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THE WHO

Proto-Prog • United Kingdom


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The Who biography
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 of the new album as well. It was 6 distinct song fragments tied together with a unifying theme; love, betrayal, and forgiveness. It is often called a rock opera... it could also be calle...
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The Who official website

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Buy THE WHO Music


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LP isle of wight festival 1970
THE WHO
~ USD $24.48
LP live at the isle of wight festival 1970
THE WHO
~ USD $33.53


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THE WHO shows & tickets


  • The Who Hits 50 on 22 Mar 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 23 Mar 2015
  • Teenage Cancer Trust 2015: The Who on 26 Mar 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 15 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 17 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 19 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 21 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 23 Apr 2015
  • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - Weekend 1 on 24 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 27 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 29 Apr 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 2 May 2015
  • The Who + Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Sprint Center, Kansas City MO on 5 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 7 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50! on 9 May 2015
  • The Who at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville on 11 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50! on 13 May 2015
  • The Who at Nationwide Arena, Columbus on 15 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 17 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 20 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 22 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 24 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 26 May 2015
  • The Who Hit 50 on 30 May 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 21 Jun 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 23 Jun 2015
  • British Summer Time: The Who Hits 50 on 26 Jun 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 28 Jun 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 29 Jun 2015
  • The Who Hits 50 on 1 Jul 2015

THE WHO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.75 | 114 ratings
My Generation
1965
2.88 | 109 ratings
A Quick One
1966
3.52 | 157 ratings
The Who Sell Out
1967
4.00 | 385 ratings
Tommy
1969
4.37 | 411 ratings
Who's Next
1971
4.48 | 426 ratings
Quadrophenia
1973
3.48 | 134 ratings
By Numbers
1975
3.25 | 143 ratings
Who Are You
1978
2.35 | 79 ratings
Face Dances
1981
2.59 | 71 ratings
It's Hard
1982
2.89 | 58 ratings
Endless Wire
2006

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

4.03 | 105 ratings
Live At Leeds
1970
4.08 | 28 ratings
The Kids Are Alright (Original Soundtrack of the Film)
1979
2.56 | 13 ratings
Who´s Last
1984
3.00 | 6 ratings
Join Together
1990
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Who Live (Golden Age serie)
1993
3.05 | 21 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
1996
2.76 | 18 ratings
BBC Sessions
2000
3.97 | 15 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2003
4.00 | 3 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
2010
3.96 | 6 ratings
Live At Hull
2012

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

3.87 | 22 ratings
The Kids are Alright
1979
4.00 | 7 ratings
Who's Better, Who's Best
1988
3.60 | 12 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival
1998
4.07 | 8 ratings
Who's Next - Classic Albums
1999
3.83 | 10 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
2000
3.20 | 5 ratings
Live & Alive
2003
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Vegas Job
2006
3.10 | 10 ratings
Amazing Journey
2007
3.70 | 9 ratings
The Who at Kilburn: 1977
2008
3.45 | 10 ratings
Maximum R&B Live
2009
4.50 | 4 ratings
Live in Texas '75
2012
3.09 | 4 ratings
Quadrophenia: Live in London
2014

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

2.24 | 13 ratings
Magic Bus: The Who on Tour
1968
3.32 | 22 ratings
Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy
1971
3.69 | 23 ratings
Odds & Sods
1974
3.20 | 5 ratings
Who's Missing
1985
4.00 | 7 ratings
Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B
1994
3.80 | 20 ratings
My Generation - The Very Best of The Who
1996
2.26 | 4 ratings
The Who (budget compilation)
1997
4.04 | 25 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2002
3.27 | 13 ratings
Then and Now
2004
1.76 | 7 ratings
Greatest Hits
2009
5.00 | 5 ratings
Live At Leeds 40th Anniversary Super-Deluxe Collectors' Edition
2010
4.75 | 4 ratings
Quadrophenia - The Director's Cut (Super Deluxe Limited Edition)
2011

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

2.70 | 9 ratings
I'm a Boy
1966
2.76 | 9 ratings
Happy Jack
1966
3.75 | 4 ratings
Summertime Blues
1970
3.05 | 5 ratings
Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy
1971
4.33 | 6 ratings
5.15
1973
3.05 | 3 ratings
Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B sampler
1994

THE WHO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live At Leeds by WHO, THE album cover Live, 1970
4.03 | 105 ratings

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Live At Leeds
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by ster

5 stars I am really glad to see The Who include on PA. Due to my own personal definition of prog rock, bands like The Who, Led Zep, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath (among others) deserve to be considered prog since at the time of the their formation, rock music was progressing because of what these bands were producing. Tons of original ideas with players to back it up. One of my all favorite bands, The Who never stopped experimenting and constantly pushed the envelope of rock music.

Live At Leeds, The deluxe edition, is the only Who album you need if you are only going to own one. This one sports an incredible sound from such an early live record. Raw but loud and clear. It also shows how incredibly daring they were going off into improvisations on some tunes and how incredible John Entwistle and Keith Moon were as a furious and dynamic rhythm section. Also Pete Townsend seemed to never run out of ideas and he proves on this record that nobody did and ever will rock harder. Roger Daltrey needs no introduction as the greatest rock belter of all time.

Ever song on this record sounds MUCH better than their original counterparts. Just check out A Quick One While He's Away, Tattoo, My Generation for proof.

I wouldn't call this a prog-rock masterpiece in the "traditional" sense. But there is no way in hell I will ever give this record any less than 5 stars on any forum.

Now go get it, crank it up. You'll thank me later.

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 Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy by WHO, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
3.05 | 5 ratings

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Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Let`s See Action" (composed by Pete Townshend) was one of the songs that he originally composed for THE WHO`s unfinished "Lifehouse" project, which originally was another "Rock Opera" that he was trying to compose and to record with the band. But the concept of that project became very complicated to be done. So, in the end, the band released their very good and popular "Who`s Next" album in 1971 instead, with some songs from that "Lifehouse" project. Other songs were released as A- sides in three singles between 1971 and 1972 ("Let`s See Action", in 1971, and "Join Together" and "Relay" in 1972), and others were finally released as bonus tracks in the "Who`s Next" re-mixed and remastered CD and in the "De-Luxe" edition from that album. Townshend also released an extended version of "Let`s See Action" in his "Who Came First" solo album from 1972. "Let`s See Action" is a Rock and Roll / Blues song with good arrangements and with a very good piano part played by Nicky Hopkins.

"When I Was a Boy" is a song composed by John Entwistle with very good lyrics about how life changes while growing up from childhood to adulthood. It was sung by him, with him also playing a very good horns arrangement in a very "baroque" style. I don`t know why this song was relegated to the B-side of a single because it is very good. It has been also released in some rarities and B-sides compilations from THE WHO

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 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.00 | 385 ratings

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Tommy
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While I have been familiar with the music on this album for many years, I never got a copy of it, or any other The Who album for that matter. It's not that I dislike The Who, it's just that I never felt the need to have any of their albums in my collection. My brother in law was giving away some CDs recently before putting them up for sale and this was one of them. So now I have a The Who album in my collection, and if it were to be just one, this would be it.

Originally released in 1969, it can lay claim to being one of the first concept albums,. It has also been hailed as a rock opera. Musically, it is fairly proggy most of the time and for that it is a welcomed addition to my collection.

On to the problems I have with this album...

The incoherent storyline. Tommy is apparently born in 1921 but somehow winds up the 1960's and is still a kid when he would be in his '40's. Either The Who can't do math or they were on some really good drugs. The child molester. Really? Does this actually add anything to the story? The gratuitous acid queen. Really? LSD is a visual experience. Tommy is supposedly blind, or maybe he's just faking it. Like being a kid when he is still in his '40's. The operatic bits. Really? Probably the worst parts of the album musically.

I could have given this album four stars, but have to shave off a point for the stuff mentioned above.

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 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.00 | 385 ratings

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Tommy
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars TOMMY is one of those so-called "firsts" that doesn't quite muster up the goods to fall in the category of the "bests." A rather ambitious project by THE WHO that was fairly cutting edge back in 1969 when the music world was in a creative explosion ushering all kinds of firsts like fully developed progressive rock in the form of King Crimson and East Of Eden, totally new genres like heavy metal from the likes of Black Sabbath or brilliant and creative new forms of jazz-fusion from the likes of Miles Davis but unlike their contemporaries THE WHO's first foray into the newly opened possibilities of progressive rock just doesn't seem as competent as all the others. Apparently the album was partially inspired by the teachings of Pete Townsend's spiritual guru Meher Baba who claimed to be an avatar and God in human form (seems like everyone had one after the Beatles went to an ashram in India). The story is about a boy named Tommy who is deaf, dumb and blind and his world as he goes through life. Hailed by critics at the time for being one of the first rock opera's and was in no doubt THE WHO's major breakthrough after a couple psychedelic rock albums firmly planted in the style of the late 1960s.

I have never loved TOMMY nor have I ever hated it. For me this is just one of those historical relics that marks a time in musical history as a milestone of sort but never really able to sustain itself throughout the decades that passed. The story is not a bad concept but what really keeps me from loving this album is how much of the music sounds the same track after track and segments are played way past their point of making the point. The midpoint overture cleverly titled "Underture" is the perfect example of a song that just goes on and on and on offering meager variations and has no ability to sustain my interest. I find this is true of much of this album. There are many individual tracks that are brilliant. I'm quite partial to the hits "Pinball Wizard" and "I'm Free" but there is just too much clunkiness on this album for me to get excited about. Having said all that I do like to throw this on now and again because it does mark a specific time in history and for that reason I do like this album but when I want to hear THE WHO I usually go straight for the much better releases that immediately follow. 3.5 rounded down

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 Quadrophenia: Live in London by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.09 | 4 ratings

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Quadrophenia: Live in London
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars I was not sure before purchasing this DVD, if I was going to enjoy a live show with the complete double album of "Quadrophenia", because it was a long time ago that I listen to this album and if I remember, I didn't enjoy all the songs. Many years later, I didn't change my mind about this, there are some really good songs, like the title track, "Dr. Jimmy", "The Rock" and "Love Reign Over Me". The other tracks are not bad for what they are, good rock songs, but not as good as some songs of their entire discography. Fortunately, the show has some of those songs as bonus performance, including "Baba O'Riley", "Who are You" and "Won't get Fooled Again"

There's a lot of projections on the screen of the band from the old days. Nice touch to have included John Entwistle with a solo of one of his performance in the song "5:15". Not only you can see him on the screen, but you can actually hear his solo. In fact, his solo sounds more alive than the bass sound of the actual player Pino Palladino, who is rarely captured by the cameras and low in the mix. Also, during "Bell Boy", Keith Moon is singing on the screen.Those projections of the old days performances are only present in the "Quadrophenia" album and not in the bonus songs at the end. We have many musicians on the stage including horn players, Simon Townsend who signs like Pete in "Dirty Jobs". Also two keyboardists, but it's mostly the piano that we hear during this show.

It is easy to rate this, can't be 2 stars because it's not only for collectors, and can't be 4 stars because, that is not a progressive rock show. So it's a good 3 stars, nothing more. But those who enjoy "Quadrophenia" will have a ball with this DVD!

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 Live at the Isle of Wight Festival by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1998
3.60 | 12 ratings

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Live at the Isle of Wight Festival
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Fourteen years ago I watched on TV the film called "Message to Love" which is about the Isle of Wight Festival of 1970. That film shows not only some songs performed by some bands, but also the violence from some parts of the audience against paying for their attendance to Rock Music Festivals and also some verbal violence against some musicians like Joni Mitchell (a very unfair thing). By 1970 some of the idealism of the sixties disappeared and some parts of the audiences saw Rock Festivals as only "money making" activities for the people who created them. In the end, the promoters of this Isle of Wight Festival had to make this 1970 Rock Festival as for "free admission" due to the violence of some parts of the audience.

There were several very good bands appearing at that Festival and in that "Message to Love" film, and also other DVDs and / or CDs have been released from some complete concerts from some bands (Jethro Tull, ELP...). And also some seven years ago I watched on TV to this film from The Who playing at that Festival. They looked somewhat sober (I think) and they did not suffer the violence of the audience, who looked very happy at the time of The Who`s apperance. The band first played some of their hits plus other not very well known songs from their repertoire. They even laughed and did some jokes (particularly done by Pete Townshend and Keith Moon), making the audience laugh too. They also played an almost complete version of their rock opera titled "Tommy". It seems that being a quartet they could not reproduce all the songs from the album live, and most of the songs from the "Tommy" album have a lot of overdubs. Anyway, it was a brave attempt by the band to try to play this rock opera live during 1969-70. And I really missed some of those overdubs. The band played an almost "raw" version of that rock opera, maybe looking a bit tired of playing it live during those years.

Rock Festivals were a fad during the late sixties and early seventies. Unfortunately, the increasing violence by some parts of the audiences made them not very attractive as jobs for the musicians and not very attractive as businesses for the promoters. In the DVD from Jethro Tull from the Isle of Wight Festival from 1970 Ian Anderson talks about his dislike of this kind of Festivals.

The quality of the images and sound is very good.

There is a dedication to Keith Moon at the end of the film, showing him doing one of his very famous jokes in front of the camera.

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 The Ultimate Collection by WHO, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
4.04 | 25 ratings

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The Ultimate Collection
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Michael678

4 stars ok.... my first official album review on here, and i was on here a few months ago on the forums, but i guess this is gonna be more of a review/rating gig only, so hello again. anyway, I have known of the Who since i was a fan of GHIII (with The Seeker on that game), and it got even futher with radio stations and what not. the inclusion of these guys as prog got me even more interested to hear if they were any proggy at all. kinda here and there, but definitely revolutionary with rock operas and programmed synthesizers (as well as the live performance). all of that is represented masterfully on this double-disc compilation which was the BIG catapult into the Who for me (thank you MP3 player, lol!) it comprises the whole history of the Who from '64-'82 (I Can't Explain to Eminence Front from "It's Hard", Endless Wire didn't peep until 2006). The booklet included here has a good essay on the same thing as well as photos and more information on the individual tracks on here. My favorite tracks here include Won't Get Fooled Again (of course), Love Reign O'er Me, and Substitute to name a few, but i love them all!! even though i have no squeeze box anywhere, i can deal with this compilation any day, proving this to be the best compilation out there. Yet, im giving 4 stars to this album because nobody's perfect (except my favorite albums ever made!!!) hopefully you guys can see me somewhere else on this type of "communication" somewhat. Prog teen, over and out.

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 Face Dances by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.35 | 79 ratings

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Face Dances
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Blurred Visionary

The thing about The Who for me, and this is sad in a way, is the amount of control that I've had to have, keeping the creative process close to my chest, making sure the other guys in the band felt they were part of the process but they really weren't. Pete Townshend

When did the Who cease to be a collaborative creative unit? Did Townshend's talent begin to eclipse that of his buddies after the successes of both Tommy and Quadrophenia vindicated his ambition, or had the rot set in even before this? As much as I admit that shorn of the textural input of Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon, those power pop 60's anthems wouldn't have sounded remotely as thrilling but they would still be great songs regardless of the means of execution. The band's enduring association with Mod culture is always overstated, as even by 1966/67 Mod had effectively abandoned it's origins in beatnik coffee bars, modern jazz, bohemian art school lifestyles and existentialism for a supplanted psychedelic hippie zeitgeist that embraced intoxication over stimulation. These precedents are seldom echoed in any of the Who's output. I've always suspected that the band's opportunistic managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp adopted the Mod orphan to pitch their client's act to any youthful demographic with burgeoning spending power. Teenage rebellion has never been anything more than a marketing ploy. You don't hear the sound of Italian scooters in the Who or the Kinks, (unless they're being advertised) but you do hear what amphetamines, R'n'B and working class urban modernism might resemble.

Over the years Roger Daltrey has come to sound increasingly uncomfortable at inhabiting what are some very unflattering alter egos from the troubled Pete psyche. Townshend has therefore often had to provide material for two distinct appetites of his target audience i.e. the experimental and confessional material for his solo albums and the more accessible but simplistic rawk fare for the legions of archly conservative Who fans. (who, by 1980 included the singer, the bass player and the drummer alas)

By the time the band convened to record Face Dances their individual orbits were at least on similar trajectories e.g. Jones, Entwistle and Townshend all had serious marital difficulties and were quaffing prodigious amounts of booze. To add lighter fluid to an already heavily combustible cocktail, Pete was also indulging in harder drugs (cocaine and heroin) Roger, by way of complete contrast, has always been strenuously 'clean' and was basking in the recent success of his role in the McVicar movie. (as the reformed armed robber now celebrated for his obtaining a degree in Sociology, like you need one to tell you stealing is wrong? go figure and gallery owners everywhere, give my regards to Jimmy Boyle's mutilated victims)

Pete's entire songbook is tantamount to the world's catchiest ever identity crisis. Teased and bullied mercilessly on account of his awkward adolescent gait and huge nose by playground sadists in childhood Acton, Townshend was inevitably a case book study in dealing with oppression and searching for belonging. He was a reluctant mod, a very unconvincing hippie, a meticulously unkempt punk and the oldest new romantic luvvie to ever frequent the Heroes and Embassy Clubs in London. What's rather ironic is that Townshend at this time was completely besotted with the Clash as embodying his holy grail of a sexy and politicized rock band who wrote and played great rock'n'roll while confronting pressing social concerns. It is clearly Townshend and NOT Joe Strummer who would have been best equipped to bring this nascent vision to reality. The reasons being that Pete does not suffer from the romanticized nostalgia for a past that never occurred in the first place that so afflicted Strummer, and he is a pragmatist at heart, a realist who cannot hide behind political rhetoric or empty agit prop. Townshend was a hoi polloi who eventually rubbed padded shoulders with the indolent elite: Strummer was the public schoolboy son of a diplomat who posed around with proles and considered the troops who manned the barricades of Northern Ireland as representative of nothing more significant than a 'photo opportunity'

You Better You Bet - 'Just' a pop song but a cracker for all that and such is the confidence of the writing that it survives a rather speculative and unwittingly comedic Daltrey reading.

I showed up late one night with a neon light for a visa But knowing I'm so eager to fight can't make letting me in any easier I know I been wearing crazy clothes and I look pretty crappy sometimes But my body feels so good and I still sing a razor line every time.

It seems clear that such dissolution expressed so unflinchingly in this song is completely alien to the singer.

Don't Let Go The Coat - Pete always cast a keen eye on the youthful competition throughout his long career and here we see his take on the contemporaneous 'jangle' indie pop phenomenon perhaps best epitomized by the LA's There She Goes. A beautiful and hauntingly powerful song that Roger pitches perfectly with just a hint of remorseful regret in his lower register.

It's easy to be sad when you lack a partner But how would I react to a broken heart now? It ain't really true rock 'n' roll unless I'm Hanging onto you and when I hold it next time

The rather unusual title was probably inspired by an oft repeated phrase sourced from Townshend's acknowledged spiritual guru Meher Baba:

and help us all to hold fast to Baba's daaman [hem of his coat] till the very end.

Cache Cache - Consumed with a sudden wish to give up music forever and live as a tramp in Switzerland, Pete decided to seek out the brown bears that live in cages in the hills above the city of Berne armed only with a bottle of brandy, his wallet and passport for company, Mercifully he found none, but this very endearing and strange song resulted which if nothing else, testifies to the faintly disturbing impulses that can afflict those with unlimited resources and impunity. The author was discovered unconscious in one of the bear pits and subsequently flown to Austria to perform a concert with the Who that evening. The cringe-worthy 'Spinal Tap' element to all this will not be lost on you I'm sure. Once again there is ample evidence that despite his excellent singing, Daltrey has very little clue about the motivation that prompted such spontaneous idiocy from Pete:

I got used to behaving very badly. Once I was so completely out of my brain that I actually humiliated the band in public. We were playing at the Rainbow in London -- this was early '81 and I kept stopping songs and making speeches to the audience. I kept playing long, drawn-out guitar solos of distorted, bad notes. I'd alter the act, making up songs as I went along. And I knew it was London, and I knew that everybody's friends and family were there, and I deliberately picked that day to f.u.c.k up the show. I just ceased to care. I threw my dignity away Pete Townshend

The Quiet One - Given that producer Bill Szymczyk (pronounced B.I.L.L) worked with the Eagles and was suggested by Pete's friend Joe Walsh for this album, it is perhaps not that surprising to report that this Entwistle tune sounds like erm... a Joe Walsh tune. John is on record stating that it was designed to replace My Wife in the Who's live set which he had grown tired of singing. I bet he wearied of this mediocre effort far quicker.

Did you Steal My Money? - We can forgive both the irony of this number being inspired by the Police (the band) and the very large debt it owes to the melodic seed of On Broadway. It's an unusual number for the Who but it works surprisingly well thanks to Pete's accusatory backing vocal that sits in a very pleasing contrast to Roger's more placatory lead vocal. The developmental sections are sufficiently inspired to warrant an entirely fresh writing credit anyway. Quite possibly the only song lyric that conspires to rhyme 'brasso' with 'ass.h.o.l.e'. trivia fans. The demo version on Townshend's Scoop 3 is also well worth hearing. As to the the shady events that inspired this tale, Pete merely states:

The true story behind this doesn't make anyone look good -- especially me. It is not the time to tell it.

How Can You Do It Alone? - A weighty and brooding descending intro provides the camouflage for a lighter and tightly swung verse to emerge that depicts the shame of thwarted desires being uncovered for potentially unfavorable judgement. These run the gamut of flashing on the underground, stealing porn mags and erm, showering with your girlfriend? The short synth driven martial interlude is unexpected but delightful as it leads very satisfactorily back into a verse to fade ending where 'sprightly' and 'creepy' somehow lock flirtatious hands and traipse off down the street inextricably entwined. Why any of this works defies all conventional musical wisdom as the verses centre unequivocally on D major while the intro and bridge begin with a clashing and contrary D minor? File under 'exceptions that prove the rule'

Daily Records - A belter and one of my favourite Who tracks ever. Similarly to Did You Steal My Money? notice how Townshend uses the harmony backing vocals to refreshingly original effect i.e. their wordless gaucheness adds to the feeling of befuddled alienation expressed in the lyric:

I look at baggy suits and leather capped with puke, I look at Richmond married couples denim look I watch my kids grow up and ridicule the bunch but When you are eleven the whole world's out to lunch

Pete's skiffle past is betrayed by an exhilarating guitar break where his command of rapid banjo finger-picking technique is deployed on 6 string electric. Kenney Jones drumming is particularly good on this and it's a shame that his very invisibility makes him one of the few top drummers capable of seamlessly replacing Keith Moon while receiving scant credit or censure for same. A simple and salutary song about how the best intoxication and anti aging tonic to be had anywhere is that fueled by pure, uncut and undistilled music fresh from the source.

You - Another Entwistle original but it's driven by such a tight arsed little riff that must be one of the stingiest ever committed to tape post big bang. Things do perk up thereafter as we transition into a clanking pedal point groove under 'A' which if nothing else, is an exercise in how far you can take this standard issue rock device without resorting to quasi oriental inflected modulations a la Fancy, See My Friends, Tomorrow Never Knows etc. Wisely, John resists such temptation as he's in way over his head in that company. It ain't bad, but I've never yet felt compelled to reach for the 'repeat' button on its cessation. Faintly cack-handed misogyny to boot?

You, your wasting my life, You can't lose what you've already lost Your arms are open but your legs are crossed

Another Tricky Day - Almost self consciously nostalgic for a simpler and more naive past, with trademark windmill power-chords punctuating the Ox's effortless but always muscular anchor and Bundrick's playful jesting piano. Very strong ascending melody that reaches its memorable summit thus:

(Just gotta get used to it) We all get it in the end (Just gotta get used to it) We go down and we come up again (Just gotta get used to it) You irritate me my friend (This is no social crisis) This is you having fun (No crisis) Getting burned by the sun (This is true) This is no social crisis Just another tricky day for you

You can't help but feel there are those amongst us in positions of great privilege, wealth and cultural standing who suffer from both a slice of self-loathing and that strange jealously of ordinary people with ordinary everyday concerns? Regardless, like so much on Face Dances, it succeeds because the writing is strong enough to withstand the lukewarm reception afforded by the band to Pete's original demos and the complete dearth of empathy from a singer who would have very little common ground with the hellish demi-monde inhabited by his songwriter

This just leaves the token doggie bag of tidbits that proliferate on reissued CDs these days. Word to the wise label execs everywhere: free s.h.i.t. is still overpriced.

Somebody Saved Me is an interesting draft that was given its definitive reading on Pete's brilliant solo album All the Best Cowboys have Chinese Eyes. Listening to this earlier version, it seems to inhabit harmonic territory similar to that retraced by Lloyd Cole's Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken? a couple of years hence. I Like Nightmares is good fun but is ruined by Pete's transparently rat a.r.s.e.d. delivery with uncharacteristic dithering over whether he wanted it punchy New Wave or country parody. It's In You sounds like something even the Stones would have rejected from one of their uniformly wretched 80's albums. There are also bundled a couple of live versions of How Can You Do It Alone? and The Quiet One which are decent but strictly for completists only.

Face Dances is an unjustly neglected album in my book as I consider it stronger than the more highly regarded It's Hard that followed. Although not 'proggy' in any conventional sense, of some interest to PA visitors has to be Rabbit Bundrick's keyboards which in the absence of the usual swathes of Townshend guitar, provide much of the internal detail and flesh out the arrangements accordingly. He does this quite brilliantly and his playing is borderline ornate in places with a choice in sounds and textures exemplary throughout. Bundrick is the rabbit that Townshend pulled out of the hat. It also seems clear that by circa 1974 the Who only existed in any meaningful form solely to perform the music of Pete Townshend. They ceased to be a 'real' interactive band long before then.

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 The Kids are Alright by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1979
3.87 | 22 ratings

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The Kids are Alright
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I went to a now defunct cinema in my city to watch this film in July or August 1979. At that time, I was 14 years old, and I was on school holidays then. I also went at that time to watch some Rock films ("Woodstock", "Let It Be" and others) in other cinemas. It was a time when Rock concerts in my city were not seen with "good eyes" by the goverment, and Rock movies were rarely shown in cinemas and for a short time only (fortunately this changed by the late eighties). At that time I also was starting to collect Rock music records and learning about Rock and Prog Rock bands. So, I went to that old cinema to watch this film, with a lot of "teenager enthusiasm". I liked the film a lot, so some days later I went to watch the film again.I think that even some years later I went to another cinema to watch the film again, and finally, in 2000 a Cultural TV channel in my city broadcasted the film for the first time on TV. So, now, my opinion about this film is not as favourale as the first time I watched to it, but, anyway, I still consider it as a good documentary about the history of this band done before Keith Moon`s death. It has some flaws: the clips are not shown in a chronological order. There is not really a narration of their history. So, it is more a visual documentary, with funny scenes and interviews, some TV appearances, and some songs played in concert, like in the Monterey and Woodstock Festivals and in other venues, some promotional films for songs like "Happy Jack", etc. Maybe the most interesting things in this film are the scenes of the band filmed during their last concert with Keith Moon which were filmed in May 1978, and also the scenes filmed during the recording of their "Who Are You" album during late 1977 and mid 1978. Humour also appears a lot in this film due to funny interviews with the members of the band, particularly with Keith Moon and Pete Townshed. Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle appear less time speaking in the film (a thing both of them didn`t like very much from this film, and they also said that they considered the film as "amateur"). As time has passed, I can see more clearly now these flaws, and it is very clear that Jeff Stein, the Director of the film, really was an amateur film maker then, being really a fan of the band who proposed to them to do this film. Another flaw (which I hope that it was repaired when preparing the film to be released on DVD) is that most songs are in a higher speed in the original film (a thing that didn`t happen in the soundtrack album of the same name).So, this film, while still been very good, is like a "collage" of unrelated scenes edited one after the other. Anyway, it still is very entertaining and funny. I hope one day to watch to the DVD version of this film.

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 Live at the Royal Albert Hall by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2000
3.83 | 10 ratings

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Live at the Royal Albert Hall
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This concert video was recorded in November 2000 during a benefit concert, with The Who playing the songs with some guests in some songs. It is one of the last recorded appearances of John Entwistle (who died in June 2002) with the band, and it includes an excellent bass guitar solo section by him. This concert video is very good as shows the band playing very well, with a lot of energy. Particularly, the inclusion of Zak Starkey as drummer since 1996 improved the band a lot since Keith Moon`s death and in my opinion he has been the most adequate drummer for the band`s music style, playing in a similar way like Moon did with the band (he was in fact given some drums lessons during his childhood by Moon himself). The sound and images are very good, and it is maybe one of the best concerts I have seen from the band wiithout Keith Moon.The inclusion of John Bundrick as keyboard player also improved the band`s playing during the concerts. So, I think that this line-up of the band (Daltrey, Entwistle, Townshend, Starkey and Bundrick) was the best line-up since the death of Moon. The inclusion of guests in some songs was a good idea, bringing some variety to the playing of some songs. Their performances are good in general.

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