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The Who

Forming in the mid-sixties, The Who quickly became a huge success
because of their combative live presence and song lyrics that
accurately described the feelings of their rebellious generation.

Edited By: Edited By: Eric

Greatest Rock Artists
Rock Artists of the '60s
Rock Songs of the '70s

BRIEF OVERVIEW:








Although they occasionally struggled to find their footing in the studio during their early years, the band immediately figured out how to put on a tremendous live show. From the trademark microphone swings of Roger Daltrey, to Pete Townshend's patented "windmills", the band always put on a convincing, angry rock performance that suited their audience very well. Combine that with the fret board acrobatics of John Entwistle and Keith Moon's aggressive arm flailing, and it's hard to imagine a band with more live energy. Shows would often end with the band literally destroying their equipment in a fit of rage.

Still, The Who didn't reach their songwriting prime until the seventies, when Townshend's lyrical prowess fully developed. The band's 1971 classic, Won't Get Fooled Again, is possibly the most enduring rock anthem of it's time, with rebellious lyrics that are widely recognized, even by people unfamiliar with The Who's music. Daltrey's anguished scream during the climax remains one of the most remarkable moments in modern popular music.

During their seventies prime, the band continued to advance with massive conceptual albums and superb musicianship that raised the bar for rock instrumentalists. Every member redefined the expectations of their respective roles in a rock band. It's hard to imagine the world of rock drumming without Keith Moon's influence, or bass playing without Entwistle, surely the greatest rock bass player of all time.

The band's success, however, came screeching to a halt in 1978 when Keith Moon died of a prescription drug overdose. The band initially tried to carry on, with new drummer Kenny Jones, but after two albums, it was clear that they had lost their artistic ambition. In 1982, they officially broke up, allowing the members to pursue other projects.

Starting with a 1985 performance at Live Aid, The Who continued to occasionally reunite during the following decades. In 2002, John Entwistle died in his sleep on the eve of the band's North American tour. Choosing to carry on with session bassist Pino Palladino, the band continues to perform today with a powerful five man lineup. Rumors persist that Townshend and Daltrey are hard at work on the first Who album since 1982. The rumors were fueled by the release of the band's first original material recorded in over 20 years when two new songs were released on their 2004 hits compilation, Then & Now. Even if the band never played another show after the early seventies, however, the anathematic rock of The Who remains the voice of a generation, cementing their status as one of rock's all-time champions.
THE WHO IS:
Original Lineup: Current Lineup:
Roger Daltrey - vocals
Pete Townshend - guitar, vocals
John Entwistle - bass
Keith Moon - drums
Roger Daltrey - vocals
Pete Townshend - lead guitar, vocals
Pino Palladino - bass
John "Rabbit" Bundrick - keyboards
Simon Townshend - guitar
Zak Starkey - drums
THE ALBUMS:
1. The Who Sings My Generation (1965)
Their debut album catches the band at their most aggressive. Containing several of Pete Townshend's signature anthems (The Kids Are Alright, My Generation), this album is also a great display of the band's powerhouse rhythm section, especially on The Ox.
2. A Quick One (Happy Jack) (1966)
The Who's sophomore release contains songs contributed by every member of the band. John Entwistle's chilling bass line and lyrics made Boris The Spider a classic. Cobwebs And Strange is a showcase for Keith Moon's maniacal drum technique. Pete Townshend first displays his ambitions for rock opera with the epic title track.
3. The Who Sell Out (1967)
The band's first attempt at a full concept album is inconsistent, but still manages to give us many great songs. The concept wearsthin, with short mock advertisements in between songs, but the music displays some of the band's most sophisticated songwriting to date, including one of their all time classics, I Can See For Miles.
4. Tommy (1969)
This epic rock opera finally displayed Townshend's artistic ambitions coming to full fruition. The classic story is about Tommy, the deaf, dumb, and blind boy who finds salvation as a pinball star. The story was adapted to numerous film and live stage productions, and today, the concept seems to be more recognized than the music itself. But this revolutionary album provided many songs that remained live staples for the band, including See Me Feel Me, and the epic instrumental, Sparks.
5. Live at Leeds (1970)
Probably the greatest live album ever recorded, this displays the band at their peak of energy, aggression, and creativity. The thundering intro of Heaven And Hell, the excellent cover of Young Man Blues, and the epic closing jam of Magic Bus make this one of the band's finest albums.
6. Who's Next (1971)
Surely one of the most important rock albums of the seventies, this release showcased some of Townshend's finest songwriting, as well as the excellent musicianship of his bandmates. The album originated as another concept album like Tommy. Originally called Lifehouse, the concept was to be a massive exploration of music's effects on society. The concept fell through, and Townshend may have viewed it as a failure. This album still remains arguably their finest effort, with too many classic songs to list here. Won't Get Fooled Again and Baba O'Riley remain two of the quintessential rock anthems of all time.
7. Quadrophenia (1973)
This classic concept album finds each musician at their peak of instrumental ability. Moon's drumming is superb throughout, and he even gets to sing on the song Bell Boy. Daltrey is at his absolute best, especially on Love Reign O'er Me, which is one of the greatest vocal performances of all time. Townshend's writing is as great as always, and the album contains his most technical guitar work. Of course Entwistle shines throughout, including his monstrous bass performance during The Real Me. Overall, this is probably the band's most sophisticated musical effort.
8. Odds & Sods (1974)
This outtakes collection shows just how great The Who were in their prime. Songs like Pure & Easy and Naked Eye were cut from the original albums, and they are better than what most other bands were releasing as singles at the time. The studio version of Young Man Blues is also essential for any Who fan.
9. The Who By Numbers (1975)
Perhaps the most overlooked album from the classic lineup, this album still contains many great songs. Squeeze Box catches the band at their most playful. Entwistle contributes one of the album's finest tracks, Success Story. It may not include any of the band's wild rock anthems, but it is still a consistent album.
10. Who Are You (1978)
This album ended up being their last with Keith Moon. Overall, a few great songs can't save it from being a somewhat anti-climatic swan song for the classic lineup. Moon was in poor health during the recording, as evidenced by the sub-par drumming (by his standards) during much of the album. Still, Who Are You and Sister Disco are two essential Who songs, and there are other fine tracks here as well.
11. Face Dances (1981)
Not only did the loss of Keith Moon hurt the instrumental strength of the band, but it also seems to have killed Townshend's lyrical ambition. A few good songs make it on to the album, but it still stands as the weakest studio effort from the band.
12. It's Hard (1982)
The band's second (and final) release with drummer Kenny Jones is somewhat more successful than its predecessor. The band proves to be at their best during this period of their career when they go in new directions, rather than attempting emulate their classic style. The best example of this is Eminence Front, a superb, atmospheric composition that is absolutely nothing like anything they did with Keith Moon in the band.
13. Then & Now (2004)
Perhaps the best hits compilation for The Who, this is a great place to start for anyone new to the band. It is impossible to include all of the band's essential output on a single disc, but this is a decent try. It also includes two new songs, both of which sound like the band's classic music of the seventies.
THE 100 GREATEST WHO SONGS:
  1. Won't Get Fooled Again
  2. My Generation
  3. Baba O'Riley
  4. Love Reign O'er Me
  5. Who Are You
  6. Substitute
  7. 5:15
  8. I Can See For Miles
  9. Pinball Wizard
10. My Wife
11. A Quick One, While He's Away
12. Behind Blue Eyes
13. The Kids Are Alright
14. The Real Me
15. Young Man Blues
16. We're Not Gonna Take It/See Me Feel Me
17. I Can't Explain
18. Bargain
19. Pure and Easy
20. Eminence Front
21. The Seeker
22. You Better You Bet
23. The Punk and the Godfather
24. Sparks
25. Happy Jack
26. Doctor Jimmy
27. Heaven and Hell
28. Boris the Spider
29. I'm Free
30. I Don't Even Know Myself
31. Summertime Blues
32. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
33. Squeeze Box
34. Pictures of Lily
35. Sea and Sand
36. Naked Eye
37. Magic Bus
38. Join Together
39. Another Tricky Day
40. Sister Disco
41. Let's See Action
42. Dreaming from the Waist
43. Drowned
44. I'm a Boy
45. Tommy Overture
46. Baby Don't You Do It
47. The Ox
48. Armenia City in the Sky
49. Relay
50. Shakin All Over
51. Whiskey Man
52. The Rock
53. They Are All In Love
54. Success Story
55. Call Me Lightning
56. Love Ain't For Keeping
57. Tattoo
58. The Acid Queen
59. How Many Friends
60. The Song Is Over
61. A Legal Matter
62. Long Live Rock
63. Had Enough
64. Fortune Teller
65. In a Hand or a Face
66. Sally Simpson
67. Athena
68. I'm the Face
69. It's Your Turn
70. Real Good Looking Boy
71. Too Much of Anything
72. Cut My Hair
73. So Sad About Us
74. Guitar and Pen
75. Helpless Dancer
76. The Quiet One
77. Bell Boy
78. Odorono
79. Water
80. Getting In Tune
81. Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand
82. I'm One
83. Much Too Much
84. The Dirty Jobs
85. Amazing Journey
86. Is It In My Head?
87. I've Had Enough
88. Going Mobile
89. Quadrophenia
90. Circles (Instant Party)
91. Rael
92. Disguises
93. Run Run Run
94. Our Love Was
95. Sunrise
96. Old Red Wine
97. Fiddle About
98. I Can't Reach You
99. Sensation
100. Relax
ROGER'S BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCES: PETE'S BEST GUITAR PERFORMANCES:
1. Love Reign O'er Me
2. Won't Get Fooled Again
3. My Generation
4. See Me Feel Me
5. I Can See For Miles
6. Baba O'Riley
7. The Real Me
8. Behind Blue Eyes
9. Doctor Jimmy
10. 5:15
1. The Rock
2. Heaven and Hell
3. Young Man Blues
4. Won't Get Fooled Again
5. Eminence Front
6. Sparks
7. Summertime Blues
8. A Quick One
9. Magic Bus
10. Love Reign O'er Me
JOHN'S BEST BASS PERFORMANCES: KEITH'S BEST DRUM PERFORMANCES:
1. The Real Me
2. 5:15 (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)
3. My Generation
4. Young Man Blues
5. Won't Get Fooled Again
6. The Punk and the Godfather
7. Dreaming From The Waist
8. Summertime Blues
9. Sparks
10. Boris The Spider
1. Cobwebs and Strange
2. A Quick One
3. Won't Get Fooled Again
4. Heaven and Hell
5. Baby Don't You Do It
6. Who Are You
7. My Generation
8. Happy Jack
9. The Ox
10. Bargain
THEIR BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCES: PETE'S BEST SONG LYRICS:
1. Won't Get Fooled Again
2. My Generation
3. Young Man Blues
4. Sparks
5. Heaven and Hell
6. Summertime Blues
7. The Real Me
8. Love Reign O'er Me
9. A Quick One
10. 5:15
1. Won't Get Fooled Again
2. 5:15
3. My Generation
4. Behind Blue Eyes
5. Baba O'Riley
6. Pinball Wizard
7. Substitute
8. Bargain
9. We're Not Gonna Take It
10. Pure and Easy
A FEW GREAT LYRICS:
We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song
- Won't Get Fooled Again

People try to put us down
Just because we get around
Things they do look awful cold
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old
- My Generation

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool
- Behind Blue Eyes

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven
- Baba O'Riley
PLACEMENT ON DDD LISTS (as of 7/08):
Greatest Rock Live Artists - #6
Greatest Rock Artists - #7
Greatest Rock Vocalists - Daltrey at #24
Greatest Rock Guitarists - Townshend at #54
Greatest Rock Bassists - Entwistle at #2
Greatest Rock Drummers - Moon at #4
Greatest Rock Lyricists - Townshend at #7
Greatest Rock Albums - 3 albums, including "Who's Next" at #21
Greatest Rock Albums - "Live At Leeds" at #2




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