A Quick Word on The WHO

The Who started off as the Detours and had a drummer named Doug Sandom. After an argument with Pete, Doug quit the band. Keith Moon then joined and the sound and the band took off. They found the member to complete one of the best bands to emerge from the sixties. They were the band of the Mods and wore British Flags, target shirts, and other Pop Art attire.

Controlled chaos is the best way I know how to describe the Who’s early singles. My favorite rhythm section in Rock and Roll… John Entwistle and Keith Moon were all over the place but they were all over the place together.  What John and Keith gave musically cannot be underestimated. They were the engine that made The Who go…Pete Townshend coined the phrase “power pop” and they were the ultimate power pop band. Roger Daltrey was transformed from a good blues singer to a rock god. They released several classic albums… Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, Tommy, and Live at Leeds., The Who Sell Out…

The Who along with the Kinks were the forerunners of Punk. The Who’s early singles were raw and driving Can’t Explain, My Generation, Substitute, The Kids Are Alright, Pictures of Lily, I’m a Boy, and I Can See For Miles…

They moved from those early raw songs and released albums with songs such as Won’t Get Fooled Again, Baba O’Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Love Reign O’er Me, Who Are You, Bargain. The Real Me, We’re Not Going to Take It, and 5:15

Pete took the rock concept album to an art form.

When they were at their performing peak they were untouchable. Check out the album or DVD of Live at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Their peer at that time had a great rhythm section, a great guitarist and a dynamic lead singer…Led Zeppelin. The Who were not as popular and they didn’t sell as many records as Led Zeppelin but The Who were fun… they more inviting.

They were the complete package. They had a good songwriter (Entwistle) in the band…and a great one (Pete). If you look at lists and influences…  10 ten rock drummers, top ten rock bassists etc..all of the Who come up in their respective category.

Led  Zeppelin made the right choice in not replacing John Bonham. The Who decided to go on without Moon and were never the same again without Moon. Some of their songs were good afterward but they did not have the drive and spirit that Moon gave them and they were not complete without him.

I’ve never found a band other than the Beatles that moved me as much. Pete’s songs are high energy with a dash of spirituality.

I will revisit the Who again and coming up soon  I’m going to attempt to rank the Who albums.

 

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Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

96 thoughts on “A Quick Word on The WHO”

  1. The Kids Are Alright is a great movie. The energy really comes through on Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O ‘Riley. It was played live and not lip synced.

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  2. I really love The Who, too. It’s something I share with my younger brothers. I have their Isle of Wight DVD. It’s probably time to get it out and rewatch it. If you want something excellent and more recent, I recommend their Hyde Park cd-dvd set. And not just because I was there. :p One of my surprise fave songs in the Hyde Park set is ‘I’m One’. Pete does an inspired version that seems to take on new meaning, generations after it was first written. I’ll look forward to your album ranking. That’s something I’m no good at.

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    1. I am so jealous…That must have been a great experience. So many great concerts have been in that park! I will check it out…

      I’m not good at ranking them either…I take ranking them too seriously…I’ve been working it off and on for a couple of weeks. Keep changing my mind…
      The Who’s music I can relate to and like I said they were inviting to their audience…on top of that Keith Moon just intrigues me. I read every article or book about him.

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      1. It was indeed unique and special, to see the band perform in their home. They made a point of welcoming all of us who traveled from abroad. I’m fascinated by Keith, too. My brothers and I have some ‘cosmic’ connections with him–birthdays.

        Roger has a memoir coming out soon. And you’ve probably read Pete’s ‘Who I Am’, but if not, it is an enlightening read.

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      2. I have read it and liked it. One thing the man is…is open and honest…good or bad.

        The book about Keith “Dear Boy” is just fantastic. It’s huge but it’s worth it. I start to feel for him in the book…and for others around him for a long period of time.

        I saw them again a couple of years ago…I loved seeing Keith sing Bellboy… It was a great tribute .

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      3. The author digs really deep to find the truth. He unearths everything about the man. You do feel like you know him afterward.

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  3. I can’t think of a more talented band; and as talented as all the members were/are, I’d have to say that Keith Moon was the most talented member. Pure and Easy is one of my all time favorite Who tunes. It’s fairly obscure but I think it is genius–the breaks within the song, which, of course, are a who signature and Moon’s drumming are exciting and pleasing to the ear.

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    1. I have been fascitnated with Keith Moon for a long time. I listened to the isolated drum track for Going Mobile…I couldn’t believe it anyone could keep time like that.
      Pure and Easy is a great song…surrounded by other great songs. Pete Townshend’s writing is like no other…but he had great interpreters in the other three. .

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      1. Another really, really great drummer is Clem Burke of Blondie. He did some session work with Townsend and he’s drummed for The Ramones and a bunch of other artist. I think he’s tremendous. I also really admire Martin Chambers of The Pretenders and Stewart Copeland of The Police.

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      2. Clem Burke’s hero was Keith Moon…Stweart Copeland is a great drummer…some of the Police’s songs are intregate. The Pretenders were just great…excellent choice of drummers.

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  4. I agree they should have done like Zeppelin when Bonham died- called it a day. Moon couldn’t be replaced. Looking forward to your ranking of The Who albums.

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    1. They really should have. Pete was engergized about going on without him but I think he soon realized it was never the same. They turned back into the Detours… I didn’t hate Face Dances like a lot of people… but it was just another band then.
      I am too…if I ever can stop changing the order and why .

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      1. I agree with that. It would have worked better with just him ….always thought You Better You Bet was Who Are You’s not as good looking sister…

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      2. The Who By Numbers is like that also to me. Very personal…just really open.
        I can see what you are talking about. Don’t Let Go the Coat and Another Tricky Day would have suited Pete’s solo voice well.

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      3. Kenney Jones was really in a no win situation- no one was going to replace Keith. Wow 40 years ago he passed away. My friend Dan thought it was a publicity stunt to sell the album -at first.

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      4. I only wish it was… Did you ever see the Good Morning America morning spot where Pete and Keith are guest? I think it was a month before he passed. He looked in his 40s easy.
        David Hartman was not equipped to interview Keith Moon. The look on his face when Keith answers honestly.

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      5. Yes I remember seeing that… yes he looked bad hard to believe he was only 32. It’s funny that anyone would go into an interview involving Moon without knowing he was capable of anything!

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      6. The Russell Harty one was the best…All those years I watched that segment I didn’t know Harty was nervous that Keith was going to blurt out that Russell was gay. You can see it in his face.

        I didn’t respond on the other. Poor Kenney Jones. There was no way he was going to win… Zak fits in their music. It’s just so odd to see those pictures of him as a kid with Keith.

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      7. 99.9 % of people would never have mentioned it- but with Keith- well you never know for sure- I bet he wanted that interview over NOW!! The man was a force of nature.

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      8. Yes after the fact a lot of things are funny- but sometimes its hard to see the humor at the time.. I am going to make my Who album list- not publish it- just to have it ready to check and see how close we are- you just ranking the studio albums?

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      9. YES they are- and I have been working on a few lists- of songs- believe it or not- albums are easier to rank than songs. I am working on a TOP 40 Singles- by The Beatles as solo artists. I think a couple songs that went to #1 will not make the 40….

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      10. That is how I feel…I don’t care as much about chart success…Now culture impact I do consider. It is important. Sgt Pepper is a good example…and Tommy… I hate Tommy’s production so much but I can’t deny that Tommy was bigger than The Who for a while. Sgt Pepper was an event in itself… See I think too much on it.

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      11. On the singles I am just ranking my favorites- on albums I think you have to consider a lot more things. I agree with you on Tommy… Going through my albums -vinyl I forgot I had the soundtrack to The Kids Are Alright doc.!!!

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      12. I missed this…
        I’m looking forward to your list. Great find! I don’t still have all of my vinyl…I remember I had a Who greatest hits at one time called “Hooligans” it was really good. My first new Who album was Face Dances but I knew a lot of their music.

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      13. I had Hooligan’s on cassette- long gone. I think there are more Who Greatest Hits packages than actually studio albums! My first new one was Who Are You.. Did you have the Pete- Scoop albums? Again I had them on cassette…

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      14. No I didn’t have them… My first Pete Townshend album was Empty Glass… lol you are right about the Greatest Hits packages. They have a bundle.

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      15. I think The Doors hold the record for Greatest Hits- to Studio album ratio. I have never seen the Scoop albums on CD.. they were Pete’s demos of Who songs. Pretty good.

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      16. I’ve heard of the Scoop albums but never listened to them. From what Glynn Johns said about him was sometimes his demos were so good that he would use part of them…

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      17. The demos are pretty good. I hadn’t thought of those albums in some time. got to check and see if they ever made it to CD.. I know I have never seen them in a store- back when they actually carried cd’s!.

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      18. I hope I didn’t double post…I clicked sent but everything vanished….. it looks like the first cd is single and the other two are double…

        They have vinyl also from a third party…

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      19. hmmm I think I had the first 2 but not 3. Going to have to look into them. My tapes are long long gone. I see they got good reviews – on amazon.

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      20. It looks very interesting. I would like to hear some of the Lifehouse demos. I forgot what the name of the synth was he used…but not many people were successful at getting it to work but him for a time…It looked like an old telephone switchboard.

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      21. I don’t know if it was ever released in the US- but there was a box set that came out in 2003 of Lifeboat in the UK- we were over there that summer and I was looking for it- but couldn’t find it.

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      22. In the US it was a single disc I think- in the UK there was a box set. OH MY- I see it- I don’t think I will be buying it from Amazon anytime soon 6 CDS $498…. wow

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      23. I’m going to check it out… speaking of Lifehouse…I’m sure you have read about that time. The Who performed some shows at a small theater with fans and filmed it. They were trying the songs out before they recorded the album. I’ve never seen anything from it.

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      24. I found the theatre… The Young Vic in London… I’m going to try track anything down if there is anything.
        They were interacting with the fans from what I read…That is something they were good about

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      25. They have to… I managed to get Live at TangleWood and Houston (both with Moon) at least 10 years ago through trades. Bill Graham has a lot…like A Day on the Green in 76 if his estate will release it…

        As far as studio you would think they would

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      26. I would think there would be a market for it- I know no one else is The Beatles- but The Who has a big fan base- release some of the stuff!!!

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      27. I know!
        I would gladly buy any concert that Moon was involved in. They did release Led Zeppelin at Knebworth finally.

        They filmed a lot in the seventies…Duane Allman with the Brothers…some of that is not released.

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      28. Off topic- look at Paul’s new album cover and George’s Gone Troppo when you get a chance…. also your opinion- what would be better to do- an EX- Beatles Top 40 or EX-Beatles Top 40 songs?

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      29. Wow…they are similar! Really similar…
        … It’s probably me but an EX-Beatles Top 40 or EX-Beatles Top 40 songs? What is the difference between the two?…Man I’m feeling stupid…

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      30. I needed to word it better- guess i am getting tired— one list- singles– the other- would consider all the songs- there are some non-single solo stuff that I’d have to put in a top 40 overall ex beatles songs. where as the singles list would be 40 greatest singles only.

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      31. I’m slapping my forehead. The top 40 should have given it away. Personally…I would rather see the album cuts also. That is just me though. That would be more interesting. Songs like I Know I Know, God…and many others that weren’t singles in the running.
        More people though would know just the singles… It’s the Beatles…you can’t lose any way you go.

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      32. I was working on 40 singles- it is crazy some good ones that didn’t make it then I was thinking well there are songs these fellas did- that are left off because they weren’t singles-John would be the one off the top of my head who would have some added if all songs included- I think I will go that way. Thanks.

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      33. I was thinking the same thing about John. Working Class Hero…alot of things. One of John’s albums that Bailey likes the most is “Rock and Roll” believe it or not. He likes his version of Peggy Sue better than Buddy Holly. I told him don’t get carried away but he loves that album. His Stand By Me is the one I go to.
        Anyway I think that will be more interesting.

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      34. I think Stand By Me is the stand out also. It’s interesting- Bailey being a lot younger- obviously hears these things a little differently than we do maybe fresher ears? ….. Speaking of Buddy- 82nd birthday today.

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      35. 82…that is sad. That just shows you how young he died.
        It must be but I told him he needs to listen to Buddy a little more…but I couldn’t complain too much…at least it was John and not some modern boy band…
        What cover do you think the Beatles maybe improved? Twist and Shout I would think…

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      36. Yes Twist and Shout for sure.. Money.. its odd with Paul always doing his ‘Little Richard” they only did one cover on the studio albums.

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      37. Money is very good..That one they probably did better because of John’s voice…. They didn’t better the original but they did a good job on Act Naturally especially since it wasn’t in their field.
        That is strange that they didn’t do any other Little Richards songs. I guess that is why they wrote I’m Down.

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      38. I wonder if Little Richard ever did I’m Down- he should have! Yes that is perfect Little Richard material- Act Naturally perfect for Ringo!!

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      39. Act Naturally was perfect for him and George shines with that guitar…
        I’m Down is Little Richard…I just did a quick search… you would think he would have covered it.

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      40. It would have been a natural . Maybe he was stubborn- he thinks he’s the originator- they can cover me- i am not covering them? Who knows with Richard…

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      41. I don’t know what to think of the Paul Simon album- re-recording old songs right? Have you heard anything about it? I have everything he’s done so I will probably get it— and hour or so ago I ran out to get Egypt Station- will wait til tomorrow to listen to it- in a Who mood right now…..I read something where Paul Simon has said he is done writing new music.

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      42. Wow you are right. He is just redoing his self…things he wanted to correct… That doesn’t work. That is sad that he isn’t writing anything new.
        I’m getting the McCartney album this weekend. I should have picked it up after work…

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      43. I read the new- and fantastic bio on Simon- by Robert Hilburn that came out in April or May- from reading that- I wouldn’t be surprised that if he gets inspired he writes some more- that is what he does! The touring I can see that ending for sure… but I think he writes songs until he dies. …. I think its interesting how- John commented on this a lot in interviews- he would hear some beatles song and think about how he would have changed it- etc.. how the original didn’t measure up to what he wanted…

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      44. I wish I would have read that one. I read the one by Peter Ames Carlin. It dragged a bit to me. I’m going to try the one by Hilburn.

        John was talking about redoing I Want To Hold Your Hand… Didn’t he say he didn’t like the experimenting on his stuff? I think George and John thought George Martin favored Paul.

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      45. After I read Hilburn’s book on Johnny Cash- I held off on the Carlin book when I heard Hilburn was working on Simon… I think Paul was more interested at times in getting different sounds- but then again- John was into that too especially Revolver/ Sgt. Pepper era. …I remember John saying when he heard a song he would think of the recording of the song in the studio. I guess it would be hard to separate the making of it- when hearing it years later…

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      46. Well after the two Sir George Books I’ll get the Simon book. I’ve never read a book on Cash either…Now I’ll know the one to get.

        I remember John saying that.

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      47. Maybe because he came a little earlier? Fats- I agree he didn’t get the attention he deserved…. I agree on Elvis- do you think maybe we just missed out on the whole Elvis experience by not SEEING him when he arrived? The visual along with the music? And also by not living during those days. I know my thinking was wrong on this but in the 70’s I viewed him as old timey- square. out of touch with the times..

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      48. The same thing here. I think of Elvis in the jumpsuit in Las Vegas. He was way too slick when we saw him. The edge was gone… We missed the emergence of him and the affect it had on the times.

        He didn’t fit in at all with the rest of the rock world when we noticed.

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      49. Yes the jumpsuits in Vegas…. I watched the Elvis 68 special recently- before the jumpsuit era- he looked in great shape… You can’t blame anyone but Elvis I guess but I have always thought Col. Parker’s handling of him helped to kill him.

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      50. He contributed no doubt. When Elvis got in that shape he kept sending him out to play to make more money.
        Doctor Nick did his part also. Elvis just over indulged with everything.
        The 68 special is great. I just wish he would have rocked the boat a little and actually recorded some raw things again.

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      51. They even have the vinyl version…used of course from a third party.

        It looks like the first one is a single cd but the other two are a double.

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