Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Couple From The Who

The Who
The Who The Who
Top: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon and John Entwistle.

They practically set the bar for what was needed on the checklist for a rock and roll band in the 60s: Hunky singer with a set of pipes, check; skinny guitarist who is part mad genius, check; quiet but good bassist to anchor the crew, check; crazy-ass drummer who could wail on his drums, check. With all that, you have yourself a rock and roll band, my friends. And with Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, you had it in spades. Well, this prototypical band released it's first album 46 years ago, in 1965. They put out a lot of great music, and I thought I would find a few of my favorites. I was only going to do one or two, but couldn't decide, so here we go. The first song we have is off the 1971 album, Who's Next. Like much of their music, it has an inherent layering of musical textures that was just brilliant to me. Here is Behind Blue Eyes.

I don't think there is a soul alive who hasn't heard of The Who's Tommy. In many ways, it was the first real "Rock Opera" written, although there are a few pretenders to the throne who would beg to differ. Released in 1969, Tommy was a brilliant record that was made to be performed, and was just as amazing when they played it was when the all-star cast in the movie did. Still, I love it when they do. So, here is The Pinball Wizard from Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970.

Of course, like every rock band at the end of the 60s, The Who played at one the penultimate concerts, Woodstock. One of the songs they decided to perform was the title track off their first album, released in 1965. This is My Generation.

In September of 1978, Keith Moon was found dead, the victim of an overdose. In 1982, Townshend was struggling with his own demons, and the band embarked on a Farewell Tour. It wasn't that long before they reunited for a very special event. In 1985, 20 years after they released their first hit single, the band came back together to play at Bob Geldof's Live Aid. Among the songs they played that day was the brilliant Won't Get Fooled Again, also from Who's Next.



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