Showing posts with label The Who. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Who. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today's best picture ever: Pete Townshend

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Pop focus: The Who's Tommy

Released by the Who in 1969, Tommy often gets billed as the first "rock opera." Sounds impressive, or pretentious, depending on your point of view.

Back in the 1960s and 70s, the album was the topic of heated debate: Is it an opera? Is it the equal of a traditional opera in terms of musical and conceptual sophistication? Can rock be art?

But now that all the Baby Boomers are grownup and no longer need validation from their parents that rock music is "ok," such questions seem outdated and silly.

Everyone listens to rock, now. Or whatever you want to call popular music these days. There's no need to qualify it as the equal to classical or opera or jazz. It doesn't matter. These days, people can listen to nearly anything they like with a clear conscience, though you'll get some pitying glances if you're a 40-year-old Justin Bieber fan.

Yet, Tommy still carries the "rock opera" tag. And that prevents a lot of peope from approaching it with an open mind. Or even enjoying it. And it's a reason why the album hasn't held up as well as most of the Who's other works.

Many Who fans rate Who's Next or even their second "rock opera," Quadrophenia, as the band's crowning achievement. 

Lord knows, if I focus on Tommy as an artistic statement, or try to figure out what it "means," I tend to enjoy the music less. It's probably why I'd much rather put on The Who Sell Out or A Quick One.

As a story, it's a bit of a mess. It's about a blind, deaf and dumb kid who becomes a messiah. By playing pinball. Because he's been abused by pretty much everyone in his life: Parents, teachers, preachers, healers. But then, even his followers turn on him.

But, out of context, I love many of Tommy's songs. Maybe that's why I'd just as soon hear them on Live at Leeds, where just the best bits are featured, rather than the full studio album.

Still, the story of Tommy has had remarkable perserverence, having appeared in several different incarnations, including the original 1969 album, a 1972 "orchestral" recording featuring the Who backed by the London Symphony Orchestra, a 1975 hit film featuring a singing Jack Nicholson and Ann Margaret as Roger Daltrey's mother, and a 1993 stage show.

Most recently, the original LP has been repackaged in a lavish box set featuring a book, Pete Townshend's original demos and a lost live recording.

Here's a look back at various Tommy memorabilia and images, plus clips from Ken Russell's over-the-top film version and live performances by the Who.

Original album
1972 "orchestral" recording
1975 film soundtrack
1993 stage show recording

The Who perform the Overture from "Tommy" 1969:

Original film trailer:

Jack Nicholson sings  "Go to the Mirror"

Eric Clapton "Eyesight to the Blind"

Elton John as the Pinball Wizard:

Tina Turner as the Acid Queen:

The Who at Woodstock: "We're Not Gonna Take It/See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You"

Thw Who: full concert Tanglewood, 1970:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Super Deluxe" reissue of The Who's Tommy on the way

A "super deluxe" reissue of the Who's pioneering rock opera Tommy is out Nov. 11 in a variety of formats.

Here's the press release:




Released November 11th 2013

August 28, 2013 – Tommy, The Who’s defining, breakthrough concept album – a full-blown rock opera about a deaf, dumb and blind boy that launched the band to international superstardom is to be released in Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions this Autumn.

Originally released in May 1969, The Who were at a career crossroads, known mainly as a singles band, but this project launched them as a serious ‘albums band’ and it has now sold over 20 million copies as well as regularly turning up in lists of the most influential albums of all time.

Coming after The Who Sell Out in 1967, it marked a complete change in style with Pete Townshend’s lengthy conceptual narrative bringing exciting new opportunities to rock music. Tommy was and remains to be an ambitious, complex and controversial work, which was initially banned by the BBC.

This new Deluxe and Super Deluxe version of the album comes with a wealth of previously unheard material in the form of 20 demos from Pete Townshend’s archive and also a full live performance of Tommy from 1969 taken from tapes that infamously Townshend asked the band’s sound engineer to burn!

18 of the previously unheard and thought to be long lost live tracks are taken from a live show at the Capital Theatre, Ottawa, Canada on October the 15th 1969. Three others, I’m Free, Tommy’s Holiday Camp and We’re Not Gonna Take It were lost due to tape reels being changed during the show  so are taken from later shows of the same era.

As discussed at length in Pete Townshend’s autobiography the tapes were all supposed to be destroyed but were kept by long time Who sound man Bob Pridden despite Pete’s instructions.

The Super Deluxe box also features a 5.1 mix featuring the complete album remixed in surround sound on new Hi Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray format

As well as the music the limited edition Super Deluxe boxset comes with a hardback 80-page full-colour book featuring rare period photos, memorabilia, a 20,000-word essay by legendary Who aficionado Richard Barnes and a rare facsimile Tommy poster housed in a hard-back deluxe slip-case. 


Super-Deluxe Edition (UPC 006025 37473960)

Disc 1 – The original album (2013 re-master)
Digitally re-mastered in HD
Disc 2 – The demos and out-takes
Features 20 previously unreleased tracks from Pete Townshend’s demo archive.

Disc 3 – The 5.1 album mix – Hi Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray
The complete album remixed in surround sound on new Hi Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray format

Disc 4 – The live ‘bootleg’ album
Features 21 previously-unreleased tracks from various live shows from 1969 

Hardback 80-page full-colour book featuring rare period photos and memorabilia 

20,000-word essay by legendary Who aficionado Richard Barnes

Rare facsimile Tommy poster

Limited edition, housed in a hard-back deluxe slip-case  

Disc 1 The original album (2013 re-master)

1.     Overture                                                          5.20
2.     It’s A Boy                                                         0.38
3.     1921                                                                2.49
4.     Amazing Journey                                            5.04
5.     Sparks                                                             2.05
6.     The Hawker (Eyesight To The Blind)              2.13
7.     Christmas                                                        4.34
8.     Cousin Kevin                                                   4.05
9.     The Acid Queen                                              3.34
10.  Underture                                                        10.01
11.  Do You Think It’s Alright?                               0.24
12.  Fiddle About                                                    1.29
13.  Pinball Wizard                                                 3.01
14.  There’s A Doctor                                             0.23
15.  Go To The Mirror!                                           3.47   
16.  Tommy Can You Hear Me?                            1.35
17.  Smash The Mirror                                           1.34
18.  Sensation                                                        2.25
19.  Miracle Cure                                                    0.12
20.  Sally Simpson                                                 4.10
21.  I’m Free                                                           2.39
22.  Welcome                                                         4.32
23.  Tommy’s Holiday Camp                                  0.57
24.  We’re Not Gonna Take It                                7.06

Disc 2 Demos & extras
1.     Overture                                                         4:07
2.     It’s A Boy                                                        0:41
3.     1921                                                               3:13
4.     Amazing Journey                                           4:47
5.     Dream One                                                    3:09
6.     Sparks                                                            7:38
7.     The Hawker                                                    4:45
8.     Christmas                                                       4:42
9.     Acid Queen                                                    3:35
10.  Underture   (Dream Two)                               1:47
11.  Do You Think It’s Alright                                 0:26
12.  Pinball Wizard                                                3:42
13.  There’s A Doctor                                            0:24
14.  Go To The Mirror!                                          4:32
15.  Success                                                         0:10
16.  Tommy Can You Hear Me                             1:15
17.  Smash The Mirror                                          1:37
18.  Sensation                                                       2:47
19.  Miracle Cure                                                   0:11
20.  Sally Simpson                                                4:50
21.  I’m Free                                                          2:27
22.  Welcome                                                        3:26
23.  We’re Not Gonna Take It                               5:02
24.  Trying To Get Through                                   2:27
25.  Young Man Blues                                           2:47

Tracks 1 – 23 - Pete Townshend – original demos.
All previously unreleased except 2, 11 and 12 – released in 2003
Track 24 – The Who – studio demo/out-take.
Track 25 – The Who – studio recording (NOTE: This version was previously only available on ‘The House That Track Built’ vinyl sampler).

Disc 3 Hi Fidelity Pure Audio -Blu-ray disc (5.1 mixes)
  1. Overture                                                          5.20
  2. It’s a boy                                                          0.37
  3. 1921                                                                2.49
  4. Amazing journey                                             5.05
  5. Sparks                                                             2.05
  6. The Hawker                                                     2.14
  7. Christmas                                                        4.34
  8. Cousin Kevin                                                   4.07
  9. The acid queen                                               3.34
  10. Underture                                                        10.05
  11. Do you think it’s alright?                                  0.25
  12. Fiddle about                                                    1.31
  13. Pinball wizard                                                  3.01
  14. There’s a doctor                                              0.24
  15. Go to the mirror!                                              3.48  
  16. Tommy can you hear me?                              1.35
  17. Smash the mirror                                            1.33
  18. Sensation                                                        2.27
  19. Miracle cure                                                    0.12
  20. Sally Simpson                                                 4.11
  21. I’m Free                                                           2.39
  22. Welcome                                                         4.32
  23. Tommy’s holiday camp                                   0.57
  24. We’re not gonna take it                                   7.06
Disc 4 Live Bootleg 

1.     Overture (including Introduction)                    7.00 
2.     It’s A Boy                                                        0.39
3.     1921                                                               2.28
4.     Amazing Journey                                           5.07
5.     Sparks                                                            2.49
6.     The Hawker (Eyesight To The Blind)1.54
7.     Christmas                                                       3.11
8.     The Acid Queen                                             3.30
9.     Pinball Wizard                                                2.47
10.  Do You Think It’s Alright?                               0.21
11.  Fiddle About                                                   1.12
12.  Tommy Can You Hear Me?                           0.55
13.  There’s A Doctor                                            0.24
14.  Go To The Mirror!                                          3.22
15.  Smash The Mirror                                          1.10 
16.  Miracle Cure                                                   0.12
17.  Sally Simpson                                                4.01
18.  I’m Free                                                          2.12
19.  Tommy’s Holiday Camp                                 0.48
20.  We’re Not Gonna Take It                               3.28
21.  See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You              7.51


2-CD deluxe, digi-pak
CD 1 Original album remastered
CD 2 Live Bootleg
1-CD remastered version
Original album (single disc)

Deluxe vinyl edition  
2-piece, heavyweight
Original LP configuration

UVINYL Website
Exclusive vinyl version of live ‘bootleg’ album

Hi Fidelity Pure Audio (Blu-ray)
‘Stand-alone’ original album mixed in 5.1

Digital Formats
Super-deluxe box set 
Tracks from SDE box, excluding 5.1 mixes
+ MFiT version (iTunes only)

Digital deluxe edition
‘Mirror’ of 2-CD physical
+ MFiT version (iTunes only)

Digital album (original album)
Mirror’ of 1-CD physical
+ MFiT version (iTunes only)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Video: Pete Townshend talks up his new book, plays Wont' Get Fooled Again

Pete Townshend visits with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner about his new memoir, "Who I Am," and plays a Who classic on acoustic guitar.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Read the full text to Pete Townshend's John Peel lecture

The BBC has begun presenting an annual "John Peel Lecture," named after the late ground- and act-breaking disk jockey. The first such speech was delivered the other day by The Who's Pete Townshend, who celebrated Peel's wide-open ears and willingness to give the new a chance.

But Townshend added that iTunes and online music distribution doesn't have the same power as radio to introduce new music. In fact, he thinks iTunes is downright bad.

You can stream the lecture here, or read the full text here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pete Townshend to give inaugural John Peel lecture

Who guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend will give the first lecture named after legendary British deejay John Peel at the upcoming Radio Festival to be aired on BBC 6, Oct. 31.

The Who star will ask whether creativity in the music and radio industries – or "John Peelism" – can continue to thrive in a digital era where listeners expect content for free.
The keynote address... will be introduced by Peel's son, 6 Music presenter Tom Ravenscroft, alongside fellow presenters – and festival hosts – Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie.
The festival will run from 31 October to 2 November and also includes appearances by BBC director general Mark Thompson, Global Radio boss Ashley Tabor, Jamie Cullum and Ronnie Wood.
Bob Shennan, controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said: "John Peel was one of the radio industry's original free thinkers, breaking down the barriers of music to present his take on the musical world.
"His eclectic ear for a good tune made him a favourite with his millions of listeners, musicians and the industry alike, and I'm delighted that BBC Radio 6 Music is building on John's legacy to inspire further free thinking about music and the music-related media."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BBC Radio 2 profiles Pete Townshend

The Who songwriter/guitarist provides a frank account of his career in "Before I Get Old." The first episode will be available for streaming soon here.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Who singer has "voice restoration" surgery

Interesting: After experiencing problems with his voice last year, Roger Daltrey underwent a new surgical procedure that seems to have helped.

Daltrey sought treatment from Steven Zeitels, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center and a professor at Harvard Medical School. (He also treats Julie Andrews and Steven Tyler.)

What Zeitels found: evidence of pre-cancerous dysplasia on Daltrey’s vocal chords.

A week before Christmas, Daltrey went in for surgery. Using the latest in laser technology — plus a new gel-like biomaterial injected into the vocal chord — Daltrey was restored. (Zeitels claims he can regain up to 90 percent of someone’s lost voice.)