'the Who' is going to issue a new album it looks like a marvel. This work is better than 'Endless Wire', 'It`s Hard ' and 'Face Dances'. This is not only a surprise as a whole, but rather a package of surprises.

Many songs are like a fresh air rushing in an open window. 'All This Music Must Fade', 'Street Song' and 'Hero Ground Zero' well illustrate this feeling. The latter is sung with such young ardour that one can unwillingly doubt if Roger is a really 75-years old man.

On the contrary, bluesy 'Ball and Chain' suits the age of these 'old and tired guys'. I can say the same about 'She Rocked My World'. This number also has something that we have never heard from them before: jazz and bossa nova.

On heartwarming 'I`ll be back' Pete proves his mastery of narrative vocals. In this sence he could be in a nice company with Bob Dylan or Mark Knopfler.

Pop-folkish "Break the News" composed by Pete`s younger brother Simon brings me a soulful and carefree mood.

On "Rockin' in Rage" Roger sings verses with depth and wisdom, then the song explodes with a powerful chorus which would fit 'Who`s Next'.

Bonus pop-psychedelic track 'Got Nothing to Prove' opens a gateway to 1966/1967, a kind of feel like 'times when we were young and naive'.

In all probability we have a final album of the band and it can serve as their testament on a high note. The only thing left for us is wondering if they can perform another heroic act to make another one output. 'Who' knows ?

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.61 | 34 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Mortte

4 stars I have been huge Who-fan almost my whole life! It was not long ago, I was thinking there will not be new Who-album anymore. In 2018 they didn't even tour. I didn't hear anywhere, that in the begin of this year Towshend had said, they were going make a new album. So I was really suprised, when in this autumn hearing, there was coming new album! First single 'Ball And Chain' was promising. So I went to the Who- store and ordered three vinyl version, where the vinyls are from Who-logo: blue, white and red. This album was named just Who. It's not the first time, in 1966 'A Quick One' was released in Germany and some other countries in the name 'the Who' with a little bit different songs. But I quess there is some self-irony, in these days there are young people, who never have heard about the Who and will ask 'Who?'. Anyway Towshend has always been those, who want to follow the time, but he's always managed to do it with style. So is it in this new album. This is the first album that I've heard, where is used autotune without any irritation to me.

Album starter 'All This Music Must Fade' really also has self-irony with it's lyrics: 'I don't care I know you're gonna hate this song. And that's fair, we never really got along. It's not new, not diverse. It won't light up your parade. It's just simple verse'. Anyway it starts album really well, in a very typical, energetic Who-way. 'Ball And Chain' is also very good song, reminds a little 'Who Are You', but is lot better than that many times heard piece. 'I don't Wanna Get Wise' is again very positive, energetic Who song. When 'Detour' starts, you may think, are they made their first glam rock song. But gladly there are softer parts, that make song really great! In 'Beads On One String' direction starts to go little bit mediocre, but it has still great melodies. In 'Hero Ground Zero' strings and energetic playing keep your interest on.

Second vinyl starts with 'Street Song' that I think is the most mediocre song in this album. But then direction changes totally in 'I'll Be Back'. When that eighties Steve Wonder reminding soft harmonica intro comes, you don't know what to think. This song is the only song sung by Townshend and I think it would have fit more into his solo album. 'Break the News' is another oddball in this album, but I like it as it`s innocence. But the greatest is yet to come: 'Rockin` in Rage' could have been in Quadrophenia with it's powerful, but dark chords. Also acoustic spanish-influenced piece 'She Rocked My World' is just great! In my vinyl version there is one 10' vinyl with bonus song 'Sand' that is unreleased demo-track from the sixties. Although I can understand, why they didn't released it in the sixties, it's now sounding really great in it's sixties production and young energy!

When 'Endless Wire' came in 2006, I was totally suprised how great it was! And have to say for that reason I got lot of expections of this new album, but they didn't fulfill fully. Anyway this album is my 10 best album list of this year. I really loved in 'Endless Wire' how songs change between fully acoustic and really energetic. This new album is sounding like they've tried to make it radio friendly. Also there are any as great songs as 'Fragments', 'Mike Post Theme' or 'Black Widow's Eyes' and really not mini-opera. But I am glad only thing that connects this to 'Face Dances' is art director, this album is just so much better. All you Who-fans, who think 'Quadrophenia' was the last great Who album, I think you should at least have a chance to this new one and also 'Endless Wire'. All you who never listened the Who, do begin from 'Who's Next' or 'Quadrophenia'.

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.61 | 34 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The Who's studio output has, of course, been rather spotty since 1982, and after several breakups and reunions, has only resulted in two studio albums; "Endless Wilre" in 2006, and more currently "WHO", which was released in November of 2019. All that remains of the band is Roger Daltrey doing almost all of the lead vocals, and Pete Townshend on guitars, background vocals and lead vocals on "I'll Be Back" and all three of the deluxe edition's bonus tracks. All other instruments are performed by guest musicians and these guests all perform on different specific tracks. Of course Keith Moon died in 1978 and John Entwistle died in 2002, or course each death had a lasting effect on the band and it shows in the lack of new output.

On this album, both Daltry and Townsend provide the consistency of this album, and they still provide that same The Who signature sound, however, both of them recorded their parts separately and the other parts were added by various musicians. As far as the bass parts; most of them are provided by Pino Palladino who has been in The Who's line-up since 2002 and has also performed with John Mayer. Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) has also been a regular drummer for The Who since 1996 and performs on 4 of the tracks. Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's band "The Heartbreakers" plays keyboards on 3 tracks and Joey Waronker (session musician for Beck and "R.E.M.) also plays drums on 3 tracks. Everything else is done by various other artists.

One of the most interesting things about the album is the cover which is a series of photos that represent influences to The Who's music along with different notable symbols and things that pertain to the band's history, including the word "Detour" which not only references one of the more catchy tracks on this album, but also is a nod to the name "The Detours", the name the band used before becoming The Who.

As Daltry is lead vocalist on almost all of the tracks on the regular album, so is Townshend the songwriter on all of the tracks except "Beads on One String", The Who's version of a nice ballad (where Daltry even tempers his vocals accordingly), which Townshend shares with Josh Hunsacker, and "Break the News" which is written by Simon Townshend, Pete's younger brother.

The music on this album is definitely interesting enough in that it really reflects the trademark sound of The Who's music through the years. "Ball and Chain" is the first single off the album, yet it really lacks anything interesting. However, as mentioned previously, "Detour" is the first really memorable song up to this point (which is track 4) with a nice catchy hook and rhythm pattern. After that, "Beads on One String" is a definite highlight as a more ballad-like track, and "Hero Ground Zero" features some great orchestral (mostly strings) effects that go uncredited on the album, and that gives it a sweeping feeling that helps it stand out.

Daltry's vocals haven't suffered or changed much over the years, and that is mostly a good thing. I do believe he has more restraint and control most of the time on this album, maybe a bit mellower at times, however, he still proves he has plenty of strength when he needs it, and most people might not even detect a difference in his vocals. In most cases, it has been proven that more restraint never hurt Daltry's delivery, and in this album, even his outbursts are timed quite well. There is still a bit of over-the-top dramatics from time to time, but it works well here.

Townshend's guitar work is still quite similar to his past work also. He doesn't do anything that stands right out, but still performs as he is expected to, which is where his strength has been. His other strength is in songwriting, and, even though there isn't nothing as amazing as "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again" or even close to the amazing rock opera albums "Tommy" and "Quadropheia", it's definitely much more interesting and varied than most of the songs on "Who Are You" and "It's Hard". Townshend still has his voice also, as shown on "I'll Be Back" which has the help of vocal effects to keep him on target, and unfortunately, this makes what might have been an interesting song turn into a schleppy sounding song that rips off Stevie Wonder complete with harmonica drenched instrumental support.

These songs are varied, which is really the best thing The Who could have done to try to bring in new listeners. I don't think anyone expected to hear any rock operas or amazing rocked out tracks that the band was famous for in the past. But the good thing here, is that they didn't revert to the post-"Quadrophenia" style of songs that sound all the same or heavily soaked in 80s style synth beats. They did keep things organic here, for the most part, and they give the songs more personality by giving a large amount of variety among the songs. The place where it all suffers is that most listeners would love to hear more of a rock edge among the mellower, more radio-friendly tracks. But even that gets some fulfillment especially in tracks like "Rockin' in Rage" and "All This Music Must Fade". But again, don't expect anything that will get your blood boiling and you might be able to see how they use variety to their advantage here.

Are the 3 bonus tracks sung by Pete Townshend worth getting the deluxe edition for? Well, personally, I have liked Townshend's vocals better in the past that were effectively used to smooth out the roughness of Daltry's vocals, but he doesn't always have the strength to carry off a full album as some of his solo work has proven. In the case of this album, "This Gun Will Misfire" is much better than the track that is used on the regular album where Pete sings, and should have been used. "Got Nothing to Prove" has a really cool retro vibe that will make you think this track came from "The Who Sell Out", with strings and a definite pre-1970s sound to the production. Cool. "Danny and My Ponies" is okay, but it uses the annoying auto-tune effect again. I'd rather hear his real voice. So, two of the bonus tracks are great and the last one gets ruined by electronics.

It's not a bad album, but its not excellent either. It's just nice. It's no "Quadrophenia" but its also better than "Face Dances" and "It's Hard", and as such, it stands out in the group of later albums. Still, there is not much in the way of progressive music here, but things aren't necessarily boring either. In the end, it comes off as a little better than average, but not quite enough to be considered excellent.

 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.99 | 608 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Just Because

5 stars "1969 was going to be a good year"

Is this album better or worse than 'the Wall' , 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'The Lamb'' ? I do not care. They all are great. However 'Tommy' influenced them. Funny that a listener can feel the contrast between tragic plot and exhilarating music. I would like to mention some songs of this masterpiece.

'Overture'. Bang, bang, bang ' And it flows nicely and represents main themes in a great way. It is a huge emission of energy. Keith`s drumming is awesome. John Entwistle`s brass instruments are more than appropriate and strengthen solemnity of the moment. Pete proves again that he is a master of rhythm guitar.

'1921'. Great ballad with nice vocals.

'Amazing Journey'. Very nice psychedelic piece.

'Cousin Kevin' and ' Fiddle About'. Two interesting yet controversial songs by John Entwistle. The latter has some hints on Pink Floyd of Syd Barret period.

'The Acid Queen'. A hard rock composition with tight chorus which reminds me of Sweet Wine by 'Cream'

'Underture'. Very good instrumental piece, however, overlong. IMHO Pete should have halved it.

'Pinball wizard'. Very catchy song. This melody keeps turning in my mind.

'Go to the Mirror'. It takes us back to Overture. Rhythm section is splendid (check especially the beginning and the last seconds of this song).

'I`m free'. Exultant voice of Roger expresses Tommy`s feelings when he got healed.

'Welcome'. A sweet song. Roger and Pete are as good here as in '1921'

'See me, feel me/Listening to You'. An uplifting song. The closing number is synergy of sublime and vigorous music and great lyrics. By the way, I recall the final scene of the movie: Tommy standing in the rays of the rising Sun . There was no other way to present visual and sonic equivalent of majesty.

Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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