Alright, I admit it…I’m on a Classic Rock jag lately. It doesn’t make me a bad person. Last night The Who came to the Naming Rights For Sale Garden here in Boston. They must have played this parcel of land 20-25 times over the years, but I have no facts to support that claim. I do know that I’m well into double digits when it comes to attending Who concerts. My admiration for The Who, full disclosure here, knows little bounds. I no longer listen to Classic Rock radio or pull out Who’s Next, but they are part of my DNA without question. Quadrophenia has got to be my favorite album of all time. Soak that in. I own about 4000 CDs and roughly 1200 albums. While I’m here I’m going to volunteer my top five; Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin, The White Album by The Beatles, Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones, Quadrophenia by The Who and, until further notice, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellowbrick Road. Let the criticism commence. Yes they are all double albums, but that is what makes them so great. It’s a list of older records no doubt, but they have yet to be dethroned and I worship an awful lot of music for better or for worse.
It’s easy to make jokes about aging Rockers (or Mods for that matter), but aside from maybe U2 & The Rolling Stones, I have yet to see any band continually soldier on with such consistently great performances. You know they have to be sick of playing certain songs, but they still are fantastic in concert. I don’t even care what The Who play anymore. If I never see Roger Daltrey swing a microphone or Pete Townshend crank out a windmill chord again it wouldn’t bother me in the least. It’s kind of comical actually seeing them do it to be honest. But don’t be fooled into thinking I won’t be wriggling all over town when Angus Young shows up next month in his school boy outfit. These days Who concerts are great excuses for 10-12 friends and I to get together and socialize. Boy did we socialize last night.
There was an article in Classic Rock magazine over the summer declaring 1973 the greatest year in the history of rock. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon was released. So was David Bowie’s Alladin Sane. And Led Zeppelin’s House of The Holy. The list reads like a Who’s Who (to coin a phrase) of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame…check it out and you will find other rock classics. Alice Coooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. Aerosmith Aerosmith. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd. Genesis’ Selling England By The Pound. Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. New York Dolls New York Dolls. Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power. Bruce Springsteen’s Greeting From Asbury Park. Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure. And that barely scratches the surface. The argument was pretty compelling. In November of 1973 The Who released Quadrophenia. Words cannot really express my love for this record. Pete Townshend’s story telling is at a career peak here. Keith Moon’s drumming is flat orgasmic to these ears. John Entwistle’s thundering bass in songs like The Real Me is tremendous. The urgency in Roger Daltrey’s voice really hits home for me on this record. You hear the phrase Rock Opera tossed around a lot and I’m not even sure I know what that means, but as much as I loved Tommy this CD still blows me away after all these years. I realize I am biased, but it astounds me how overlooked this record is to this day. Even casual Who fans barely know anything beyond Love Reign O’er Me (the first song I’d vote off the island if forced to make a choice).
I remember as a kid coming up with $7.99 or whatever double albums used to cost was tough, but it baffles me how the radio keeps playing throwaway cuts like Squeeze Box or You Better You Bet when this CD is jam packed with brilliant music. I remember a couple of years back The Who played the whole record in concert. I sang until I was hoarse and probably embarrassed myself as the folks sitting near me were clearly learning the words for the first time as they stared at me. OK, I’ve made whatever point I came to make. I’m probably the only loser in the whole world that thinks as highly of this record, but I don’t care. I’m going to have a copy right by my side when they lower me that last six feet. And I’m here to tell you that even half The Who still gets it done in concert folks.
Buy or download Quadrophenia from Amazon here.