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Author Topic: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)  (Read 4127 times)

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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2012, 10:27:55 PM »

I love all three albums, but I wore out a lot of vinyl copies of Who's Next back in the day.  "Bargain" might have had a bit more wear than the rest of the album, actually.

Yeah, "Bargain" may be the peak of Pete Townshend as a rhythm guitarist.
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2012, 09:00:08 AM »

Great to read everyone's opinions of The Who, my second favourite band after The Fab 4.

For many years when I was young I was only really into the Who's earlier work from the mid-1960s - classic singles like Substitute and My Generation - but I then discovered the 1970s stuff such as Who's Next in my early 20s. It wasn't until a few years ago that I really got into Tommy - I obviously knew classic songs like Pinball Wizard but I had stayed clear of listening to the album, possibly because I had seen the film when I was younger and it had put me off the whole Tommy idea as the film was quite weird!!

My first listens to Tommy were on the extended Live At Leeds CD and then on various bootleg recordings from 1969/1970, and then really taking time to listen to the original double album. It took a few listens, but I eventually realised what a brilliant piece of work it is. I especially love the fact that there is so much acoustic guitar on there - it's totally different to the more rocked-up versions they did live.
It is an amazing musical piece - even if the storyline is difficult to follow, the songs do stand up on their own. Stuff like Christmas, Go To The Mirror and We're Not Gonna Take It is very tuneful - with different lyrics they could easily have been singles.

I have played in a Who tribute band for several years and have really come to appreciate albums like Tommy and Quadrophenia - when you try to learn how to play this stuff yourself, you realise how much work and thought went into creating these songs and the recordings.

I was lucky enough to see Roger Daltrey twice on his solo tour last year where he played the entire Tommy album in its original form (lots of acoustic guitar etc). He really did a brilliant job of recreating the album live on stage - much better than The Who's attempts in 1989. Have been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times as well because our band often does gigs in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. He's a great bloke - very down to earth. Here's me and the rest of my band backstage with Roger in Newcastle last year (I'm second from the left, just behind Rog) ...
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 09:10:09 AM by peterbell1 »
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2012, 09:12:50 AM »

And a couple of YouTube clips of our versions of Sparks, Pinball Wizard and See Me Feel Me from the mini Tommy section we do in our set ....   (that's enough of the self-promotion ;D ) .....

The Whodlums - Who Tribute - Sparks



The Whodlums - Who Tribute - Pinball Wizard + See Me, Feel Me - O2 Academy, Newcastle

« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 09:16:17 AM by peterbell1 »
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Normandie

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2012, 11:05:43 PM »


For many years when I was young I was only really into the Who's earlier work from the mid-1960s - classic singles like Substitute and My Generation - but I then discovered the 1970s stuff such as Who's Next in my early 20s. It wasn't until a few years ago that I really got into Tommy - I obviously knew classic songs like Pinball Wizard but I had stayed clear of listening to the album, possibly because I had seen the film when I was younger and it had put me off the whole Tommy idea as the film was quite weird!!

I had to smile when I read that, because I'm sure I would have reacted the same way. I listened to the album before I saw the movie, which I thought was very bizarre (I do like it, though).

Quote
I was lucky enough to see Roger Daltrey twice on his solo tour last year where he played the entire Tommy album in its original form (lots of acoustic guitar etc). He really did a brilliant job of recreating the album live on stage - much better than The Who's attempts in 1989. Have been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times as well because our band often does gigs in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. He's a great bloke - very down to earth.

Wow, I am so jealous. People magazine recently ran a short piece on the Teenage Cancer Trust and focused on Roger. He did come across in the article as very down to earth. I've read tons of interviews with him but never really gotten a "sense" of his personality, but he seemed really kind in the People article.

Thanks for sharing!
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2012, 01:19:34 AM »

And a couple of YouTube clips of our versions of Sparks, Pinball Wizard and See Me Feel Me from the mini Tommy section we do in our set ....   (that's enough of the self-promotion ;D ) .....

The Whodlums - Who Tribute - Sparks


The Whodlums - Who Tribute - Pinball Wizard + See Me, Feel Me - O2 Academy, Newcastle


That's great Peter! You're the guitarist, right?

Somehow the Who are not so popular here in Argentina as the Beatles and the Stones are. Maybe the fact that the Who never came here didn't help. Nevertheless, they're my second favourite band.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2012, 02:58:01 AM »

The Who's Tommy, released in May 1969, was not the first rock opera, as that title corresponds to S.F. Sorrow by the Pretty Things. But Tommy clearly defined the bases of what a rock opera is, expanding the concept not only on the lyrics but also on the music. As other famous albums it's subjected to mixed opinions, and I'm on the side of those who love the record.

Overture. A great, albeit obvious way to start the rock opera. I'm not a big fan of long instrumentals, but I don't mind if it's as fun as this. John's French horns are catchy and the frequent acoustic guitars by Pete (present along the whole album) are marvelous, but I especially love Keith's drumming with his patented unprofessional style.

It's A Boy. And his name is Tommy.

1921. I've always liked this tune and it sounds as it could have been part of an actual classical opera. The best part is the chorus with the counter-vocals.

Amazing Journey. I also like this one, telling us about the complicated simplicity of being deaf, dumb and blind. The strange sound effects remind me to a pinball game, don't know if they were included with that purpose. Amazing drumming too.

Sparks. Another enjoyable instrumental. I especially like the guitar-bass dialogue that starts at 1:02.

Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker). A good version of this blues song. I like the harmonies.

Christmas. How could someone dislike this catchy tune? I love the backing vocals sounding like Christmas bells. I think the hidden message of this track is that salvation doesn't come from intellectual knowledge but from inner spirituality.

Cousin Kevin. As Ovi explained, Tommy is being abused by his cousin. This is a good track written by John, and the chorus sounds a lot like another song he wrote: "Doctor, Doctor", that had been released as the B-side of "Pictures Of Lily" in early-1967.

The Acid Queen. This is certainly a highlight, catchy from start to finish. The drumming is just awesome, it drives the song. I also love the short instrumental middle with that ascending guitar and marching drums. Great track.

Underture. The obligatory over-long instrumental that fills double-album rock operas. It has some good moments but it's predictably tedious and repetitive.

Do You Think It's Alright?. An enjoyable little tune, even being so brief.

Fiddle About. John and his black humor again, it's not a coincidence that he wrote the two songs where Tommy gets abused. Quite entertaining tune.

Pinball Wizard. This is an absolute classic and has always been one of my favorite songs. The whole band shines here. The powerful guitar that can be heard after each "sure plays a mean pinball!" is mind-blowing. I remember seeing the video of this song on TV about 12 years ago; it was the first time I've ever listened to the song and it had such an effect on me that I immediately bought my first album of the Who (The Very Best Of The Who).

The Who - Pinball Wizard


There's A Doctor. He can cure the boy.

Go To The Mirror!. Nice suite including different parts that are repeated through the album. I'm not a big fan of the track but it's still fine.

Tommy Can You Hear Me?. Not a great song but I've always loved this moment of the album. Maybe because the boys are not taking themselves so seriously and the way John plays the bass.

Smash The Mirror. I like the intro of this song, so bluesy. After that it's a bit messy, including a mirror crash at the end.

Sensation. I really like this tune. The horn parts are very suitable.

Miracle Cure. Extra texture (read all about it).

Sally Simpson. This song is very funny, but after several listenings I find it to be quite silly.

I'm Free. Another peak of the album. The harmonies are superb; the Who were not the Beach Boys, of course, but they were underrated in this aspect. A great performance.

Welcome. A pleasant ballad. It would have been very monotonous if it wasn't for the middle. I've always liked the "there's more at the door" part.

Tommy's Holiday Camp. A kind of joke-song written and (I think) sung by Keith; it's driven by a weird organ.

We're Not Gonna Take It. Another demonstration of Pete's geniality. The first part of this suite is very enjoyable, with great harmonies once again. The "see me, feel me" part prepares the ambient for the glorious ending, that I'd bet it was inspired by the coda of "Hey Jude". An amazing closer for an amazing album.

It's not hard to see why this album had such a big impact in rock music. It's often said that this record doesn't stand to repeated listenings, but similar criticism is received by other great albums like Sgt. Pepper's and Pet Sounds, and nothing can remove the "masterpiece" label from them.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2012, 03:21:44 AM »

Pinball Wizard - Excellent opening with acoustics getting faster and faster until the electric guitar comes in, blistering the right channel. One of the best moments on the album, really. I've always wondered how did Pete come up with the idea of making Tommy a pinball player?! Never mind, this is a kick-ass rocker. Just The Who doing what they know best.

Maybe this explanation taken from Wikipedia can respond your question:

Quote
The song was introduced into Tommy as an afterthought. In late 1968 or early 1969, when The Who played a rough assembly of their new album to critic Nik Cohn, Cohn gave a lukewarm reaction. Following this, Townshend, as Tommy's principal composer, discussed the album with Cohn and concluded that, to lighten the load of the rock opera's heavy spiritual overtones (Townshend had recently become deeply interested in the teachings of Meher Baba), the title character, a "deaf, dumb, and blind" boy, should also be particularly good at a certain game. Knowing Cohn was an avid pinball fan, Townshend suggested that Tommy would play pinball, and Cohn immediately declared Tommy to be a masterpiece. The song "Pinball Wizard" was written and recorded almost immediately.
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2012, 11:23:45 AM »

Great review, Hombre.

Christmas. How could someone dislike this catchy tune? I love the backing vocals sounding like Christmas bells. I think the hidden message of this track is that salvation doesn't come from intellectual knowledge but from inner spirituality.

I agree, very well put.

Maybe this explanation taken from Wikipedia can respond your question:

Thanks for sharing, I never knew that.
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2012, 12:32:43 PM »

I had to smile when I read that, because I'm sure I would have reacted the same way. I listened to the album before I saw the movie, which I thought was very bizarre (I do like it, though).

 ;D


Wow, I am so jealous. People magazine recently ran a short piece on the Teenage Cancer Trust and focused on Roger. He did come across in the article as very down to earth. I've read tons of interviews with him but never really gotten a "sense" of his personality, but he seemed really kind in the People article.

Yeah, he's great - chatted with us for quite a while backstage. Earlier this year he even invited us to go down to London to play a gig with him - it didn't work out, unfortunately, but it was a genuine offer by him and we're still hoping that it may come off one day.


Thanks for sharing!

You're very welcome  :)
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2012, 12:40:06 PM »

That's great Peter! You're the guitarist, right?

Somehow the Who are not so popular here in Argentina as the Beatles and the Stones are. Maybe the fact that the Who never came here didn't help. Nevertheless, they're my second favourite band.

Thanks! Yes, I'm the guitarist.

I wonder if maybe The Who were a little too "English" to make a big impression in a country like Argentina during the 60s. The Beatles and Stones had a wide "trans-Atlantic" appeal, but The Who in their early years were targeting a "mod" audience, which was a very British scene. It was only in the latter part of the 60s that they became a big hit in the States, with albums like Tommy. And of course, Who's Next was a massive worldwide success, because by then they had broadened their appeal by dropping the "mod" scene and adding a bit more "rock" to their sound. Tommy was a big step for them because it helped to bridge that gap between their mid-60s work and the rock music they produced in the 70s.
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2012, 12:44:19 PM »

I'm Free. Another peak of the album. The harmonies are superb; the Who were not the Beach Boys, of course, but they were underrated in this aspect. A great performance.

Yeah, the harmonies by The Who are fantastic - they did some very clever stuff vocally which I think often matched The Beatles for complexity.
As you rightly say, they aren't up to the Beach Boys standard, but for a band with just three vocalists they did some great harmonies, just like The Beatles.
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Normandie

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2012, 02:10:22 PM »


Tommy's Holiday Camp. A kind of joke-song written and (I think) sung by Keith; it's driven by a weird organ.

I think that's Pete, actually, although Keith sang it in the movie if I remember correctly. For years, I thought it was Keith on
that track, but I read somewhere (it's escaping me now) that it's Pete.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, very interesting! I am loving this thread.  :)
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2012, 02:34:46 PM »

I think that's Pete, actually, although Keith sang it in the movie if I remember correctly. For years, I thought it was Keith on
that track, but I read somewhere (it's escaping me now) that it's Pete.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, very interesting! I am loving this thread.  :)

Sounds very much like Pete to me as well.
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2012, 03:04:26 PM »

Sounds very much like Pete to me as well.


Was definitely Pete on the Tommy album and he used to do it live up until the early 70s.
From the mid-70s onwards though, when they re-introduced a Tommy section into their set, Keith did the live vocals. And seemed to enjoy himself as well ...  ;D

THE WHO @ Pontiac Stadium/ Mi. Dec. (6th?) 1975: "Tommy's Holiday Camp"/ "We're Not Gonna Take It"
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2012, 06:29:33 PM »

Great review, Hombre.

I agree, very well put.

Thanks for sharing, I never knew that.

Thanks and you're welcome.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #35 on: October 04, 2012, 06:38:04 PM »

Thanks! Yes, I'm the guitarist.

I wonder if maybe The Who were a little too "English" to make a big impression in a country like Argentina during the 60s. The Beatles and Stones had a wide "trans-Atlantic" appeal, but The Who in their early years were targeting a "mod" audience, which was a very British scene. It was only in the latter part of the 60s that they became a big hit in the States, with albums like Tommy. And of course, Who's Next was a massive worldwide success, because by then they had broadened their appeal by dropping the "mod" scene and adding a bit more "rock" to their sound. Tommy was a big step for them because it helped to bridge that gap between their mid-60s work and the rock music they produced in the 70s.

I know the Who had a big impact on some important musicians from Argentina. For example, La Biblia by Vox Dei, released in 1971, was highly influenced by Tommy. It's a concept album about the Bible, it could be considered a rock opera too, and in my opinion it's the best album ever released in my country. But here the Who is almost a cult band, most common people are not familiarized with them.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2012, 06:40:44 PM »

I think that's Pete, actually, although Keith sang it in the movie if I remember correctly. For years, I thought it was Keith on
that track, but I read somewhere (it's escaping me now) that it's Pete.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, very interesting! I am loving this thread.  :)

Thanks for the correction. I thought it was Keith but maybe just because he wrote the song. Also the singing is quite weird and not easy to detect who does it.
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peterbell1

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2012, 07:59:09 PM »

Pete said it was actually him who wrote the Tommy's Holiday Camp song, but it was Keith's original idea to have Tommy go to a holiday camp, so Pete said he was feeling generous and gave Keith the writer's credit!
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2012, 08:08:31 PM »

Pete said it was actually him who wrote the Tommy's Holiday Camp song, but it was Keith's original idea to have Tommy go to a holiday camp, so Pete said he was feeling generous and gave Keith the writer's credit!

Didn't know that!
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Normandie

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Re: Microscope : Tommy (The Who)
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2012, 08:54:39 PM »

Also the singing is quite weird and not easy to detect who does it.

It is an odd song (I've always found it a tad creepy, even), and for years I thought it was Keith.
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