Episode 25 is here! The Wheel gives us the seminal album from The Who, 1969’s Tommy! We go over sides 1 and 2! What will we think of this classic album? Does it live up to the hype?
Tommy is the fourth studio album by the English rock band The Who, a double album first released on 17 May 1969. The album was mostly composed by guitarist Pete Townshend and is a rock opera that tells the story of Tommy Walker. Tommy is traumatized from witnessing his father murder his mother’s lover. Tommy’s parents compound his trauma by denying the experience. In reaction, Tommy becomes dissociative (“deaf, dumb and blind”).
Townshend came up with the concept of Tommy after being introduced to the work of Meher Baba and attempted to translate Baba’s teachings into music. Recording on the album began in September 1968, but took six months to complete as material needed to be arranged and re-recorded in the studio. Tommy was acclaimed upon its release by critics, who hailed it as The Who’s breakthrough.
Subsequently, the rock opera developed into other media, including a Seattle Opera production in 1971, an orchestral version by Lou Reizner in 1972, a film in 1975, and a Broadway musical in 1992. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It has been reissued several times on CD, including a remix by Jon Astley in 1996, a deluxe Super Audio CD in 2003, and a super deluxe box set in 2013, including previously unreleased demos and live material.
Roger Daltrey – vocals, harmonica
Pete Townshend – vocals, guitar, keyboards, banjo
John Entwistle – bass, French horn, vocals
Keith Moon – drums, vocals
Producer – Kit Lambert
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