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The Who

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The WhoShort Disclaimer: You may or may not notice that I did not mention everything The Who have released, or all the people in their line-up at all times. Nor did I mention Tommy(the movie) or Quadrophenia (the movie). I wanted to focus on The Who?s music in their prime years, rather than their various reunions and films. ?Ok, if you hate The Who, you won?t like it. *BLEEP* you.? -Pete Townshend (talking about the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B Box Set). Band Members: Pete Townshend: Guitar, vocalsRoger Daltrey: Vocals, harmonicaJohn Entwistle: Bass, vocals, French horn Keith Moon (until 1978): Drums, vocalsKenney Jones (after 1978): DrumsJohn Bundrick (after 1978): KeyboardsDiscography: 1964: Singles: I?m the Face1965: Singles: I Can?t Explain, My Generation1965: The Who Sings My Generation1966: Singles: Substitute, I?m a Boy, The Kids Are Alright, Happy Jack1966: A Quick One1967: Singles: Pictures of Lilly, I Can See For Miles1967: The Who Sell Out1968: Singles: I Can?t Reach You, Dogs, Magic Bus. 1968: Magic Bus ? The Who on Tour1969: Singles: Pinball Wizard, I?m Free, The Acid Queen1969: Tommy1970: Singles: The Seeker, Summertime Blues1970: Live at Leeds1971: Singles: Behind Blue Eyes, Lets See Action1971: Who?s Next1971: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy1972: Singles: Join Together, Relay1973: Singles: 5:15, Love Reign O?Er Me1973: Quadrophenia1974: Single: The Rael Me1974: Odds and Sods1975: Singles: Squeeze Box, Slip Kid1975: The Who by the Numbers1978: Who Are You?1979: The Kids Are Alright (Soundtrack)1981: Face Dances1982: It?s Hard1991: Thirty Years of Maximum R&B (Box Set)1996: My Generation ? The Very Best of the Who1996: Live at the Isle of Wight2000: BBC Sessions2002: Ultimate Collection2002: Live at the Royal Albert Hall2004: Then and Now: 1964-2004Few bands in rock history have had the talent, ability, energy, and impact as The Who did from the mid 60?s to the late 70?s. Starting as an offshoot of the British Invasion, the Who evolved to become one of the most powerful and one of the greatest rock n? roll bands of all time. Though by definition they weren?t a super-group (the members were not already established as premier musicians before The Who took off), they arguably had the talent to be one. Destroying equipment, blowing up bass drums, Townshend?s windmill, Daltrey?s power and sex appeal, and Entwistle?s ?eye of the hurricane? approach to the stage show are all defining parts of The Who that make them a legend in their time and into today. Pete Townshend was the artistic leader of the band, and he constantly moved them in new directions to reach areas no rock bands had been and few have been since. Aside from his artistic creativity, his guitar playing was very good. He is often overlooked because he did not do many solos or much flashy guitar work, but he fit the band perfectly. Not only was Townshend a capable guitarist, but his songwriting ability is up there with the best. Townshend also sang background vocals and occasionally lead vocals, making him even more valuable to the band. Roger Daltrey, the singer of the group, started as a great singer with solid range and glimpses of power. His versatility allowed him to progress into a power-rock front man, and his amazing stage presence propelled The Who?s live shows throughout their career. But the real focus of The Who is usually on the rhythm section (or in The Who?s case, the lead instrumental section). John Entwistle was a pioneer in bass playing, as he was one of first players to show that bass could be the lead instrument in rock music. He immediately made his presence known in The Who with his heavy sound and distorted bass, like the fills in My Generation . Entwistle also added solid backup vocals, which gave The Who more dimensions in their vocal harmonies. And then ,of course, there is Keith Moon. Moon was a defining aspect of The Who, and a key part of why they were so different from almost all other bands. His attacking drum style, blazing speed, and constant fills would become a trademark of The Who, especially in their live show. Although Keith is usually noted for being a crazy man on the drums, he tends to show a significant amount of control on their studio albums. There are more fills than other drummers, but enough restraint so as not to ruin the track. Instrumentally, Entwistle and Moon led the band. Townshend was a good guitar player, but he usually found himself pounding out power-chords and solid riffs in the role of a rhythm player while John and Keith took the role as lead players. That is not to say that Pete never played lead or that he could not solo, however. Townshend and Entwistle first met each other in high school, and initially played in a Dixieland band together (John was on trumpet and Pete was on banjo) in 1962. In 1963, Entwistle left to play bass for the newly formed Detours, with singer Roger Daltrey already in place. Soon, Townshend joined them band on guitar. Not long after, there was a drumming void, and Keith Moon was added to the band. They changed their name to The Who in 1964. After struggling for a few months to progress, the band met an interested manager in Pete Meaden. Under his direction, the band became known as the High Numbers and began wearing suits and playing more of an R&B style. Their first single contained I?m the Face/Zoot Suit , but it faired poorly. Meaden was cut, and they reformed as The Who. I Can?t Explain was the band?s next single, and it did much better. After the band played a TV performance that featured Moon and Townshend destroying their instruments, The Who starting gaining popularity. As I Can?t Explain had jumped to the British Top Ten, the band was now ready to record an album. The Who Sings My Generation was built around the title track, also released as a single. The album showcases the raw style of the band early in their career. There is noticeable influence of R&B, blues, and Motown, added into the Who?s style of power rock. Its lasting legacy to music is undoubtedly My Generation . This song displays the defiant attitude of the band and Townshend?s infamous, ?hope I die before I get old? line. The rebellious nature of the song even became somewhat of an influence on the future punk movement, which would start to see its true beginnings in just a couple years. Also seen here are instrumental statements of Entwistle and Moon. As mentioned before, Entwistle?s fills are remarkable. The end of the song features Moon all over the drums, producing a wall of sound that no other drummer of the time could even hope to emulate. The song would also become a key part of their live show for the upcoming years. The single Substitute was released shortly after that album, and met more British success. The song itself is a solid pop tune with great drumming and good vocals. The Band again prepared for more studio work. The Who?s next record would prove to be an interesting one, to say the least. Titled A Quick One (in Britain) or Happy Jack (in America), it would expand on the base of The Who to showcase a wide variety of music. The tracks range from the circus type music of Cobwebs and Strange (which features amazing drumming from Moon, it?s somewhat of a mini drum solo) to the ten minute mini-opera of the title track, A Quick One . This is Townshend?s first experiment with a lengthy piece that centered on a theme. The plot concerns a woman who cheats on her husband while he is away for a long time. Musically, the song moves through six movements that run together successfully. Also on the album were the strange Happy Jack and even stranger Boris the Spider , both of which are solid and are now well known tracks. The most important parts of this album were the fact that the band was certainly showing signs of evolution (which were necessary to further develop and survive as the 60?s died out), and the mini-opera concept Townshend was starting to create. This idea would become more important on the band?s next album, and eventually reach a climax on Tommy. Their next record, The Who Sell Out (1967), is debatably a concept album that centers on a mock radio broadcast program. Between nearly every song, there is a short mock radio jingle. The album even includes the band advertising certain products in song form, as the title would suggest. There are some rather obvious examples of this, such as Heinz Baked Beans , and other examples that can actually stand alone as solid songs, like Odorono . There is even some dabbing in psychedelia (after all, it was 1967) like on Armenia, City In the Sky . The Who take full advantage of the studio to produce this record, though the music itself still has a bit of the raw essence of the early Who. These early albums do not tend to present the loud raucous Who that their live show represented; instead, there is a strong sense of melody and control. Moon shows remarkable constraint (for him, at least) on songs like Tattoo . Sunrise, I Can?t Reach You, and Our Love Was showed Townshend?s softer side as a songwriter. I Can See For Miles was the only the album?s top ten hit and the only track that got radio play and it features great singing from Roger and typical Keith Moon drumming. However, the real climax of the album is Rael , and religious conceptual experiment. The Who even develops some of the instrumental themes for Tommy on this song (mostly from songs like Sparks or The Underture ). They were now only a short step away from

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