The Who albums ranked 6-1

Here are my choices for the top six Who albums. The one upshot of doing lists… is listening to all of these great albums again.

 

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6. Live at Leeds – 1970 –  There are live albums and then there is this… This album along with At Fillmore East rise above other live albums. Bands would release them when they were in between studio albums. On Live at Leeds, I have never heard a rock band so tight. This is the Who clicking on all cylinders.

Moon, Entwistle, Townshend, and Daltry are all in their prime on this.

Tracklist
Young Man Blues
Substitute
Summertime Blues
Shakin’ All Over
My Generation
Magic Bus

 

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5. My Generation – 1965 – The title song is still an anthem of the sixties generation. This may be the hardest power pop album released, The Kids Are Alright, A Legal Matter, and Out In The Street.

They experimented in the studio and found new sounds and used feedback as an instrument. You start hearing the power chords on this album and the great hooks that Pete came up with on guitar…Roger still hasn’t grown into his later voice and the band is raw but electric.

The Ox is just a musical explosion. What a great debut album this was in 1965.

Tracklist

Out In The Street
I Don’t Mind
The Good’s Gone
La-La-La-Lies
Much Too Much
My Generation
The Kids Are Alright
Please, Please, Please
It’s Not True
I’m A Man
A Legal Matter
The Ox

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4. Who Sell Out – 1967 –  The Who’s take on Pirate radio of the sixties complete with commercials. The standout hit was I Can See For Miles but this album is a collection of good songs strung together with fake commercials.

I like to listen to this album in sequence. Pete was maturing into the Pete we would know soon. The Who didn’t repeat themselves and kept reaching and experimenting.

Strong tracks are Armenia City In The Sky, Tatto, Our Love Was, Relax. and Rael and of course the masterpiece I Can See For Miles.

Tracklist

Armenia City In The Sky
Heinz Baked Beans
Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands
Odorono
Tattoo
Our Love Was
I Can See For Miles
Can’t Reach You
Medac
Relax
Silas Stingy
Sunrise
Rael (1 And 2)

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3. Tommy – 1969 – This Rock Opera left a huge dent in pop culture and left its imprint on rock history. I like the album but the production leaves a lot to be desired. This album made the Who rock gods. There are some great songs on this album like Pinball Wizard, We’re Not Going To Take It, I’m Free, and The Acid Queen.

I personally like Sally Simpson and Christmas. Pete Townshend and Kit Lambert worked together on this album and Kit helped Pete shape it into a concept album. I wished Kit would have let someone else engineer and mix it. I’m mostly a studio album guy but I think this album works better live than the record. Listening to the live version of this album around that time for me beats the album.

There is no denying that it is a landmark album in Rock.

Tracklist
Overture
It’s A Boy
1921 3:14
Amazing Journey
Sparks 3:45
Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
Christmas
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Underture
Do You Think It’s Alright?
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There’s A Doctor
Go To The Mirror!
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash The Mirror
Sensation
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
I’m Free
Welcome
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take

 

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2. Quadrophenia – 1973 –  This kick-started the Mod revival of the 70s. The concept album is about a teenager mod (Jimmy) coming of age in the 60s…It is also about the band itself and it’s four different personalities and also their fans. It is much more cohesive than Tommy and Pete’s use of synthesizers on this is incredible.

The high spot for me is hearing Entwistle and Moon play “The Real Me.”

Some of the many great songs are Love, Reign O’er Me, The Real Me, The Punk and The Godfather, Drowned, 5:15.

Tracklist
I Am The Sea
The Real Me
Quadrophenia
Cut My Hair
The Punk And The Godfather
I’m One
The Dirty Jobs
Helpless Dancer
Is It In My Head
I’ve Had Enough
5:15
Sea And Sand
Drowned
Bell Boy
Doctor Jimmy
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me

 

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1. Who’s Next -1971 – There was really no suspense to this album being number one. This arguably could be the best rock album of the 70s. Instead of Kit Lambert The Who hired Glyn Johns to help produce and it showed. The sound quality difference between this and Tommy is day and night. This album has a sonic quality like no other.

The album came out of a failed attempt at a rock concept album by Pete called Lifehouse that apparently no one but Pete understood. Classic radio stations use this album as their foundation. An incredible album with no weak songs.

These songs live work so well. Won’t Get Fooled Again maybe has the best line in Rock… “Meet the new boss, Same as the Old boss”

Tracklist
Baba O’Riley
Bargain
Love Ain’t For Keeping
My Wife
Song Is Over
Getting In Tune
Going Mobile
Behind Blue Eyes
Won’t Get Fooled Again

 

For the top five  I never shifted until the last minute and I moved Tommy from 4th to 3rd and The Who Sell Out from 3rd to 4th. The importance and culture impact of Tommy won out.

Hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

23 thoughts on “The Who albums ranked 6-1”

    1. Thanks for looking as always… I’ll see what I can do in the future… You would not believe how many times I switch them around before I stick with it….but it’s fun and I listen to a lot of great music…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes- I agree Quadrophenia over Tommy- we are probably in a minority in thinking that but I have always thought Tommy one of the most overrrated albums ever- not that it isn’t good but it seems like most people think of it as The Who’s best album and it’s not even close. Who’s Next is one of the greatest albums ever. Great list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks… The one I said that would surprise is I had The Who Sell Out over Tommy…that is the only thing I changed …but with history…I just didn’t feel right about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The bottom seven gave me the most trouble. The top I had but that one change… Yes it is their Sgt Pepper…

        off topic… The George Martin book is great…I kept thinking it was going to stop in 1962 because I was used to Mark’s book.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know Volume 2 is out now- of the Sir George book? I haven’t started them yet- still on the re-read of Mark’s book….. Yes the bottom ones I agree with- may have put The Who By Numbers up a slot myself but I need to listen to that one again… its been a year or so I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will get it no doubt. It is interesting from his view…looking at the other side of the story.

        The Who By Numbers is another album Pete could have done solo.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Looking forward to reading the Sir George book- I just finished book 1-of Mark- where they get kicked out of Hamburg… another big what if? George was sent home- what if Paul and Pete don’t start the little fire and get deported and John follows them home… does George get back eventually with the group or do they move on in Hamburg without him?… and another good guy in The Beatles story- Bob Wooler- there can’t be any performer- entertainers who had such luck being involved with such good people and not wolves.

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      5. It moves quickly like I said… After reading Mark’s book I’m always expecting more now from every book I read about them. That is a big compliment to Mark…but so far I’m at A Hard Days Night period. It does have some behind the scenes I didn’t know about.

        What if… Allan Williams and Bob Wooler. Yes always good people. After Brian arrive I will give Brian credit…because he almost demanded good people because he didn’t want people to help them for the money…he wanted them to care about the Beatles.

        The more I find out…the more I’m amazed it worked out. I thought about that same thing with George also. I think they would have been loyal and waited…because they were so close. What if John would have stayed behind in Hamburg and hung out with Stu? One tiny thing wrong and the whole future is change.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I thought it was interesting- John comes home and starts to think it over- do I want this kind of life? It only takes him a week to decide yes! John wasn’t going to become a Brummer Striver.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh I just laughed…a lot of thought! If he could have stayed in Germany that could have changed things a bit.
        Fiction could not be as winding as their story. It’s like it was pre ordained for it to happen.

        You will really like the book…I’m dreading the White Album sessions…I’m sure they are pretty depressing…but it’s cool because not a lot is said except they were bickering at each other and everyone else.
        Thanks again for telling me…everything is holding me over til the next book

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice ranking, again. I think I would demote The Who Sell Out to #6, and bump the others up one notch. I agree with Quadrophenia over Tommy. But looking at them side by side shows again what masterpieces they both are. No argument with #1.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Tommy it’s just the production of it…it doesn’t sound like them because it’s so thin…I like the songs though.
      Number 1 and 2 were the easiest pick of the lot. The Who Sell Out is different that is for sure…they were raw…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice job. Who’s Next is my favorite as well. However, Tommy is a close second. Overrated? That’s a bold statement but, hey, that’s what Rock and Roll is all about, making a statement. Personally, My Generation would be my third choice then Quadrophenia. My Generation was so different than anything else at that time. When everybody was jumping on The Beatles bandwagon, The Who was constructing their own vehicle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Tommy…I just hate the production of it…it’s so thin… The Who and The Beatles were the movers and shakers to me…that it is why they are my favorite…they didn’t repeat themselves.
      I love the experimentation they did on their early albums. These rankings…the upshot is I listen to everything again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Its hard to argue with this list. I’m on a Sell Out kick recently so I would push that up to 1 or 2 but it doesn’t really make any difference.
    Also, I particularly live the first reissue of Leeds that included all the other non-Tommy songs from the concert, A Quick One, I’m A Boy, Tattoo, Happy Jack, etc. Live at Leeds is a jet engine and maybe the ultimate representation of the Who at their prime.

    Like

    1. I agree with you on the reissue of Live at Leeds. I did have The Who Sell Out over Tommy but it was hard because Tommy was just so huge to them. The production is what I don’t like about it. Keith sounds like he is on tin cans.
      Live at Leeds is a sonic boom…I still can’t believe how unbelievably tight they were at that time.

      Liked by 1 person

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