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Thread: Pete Townshend on The Who: "We're closer to prog-rock."

  1. #26
    If Lifehouse had happened, there would have been a wonderful trilogy of rock operas. But Who's Next, as it is, features the strongest material imho and works very well as the studio album between Tommy and Quadrophenia. I would just replace "Love ain't For Keeping" with "Pure and Easy" (Odds and Sods version) to make it perfect.

  2. #27
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    I'm probably in the minority, but I don't actually bemoan the fact that Lighthouse never happened. Yes, it would have been nice to have an album where all those songs were collected together instead of having to chase down every collection b-sides, rarities, etc. But I've read a pretty complete synopsis of the story behind Lighthouse and, well... let's just say it was of its time.
    That's pretty much my take as well. I'll go with what we got, which was Who's Next and then some bonus tracks I've hunted down.

    In regards to The Who being a prog band, well I'd would say they are small "p" progressive, just like Zeppelin. Both bands pretty much transcended genre, something that few others did (like the Beatles). With the Who, the progressive aspect was the scope of Townsend's projects: Tommy, A Quick One, Lifehouse/Who's Next, and the sublime Quadrophenia. With Zeppelin, the prog aspect was more song-oriented with odd time signatures, mellotrons, and lots of epic length songs. Both bands relied heavily on loud/soft dynamics, with furious rhythm sections that could back off or bring down thunder from above with no warning. Pity the poor Doors, who ended up getting on the bill with both in the space of a month. Reports were that it didn't go well for the Doors. The Who obviously had better lyrics, though there's plenty of times were Pete would have benefited from pulling his head out from his ass (especially post-Quadrophenia). The Who balanced their hard rock sound with pop gems, Zep balanced their sturm und drang with acoustic folk and slow blues.

    I was reading a book on 70s touring bands and one promoter said these two bands were maddening. On any given night, it could be a fucking train wreck (usually to one or more band members being wasted) and yet on any given night they were the best bands working, flying by the seat of their pants and blowing the roof off the arena.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  3. #28
    Many of the Big 70's band were eclectic - as someone said, each album had many different styles, whether blues, acoustic, hard rock, use of synths and mellotrons, experimentation, which is diametrically opposed many bands, eg, ACDC, who make the same album year after year ( "not that there is anything wrong with that").

    But . . . Most were not symphonic with multiple sections, different themes, instrumental sections that were not just soloing over a verse or chorus riff).

    I like them all because each were unique. Take Who's Next and Zep IV - each song is like a different band playing the song).

  4. #29
    Lifehouse would have been far better than Who's Next imo. Major missed opportunity artistically.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    Beyond the fact that Quadrophenia is in my opinion their pinnacle musically, it also holds for me a special place because of it's themes not feeling a part of anything, estranged from family and friends, depressed, seeking something that's just beyond reach, craving love.
    That's why I can't relate to the story of Quadrophenia in any way. I do love it musically, but none of its lyrical themes are relevant to my life past or present. But of course, neither is Tommy haha.

  6. #31
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    Lifehouse would have been far better than Who's Next imo. Major missed opportunity artistically.
    I'm not that sure about it, anymore

    Next really features the (very) best material that was in the Lifehouse project... whatever material not featured on it (and published on other releases, like Young Vic or Odds & Sods), while rather good, may not have the same quality to have made an outstanding flawless and filler-free double album. Especially so, that whatever we do know is not enough to have filled a second disc.

    For ex: Tommy should've been spread over three sides, rather than 4, and if I don't really get that feeling for Quadrophenia, I do have it for other (concept/rock opera double albums like The Lamb or The Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    That's why I can't relate to the story of Quadrophenia in any way. I do love it musically, but none of its lyrical themes are relevant to my life past or present. But of course, neither is Tommy haha.

    While I wasn't a huge rebel in my teens years (but I was rebellious enough), this was the subject that I thought extremely interesting: albums like Crime Of The Century, Quadrophenia or Bat Out Of Hell or even The Wall and The Lamb (to a lesser extent) were about alienation and inadequacy from the norm and failure to meet society's expectations from us.
    COTC and BOOH spoke directly to me, because they had a contemporary context (that could be North American), while Quadrophenia was too typically English and happening in the early 60's to be as immediate to the North Am teenager I was then. It took the movie for me to get the full extent of the storyline, but even then, I was mostly sympathising with the Rockers, rather than the Mods, and I smoked pot (like the hippie I was claiming I was then), and disliked poppers (it wasn't agreeing with my body at all, like speed wasn't either). But despite that, I was rather impressed with this RnR (or RnB in this case) rebel story.



    I did have some sympathy for Rael 's rebellion in The Lamb, though: but yeah, Tommy was a different alien to me, much like Pink in The Wall
    What sets BOOH a bit apart from those is that the alienation is accepted by the character, and he's more into conforming and trying to resemble other in his case, avoiding feeling isolated. (at least, that's how I read it).
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  7. #32
    As I've said before, Townshend's lyrics are always personal. Even if there's a "story", he's always just under the surface talking about his personal journey. In retrospect and after knowing a great deal more about Townshend's sexuality and gender identity issues, I really hear Quadrophenia much differently and identify with it a lot more. If Townshend (or I) had grown up in the modern era, we might have been more comfortable inside our own skins. However, I truly understand the anger and rage of having to conform to the choices that society foists upon one. This internal turmoil and its outward violent manifestation is how Quadrophenia resonates with me.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    For ex: Tommy should've been spread over three sides, rather than 4,
    Which songs would you have left off?

  9. #34
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    difficult to say, but I'm finding too many lengths in the second disc (past Pinball Wizzard)


    C4 There's a Doctor0:25
    C5 Go to the Mirror!3:50
    C6 Tommy Can You Hear Me?1:35
    C7 Smash the Mirror 1:20
    C8 Sensation2:32
    D1 Miracle Cure 0:10
    D2 Sally Simpson4:10

    But I'd toss the whole C-side except for PW and put it at the start of the D-side replacing Simpson... I don't know how much it would amputate the storuline
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  10. #35
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    The old question:

    What is Prog?

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    difficult to say, but I'm finding too many lengths in the second disc (past Pinball Wizzard)


    C4 There's a Doctor0:25
    C5 Go to the Mirror!3:50
    C6 Tommy Can You Hear Me?1:35
    C7 Smash the Mirror 1:20
    C8 Sensation2:32
    D1 Miracle Cure 0:10
    D2 Sally Simpson4:10

    But I'd toss the whole C-side except for PW and put it at the start of the D-side replacing Simpson... I don't know how much it would amputate the storuline
    A) You've got some of my favorite songs from Tommy in there. YMMV.
    B) Removing some of them would trash the story pretty badly. (Perhaps that's not something you care about...YMMV.)
    3) I'll generally take the artist's opinion over a fan's. (And yet, I believe in the autonomy of a work of art once it has left the artist's hands. YMMV.)
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Next really features the (very) best material that was in the Lifehouse project... whatever material not featured on it (and published on other releases, like Young Vic or Odds & Sods), while rather good, may not have the same quality to have made an outstanding flawless and filler-free double album. Especially so, that whatever we do know is not enough to have filled a second disc.
    I agree. The leftover material is good/very good, but not as great as the Who's Next material, except "Pure And Easy" IMHO. That being said, a complete Lifehouse would probably have felt like more than the sum of its parts. It would have had it own flow and its own magic. Who's Next is wonderfully concise and intense, and also benefits from having "My Wife" IMHO.

  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    difficult to say, but I'm finding too many lengths in the second disc (past Pinball Wizzard)


    C4 There's a Doctor0:25
    C5 Go to the Mirror!3:50
    C6 Tommy Can You Hear Me?1:35
    C7 Smash the Mirror 1:20
    C8 Sensation2:32
    D1 Miracle Cure 0:10
    D2 Sally Simpson4:10

    But I'd toss the whole C-side except for PW and put it at the start of the D-side replacing Simpson... I don't know how much it would amputate the storuline
    Thanks. I don't know the album, so I'll try this first.

    (I found a killer EP length of Tales From Topographical Oceans that is 23 minutes long. It excludes sides 2 and 3 as well as gets rid of all the filler on sides 1 and 4.)

  14. #39
    I've never listened to Tommy as songs. Which says a lot for the genius that Townsent is. This is probably the first double album in the history of rock music that cannot be listened as a sum of its parts.

  15. #40
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    If Lifehouse had actually been made then I'd have probably have a CD-R that looked a lot like Next, which is one of pop/rock's greatest albums.

  16. #41
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mascodagama View Post
    To me the real greatness of The Who was in the short pop songs with brilliant lyrics - the likes of I Can See For Miles, Substitute, My Generation and Pictures of Lily. The concept albums I can take or leave really.
    Pretty much my take; they were a great singles band.

    As far as LPs go, for me it's Sell Out, Tommy, and Who's Next. Quadrophenia is one of those well-regarded items whose charms elude me.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  17. #42
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    Lifehouse would have been far better than Who's Next imo. Major missed opportunity artistically.
    I know... those songs needed to be heard and instead, Next is one of those unheralded and obscure works of art that never got its due.

  18. #43
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    A) You've got some of my favorite songs from Tommy in there. YMMV.
    B) Removing some of them would trash the story pretty badly. (Perhaps that's not something you care about...YMMV.)
    3) I'll generally take the artist's opinion over a fan's. (And yet, I believe in the autonomy of a work of art once it has left the artist's hands. YMMV.)
    Yeah, as I said, it's difficult to take something out without damaging the whole, but I couldn't see what to take out in the first disc (despite not necessarily liking everything on it)
    maybe I shouldn't have bitten on Yami's bait

    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    Thanks. I don't know the album, so I'll try this first.

    (I found a killer EP length of Tales From Topographical Oceans that is 23 minutes long. It excludes sides 2 and 3 as well as gets rid of all the filler on sides 1 and 4.)
    TFTO, I'd keep the A-side and the C-side (because the first 2/3 of The Ancient is really different... but the B & D sides can be tossed, for all I care.

    but if you really don't know Tommy, don't try my tentative of a solution to shortening it, listen to the full-thing first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
    I agree. The leftover material is good/very good, but not as great as the Who's Next material, except "Pure And Easy" IMHO. That being said, a complete Lifehouse would probably have felt like more than the sum of its parts. It would have had it own flow and its own magic. Who's Next is wonderfully concise and intense, and also benefits from having "My Wife" IMHO.
    you're probably right. I mean Townshend was on a roll then.
    It's actually fairly surprising that after Lifehouse's failure, he had the courage to build Quadrophenia and make it better (by a solid margin) than Tommy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    I've never listened to Tommy as songs. Which says a lot for the genius that Townshend is. This is probably the first double album in the history of rock music that cannot be listened as a sum of its parts.
    you're probably right, but over the years we've discussed about shortening The Wall, The Lamb and a few more.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    I found a killer EP length of Tales From Topographical Oceans that is 23 minutes long. It excludes sides 2 and 3 as well as gets rid of all the filler on sides 1 and 4.)
    Can't you explain why it is so important to get rid of side 3, 'shogun?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    maybe I shouldn't have bitten on Yami's bait
    What bait? I was curious since I was about to listen to Tommy for the first time and remember some here saying last year that The Lamb should have been shorter.

    I didn't find Tommy to be that interesting - listened to the whole album with headphones - but I'm sure it was innovative in 1969. Who's Next is better, but I already knew the three hits. On to Quadrophenia!

  21. #46
    Y'shogun: Try listening to a live performance of "Tommy," from (say) Isle of Wight or Live at Leeds (expanded version). It's a much more powerful piece that way.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Y'shogun: Try listening to a live performance of "Tommy," from (say) Isle of Wight or Live at Leeds (expanded version). It's a much more powerful piece that way.
    Thanks. Will do.

  23. #48
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Can't you explain why it is so important to get rid of side 3, 'shogun?
    I Can't Explain.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I Can't Explain.
    That was Trane who didn't need side 3, but I get mistook for him often.

  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I Can't Explain.


    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    I didn't find Tommy to be that interesting - listened to the whole album with headphones - but I'm sure it was innovative in 1969.
    Unlike The Lamb, which is, like, still really kinda innovative today.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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