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The Who Who's Next album cover
4.44 | 697 ratings | 50 reviews | 59% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Baba O'Riley (5.08)
2. Bargain (5.32)
3. Love Ain't For Keeping (2.10)
4. My Wife (3.40)
5. The Song Is Over (6.13)
6. Getting In Tune (4.50)
7. Going Mobile (3.42)
8. Behind Blue Eyes (3.41)
9. Won't Get Fooled Again (8.32)

Bonus Tracks on 1995 Polydor remaster:
10. Pure And Easy (original version) (4.19) *
11. Baby Don't You Do It (5.13) *
12. Naked Eye (Live #)(5.22)
13. Water (Live #)(6.25) *
14. Too Much Of Anything (original version) (4.24)
15. I Don't Even Know Myself (4.54)
16. Behind Blue Eyes (alt. take) (3.25) *

* Previously unreleased
# Recorded Live at Young Vic (04-26-1971)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Daltrey / vocals
- Pete Townshend / guitars, VCS3, ARP synthesizer, vocals, piano (1)
- John Entwistle / bass, brass, vocals, piano (4)
- Keith Moon / drums, percussion

- Leslie West / lead guitar (11)
- Nicky Hopkins / piano (5,6,14)
- Al Kooper / organ (16)
- Dave Arbus / violin (1)

Releases information

ArtWork: John Kosh (design) with Ethan Russell (photo)

LP Track Record - 2408 102 (1971, UK)

CD Polydor - 813 651-2 (1983, UK)
CD Polydor ‎- 527 760-2 (1995, Europe) Remastered & remixed by Andy MacPherson and Jon Astley with 7 bonus tracks

Thanks to paolo.beenees for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE WHO Who's Next ratings distribution

(697 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(59%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE WHO Who's Next reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
5 stars WHO'S NEXT is the Who's most exciting album, and one of the greatest masterpieces of 1970s rock. Some of the tracks are recognisably proggy in mood, especially "Baba O'Riley", with its extended, keyboards-dominated intro, and "Won't get fooled again" with its grandiose, synthesizer-generated climax. The album is notable because, by this stage in their career, all four members of the band had reached the highest musical level they would be capable of. Pete Townshend's guitar playing sounds wonderfully inspired throughout; compared to the 1960s, Roger Daltrey's singing has taken gigantic leaps forward; John Entwistle's bass sounds superb (I love his melodious playing on "Gettin' in tune") and Keith Moon never sounded better than on "My Wife" or "Song is Over". If you're not familiar with this album, and you have no objections against heavy rock that enjoys striking heroic postures, I would advise you to acquire a copy as soon as you can! The gorgeous bonus tracks (especially the touching "Pure and Easy") only make WHO'S NEXT all the more desirable.
Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Who's Next is The Who's tightest album and their best lyrically. Pete was forced to abort a concept album titled lifehouse due to burnout, but many of the tracks make up this classic. As usual, the band brims with energy, sending pounding chords and drums cascading through your head. However, this release shows the band exuding some restraint, and it is definitely an improvement. It is also the frist Who record without any filler, other than Live at Leeds which doesn't really count.

The timeless synth riff of "Baba O'Riley" opens the album and gives way to one of the band's most epic anthems. Pete's windmilled chords are furious, and Roger's voice is heavenly. The lyrics, dealing with disilusionment, are Pete's best since My Generation. "Bargain" has some tneder lyrics delivered with Daltrey's tremendous power. "Love Ain't For Keeping" is the only track that isn't an instant classic, but it's certainly not filler. "My Wife" is one of those all too rare Entwistle-penned tunes, and it's probably his second best next to Heaven and Hell. Keith Moon shows that he doesn't just bash away at random with his great perfomance here. "The Song Is Over" features lead vocals by Townsend, while Roger belts the chorus. Often overlooked, this is an stunning song and one of my favorite Who tracks. "Getting In Tune" displays more of the band's newfound sense of restraint with great bass from Entwistle (as if he can be anything but amazing). "Going Mobile" lets Moonie let loose and provides a great contrast to the more melodic previous songs. "Behind Blue Eyes" eases right back off the throttle and it is one of the best ballads ever. Despite the presence of some many great songs, one truly stands out: "Won't Get Fooled Again." Pete captures all of the rage that the hippie generation felt but did not outwardly display as he addresses the counterculture's hatred of the status quo. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" reflects Pete's view of the banality of Establishment life. It features a great synth break and some jaw- dropping yells from Roger. This is The Who's best song.

When Who's Next was remastered, a number of essential bonus tracks were added. "Baby Don't You Do It," "Water," and "Naked Eye" are some of the band's best songs, with killer performances from everyone. The grandeur of this album can easily match that of an ELP record, and it is infinitely more enjoyable. In the list of greatest rock albums of all time, this would be in the top five. Progressive elements, such as the extensive use of synths and the epic scale of the album, make this a must for proggies.

Grade: A-

Review by Guillermo
5 stars This was the second album that I listened from The Who, also in the early seventies, but it was until 1978 that I bought it.

This is maybe the best album which this band recorded, and maybe the most famous in their discography. It was created after an abortive project of recording a new Rock Opera, this time called "Lifehouse", which in the end became very complicated to be realized, and in the place of this project, several songs from "Lifehouse" (and others which weren`t part of the project) were chosen by the band with recording engineer Glyn Johns to be released in this "Who`s Next" album, which also has a funny title and cover design. Townshend until today has not finalised the "Lifehouse" project. He still insists (36 years later!) that the project is going to be released on an album some day.

"Baba O`Riley" is the opening song of this album, with a very good keyboard arrangement by Townshend and particularly very good drums by Moon. A violin solo played by Dave Arbus and produced by Moon finishes the song very well.

Keith Moon`s drums playing in this album is particularly great. "Bargain" is one of the songs on which his drums are great. Townshend also shines on acoustic guitars in this album, and also he showed that he could play the keyboards very well. "Love Ain`t for Keeping" is a brief song with an acoustic guitar solo and very good vocla harmonies. "My Wife", composed and sung by Entwistle, has funny lyrics and also very good brass arrangements.

"Song is Over" is maybe the best song in this album. It has a very good piano part played by the late Nicky Hopkins, who was a famous and very good session musician who also played with a lot of bands, including The Beatles ("Revolution"), The Beatles as soloists (with Harrison, Lennon and Starr), The Rolling Stones, etc. The song was mainly sung by Townshend, and Moon`s playing in this song is also great.

"Getting in Tune" is another song played with Nicky Hopkins and it is also one of the best. "Going Mobile" was sung by Townshed alone, and again his aoustic guitars shine. "Behind Blue Eyes" has very good vocal harmonies and again great drums.

"Won`t Get Fooled Again" is a song with very good lyrics talking about politics and how the so-called "Revolutions" (and also sometimes the so-called "Democracies" in political terms) are betrayed and in the end "the New Boss is the same as the Old Boss". This song also has very good keyboards arangements and all the members of the band played very well.

In conclusion, this is a very good album, very recommendable for the people who never has listened to this band. It is one of the most representative albums in their discography.

I give to this album a four and a half stars rating.

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars I just read that Who's Next is the most popular album on Prog Archives this week, who would have thought this a few months ago! Personally I have no problems with their addition but now the gates are open for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, two other influential bands with very progressive ideas. But back to The Who, a few years ago I watched a documentary in the serie Classic Albums about Who's Next, I presume it is also on DVD now. I was very surprised to see the former guitar demolisher Pete 'The Nose' Townsend talking so seriously about music, from chords and time signatures to synthesizers (like the VCS3, also used by Pink Floyd on DSOTM) and recording techniques! And there is a lot to talk about seriously on Who's Next because this is the album where The Who makes impression with adventurous and varied compositions. My favorite track is the opener Baba O'Riley with its compelling atmosphere, tasteful keyboard layers and exciting violinwork, this track only justifies a Prog Archives addition! I am also pleased with the wonderful ballad Behind Blue Eyes featuring a great vocal performance by Roger Daltrey. But in fact all tracks have their own pleasant climate or interesting musical ideas (like the brass by bass player John Entwhistle). My LP ends with Won't Get Fooled Again, this epic composition contains the typical The Who agressive undertones, heavy guitarsound, powerhouse rhythm-section, powerful vocals and the use of synthesizers is spectacular, it fits perfect to the dynamics of this energetic song. If I can find my video with the Who's Next documentary, I will add it to this site because Who's Next is The Who at its pinnacle! It's hard to judge this album in comparison with Classic Prog masterpieces by Genesis, ELP, King Crimson, Yes or Pink Floyd but I consider this Who's Next in the same category as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn by Pink Floyd, the first The Doors album, Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix or Abraxas by Santana so five stars for this masterpiece!

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars What's to say about this album that hasn't been said before? More than with Tommy, with Who's Next, The Who shows that of the big four in the 60's, they were the ones to have the biggest margin for improvement, admitting The Beatles had before their demise. This from a bunch of school under-achievers (street kids) that once claim their hatred of anything but themselves (the pissing artwork is a remain of this rebellion), the progression is absolutely phenomenal, partly because of Townsend's very broad ability to write interesting and arresting tracks, partly because the group had two very able singers, an incredible rhythm section etc.. but mostly because these guys just gelled as one person on record or on stage, the glue being their static bassist Entwistle as the other three were busy tearing the place down.

Nevermind the fact that The Who, like The Pretty Things or The Kinks wrote those "rock operas" (a sickening inflated superlative to describe a concept album), and that this very present album was also supposed to be another one of them (sort of glad it didn't though, with all due respect to Peter Townsend), but Who's Next is one of those top 10 most influential albums ever, well past the over-rated Tommy and the often over-looked Quadrophenia, both being too peculiar for real influences. The only thing that The Who really lacked (maybe) was a permanent keyboardist, with Hopkins, Arbus (of east Of Eden) and Townsend himself taking care of it

Who cares if The Who was/will-never-be a "Prog group", we have an album that has no weaker track (Entwistle's My Wife does stand a bit out of the rest, but remains a full Who tune) and most of them would've been a classic in any Stones or Zeppelin album. Townsend's songwriting approaches perfection in this album, taking full advantage of his rhythm section: Entwistle being one of the three bassist that wrote the rock bassist book (with Jack Bruce and Jack Casady), while Moon The Loon (Keith for the lesser acquainted) was simply the most immediate and fascinating drummer around, wiping the floor with many of his mainstream rock colleagues, out of his sheer feeling and inventivity. I mean this "allright kid" FEEEEEEEELS, even in a calm track like Song Is Over and Behind Blue Eyes. In fact Keith is the one who makes this album a masterpiece: his drumming never stopped fascinating as his constant rolls, his incredible sound, mixed the way all drums should be on almost any rock album.

From the overplayed Baba O' Riley (named for Terry Riley) and the goose-bumpsey Behind Blue Eyes (both tracks earning recent high-profile covers), to the dramatic epic Won't Get Fooled Again, this album rocks, rolls, bowls you around. A real classic.

Not going to start on a bunch of description of tracks, as no doubt fellow reviewers will spend time on; I'll take time to review the bonus tracks on the first remastered version. With only one alternate takes (another version of Behind Blue Eyes), most of these tracks bear little resemblance/kinship to the original album, even if the majority were written in that period of time. But some of them are actually still a bit stuck between the change of decades: Pure And Easy, the Diddley-esque Don't You Do It (a Marvin Gaye cover), while others could've fit on this album with more refining: the excellent (live recorded) Naked Eye, leading into interesting Water (this is a bit too reminiscent of their Live At Leeds album) and Too Much Of Anything. Overall, while these bonus tracks are very enjoyable, they belong elsewhere (some having seen releases in different versions or on the Odd & Sodds compilation) and therefore don't add much to the album original.

Very hard not to overstate this album's importance and greatness (it still sounds quite fresh today), this is the kind of album no proghead or straight rock fan can do without, even my parents had to admit not hating them. So in that case, why should you hesitate for a second?

Review by Hercules
3 stars My youth in Clacton, Essex, was heavily influenced by violent battles on the seafront between Mods, many of whom wore parkas with "The Who" on them and Rockers. I was 12 at the time and tended to align myself with the Rockers as the songs I heard by The Who did very little for me in those early days and I liked bikes more than scooters, but I was too much of a coward to get involved. Quadrophenia is, of course, based on the events of the time. Maybe my memories of this have coloured my views of this album.

Who's Next is, in fact, the only Who album I have retained and even then it was a marginal decision since the only really good tracks are Won't Get Fooled Again, Baba O'Reilly and Behind Blue Eyes, by far the best song they ever recorded. The rest is inoffensive mainstream rock which showcases John Entwhistle's phenomenal bass skill and Daltrey's fine voice but also shows up the limitations of the rest; Moon's drumming is fairly unsubtle (though not in the John Bonham league) and Townshend is no great shakes as a guitarist. However, they have matured greatly by this stage and I can see some progressive elements in this in its early use of synths, though not enough to really stimulate the mind. However, it's light years ahead of the dross they made in the sixties so I'll reflect this with a generous rating.

Review by richardh
3 stars I really can't see this as a prog album at all.Where's the prog?? To my mind you are talking Baba O'Riley with its clever use of electronics but otherwise its just a 'mere' classic ''rock'' album (maybe even the best Who album) that hardly strays from the straight and narrow. Albums such as Quadrophenia and Tommy are the reason why they are in the archives I would imagine and The Who are undoubtedly one of the best British rock acts of all time. I had the pleasure of seeing them live at Ashton Gate last year and they still great to see BUT this album is solid rock and should not be in my view considered important within the progressive rock genre. I know Pete Townsend was doing interesting things with the Lighthouse project but Baba O'Riley is the only bit of that that found its way onto here to my knowledge.
Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars "Who's Next" is the most achieved "standard" Who's album by far.

Together with "Machine Head", Led Zep's fourth album, "Santana III", "Slade Alive!", "Meddle" and some other key albums I spent endless days listening to it when I was laying in my bed for ten months in 1972 due to a leg injury.

Two songs are the absolute highlights of course. They belong to the best of The Who's repertoire. But Who's Next is of course much, much more than two songs. "Bargain" is another great Who number, while "My Wife" (even if it is not a super song) confirms John's talent on brass (but he has already shown this on several occasions). The production is great although too much polished to my taste (I prefer the rawer sound of their live appearences).

It is definitely a trademark in their discography. Wise use of keyboards, fantastic violin play in "Baba..." of course, delicacy in "The Song Is Over" in both the vocals and the piano.

I also fully agree with Hughes on the major role of Keith throughout the album and kind of laugh while reading some comments on his drumming ability on the forum...We have one of the finest drummer of the rock history here (but not only here) : in line with Brufford, Paice, Palmer and Bonham but in another genre of course.

Very little weak numbers here. "Love Ain't For Keeping" might well be the only one while "Getting In Tune" is another typical good Who song. "Going Mobile" being half rocking and half a ballad. Although praised recently by a new generation of listeners thanks to a cover version, I have never been over-enthusiastic about "Behind Blue Eyes".

That's it for the original album which I purchased back then (1972). In the meantime, an extended version (1995) saw the light with several bonus tracks which only enforce the idea that the material that The Who produced during the Who's Next sessions was just extraordinary. "Pure & Easy" could have easily fit on the original album.

The most complete and therefore by far the most interesting is the deluxe double CD edition released in 2003. A great version of "Love Ain't For Keeping", an alternate and rawer version of "Won't Get Fooled Again" are the studio highlights as far as the bonus studio material is concerned. It also contains no less than forteen live tracks (recorded during a concert at the Young Vic Theater on April 26, 1971) of which a superb rendition of "Won't Get Fooled Again".

When one knows how great The Who were on stage and still are by the way. The last time I saw them in June of this year in Antwerp (row four) , I was really charmed to see how good they still can be : enthusiasts and dedicated to their audience. The last track of their set was "Won't Get Fooled Again". The entire hall was standing (even the far and high placed fans) during the end of this extraordianry number. Whether you are a Who fan or just interested in discovering one key album in the rock history, it is almost mandatory to get hold of this one.

The full list of the live tracks is as follows : "Love Ain't for Keeping", "Pure and Easy", "Young Man Blues" (a blues classic from Mose Allison with a great performance on bass by John). It can definitely be compared with the rageous Led Zep manner of covering blues classic in their early days, "Time Is Passing" which is a weak country tune, "Behind Blue Eyes", "I Don't Even Know Myself" (somewhat reminiscent of "Won't Get Fooled..."), "Too Much of Anything", "Getting in Tune", "Bargain", "Water" another good blues-rocking one, "My Generation" in a short (less than three minutes) format, "(I'm a) Road Runner", "Naked Eye" a great hard-rock number and "Won't Get Fooled Again" of course.

"Pure and Easy", "Too Much of Anything" and "Naked Eye" are featured on "Odds & Sods".

I would have ranked the original vinyl version with four stars, but frankly the double CD set is so extraordinary than only five stars can reward this great album.

By the way, at the time of release the press unanimously called this album a great hard-rock album. No prog to expect here.

"Who's Next" is an abum each rock fan needs to have in his discography.

Review by Blacksword
5 stars An absolute classic rock album from a wonderfull era. But, is it prog? Well, no not really. But it's good that The Who have made it into the archives under 'Proto-prog' as their output was generally riddled with progressive elements; imaginative concepts and virtuoso playing. As far as 'Who's Next' goes, the prog elements are arguably few and far between, but it's a brilliant 5 star classic album, whatever label we choose to apply to it.

The opening of 'Baba O'Reilly' was certainly a breakthrough at the time, and very progressive. Townsends synth arpeggios, changing patterns and rhythim, leading to the dramatic opening of one of the best anthems ever penned. It's a powerfull opening to an album which is consistent throughout. There is no filler at all. The songs are direct, memorable, brillaintly played and well produced. The production is that classic 70's analogue sound, which is crisp and clean without sounding in any way processed. Organic is perhaps the word. I would compare the production to that of 1973 - 1976 Zep.

The songs play through with the energy of band in their prime, who are far from running out of good ideas for songs. The choruses stand out and stay with you. There are classic Who trademarks, like the vocal interplay between Daltry and Townsend, changing the atmosphere within the songs and providing the 'light and shade' required to make a good song, and vary the sound. Wonderful use of piano and acoustic guitar also add to this. Lyrically there is great humour in 'My Wife' as Townsend sings about being pursued by his enraged wife after staying out all night drinking, and how he will require 'police protection' when she catches up with him. 'Behind Blue Eyes' is one of my favourite Who songs, complete with sad, softly sung verses, which give way to an air punching chorus, where once again, Daltry's energy offers the contrast to Townsends moodiness. 'Wont get Fooled again' leaves little to say. It's one of those songs that identifies the Who. It's the perfect song to end the album, although there are extra tracks on the CD. An excellent package of powerful, but thoughtful and heartfelt rock songs. Highly reccomended.

If you're looking for a prog album from the Who, this isn't it, but it's well worth every penny you spend on it.

Review by Chicapah
5 stars This killer album presents yet another in a series of reasons why The Who is a comfortable fit on this website. While most groups following overwhelming success and universal accolades for a groundbreaking double LP would have greedily tried to produce more of the same, Pete Townsend & Co. took their music to places nobody expected them to. In other words, The Who weren't happy or content to stand pat with the status quo. They wanted to add new instrumentation like synthesizers and violins to their sound. They wanted their writing, their performing, their studio abilities and, most of all, their art to progress. And that's precisely what we're all here to celebrate, right?

Townsend really intended to top "Tommy" by putting together a very ambitious musical movie tentatively called "Lifehouse" but, after several months of unproductive recording sessions in New York with their manager/producer Kit Lambert, the contempt that familiarity breeds forced them to abandon the project with him and start over again in London with Glyn Johns. What Johns brought to the group besides a fresh outlook was his skill as a cutting-edge recording and mix-down engineer that would enable them to keep pace with the constant improvements in consumer audio systems.

Every Who fan in the world was shocked when they heard the first thirty seconds of the album that consisted of electronically sequenced notes from a synthesizer. "This is the WHO?" we exclaimed en masse. And certainly no one on the face of the earth was prepared for the incredible grandeur of "Baba O'Riley." As soon as those gargantuan chords were pounded out on the piano, Keith Moon slammed wholeheartedly into the beat, John Entwistle lowered the boom on bass and Roger Daltrey boldly sang "Out here in the fields I fight for my meals" we all knew these guys were making history again. Even today few songs build dynamic tension layer upon layer as well as this track and when Townsend's enormous guitar crashes in after the first verse the tune levitates to one-of-a-kind progressive rock. And the improbable ending with Dave Arbus sawing on the violin doesn't seem like it has any business being there but it is an inspired moment of transcendent brilliance that works flawlessly. This is the kind of rock & roll that literally takes my breath away and I never, ever get tired of hearing it.

It's tough to follow an opening like that but "Bargain" does a very good job of it. Showing their exceptional ability as an ensemble, the song is tighter than a lug nut and it demonstrates their control over the kinetic power they possessed. Townsend's room-filling block chords, John's melodic bass lines, Keith's unique drum fills and Roger's charismatic vocal delivery make this song about unequivocal longing for spiritual enlightenment the classic that it has become. It's got everything that made this band one of the greats. Next comes the weakest and thankfully the briefest cut, "Love Ain't For Keeping," a number that might've fared better if it weren't surrounded by titans. Their usual irrepressible sense of humor is in short supply on this album but Entwistle's witty "My Wife" is the obvious exception. I love the horns and the droning feedback that give this simple song a real backbone and bite.

"Song Is Over," which features the talented Nicky Hopkins turning in a stellar piano performance, is one of the most beautiful and moving rock anthems you'll ever hear. Here the synthesizer is used as a complement to the melody rather than as a novelty gimmick (as many pop stars were doing at that time) and the flowing arrangement provides peak after peak of musical climaxes that are exhilarating. It's also another tune lifted from several intertwined "Lifehouse" songs that easily stands on its own. The surprisingly poignant "Getting in Tune" reveals just how mature Daltrey's voice had become and once again Hopkins' deft piano adds just the right touch to this often-overlooked jewel. While not necessarily intended to be funny, the joyous levity of "Going Mobile" fits perfectly here. Pete was always experimenting with different guitar effects and he uses something called an envelope follower to create an interesting sound that adds to the irresistible bounce of the tune.

The unpredictable, contrasting musical journey the group takes the listener on would've made "Behind Blue Eyes" a classic even if it didn't contain some of the most arresting and disturbing words ever to appear in rock. The lack of remorse from the troubled, rough-edged and low brow protagonist as he makes a plea for sympathy creates a true conundrum and a difficult pill to swallow. It's almost as if he's saying "Do you think it's easy being a bastard like me?" It gets me every time. In light of the semi- serious "we can change the world" movement that had sprung up during the idealistic 60s Townsend seems determined to bring everyone back to reality with the immortal rock anthem that is "Won't Get Fooled Again." Using common chords that every neophyte guitar player can master, Pete composed what may be the perfect rock song. The stabbing, pulsating synthesizer that sets the urgent tempo at the beginning; Entwistle's unbelievable bass lines (just listen to what he's playing underneath the next time this tune comes on your radio); Moon's ferocious, attacking style on the drums; the glorious, arena-sized guitar that Townsend wields like a scythe and, of course, the hall-of-fame, bloodcurdling scream from Roger that can wake the dead make this song blaze hotter than the noonday sun. I know the famous line of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" will be as relevant 200 years from now as it is today and so do you.

These four hard-rockin' musical explorers made a lot of amazing albums in their career but it would be unthinkable to tell anyone who wasn't familiar with them to start with any other record. If they aren't impressed with this one then they should try listening to something other than rock altogether. There's probably not a prog musician alive that hasn't been encouraged and inspired by "Who's Next" to some degree because it has every ingredient necessary to make you think, dance, windmill an air guitar and headbang with wild abandon. This monumental album set the confused, where-do-we-go-from-here world of the early 70s on its ear, announced that rock & roll was alive and well and made damn sure that The Who will never be forgotten. Never.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars No matter how much I love "Who's Next" I'm not sure why am I rating it in a Prog site, I agree it's the quintessential Rock album, a complete masterpiece and one of my favorite albums of all times, but has absolutely no relation with Prog, but, it's here and it's great so I will review it for it's merits, leaving their Prog characteristics behind..

"Baba O'Riley" is the song that introduced me to THE WHO, the intro with synth and piano is simply breathtaking and prepares us for a Roger Daltrey in his peak, always supported by this force of nature called Keith Moon and the silent always perfect work of John Entwistle and his delicate but full of force style.

The song flows flawless from start to end to the point that nothing can be added or subtracted, everything fits just in it's place, as a machine well oiled and to end the violin solo that gives a Folksy touch, a masterpiece.

"Bargain" begins soft but Keith introduce the change to a vibrant Hard Rock track, around the middle the mood of the song slows down with a section sung by Pete and then a soft instrumental break just to return to the start, another strong song.

"Love Ain't for Keeping" is a bluesy song with a Country edge, most people see it as a weak track but IMHO fulfills it's purpose of changing the mood and making of "Who's Next" a very versatile album.

On the other hand most people love "My Wife" but I find nothing special, monotonous and very predictable, but to be fair we're not judging a Prog track so we shouldn't expect radical changes, that's why it's sometimes so hard for a usually Prog reviewer to talk about a Classic Rock album.

"The Song is Over" is a sentimental nostalgic track, where Pete makes a beautiful vocal work that blends perfectly with Roger's harder voice making the backing and Nicky Hopkins outstanding piano.

"Getting in Tune" follows the path of the previous, again with Hopkins in the piano, starts soft and nostalgic but it's evident that we should expect something more and nobody can fill deception because the inner strength is evident. Could this be one of the earliest forms of power Ballad? I believe so, another great track.

"Going Mobile" is a great track even for THE WHO are used to make wonderful songs, nice acoustic guitar and electric guitar with some weird effects, perfect drumming (unusually accurate in the timing) by Keith and a southern Rock aroma.

"Behind Blue Eyes" is a another masterpiece, starts soft an vocally amazing, but suddenly a radical change and welcome back to the world of Rock & Roll, again outstanding.

I was watching an interview to Pete Townshend about the supposedly complex synth intro and he laughed while explaining how simple it was, but the beauty is also in the simplicity, something we Progheads used to complexity sometimes don't understand, the vocal performance of Roger must be one oaf his peaks, but words are not able to describe everything, because all the band is perfect, great closer for a great album, probably a top 10 in Rock history.

I will stop here, because as always I will review the album in the way it was originally released by the author, the bonus tracks are outstanding, but you can't make better what is already near perfection, nobody will dare to touch Donatello's David, why should a musical masterpiece be modified?

Now with great pain I have to rate the album, and I will do it according to the guidelines. No way I should give 5 stars because "Who's Next" is not a masterpiece of Prog, neither an excellent addition for a PROG collection, to be honest you may have the perfect Prog collection and this masterpiece of Rock doesn't need to be there, so I will have to make an injustice and considered it good but not essential album, because in a Prog context this description is the one that fits better.

In a Classic Rock or general music site I will give the maximum rating without hesitation, no matter if it's 5, 10 or 20, maybe even an extra one, but in a Prog site my hands are tied, if it had even the slightest Prog relation I would go with 4 stars but that's not the case, so I should go with 3 stars, not without feeling a traitor to one of my all time favorite bands.

You know something?

The album deserves 5 stars and will go with them.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I remember well the first time THE WHO announced they were doing a farewell tour and at that time their last North American date was to be in Toronto 80 miles south from where I live. Of course they would go on to have a few farewell tours (haha), but I remember all my friends getting caught up in the hype that the band was soon to be no more, and you could go and see this historic concert if you could get a ticket. My friends were buying THE WHO records and that's all I heard for about a month. I never owned one of THE WHO's albums back then because there were songs I liked and songs I didn't like. I just didn't like what I heard enough to put out the money. My loss I guess. I did finally get this one in the nineties, and it really does seem like a greatest hits album. The cover in my opinion is one of the worst i've ever seen, but it's about the music isn't it. Like a lot of really popular records some of these songs have really been overplayed on the radio, but they have stood up well over time.

"Baba O'Riley" is a song that should have been called "Teenage Wasteland" you would have thought, that title would even have sounded better, but what do I know. Some violin and synths on this one, but it's the lyrics and Daltrey's vocals that steal the show. All of these songs are good in my opinion even the Entwistle composed and sung "My Wife". "The Song Is Over" opens with reserved vocals and piano, but kicks in later. "Behind Blue Eyes" is simply beautiful with some nice acoustic guitar melodies. I love the intro to "Won't Get Fooled Again".4 stars.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars The powers that be have determined this to be a prog album, and who am I to argue? The only problem I have with this album is its popularity: I don't want to hear these songs used to shill cars, animated movies, or rediculous procedural crime dramas (yes, I specifically mean you, CSI! Splicing up classic Who songs has lost you at least one viewer!). Other than that, these songs resonate as well with me today as they did when Who's Next was given to me--the first CD I ever owned. What follows is a BRIEF summary.

Baba O'Riley. In my book, this is pure gateway prog: great synth sequences, bombastic power chords and vocals, and even a fiddle jam to round things out. And this in 1971? You've got to be kidding me--these guys were phenomenal.

Bargain, Going Mobile, Behind Blue Eyes. Here are the proto-prog tunes in my eyes. The first two songs are primarily about rock, but they also have creative (if simplistic) song structures, jams and use of synths. As far as Behind Blue Eyes, you can't tell me that Arena or Marillion have used blatantly emotional (and potentially cheesy) lyrics to greater effect. All great stuff.

Love Ain't for Keeping, My Wife, The Song is Over, Getting in Tune. Here The Who take a definite break from prog. That's no problem here, because all of these songs are high-quality (if not terribly catchy), and not allowed to extend longer than their quality warrants.

Won't Get Fooled Again. And the prog rock returneth, in the grandest of fashions. We've all heard it, and we all love it, from the great keyboard underlying the whole song to the plentiful power chords to the awesome vocals. It's paradoxical to me that a song can be so uniquely British, yet at the same time so universal. Suffice it to say, this foursome meant serious business when they laid this one down.

When the world gets you down, sometimes all you need is a primal Daltrey scream, some Townshend power chords, and Moon's incessantly hard-driving drums. Here is where you find them in abundance. Have this available at all times.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars .The best they ever had?

The Who's best known album besides their rock-opera Tommy, Who's Next has always stood as a legendary classic rock album, and deservingly so, since the music contained within the grooves here is absolutely fantastic. Here we have a mix of a slight amount of the band's previous style with the hard rock edge that they'd gained in the recent years. Ah yes, and of course, a pinch of prog. While the album doesn't run together quite as well as some of their other albums (especially the Operas) it still has a kind of charm to it thanks to everything the band tried to do on the album.

The album is really characterized by the syths that keep the music floating along, but of course the other instruments are just as important. However, who could possibly forget the synths that open the legendary Baba O'Riley (better known as Teenage Wasteland for some reason)? What would The Song Is Over be like without the synths to keep it moody?

Of course the guitar is ever necessary, as it will be when Pete Townshed is in your band. Soaring guitar moments include the essential breakdown during Behind Blue Eyes which gives it the pure aggression behind the emotion that makes the song so essential. And what would Won't Get Fooled Again be without those crunching riffs?

There certainly are a lot of questions in this review, I guess I should answer all of them: They would probably still be well written songs.

Yes, that's right, the performances make what were already good songs into stellar renditions. It's Daltry however, that really takes the cake. The delivery in all the songs is amazing, not to mention emotional in the case of Behind Blue Eyes, and then the scream at Won't Get Fooled Again (though butchered by the show, CSI) is absolutely what makes the album go from great to better.

So, I've mentioned about three or four of the songs on the album, what about the other ones? Well, the ones mentioned above are the best by miles and miles, the rest being your typical rock songs. There's nothing wrong with this at all, since a good rock song is still a good rock song, and those are always enjoyable, but these aren't quite as stunning as the peak moments of the album. A couple of the shorter tracks such as My Wife and Love Ain't For Keeping are good but ultimately forgettable while others like Bargain and Getting In Tune are very good but nothing that a prog head will be blown away by.

Really, this is an album that is absolutely essential in the rock and roll world and would get an easy 5 stars. In the prog world, it's still an excellent effort, but some prog heads may just want to pass over it. 4 stars! An excellent addition to your prog rock collection, but not essential if you don't fancy yourself a fan of typical ''classic'' rock. For those who want to get into the Who: this is a great place to start, but go for Quadrophenia next.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Check it out I don't review many Prog Related bands and albums but i can't let this one pass by. In the test of time this album is still timeless. The second of what was to be three rock operas for the band Lifehouse fell apart at the seams and the leftovers became this album. Maybe it was fate because the leftovers became on of the greatest Cds in the history of rock. In the midst of the progolution in the early 70's this gem floated out to us. Anthemic in it's sound in its writing, playing and production Who's Next will be remembered for a long time. This album was made to listen to it in its entirety and what a ride it is. Soaring Violins and wild synth lines mark the opening song into Roger Daltry's booming voice and Townsend's wall of chords. Yeah, that alone will forever be a treasure to Rock's heyday and rebellion.

Others have stated the Who were not prog in that the songs rarely ventured outside the the three chord patterns and that Townsend was not a great soloist (but Entwistle was) and all that but this album was heavily influenced by prog from the synths to the violin to the piano and to the songwriting. From My Wife to Moblie and This Song is Over to Behind Blue Eyes to the screaming finally of Won't Get Fooled Again tell me this ain't a 5 star album. This album is essential as they come. Yeahhhhhhhhhhh!

Review by CCVP
5 stars The who says goodbye to the 60's sound and enter the new decade with an even better album than Tommy

This album is a big turning point for The Who, not only because it is their second best album, in my opinion, but also because they finally got rid of the simple and straightforward rock they played in the 60's and evolved into something way lasting and complex than anything they did before. OK, i got to admit that that evolution started with Tommy, but Tommy still sound kind of raw and somehow unfinished when compared with Who's Next and Quadrophenia and that is because Tommy is still conceived with the 60's sounding / straightforward rock that characterized The Who so far.

Who's Next, as i said before, symbolized a big turning point for the band because that album, along with Quadrophenia, contain a bigger amount of experimentation with both their own instruments and with other instruments, such as synthesizers, pianos and violins. It also have a much better quality: both the playing and the singing sound much more professional, the songs are more mature along with the songwriting, specially when compared with their early albums and the production is also much better. Because of those improvements, i think The Who came close to become a progressive rock band but unfortunately they still kept being just a rock band.

The bottom line is: this album really brings The Who to a whole new level of quality that set the pace for their last masterpiece, named Quadrophenia.

Grade and Final Thoughts

For raising even more for The Who, putting the band in the new decade, as far as music goes, and being a quintessential rock album, Who's Next deserves the maximum grade.

Review by lazland
5 stars No, it's not a prog rock LP, but it is one of the finest rock LPs ever released and contains more than enough prog influences and nuances to keep everyone on this site happy. Easily a five star LP.

Baba O'Riley still rocks live even now, and always produces a wry smile of amusement over wasted outdoor gigs and the futility of teenage years by one now in his mid forties. Townsend always was a genius at encapsulating the mood of a generation.

Bargain is a great rock track and Daltrey really does flow on this and all tracks on the album - a great vocalist whose voice and commitment to the band he loves comes across strongly.

I think The Song is Over is fantastic, and the most recognisible leftover from the abandoned Lifehouse project Townsend abandoned for years owing to nobody being able to understand it! The plaintive vocal at the end produces hairs standing up on the back of the neck.

Behind Blue Eyes is a singularly incredible piece of work, plainly autobiographical containing some stunning musicionship and vocals from a band at the top of their game. And that leads into......Won't Get Fooled Again, which with its decrying of the betrayals of left & right wing government's over the years still resonates as strongly in 2009 as it did in 1971. I defy anyone with even half a political brain not to be singing strongly with agreement at Meet the New Boss..Same as the Old Boss at the end. Thunderous bass combine with angry guitars, Moon hammering away on drums, and Daltrey singing as if his life depended on it to produce a seminal rock classic - worth five stars for the LP alone, without the classic tracks that preceded it.

The keyboard effects used by Townsend were vastly influential for many prog rock bands, and the lyrics inspired a generation, including myself, who entered active politics or trade union activities to right many wrongs.

One of the seminal works of the 1970's.

Review by russellk
3 stars THE WHO were one of the cornerstones of sixties music, a major force behind the transition from rock n' roll to rock, and were influential on the nascent progressive movement. Ironically, by the early 70s, when this album appeared, they were no longer world leaders, but were producing the best music of their careers. 'Who's Next' is arguably their standout album.

I recognise all this, but personally I've never had much time for the band. They lacked something for me - I've never been able to decide exactly what it is - I suspect their raw aggression and relative lack of sophistication in the 60s left me cold. This album at least holds my interest, but by 1971 so many other bands were doing it so much better.

Standout tracks are 'Baba O'Reilly', 'Bargain' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again', with excellent vocals, instrumentation and aggression, and there is not really a weak track on the album. THE WHO attracts a vast following, but I do not believe they are a necessary part of a progressive rock collection.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars It might not have as many prog elements as TOMMY, but WHO'S NEXT is just a better, more solid album overall in my opinion. It doesn't have all of those stagnant, non-eventful pieces that plagued TOMMY nor are there attempts to try to squeeze an ambitious story out. This is just pure, gutsy, wall-of-sound-to-the-face, no frills hard rock, plain and simple.

The Who seem to have life on this album more so than TOMMY; right from the first guitar chords, there is an immense sense of energy as you're propelled into one of hard rock's finest classics. ''Baba O'Riley'' and ''Won't Get Fooled Again'' need no explanation as they have been constantly (over)played all over radio. But that doesn't mean the rest of the album slacks. Only the ballady bits of ''Song is Over'' and ''Getting in Tune'' are where the album cracks although ''Love Ain't For Keeping'' isn't that strong of a song.

The two finest efforts in my estimation are the two songs without Daltrey's voice. ''My Wife'' is a very strange rock song with punctual brass parts that appears to be Entwistle's baby (it's the only song he gets writing credit for). ''Going Mobile'' might be my favourite song off of the whole album as the synth bits and wah guitar soloing are absolutely fantastic, and Townsend's voice melds with the song perfectly.

This isn't a bad album to check out, especially if you hang on towards the rock side of prog. And hey, I feel ''Won't Get Fooled Again'' has some prog connotations, so it's worth a slight investigation.

Aside from not many prog points, I can't rate WHO'S NEXT as a masterpiece since I feel that it's one of those albums that's so classic it's TOO classic.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not the best I ever had, but still a bargain...

WHO'S NEXT has been claimed as one of the most influential THE WHO and 70's rock scene records. Not unfairly I would say. A purely 60's band seems to have matured and produces sounds that can not be compared with any other band at that time.

According to the few experiences I have of THE WHO, this album does not sound at all like their 60's efforts and the band does not bring much of that culture into the 70's. Of course, experts on this field can prove me wrong and I will not deny it... Musically, WHO'S NEXT is based on the edge of rock 'n roll and 70's rock, with the latter slowly but steadily taking the lead.

The album consists of some very mature rocking compositions (i.e. Bargain, possibly the best track here) with strong vocal performances and an unexpected level of maturity from the band. I will dare to say that the very few prog rock elements make their appearance - strangely enough - in the opening and closing tracks: clever use of keyboards, breaks and more sophisticated song structures reflect the turn to more progressive settings.

The middle part of the album unfortunately fails to impress me although there are very decent and pleasant tracks with good rock riffs encompassed with lots of rock 'n roll and slow mellow parts. Although the compositions are very well structured, they lack the extra push that would make them memorable. Behind blue eyes deserves a special mention as its intriguing melodic start interchanges with a great rocking break to produce a powerful yet lyrical song that has remained as a classic.

Nevertheless, I still believe this album sounds well ahead of its age. In 1971, few bands could produce such a mature level of songwriting, even if the rock 'n roll elements are still evident. The 1995 remastered version includes several interesting and robust bonus tracks that constitute a bargain, taking into account the insignificant amount of money I had to pay for this CD.

As the progressive elements are few, I would recommend this release to prog fans with caution; 70's classic rock is the bargain here and it's well worth 3.5 stars...

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Who's Next is a one true rock album classic that I, surprisingly enough, only discovered after already hearing Tommy and Quadrophenia. With this album Pete Townshend was going for another concept album but those plans fell through and what we were left with are its intro and the outro sections plus some great stand alone tracks in the middle. The highlights besides the already mentioned Baba O'Riley and Won't Get Fooled Again are My Wife, which is once again a great tune written by John Entwistle, and Behind Blue Eyes which starts off as a ballad but has a bridge section in a true The Who-fashion.

Eventually when Pete Townshend finally got back his inspiration he composed the excellent Quadrophenia. Still most of the main stream audience manage to completely ignore that grand achievement and instead award Who's Next the highest praise of being the Who's best release. This is not the case for me since I enjoy Tommy and Quadrophenia a whole lot more. Still it's undeniably the best two side album that the band has recorded.

Who's Next is an essential album for fans of rock music but the same cannot be said about its prog merits, so I'll go with an excellent addition to any rock music collection.

***** star songs: Baba O'Riley (5:08) My Wife (3:40) Behind Blue Eyes (3:41) Won't Get Fooled Again (8:32)

**** star songs: Bargain (5:32) Love Ain't For Keeping (2:10) The Song Is Over (6:13) Getting In Tune (4:50) Going Mobile (3:42)

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Summer of '71

I have great memories of this period of my life, a young child just "coming online" and enjoying the neighborhood with my older brother and his friends. It was the summer of 1971 and it was a magical time for this youngster. But it was the older teenagers who were having the most fun that summer. Can you imagine having "Who's Next" and "Zeppelin IV" hitting the streets within months of each other that summer and fall? Those kids were heading back to high school with some serious tunage.

It's hard (pun intended) to gauge how important this album is to a prog site, or how it compared to the other rock classics coming out of the same period from the Stones, Zep, Sabbath, etc. The album got so much radio airplay in the States that it makes it hard to listen to "fresh." But it was a crucial effort for The Who for several reasons. It salvaged the failed Lifehouse project into something cohesive. It gave them the more accessible rock anthems they needed to compete with Zeppelin for the title of 70s rock kings. And it split up Tommy and Quadrophenia with an album that required less effort to appreciate-the music more direct and streamlined. Last the songs are unquestionably inventive (note Townshend's synth experiments), powerful, emotional, and yes?fun.

Highlights included "Baba O'Riley" with its great use of piano and violin, along with "Won't Get Fooled Again" where you hear the band's ease at crafting memorable and flat-out amazing dramatic climaxes. "Behind Blue Eyes" brings in a softer acoustic presence although the heat isn't far below the surface, the song is a gem of melody and dual personality. "My Wife" is the only unfortunate selection here in my book, though many Who fans seem to love it.

The album surely proved that Townshend as a writer had not exhausted his best work in the 60s, as his peers in the Fab 4 had, but was intent on progressing in the 1970s despite the horribly unpleasant relationships between individual members. Until I read Marsh's extensive bio of this group I was not aware of the depth of animosities between the members throughout their relevant years. It is impressive that they stuck it out and another example of where conflict in a band did not damage the work, in fact it may have helped it.

A true rock and roll classic if there ever was, but for me, the next one was an even higher water mark.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars I guess I have very few things to add to other reviews. They say it all and more! So I´ll make it short and simple. It was the first The Who album I remember hearing (it belonged to one of my uncles who was kind enough to borrow it to his 15 year old nephew). In many ways I can say this album is quite progressive (well, the band DID progress since their early days). And how I loved it!! (thanks uncle!) But I also remember they were quite criticized at the time for the use of keyboards (or, to be more precise, the use of synthesizers). So much for the purists... I was sorrow for them, because this is simply The Who at its peak. It´s really hard to believe that such masterpiece came as simply the collection of tracks from the abortive (and overly pretentious) Lifehouse project.

I really like the new CD edition of this work because it includes one of Who´s most beautiful and poignant songs ever: Pure And Easy. I really don´t know why they did not put this jewel on the original LP. Everybody had to wait for the Odds & Sods release four years later. Nevertheless, it also features some of The Who´s best known stuff like Baba O´Riley, Behind Blue Eyes and Won´t Get Fooled Again. The remaining tracks are also great and show Pete Townshend´s genius as a songwriter and the band´s unique chemistry.

Conclusion: one of rock´s biggest masterpieces and surely a must have in any prog rock colletion.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Who's Next' - The Who (8/10)

While 'Tommy' may be the most recognizable album by The Who, this album has probably stood the test of time more than any other album by the band. Taking a break from recording bombastic rock operas, 'Who's Next' is a collection of great tracks from The Who that flow together smoothly, creating a great opus of 70's rock music. Although the album is not quite as consistent as I may have liked from a 'perfect' Who album and is not my favourite from the band, 'Who's Next' is excellent, and a classic from its era.

'Baba O'Reilly' kicks off the record on a very recognizable note, there is a strange yet utterly catchy keyboard texture that starts off, before the anthemic chords chime in to create a very triumphant, epic sound. Roger Daltrey's vocals have never sounded so great as they do on this album, and the songwriting is magnificent for the most part. 'Bargain' starts off sounding more like a symphonic prog rock song than anything by this band, but Townshend's signature chord strums kick in. There is not much beauty to the heavier songs, but instead there is a ballsy rock song, although The Who works in some very beautiful passages even into the harder hitting tracks. 'Bargain' features an acoustic ballad section and synthesizer melody in the middle of the song that gives off an incredible feeling. There's other really beautiful songs here like 'The Song Is Over' and 'Behind Blue Eyes' that are both incredible and full of feeling. Pete Townshend has always been an angry musician, but his expression has never been so poetic as it is here.

There are plenty of songs here that would not feel out of place on a masterpiece. 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is an epic closer to the album, and the aforementioned songs are all real winners. As for the rest of the songs on 'Who's Next', they feel significantly less powerful, even though they are quite good in general. 'Going Mobile' is not a song that rings any bell with me in particular, and 'My Wife'- while featuring some interesting horn and psychedelic sounds to it- isn't so memorable a song. It is these less outstanding tracks that rob 'Who's Next' of being considered a masterpiece in my opinion. Due to the fact that the album is more a collection of songs rather than a running piece of music, even a few lesser songs can drag the album down, if even only a bit.

That being said, 'Who's Next' is an excellent piece of work. It really shows the band maturing their sound, and at a time when rock music was finally coming onto its own as a legitimate form of artistic expression, the music world did well to have an album like this come around.

Review by tarkus1980
5 stars To put it mildly, Tommy was a huge success. Not only did it give the band greater exposure than ever before, but in the eyes of many it lifted Pete up from being a mere rock writer to a full fledged composer. Along those lines, it diversified their audience, as rich and upper-class people from all over wanted to go see "the rock opera." Unfortunately, the success of Tommy soon became more of a burden than a benefit. Supposedly, many a new fan thought that the album was called The Who and that the group's name was Tommy. This was a major reason for the release of Live at Leeds in 1970; the group desperately wanted to remind fans who the real Who was (loud hard-rockers). In short, Tommy had become bigger than The Who themselves, and this bothered Pete much more than it pleased him. He desperately wanted to come up with a concept album greater than Tommy in the eyes of the public.

In trying to come up with this new project, called Lifehouse, Pete pretty much crossed the line from genius to insanity. The general storyline was that in the future, when everybody lives in virtual reality and is controlled by a Big Brother of sorts, somebody discovers that once upon a time there was something called "rock music." Eventually, he gets a band together and they hold a concert as they try to discover the "lost chord" that will free people and bring them to a Nirvana- esque reality. So basically, it's The Matrix crossed with rock music, with conceptual themes largely ripped off by Rush for their "2112" suite. Beyond the plot, though, Pete had the idea of the music culminating in an actual transcendent note, and to create this note using astrological and phsyical data (fed into a computer) of members of the audience where the band would play its shows. Naturally, neither the other band members nor the audience members had patience for this, and Townshend's failure to make anybody else really understand his ideas helped contribute to a nervous breakdown. After he recovered, the band essentially decided to strip out the conceptual element of the sessions, and pared down what was easily a double album's worth of material to a single album. The result was a critical and commercial smash, and one of the most beloved albums in classic rock history.

While I certainly don't have any particular attachment to the concept of Lifehouse, I really feel that the decision to make this into a single album is the album's greatest weakness. The first two tracks sure feel like the beginning of a big epic musical journey, and the last two tracks sure feel like the end of a big epic musical journey, but the middle feels to me like a jigsaw puzzle where you're only given a third of the pieces. I guess the end goal was to make the middle portion as close to a representative sample of the rest of the sessions as possible, with a single allusion to the central concept courtesy of "The Song is Over," but I'm not convinced they made anywhere near the best possible sampling of the available material. Plus, I can't totally get over the idea that they'd include half of the two-track centerpiece (or so it seems) of Lifehouse, which directly QUOTES the other half, and then throw the other half ("Pure and Easy") into the outtakes pile (especially when I really think it's the better of the two, and musically near the top of the band's catalogue, even if lyrically it's weird and flaky). Point is, it's very hard for me to ever think of this album as anything but a single LP teaser of the sessions (which it basically is), and it's no coincidence that when I listen to tracks from this album, it's almost always in the context of a larger sequencing of tracks from most of this album's material and some of my other favorite material from the sessions (and some that wasn't recorded until later, but was supposedly part of the original conception).

All that said, while my theoretical double album version of these sessions would fall into my overall top 5, this single album version still falls squarely in my top 40 or so. The thing that jumps out the most in listening to this is just how BIG the sound is; the band has left the days of 60's power-pop completely behind, and in its place is an approach that's noticably slower but also noticably thicker. This is one of the quintessential 70's classic rock albums, and that comes just as much from the dense (with layers of guitars and various keyboards piled on each other in places) arrangements as from anything else. Of course, it can be argued that, with this album, the band lost much of the charm that had made it so interesting in the first place, and some moments certainly veer a little too solidly into mid-tempo sludgey macho rock territory, but on the whole, I find this new-look "mature" Who just as interesting as the 60's version of the band ever was.

Plus, Pete's songwriting was still functioning at a ridiculously high level. The only track on here that I ever tend to skip is "Gettin' in Tune," and even that starts off as a very nice piano-driven ballad (and there's something quite nice about the lines, "I get a little tired of having to say "Do you come here often?"/But when I look in your eyes and see the harmonies and the heartaches soften"). The problem with it is that, around the 1:40 mark, the pretty piano ballad basically evaporates, and in its stead comes a head-smashingly sluggish guitar-led song with Roger and Pete singing "Getting in tune with the straight and narrow" for what seems like an eternity. Yup, if there's a single reason, circumstances surrounding Lifehouse aside, that this album could never get the mark of the band's best work, this track is the reason.

Other than the slightly throwawyish, but still nice "Love Ain't For Keeping" (it's a two minute acoustic track here, but there's a much better four minute version with Pete on vocals), the other "middle" tracks are all more or less terrific. The chorus to "The Song is Over" is ridiclously overblown, and I do feel a little silly singing along with it, but it has enough legitimate power that I sing with it nonetheless, and when it's focused on its piano-ballad (with effective guitar for color, and a rousing solo in the middle) aspects, it's totally ace. "My Wife" is a fun Entwistle-penned mid- tempo rocker, with lyrics about what he'll need to survive now that his spouse is going to kill him, and "Goin' Mobile" is an up-tempo acoustic-based rocker about, well, living in a mobile home and going wherever you please. It originally annoyed me a bit, but it adds a nice bit of hickish levity, and the combination of the nice subtle synth underpinnings and the bizarre effect Pete uses on his guitar makes it a near classic.

The bulk of the album's reputation, though, stems from the track pairs that open and close the album, and rightly so. "Baba O'Riley" (aka Teenage Wasteland) has to be considered one of the great album openers in all of classic rock; from the amazing opening synth loop (that persists through the song and plays along with the rest of the band), to the three piano chords that say as much as any three chords ever have, to the lyrics that summarize Pete's rejection of his pointlessly rebellious generation, to the fiddle-driven conclusion (Keith's idea), it's no wonder this became one of the band's calling cards. "Bargain" may have later ended up getting used as a cheap advertising jingle (with its "I'd call it a bargain, the best I ever had, the best I ever haaaaaaaaaad" chorus), but here it's essentially just a love song, and one of the most powerful ones I've ever heard. Lyrics aside, declaring that it would be worth it to do all sorts of bad things if it meant winning somebody's love, it's full of great, thick guitar sounds, a great synth line at the end carrying the main chord sequence while guitars are piled around it, and fantastic vocals from both Roger and Pete. "Behind Blue Eyes," the album's penultimate track, starts off as a lovely downbeat acoustic ballad, then turns into a bit of a generic arena rocker, but overall the song still holds up as a classic.

Finally, we have the album's most infamous track, the closing "Won't Get Fooled Again," an anti- anti-establishment anthem (and a fine compliment to the similar sentiments of "Baba O'Riley") that's simply one of the greatest rock songs ever written. From the nagging synth line (which opens the song, lingers in the background the whole time and then moves to the forefront again near the end), to the slashing guitar lines, to the controlled chaos of the drumming, to Roger's "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!" scream near the end, every bit of the song rouses, entertains and impresses the hell out of me. You know what my favorite little detail is? It comes when the main instrumentation disappears near the end, leaving the synth line by itself (with only a very quiet acoustic strumming buried in the mix); the right channel holds the upfront mix of the synth line, but what I often prefer to listen to is just the left channel, which has the very quiet "echo" of the line. That "echo" sound is INCREDIBLE, and without it the synth line would sound like listening (in general) to a 5.1 audio mix without plugging in the rear speakers. In any case, I know there are some who find it overlong, but I think it deserves every second of its 8+ minutes.

In the end, whatever complaints I might have aside, this is a totally first rate album. In the end, it has Roger putting on his first truly powerful studio performance; it has Keith with a cooler drum sound than ever; and it has Pete near the peak of his arranging and songwriting prowess. And it has the guys walking away from a giant bathroom on the cover! I wonder if the "outhouse" on the cover is symbolic that the album is essentially the leftovers of "Lifehouse," or if I'm just reading too much into it...

PS: If you're wondering, this is what my ideal Lifehouse sounds like (including tracks that originated here but weren't recorded until later):

Baba O'Riley


Love Ain't for Keeping (Odds and Sods version with Pete on vocals)

I Don't Know Myself

My Wife


Time is Passing

The Song is Over

Pure and Easy

Naked Eye

Long Live Rock

Join Together


Goin' Mobile

Behind Blue Eyes

Won't Get Fooled Again

Review by Warthur
5 stars As well as being a widely-acknowledge masterpiece of early 70s hard rock, Who's Next is also a Who album offering a lot to progressive fans - not least, the capable inclusion of synthesisers into the Who's instrumentation, and in particular the experiment synth line in opening track Baba O'Riley. The rest of the tracks show a new muscle to the group, a forcefulness honed on the Tommy tour and also captured on the best parts of Live at Leeds. Behind Blue Eyes, in particular, manages to shift between the quieter, more contemplative style of the band and their full-on rocking mode at a moment's notice. Whilst it is a shame that the Lifehouse project didn't come to fruition at the time, the band can at least be proud of producing such a quality set of songs. I'd say it's the best studio album of their career up to that point, and could be argued to be their best album full stop.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars From 1969 to 1973 The Who were on a roll. They created three masterpieces in a row. "Tommy" in 1969, while flawed, defined the rock opera. In 1973 "Quadrophenia" perfected the form. In between they created "Who's Next", one of the greastest rock albums ever.

As many of you already know, the album was originally intended to be anothe rock opera. The songs from this opera, "Lifehouse" have pretty much all been released on various Who and Pete Townhend albums, and compiled on Townshend's "Lifehouse Chronicles" album. But the songs all stand up on their own without the context of the opera.

The key to the album's success, aside from Townhend's great songwriting, is the ferocity with which the band attacks the pieces. Roger Daltrey's voice growls without going overboard (sorry Opeth fans). And John Entwistle and Keith Moon are simply amazing with their relentless attacks in the underlying rhythm section. That said, the weakest point may be Entwistle' My Wife, where he plays an extremely conventional bass line, probably an attempt to emphasize his horns.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I won't get fooled again.

The Who are legends of rock and deserve recognition as pioneers of British Mod rock and the art of smashing guitars. "Who's Next" is purportedly their masterpiece and sits at #13 in the VH1 100 greatest albums list. The songs are of course well known and have been played across radio airwaves for decades. Pete Townsend adored the album, even stating "it had humour, it had aggression, it had energy, it had colour, ad it was beautifully recorded."

The albums opens with the synthesizer soaked 'Baba O'Riley', one of the great Who compositions, Daltrey is stunning on this track as he is throughout the album, but it is the crunching windmill guitar blasts of Pete Townsend that get my adrenaline pumping. Songs like 'Bargain' are replete with high impact lead work and riffs and the thundering drums of Keith Moon. I had first heard this one covered by Rez and it's great in any format.

Other highlights are 'Behind Blue Eyes', the awesome power of 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and there are even a bunch of bonus tracks worth a listen including 'Naked Eye' , 'Water', 'Too Much Of Anything' and 'I Don't Even Know Myself'. Overall the album is a master work of sheer Who brilliance and rocks hard. As far as progressive, it does not deliver all that much in all reality, so on a Prog site I rank it down to a 4 star triumph.

Review by admireArt
5 stars Proto-Prog; as the category definition observes; is like a "thin-ice" division of who could turn in the long run prog or go the other way; in an also quiet competitive league known as ROCK or rock n roll (Chuck Berry as proto-"WHO"?) to far out. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. So of course "QUADROPHENIA" established most of the well known PROG "protocols": Concept albums, Art-covers as "packages of the concept". Rock-Operas (yes; that was the name for those kind of projects;the same as "TOMMY"), the use of non-musical elements ("Radio show"-like) and of course; and close to home "ELECTRONICS" and also the use of the recording Studio as an "instrument" (Beatle-like; to name 1 )etc, etc. BUT Prog-wise this "WHO S NEXT" album; MUSICALLY speaking; goes far way beyond its elder sister(s). Closer to Prog as the "WHO" ever came ; and as time has proved it until now. (Peter Townshends´s solo projects not included; but those are very close to this particular WHO project). Fom the extraordinary (proto-punk) Art-cover; we notice that something is going the right / wrong "Who" way; AND as soon as the music starts; it is evident that this is the real-deal. The amazing "sequencer-like sound" (it was done by hand) and you know you are on the right path. The Who at this time; was a more than perfected 4-piece-unit; which "units" were outstanding in their respective fields; locomotive skilled drummer (long gone): Keith Moon; the thunderous loud bass-master (long gone): John Entwistle, the controlled "sweet to rage" voice of Roger Daltrey and of course the head composer/visionary; super talented guitar player; Peter Townshend who is also the electronic unamed wiz-kid of all kinds of electronic gadgets. The world has seen few "units" like this. And yes they did not turn to Prog. They "basically speaking" in the long run turned to the "other side of the moon". A record where EVERY song is as good as it gets in their own respective and diverse; yet focused goals. A Flawless Masterpiece from A to Z. in its own field *****5 Excellent work of one of the Fathers we are indebted to; and more important in their own respective "Big-League" Stars!! PD. And yes; this project also "trend-sets" the work of future All-time Proggers; and of course; I will never think of it as "Top-Ten Progarchive list"; band. It is that in its own field of action - Do not overlook!
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I came late to the Who. The song "Who Are You?" received massive airplay on my favorite FM stations in 1979 and 80--I think that was my first draw into the fold--though "Tommy" was exploited by my middle school music teacher--I think to prove to us that he was "hip" as well as to engage some otherwise apathetic students. But, to me, Tommy was not the Who, it was bigger and more a possession of the world, not some wild British hard rock band. But then the film "Quadrophenia" came out and I became curious. I went back into their earlier discography. Both "Quadrophenia" and "Who's Next" received my full attention and appreciation. Now, in my 20s, I was able to appreciate them--to hear their genius, to learn to love "Love, Reign o'er me" and "5:15," "Baba O'Reilly," "Bargain," and the whole of Side Two. "We Won't Get Fooled Again" I'll never get (here I am referring to the iconic way that it was picked up as a rip-roaring, get-your-adrenaline-pumping protest song), but it's a good song. This is definitely a 4.5 star album--a high achievement in the history of rock'n'roll--but it has flaws; it has weak songs. If I were I lyrics guy, maybe higher. I'll give it the full five stars out of the respect it deserves.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Warning: This review might upset some people.

Honestly, I wasn't going to review this album, because 1) it's been done so many times before, 2) most everybody already knows this album, and 3) I'm not a huge The Who fan. I definitely think Pete Townsend is amazing, but I can't stand Roger Daltry's singing or personality. I know that's a sad reason to not like a band, but at least I recognize the fact that this album, along with it's predecessor "Tommy", and the follow-up "Quadrophenia" are all essential albums, and I do love all three of them. But I can't stomach the rest of the albums.

Anyway, "Who's Next" is the second masterpiece in the trifecta of The Who's masterpiece albums. The other two are rock operas. The fact is, that this one was originally supposed to be a rock opera also called "Lifehouse", and most of the songs on this album are remnants of that project. The band was convinced by Kit Lambert, their manager, to release this as a regular album because the project was too complex. What we are left with are some amazing songs.

Even Roger's vocals and personality work for these songs (and for these three albums for that matter). But he does overemphasize his input to this band, Pete Townsend is really the creative force behind the band, but he was usually overshadowed by Daltry's personality. Thank goodness it all worked out for this album. I am sorry if I have offended anyone by my opinion about the band, but it is something I have always felt strongly about in reference to the band. Yes I know I have loved other bands even with when they have personnel in the band with overactive personalities, but Daltry has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Nevertheless, this album and "Quadrophenia" are both perfect albums meriting 6 stars in my own rating system, where 6 equals perfection. "Tommy" comes close to that, but doesn't quite reach the pinnacle, but I still consider it an excellent album. All the rest of their albums can only reach a maximum of 3 stars. I know this review didn't say much about the specific album, but if you haven't heard this album, then you shouldn't be reading about it anyway, you should be listening to it because you have some catching up to do. 5 stars.....Essential masterpiece.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The peak of their songwriting. This is a band I always found to be a little overrated, but only because they are usually referred to alongside the greats of the period - so I can't blame them for existing in the most musically competitive time in rock history! Daltrey's vocals are sharp as a r ... (read more)

Report this review (#890858) | Posted by Lord Anon | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the adventurous rock opera Tommy, The Who settle back into their classic rocking roots to produce the wildly popular Who's Next. There isn't anything spectacular to say about the album; not because it's bad, but because it doesn't have the same bold writing style and concept of the albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#771428) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Then I'll get on my knees and pray/ We don't get fooled again/ Don't get fooled again/ No, no!/ Meet the new boss/ Same as the old boss . . . In response to the remarkable and revolutionary events in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere in t ... (read more)

Report this review (#411744) | Posted by ken_scrbrgh | Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Seminal album from an awesome band. Possiblly part of many peoples Top 10 Rock albums of all time. How can you say anything bad about a disc that features such Who classics as "Baba O'Reily", "Behind Blue Eyes", "Won't Get Fooled Again". Here are also the great tracks "Going Mobile", "Bargain" ... (read more)

Report this review (#408004) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Who's Next , this a stone classic and easily should be in the top 10 rock albums of all time, In my top 5. way ahead of it's time . the simplistic use of the A.R.P. synthesizer, in a way that is very present and clear in execution. up front in the mix, very commercial sounding to me, I must admit ... (read more)

Report this review (#407673) | Posted by darkprinceofjazz | Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is definitely one of The Who's greatest albums as well as a top rock classic. It sounds a lot more dynamic, fresher and mature than the group's previous works. Townsehend's use of synthesisers and modified keyboard effects on several songs became very influential, notably on the opener "B ... (read more)

Report this review (#391335) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Who's Next is a truly great album with a few serious flaws. I am a Who fan, mostly for the good content on this album, but it lacks consistency. We go from the highest possible highs of rock and roll with Baba O'Riley to some plain mediocre with Going Mobile. So let's break it down. Baba O'Rile ... (read more)

Report this review (#265809) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Talking about "Who's Next" means having to deal with one of the best records in Rock n Roll history. It's well balanced, well produced, brilliantly played and the song contained in it are simply immortal, true anthems not only of that particular generation that lived between the 60's and the 70's ... (read more)

Report this review (#259428) | Posted by Malve87 | Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an incredible album,that fits up there with the five star recordings.As it's prog elements are very few,I'm granting it the maximum rating for the sake of justice:this is easily The Who's most complete studio album,even though I personally consider Tommy to be their ultimate masterpiece.W ... (read more)

Report this review (#206390) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If one wants to hear rock played with an extremely progressive leaning sound and songs with an equally progressive concept and arrangement, then this is the album that must be heard. However, this album has been commercialized to death over the years, meaning the listener needs to come into this ... (read more)

Report this review (#205974) | Posted by mr.cub | Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Some great songs (Won't Get Fooled Again, Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, The Song Is Over), some fillers (Going Mobile - I hate that song - , Getting In Tune), this album is probably the favorite from the Who fans, but in no way this is their best release. In fact, I can't say if the Who had an ... (read more)

Report this review (#163572) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An amazing album, classic rock of the 70s, but not quite prog, therefor it loses a star. I think if Pete had continued with the Lifehouse idea and the rest of the band had accepted the idea, this album would have been one of the best in history. After all, the whole Album Who's Next is merely scat ... (read more)

Report this review (#154645) | Posted by The Ace Face | Friday, December 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The Who, considered primarily as a classic rock band, have always had a slight progressive leaning. On Who's Next, their supposed masterpiece, they managed to combine some progressive elements with some good ol' rock. Sometimes exciting, sometimes nearing experimental, but chiefly fun, Who's Next ... (read more)

Report this review (#133545) | Posted by Shakespeare | Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album, has made a change of sound in the band. The voice of Daltrey is more agressive, powerfull yes he shout more. But is a good shout. Pete, plays very good the guitar, and of course he evolves to a better sound and his particular way to play. The bass of Jhon and one of the best songs of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#130749) | Posted by aqualung71 | Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For me this album is one of the best Who albums, along with "Quadrophenia" and "Who are You". It is powerful and the use of synthezizers in such an original way makes it really interesting! Songs like "Won't Get Fooled Again" and Baba O'Riley (which includes a devilish violin solo) are a good ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#130042) | Posted by Nigua | Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Screw it, this one gets a Five. Generally, awarding 5 stars to a non-prog album on a prog site should be wrong. I mean, the description for the ratings says: *****: Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music. After thinking it over, I still decided to give it 5 based on the following ... (read more)

Report this review (#129968) | Posted by billbuckner | Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of the first albums I owned. It is amazing. As I listen to it now to help me review it, it still sounds fresh. A keeper for sure. This album is very ambitious, coming off the failed Lifehouse project. The Who got it right here, without Tommy's filler, and is a more interesting list ... (read more)

Report this review (#129954) | Posted by Morak99 | Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I had this album quite a while before i fully started appreciating it. I listened to it quite a lot during that time, liking a few of the songs, but never understanding why it was such a "masterpiece" and i was pretty much prepared to leave it that way. But one day while going on a quite long trip ... (read more)

Report this review (#129860) | Posted by Evans | Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an absolute masterpiece, and my review could stop here, believe me. The problem is that I could write pages about it, so I'll try to be concise and clear. This is one of the best achievements in rock music, and most of the tracks making up this wonderful album are timeless jewels, in whi ... (read more)

Report this review (#129827) | Posted by paolo.beenees | Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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