March 28, 2015

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 104: The Who ~ Tommy: 50 years on

The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail
design by Mike McInnerney
photos by Barrie Metter  
detail photo by Styrous®  

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In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes for sale. If interested, contact me by email please, not by a comment. 

I have The Who ~ Tommy, reel-to-reel tape, for sale on Amazon. I have others for sale on eBay now (see links below).    
 
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The Who began their 50th anniversary tour this week and in an interview (link below) on March 26, 2015, Roger Daltry of the group was interviewed by Andy Green of the Rolling Stone magazine. In it Daltry said, "I Want Us to Stop at the Top of Our Game."   

The Who is an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide. It seems impossible that it's been 50 years since they hit the music scene.  


reel-to-reel tape box cover detail 
design by Mike McInnerney
photo by Styrous®


The biggest hit by The Who was Tommy, a concept album, composed in 1969, primarily by Pete Townshend. It is a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family.


The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail 
design by Mike McInnerney
detail photo by Styrous®


Synopsis


British Army Captain Walker goes missing during an expedition and is believed dead ("Overture"). His widow, Mrs. Walker, gives birth to their son, Tommy ("It's a Boy"). Years later, Captain Walker returns home and discovers that his wife has found a new lover. The Captain murders this man in an altercation. Tommy's mother brainwashes him into believing he didn't see or hear anything, shutting down his senses and making him deaf, dumb and blind to the outside world ("1921"). Tommy now relies on his sense of touch and imagination, developing a fascinating inner psyche ("Amazing Journey/Sparks").


A quack claims his wife can cure Tommy ("The Hawker"), while Tommy's parents are increasingly frustrated that he will never find religion in the midst of his isolation ("Christmas"). Tommy's parents begin to neglect him; he is tortured by his sadistic Cousin Kevin, and molested by his uncle Ernie (Do You Think It's Alright?, Fiddle About), and given LSD by the Hawker's wife, The Acid Queen. Tommy's hallucinogenic experience is expressed musically (Underture).


As Tommy grows older, he discovers he can feel vibrations sufficiently well to become an expert pinball player (Pinball Wizard). His parents take him to a respected doctor (There's a Doctor), who determines that the boy's disabilities are psychosomatic rather than physical. Tommy is told by the Doctor to Go to the Mirror!, and his parents notice he can stare at his reflection. After spending extensive time staring at a mirror in the house, his mother smashes it out of frustration ("Smash The Mirror") This removes Tommy's mental block, and he recovers his senses, realising he can become a powerful leader ("Sensation"). He starts a religious movement (I'm Free), which expands into a holiday camp (Welcome / Tommy's Holiday Camp). The followers, however, ultimately reject Tommy's teachings and leave the camp (We're Not Gonna Take It). Tommy retreats inward again (See Me, Feel Me) with his "continuing statement of wonder at that which encompasses him.  



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail 
design by Mike McInnerney
detail photo by Styrous®


In 1970, Ferdinand Nault of the Montreal ballet group Les Grands Ballets Canadiens created the first dance-based adaptation of Tommy. The ballet performance toured New York in April 1971, which included a light show and accompanying films by the Quebec Film Bureau.



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover back 
photo by Styrous®


In 1971, the Seattle Opera under director Richard Pearlman produced the first ever fully staged professional production of Tommy at the Moore Theater in Seattle Washington. The production included Bette Midler playing the role of the Acid Queen and Mrs. Walker, and music by the Syracuse, New York band Comstock,



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box back cover detail 
detail photo by Styrous®

On 9 December 1972, entrepreneur Lou Reizner presented a concert version of Tommy at the Rainbow Theatre, London. There were two performances that took place on the same evening. The concerts featured the Who, plus a guest cast, backed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Measham. The concerts were held to promote the release of Reizner's new studio recording of this symphonic version of Tommy.   

The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box back cover detail 
photo by Styrous®



In 1975 a film version of Tommy was made. It was directed by Ken Russell and featured  the band members with lead singer Roger Daltrey, portraying the title role. The other cast members include Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Elton John, Arthur Brown, and Jack Nicholson.

Most of Russell's films have a bizarre, surreal quality to them; Tommy fits right in there with them perfectly. All of the actors/musicians are stunning but for me Tina Turner stole the show. She is spectacular as the "Acid Queen" (link to her performance on YouTube below). The song/role could have been written especially for her.  



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover back detail  
photo by Styrous®



In 1993 Tommy hit Broadway. It was billed as, The Who's Tommy, a rock musical by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff with additional material by John Entwistle, Keith Moon and Sonny Boy Williamson.  

Song list & characters



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover spine 
photo by Styrous®


Roger Harry Daltrey, was born on March 1, 1944, in the Hammersmith area of London; he is an English singer, songwriter and actor. His career has spanned more than 50 years, Daltrey came to prominence in the mid 1960s as the founder and lead singer of The Who, which released fourteen singles that entered the top ten charts in the United Kingdom during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape box cover spine details 
photo by Styrous®


Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend was born on May 19, 1945, at Chiswick Hospital, West London, ten days after Nazi Germany surrendered in the Second World War. He came from a musical family: his father Cliff Townshend was a professional alto saxophonist in the Royal Air Force's dance band The Squadronaires and his mother Betty (née Dennis) was a singer with the Sydney Torch and Les Douglass Orchestras. He is the singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist for the rock group The Who. His career with the Who spans 50 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s.  



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape 
photo by Styrous®


John Alec Entwistle was born on October 9, 1944, in Chiswick, a suburb of London. He was an English musician, songwriter, singer, film and music producer, best known as the bass guitarist for  The Who. He was the only member of the band to have formal musical training. His aggressive lead sound influenced many rock bass players. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Who in 1990.  

Entwistle's instrumental approach used pentatonic lead lines, and a then-unusual treble-rich sound ("full treble, full volume") created by roundwound RotoSound steel bass strings. He was nicknamed "The Ox", as well as "Thunderfingers" – because his digits became a blur across the four-string fretboard. In 2011, a Rolling Stone reader poll selected him as the greatest bassist of all time.[4] The Biography Channel has declared that John Entwistle is considered by many to be the best bass guitarist that ever lived, and that it is often said that he did for the bass what Jimi Hendrix did for the guitar.   

John Entwistle  died in Room 658 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on the 27th of June, 2002, one day before the scheduled first show of The Who's 2002 United States tour. He had gone to bed that night with a stripper/groupie, Alycen Rowse, who woke at 10  a.m. to find Entwistle cold and unresponsive. The Clark County medical examiner determined that death was due to a heart attack induced by cocaine.  



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


Keith John Moon was born on August 23, 1946, at Central Middlesex Hospital in northwest London, and grew up in Wembley. He was drummer for The Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. In 2011, Moon was voted the second-greatest drummer in history by a Rolling Stone readers' poll. His drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians.  

Moon grew up in Alperton a suburb of Wembley, northwest London, and took up the drums during the early 1960s. After playing with a local band, the Beachcombers, he joined the Who in 1964 before they recorded their first single. 

Moon led a destructive lifestyle. During the Who's early days he began taking amphetamines, and in a New Musical Express interview said his favourite food was "French Blues." He spent his share of the band's income quickly, and was a regular at London clubs such as the Speakeasy and the Bag O' Nails; the combination of pills and alcohol escalated into alcoholism and drug addiction later in his life.  

On 6 September, 1978, Moon and Walter-Lax were guests of Paul and Linda McCartney at a preview of the film, The Buddy Holly Story. After dining with the McCartneys at Peppermint Park in Covent Garden, Moon and Walter-Lax returned to their flat. He watched a film (The Abominable Dr. Phibes), and asked Walter-Lax to cook him steak and eggs. When she objected, Moon replied "If you don't like it, you can fuck off!" These were his last words. Moon then took 32 clomethiazole tablets. When Walter-Lax checked on him the following afternoon, she discovered he was dead.



The Who ~ Tommy
reel-to-reel tape label detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


Track listing:

All songs written and composed by Pete Townshend, except where noted.  

Side one:   

No.     Title                 Lead vocals     Length

1.     "Overture"       Townshend     3:50
2.     "It's a Boy"       Townshend     2:07
3.     "1921"       Townshend, Roger Daltrey on chorus     3:14
4.     "Amazing Journey"       Daltrey     3:25
5.     "Sparks"       Instrumental     3:45
6.     "The Hawker" (Sonny Boy Williamson)     Daltrey     2:15
7.     "Christmas"       Daltrey, Townshend in middle eight     5:30
8.     "Cousin Kevin" (John Entwistle)     Entwistle and Townshend     4:03
9.     "The Acid Queen"       Townshend     3:31
10.   "Underture"       Instrumental     9:55

Side two:  

No.     Title     Lead vocals     Length

1.     "Do You Think It's Alright?"       Daltrey and Townshend     0:24
2.     "Fiddle About" (Entwistle)     Entwistle     1:26
3.     "Pinball Wizard"       Daltrey, Townshend on bridge     3:50
4.     "There's a Doctor"       Townshend, with Daltrey and Entwistle     0:25
5.     "Go to the Mirror!"       Daltrey and Townshend     3:50
6.     "Tommy Can You Hear Me?"       Daltrey, Townshend and Entwistle     1:35
7.     "Smash the Mirror"       Daltrey     1:20
8.     "Sensation"       Townshend     2:32
9.     "Miracle Cure"       Daltrey, Townshend and Entwistle     0:10
19.     "Sally Simpson"       Daltrey     4:10
11.     "I'm Free"       Daltrey     2:40
12.     "Welcome"       Daltrey, Townshend ("more at the door") and Entwistle (spoken part)     4:30
13.     "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (Keith Moon)     Townshend     0:57
14.     "We're Not Gonna Take It"       Daltrey, Townshend and Entwistle     6:45

    Though later released as a single, "See Me, Feel Me" was not a track in its own right on the original album, and is included as the latter half of "We're not Gonna Take It".

Personnel:  

The Who:  

Released: 23 May 1969
Recorded: 19 September 1968 – 7 March 1969
Studio: IBC Studios, London, England
Genre: Hard rock rock
Length: 75:12
Label: Track
Producer: Kit Lambert




Net links: 
 
Tina Turner as the "Acid Queen" from the film on YouTube    

       
The Who website  
    
Roger Daltry Rolling Stone magazine interview     
   
  


The Who  ~ Tommy, reel-to-reel tape,is for sale on eBay Other reel-to-reel tapes now for sale on eBay  







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