April 12, 2023 Playlist

The Who "Quadrophenia" (1973)
The Who "Quadrophenia"  1973 (UK)
The Who created the first "rock opera" in late 1966, in the form of a 10-minute long multi-sectioned song called "A Quick One (While He's Away)" from their second album. Their third album The Who Sell Out was not an "opera" but it was one of the earliest "concept albums": it is meant to sound like a radio station, with jingles and announcements in between songs that parody teen culture. The Big One came in 1969, with their most famous rock opera Tommy, an ambitious double-album which tells the story of a deaf, dumb and blind pinball player who becomes a messiah. That one was such a success, naturally there was pressure to follow it up with another "rock opera": this coincided with The Who substantially reducing their output from a couple albums every year to one every two or three years, probably because long-form works like that take a long time to write, arrange, and record. The rock opera Lifehouse never got completed, instead the best bits from that wound up on the classic album Who's Next (1971). A couple years later, the group finally released what is arguably their magnum opus: Quadrophenia, a loose but highly emotional story that relates directly to the roots of the guys in the band, and features a truly orchestral and cinematic sound (they didn't have the budget for an orchestra on Tommy, which is why that album sounds a lot thinner than this one.) Audience response seems like it was mixed at the time: the silly pinball story from their last rock opera was a lot easier to understand, and the music they were doing in 1973 is a lot more introspective than their sixties hits. It was not one of their more successful tours. After this, The Who retreated and never attempted another conceptual record while the original members were still alive (though Pete Townshend has written a few more "rock operas" since then.) Quadrophenia got a second wind at the end of the seventies when it was turned into a movie that was pretty good: rather than the over-the-top fantasy of the jukebox musical movie version of Tommy, Quadro: The Motion Picture is a realistic film about troubled youth that is not really a musical at all. The members of The Who did not even appear in the film (like they did in Tommy), though the musician Sting has a small role (as an actor not a singer). For The Who's 1979 tour, they brought back a lot of the material from this album and it worked better the second time around after fans had a chance to see the film. The surviving members have dusted it off a few more times since then, and they play about half of Quadrophenia on their latest record The Who With Orchestra Live At Wembley (recordings from a 2019 concert just released on album a couple weeks ago).
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
Yellow Magic Orchestra
(Ryuichi Sakamoto 1952-2023)
Electric TommyPinball Wizard (The Who)Electric Tommy1971USA
Count FiveMy Generation (The Who)Psychotic Reaction1966USA
The KinksI'm Not Like Everybody ElseB-side single1966UK
The Pretty ThingsS.F. Sorrow Is BornS.F. Sorrow1968UK
MC5The Human Being LawnmowerBack In The USA1970USA
The Human InstinctBlack Sally (Mecca)Stoned Guitar1970New Zealand
Deerhoof My Lovely Cat!Miracle-level (N)
2023 (Joyful Noise)USA/Japan
Quasi Breaking The Balls Of History
   / Doomscrollers
Breaking The Balls Of History (N)2023 (Sub Pop)USA
Ins Kino Other WorldsIns Kino 2 EP (N)2023 (self released)USA
U.S. Girls Just Space For LightBless This Mess (N)2023 (4AD)USA/Canada
The Hold Steady Sideways SkullThe Price Of Progress (N)2023 (Positive Jams)USA
Guided By Voices Slowly On The WheelLa La Land (N)
2023 (GBV Inc.)USA
The Who5:15Quadrophenia
The WhoDoctor Jimmy
   --> The Rock
   --> Love Reign O'er Me
Led ZeppelinOver The Hills And Far AwayHouses Of The Holy1973UK
Curved AirUHFAir Cut1973UK
CaravanL'Auberge du Sanglier  ("The Boar's Inn")
   a. A Hunting We Shall Go
   b. Pengola
   c. Backwards
   d. A Hunting We Shall Go (reprise)
For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night1973UK
The Moody BluesThe Land Of Make-BelieveSeventh Sojourn1972UK
Paul McCartney & Wings1985Band On The Run1973UK
Unknown Mortal Orchestra The Widow
   / In The Rear View
V (N)
2023 (Jagjaguwar)New Zealand
Gentle GiantPeel The PaintThree Friends1972UK
Hatfield & The NorthFitter Stoke Has A Bath
   --> Didn't Matter Anyway
The Rotters' Club1975UK
King CrimsonLark's Tongues In Aspic, part 1Lark's Tongues In Aspic1973UK
Swans Paradise Is MineThe Beggar (N - forthcoming album)
2023 (Young God)USA

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