Genre: Classic Rock
Price: $1,000,000 +
Demographics: 25-35,35-50,50 +
The Who Song List
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With their unusual guitar-bashing tradition and enduring, iconic sound, The Who originally launched onto the music scene with "I Can't Explain," a demo which garnered them their first record deal. The single was released in 1965, but it was a performance on Ready, Steady, Go – complete with Pete Townshend’s guitar-destroying antics at the end – that brought the single to number eight in the UK.
Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, and Townshend continued to enjoy hits in the UK for the next few years. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" and “My Generation” followed into the Top Ten, but The Who had yet to fully enter the music scene in the United States. A Quick One was released in 1967, and The Who finally began to get airplay in the United Stated with “Happy Jack.” The Who Sell Out came next, and the Magic Bus after that in 1968.
In the meantime, Townshend was working on a ninety-minute opus, a potential masterpiece to launch The Who to superstardom. Tommy, the rock opera and story of a blind, deaf, and dumb boy who turned out to be a pinball wizard and then a messiah-like figure, would hit number four in the United States and its first single “Pinball Wizard” would find a home at number nineteen. Tommy would be performed from start to finish by The Who only a handful of times, but they would become historical performances. Venues included New York City’s Metropolitan Opera house (1970) and London’s Coliseum (1969.) Performances launched around the world, and in 1972 Townshend supervised a re-recording of The Who’s Tommy, with the London Symphony Orchestra and a variety of top name performers. The 1975 film version, starring Tina Turner, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Ann-Margaret, Jack Nicholson, and Roger Daltrey in the lead role, went on to accolades and award nominations.
Tommy has since gone on to be the crowning achievement for The Who, although the band has continued to record and release well beyond Tommy’s peak. Another double-album rock opera, Quadrophenia, followed in 1973. It was also adapted for film, with Sting (of The Police) taking on the lead role. Odds and Sods followed in 1974, The Who by Numbers in 1975. Other notable works include His Empty Glass (1980), Face Dances (1981) All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (1982), and It's Hard (1982), before the group disbanded officially.
Daltry and Townshend have continue to perform and tour as The Who, however, well into the new millennium. Over the last decade, the duo has performed with backing musicians, including performances as the Glastonbury Festival and a recent 2017 Tommy & More Tour. In 2014, The Who released the compilation album, The Who Hits 50!, to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the group’s inception.
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