Album of the Day: The Who, "Who's Next"

Album of the Day: The Who, “Who’s Next”

The Who
Who’s Next (Cd Polydor 527760-2)

The pulsating notes of the organ that pay homage to the music of the American minimalist composer Terry Riley (in one piece
which is entitled “Baba O’Riley”) kick off one of the milestones in the history of rock, one of those records capable of marking an era thanks to the combination of various factors all of superb quality, from the songs of a Pete Townshend was very inspired by Roger Daltrey’s vocal performances and the unforgettable sound of a band that in its best moments was also able to give points to the Beatles and Stones.

The pieces of “Who’s Next” were originally born as the musical fabric of “Lifehouse”, one of the numerous pharaonic projects
rock/opera that Townshend’s megalomaniacal imagination produced over the years, and subsequently foundered due to differences with then manager Kit Lambert (and due to the guitarist’s massive use of brandy). Bassist John Entwistle contributed the excellent song “My Wife” and Townshend himself rethought many of the songs for the record edition.

Launched by the deadly single “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, the album rocketed to the top of the charts, becoming an authentic anthem for thousands of kids, not unlike what “My Generation” had done a few years earlier. The whole album is made up of beautiful pieces like “Bargain”, “Getting in Tune” and “The Song Is Over”; the electric flourishes of Townshend’s guitar were supported by Keith Moon’s unstoppable drums, capable of giving life to an incalculable number of always masterful rhythmic figures. There was no shortage of acoustic brackets such as “Love Ain’t for Keeping” and “Behind Blue
Eye”s, which brought some calm back to the fiery atmospheres that run throughout the album.

Together with “Quadrophenia” this is perhaps the Who’s best album from a compositional point of view and this CD edition also gives us several very beautiful unreleased songs (excluded from the album only for space reasons) such as “Pure and Easy” and “Baby Don’t You Do It”.
Listening to the album you find yourself in an era in which the creativity of rock music literally exploded and even the craziest ideas seemed capable of being realized with ease, while the long arm of business had not yet strangled this genre musical by turning it into a money-making machine.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.