The Who – The Collection Vol.2

By 1969, Pete Townshend had given up drugs and had taken an interest in the works of Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual master who gave teachings on two main subjects. The nature of the soul and advice on achieving spiritual ambitions. Taking these on board, he set out to develop these teachings in his music and wanted to expand on the idea of the rock opera that he had dipped his toe into with the songs ‘A Quick One, Whilst He’s Away’ and ‘Rael’. The resulting album was ‘Tommy’ the story of a deaf, dumb and blind kid who suffers from a psychosomatic condition that was caused by his childhood trauma of seeing his father killed by his mother’s lover. Eventually the mental block that has caused Tommy’s condition is broken and he becomes the leader of a religious movement that eventually collapses around him. 

To compile the first disc of this collection, I used the 2003 Deluxe and 2013 Super Deluxe editions of ‘Tommy’ as well as well as the 1998 reissue of ‘Odds & Sods’. Even though it mostly follows the story of Tommy as laid out on the original album, I have gone for what sounded good sonically instead of an understandable narrative. Well, what sounded sonically good to me anyway. ‘Tommy’ was the game changer for The Who and tuned them from a group on the slide to a commercial force that they have continued to be up to the current time. With such an album under your belt, how were they going to follow this up?

This is the point where we come to the ‘Lifehouse’ project. This is the great lost Who album project, and many people have looked to recreate what could have been. A search of the internet will throw up numerous websites discussing the album and there have been numerous attempts by other sites to create what ‘Lifehouse’ could have been. I decided against this as I didn’t want to limit myself with songs that were destined for that project. I therefore decided that anything recorded after ‘Tommy’ and before ‘Qudropheania’ could be included and that left me with two CDs worth of songs. The second being the first disc of Volume 3. This included demos for the songs that Townshend had written that would later be released on the ‘Lifehouse Chronicles’ box set in 2000. 

By 1972, The Who were light years away from the band that had released ‘My Generation’ eight years before. That did not mean that Townshend was not looking back on those days for inspiration. However, for the remainder of the 70s, the band would continue to re-imagine ‘Tommy’, with a version recorded with the London Symphony and a feature film. Both of these versions would include guests musicians singer taking on the roles originally sung by the band. Townshend also never quite gave up on the ‘Lifehouse’ project and would also return to it  at later points during the decade. 

Disc 1

  1. Overture
  2. Its A Boy
  3. 1921
  4. Amazing Journey
  5. Sparks
  6. Christmas
  7. Trying To Get Through
  8. Cousin Kevin Model Child
  9. Cousin Kevin
  10. The Acid Queen
  11. Underture
  12. Pinball Wizard
  13. Go To The Mirror
  14. Tommy, Can you See Me?
  15. Miss Simpson
  16. Smash The Mirror
  17. I’m Free
  18. Sensation
  19. Welcome
  20. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  21. Listening To You
  22. I Was

Disc 2

  1. Baba O’Riley
  2. Put The Money Down
  3. Naked Eye
  4. Getting In Tune (New York Recording)
  5. The Seeker
  6. Bargain
  7. Pure & Easy
  8. Time Is Passing
  9. Water
  10. Let’s See Action
  11. Relay
  12. My Wife
  13. The Song Is Over
  14. Won’t Get Fooled Again
  15. Join Together

The cover is adapted from the ‘Tommy’ EP the band rebased in 1970. 

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